What you need to know about expanding your small business
Launching a business is exciting, but it can also be daunting when you consider all the steps you need to take before you can make your first sale. To make things easier, and because requirements can differ from state to state, we’ve tracked down some info and compiled a step-by-step guide for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Victoria.
Before you start a business in Victoria
It’s important to evaluate if you’re ready to start a business before you take the plunge. While you may be motivated to get your business off the ground, you need to make sure you have all the boxes ticked that you need to in order to make it a success – figuring out if you’re actually ready to launch is key to mitigating lost time, money, and resources.
Get really honest with yourself and make sure you’ve got the right skillset, plenty of time to devote to your business, and access to the essentials you’ll need to get going.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to analyse the potential and viability of your business idea.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is there a genuine want or need for my product/service in the market?
- How difficult will it be to develop my idea?
- Is my idea financially viable?
- How will I protect my idea?
- Who are my competitors?
- What’s my backup plan?
This is an invaluable exercise because it will help you decide if your idea is worth pursuing and will allow you to form a solid base to build a business plan if you decide it has potential.
When you’re ready to register a business in Victoria, you’ll need to determine if your activities are classified as a business or hobby, as different tax, insurance, and legal obligations will apply depending on which one you fall under.
It’s also worth checking out Business Victoria’s suite of tools and templates that are designed to help you get your business up and running.
Steps for starting a business in Victoria
Decided that you’re ready to launch? Follow these four steps and you’ll be on your way to operating correctly and confidently.
1. Create a business plan
To give your business the best chance at success, you’ll need to create a plan that details your vision and mission, branding, market research, competitive edge, financials, and legal and regulatory requirements. Business Victoria has a handy resource on how to write a business plan to help you create one that’s solid.
2. Choose a business structure
Next up, you need to decide how your business will operate. Here are the six main business structures you can choose from:
This structure is the simplest and cheapest to set up, as you’re the sole manager of your business. While you technically trade on your own, you can hire employees if you wish.
A partnership occurs when 2 to 20 people go into business together with the view of making money. Each partner must be equally responsible for managing the business.
A company is a legal entity that’s separate from you, that will need to be registered with the Australian Government Business Registration Service.
This structure involves a trustee (an individual or company) conducting business for the benefit of beneficiaries.
Incorporated associations are typically established for charitable, cultural, or recreational purposes. An incorporated association needs at least five members to operate and all profits are to be put back into the association’s activities.
A co-operative is a democratic organisation made up of at least five members, who should all play a part in running the organisation.
3. Complete the necessary paperwork
To get the green light on your business, you’ll need to register for regulatory identification and documentation. Depending on your structure, this may include:
- Australian Business Number (ABN): this is a unique 11-digit code that identifies your business. While not mandatory, having an ABN enables you to claim Goods and Services Tax (GST) credits, energy grants credits, and acquire a domain name
- Tax File Number (TFN): partnerships, companies, trusts and other organisations, such as co-operatives and associations, require a business TFN, while sole traders require a personal TFN
- Business name: a business name is the title or name under which a person, or other legal entity, carries out business. Learn more about this important element here
- GST: this is only required if your expected annual turnover exceeds $75,000 or more
4. Set up shop
Once you’ve registered your business, you can move on to making your idea a reality by leasing a premises, securing licenses and permits, and employing staff; and, if needed, setting up a payments solution (Tyro EFTPOS is a great for making fast, simple, and secure payments).
Leasing a business premises
Securing a place to operate is essential for retail and commercial businesses. You can learn about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to leasing a business premises here.
Licenses and permits
To operate legally, you’ll need a set of licenses and permits unique to your industry and location. Find out which ones you require.
If you’re hiring team members, you’ll need to conform with Fair Work requirements as well as health and safety laws and insurance policies.
Ready for take off?
Once you’ve ticked all the boxes when it comes to starting a business in Victoria, it’s time to get selling! When you’re ready to start accepting payments, a Tyro EFTPOS machine can help make taking payments easy. Visit tyro.com or call 1300 00 TYRO (8976) to learn more.
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