How to set up a small business

There are many benefits to being your own boss, including setting your own hours and controlling the business's profits. But before you can reap the rewards, you need to set up your business. To help you get up and running, we've compiled the below to-do list of the key things you should know.

Setting up a small business

There's a lot of groundwork to lay when starting your own business, but don't let that put you off.

First, decide on a business structure. Your business structure will impact the way your business operates, so make sure you understand the advantages of each structure.

Choose and register a business name. Depending on the type of business, you can use your own name or you might like to try something a little more creative.

Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN).Your ABN identifies you with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and other government departments.Registering for an ABN is a simple process and can be done online via the Business Entry Point website.

Register for GST: If your annual business turnover is more than $75,000 you must be registered for GST.

Apply for licences: Depending on the type of business you run you might need to apply for one or more licences. This might need to be done with the Federal, State or Local Governments. If you're unsure about what types of licences you might need, you can check with the Australian Business Licence and Information Service.

Find your funding

Next, you need to sort out your banking. To manage your business's finances, even if you're operating as a sole trader, open a business bank account. If you're planning on starting a company, partnership or trust, you're legally required to open a separate business bank account for tax purposes. Some small businesses will have low start-up costs and won't require any additional funding. However, if you're planning on opening a business with staff or equipment and stock, you'll need to find a way to finance your operation. Your options include:

Business grants: Some small businesses have very low operating costs. But if you require an investment, think about applying for a grant. Business loans/credit cards: Banks and financial institutions also offer different types of funding, including loans, overdraft accounts and credit cards. Even if you're awarded a business grant, consider looking into how these other options can help you. Physical premise or online store

If your business will be selling products or if the service you offer requires an office to meet with clients, you might require a physical premise for your business. You can choose to:

Rent. Buy. Open a home office.

No matter which option you choose, you'll need to have it fitted out with the appropriate furniture and decorations. The look and feel of your store or office can have a significant influence on your customers. You'll also want to consider setting up a website to make it easy for potential customers and clients to look you up and learn more about you before deciding to do business with you. You can easily do this yourself, using platforms such as Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress. If you're thinking about starting your own business, start by comparing small business loans with InfoChoice.