Starting a business can feel exciting and overwhelming. If you’re not sure how to begin, here's a quick guide.

1. Create a business plan

It’s important to understand your vision, goals and strategy as early as you can – this is where a business plan will help. You’ll see opportunities and challenges that may be unique to your business and you’ll be able to plan for them. Once you’ve created your business plan, read our guide on how to write a financial plan to understand your costs and get started.

2. Choose your business structure

The way you structure your business will have an impact on how much tax you pay and what you’re liable for, so it’s important to make the right choice. Assess whether your business will work better as a sole trader, partnership, company or trust.

3. Get the basics sorted

It’s important to understand which key registrations you might need.  Whether you’re a sole trader, a company or a trust, the help me decide tool can help guide on the registrations (e.g. if you need an ABN, ACN or business tax file number) you might need. Learn about registering a business name and if you should protect your business with a trade mark.

4. Understand your business finance

As your business grows, your finances will become more complicated. Being organised from the beginning will help you to stay in control.

Make sure to regularly:

  • Set and review your business budget
  • Record your income and expenses
  • Monitor your cash flow

Learning key financial ratios and business numbers will help you track your performance over time. It’s also important to understand financial obligations, like whether you need to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST). Seek help from your accountant if you’re unsure.

5. Find a mentor or community

Running a business can be quite isolating. Find people to celebrate your wins with and to talk to about your challenges. Consider networking with groups in your industry, hiring a business coach, or looking online for support forums.

6. Develop good business habits

These may include automating as much as you can, keeping your business and personal finances separate, and keeping reporting up to date. Creating good habits and putting systems in place early on will help you to grow and manage your business.

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.