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Making a Small Business Checklist

Starting your own business? In addition to capital and a great idea, you will need to take certain steps and accomplish certain tasks to ensure that your business will work. Here is a short checklist to help guide you as you begin your business venture. Or some timely reminders for those that jumped straight in!

1. Business Viability
Whatever product or service you plan to offer, or whether you decide to open a retail store or restaurant, you need to ensure that your business idea is viable. Is there a market for your idea? And if so, who are your competitors?  Study your competitors really well and determine what made them successful and what challenges they had to face. Lastly, figure out what makes your business different from your competitors. Is it the price? The quality? An added feature that they don’t have? Lastly, figure out the financial capacity to get the business up and running, and how much it will cost to operate versus the profits you expect to make.

2. Business Name
You must also take a great amount of time and care in coming up with your name. Come up with as many  names as possible and make sure that your name is unique and available for you. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has a website that allows you to check the availability of a proposed company name.

3. Business Structure
In order to choose the right business structure, it’s best to seek legal and professional advice. There are several different types of business you can operate under. If you want to be  solely responsible for your business, then your business will be categorised as a Sole Trader. If your company has  two or more people starting a business,  all legally sharing profits, risks and losses, then your company will be a Partnership. But the most common type of company used by small business is the Proprietary Limited Company. Unlike partnerships and sole traders, it is a legal entity separate from its shareholders/owners.

4. Location
Does your business require you to be geographically near your customers or suppliers? Or is your business purely online so all you need is a comfortable place with telephones and internet?  Do you intend to lease or purchase your premises or do you plan to operate your business from home? All these are questions that you will need to answer to find the best location for your business.

5. The Right Team
Unless you intend to run a one-man (or woman) operation, forming the right team is also very important. Aside from selecting reliable people to work with and for you, you’ll also need to be versed with certain responsibilities and obligations under law. There are a number of labor law and HR consultancy firms that can help you, but you should also make it a point to read up on issues such as federal and state and territory laws, industrial awards and agreements, tribunal decisions and contracts of employment.

6.  Permits and Requirements

In addition to registering your name, all companies need to register an Australian Company Number through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission . When a company is registered under the Corporations Act 2001 it is automatically registered as an Australian company. This means that you can conduct business throughout Australia without needing to register in individual State and Territory jurisdictions. You will also have to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if you expect to have annual sales over $50,000.

Partnerships and companies need to apply for their own, but sole traders can use their own personal Tax File Numbers (TFNs). You will also need to check with the appropriate state government body for business licences, permits, registrations and certificates, zoning, health regulations, development applications or Building Application.

7. A Business Plan
You might need additional financing, make sure that your business is properly insured, and come up with ways to promote your business. There are other requirements, and these will depend on the nature of your business. You will need to write these all down in a thorough and comprehensive plan that encapsulates all your goals, costs, requirements and schedules.

Good Luck!

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