Before you open up your own business, there's a lot of hard work and preparation to be done and key decisions you need to make.
Starting a brand new business
If you're starting your business from scratch, rather than buying an existing one or becoming part of a franchise, here are some things you'll need to consider before you get started:
- Register your business name or company name (scroll down to "Step 2: Choose a company name")
- Find out if you need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Find out if you'll need to register for GST and how to do it if you do
- Apply for any necessary licences and permits through the Australia Business Licence Information Service (BLIS)
- Do you want to trademark your business name or the unique name of any products or services you offer?
- Do you want to patent your designs?
There are many other things to think about, including:
- The location of your business
- Whether you will rent a place to operate out of
- Hours of operation
- How much you'll charge for goods and services
- What kind of insurance you need - including WorkCover
- How and where you will market your services and/or products
- How you will keep track of your finances
Buying an existing business
Purchasing an existing business has advantages and disadvantages.
It requires intense analysis and scrutiny of the business' finances and its operation. Get an accountant to go over the books with you. Look for any irregularities and be sure to ask questions if you're not sure about something.
Make sure you know exactly what you're buying when you purchase the business. For example:
- Are the stock and fixtures (furniture, desks, shelves, lights, etc.) included?
- Will existing staff stay when you take over?
- What's the reputation of the business?
- How much profit does the business normally make?
- Can you expect an immediate income?
Business Victoria provides further information about buying an established business.
Buying a franchise
A franchise is a business that is part of a larger organisation. Fast food restaurants, supermarkets and hardware stores are all examples of franchise businesses. There are lots of 'big name' stores all over the place, but each store is owned and managed by an individual businessperson.
The advantage of buying a franchise is that you'll run your own business, but you'll have the security and support of a larger organisation.
Business Victoria provides information and advice about buying a franchise.
Managing the money side of things
You may have to consider how you're going to pay for everyday living expenses as well as your business expenses while you're getting your business off the ground. You may have to follow a tight budget for a period of time.
Consider any or all of the following suggestions:
- If you're currently in full-time work, stay there until you can afford to either reduce your hours (if your boss will let you) or your business is doing well enough to enable you to resign
- Work part-time or casually in an area that's related to your business so you can gain further experience and get some new contacts
- Get some financial assistance or apply for a grant offered by the Victorian Government
The Federal Government's New Enterprise Initiative Scheme is a program that helps you to start and set up a viable business by providing training and ongoing financial help.
The following organisations and websites can provide a range of support services for people who are in the process of setting up their own business.
Heaps of information about starting a new business, buying an existing business or a franchise, and how to run a business.
Australian Taxation Office - Starting your own business
Provides practical assistance to small business in Australia.
Small Business Centres Victoria
Network of business centres providing a range of small business services in both metropolitan and regional locations throughout Victoria.