Open for business? Here's some tips before you cut the red ribbon.
Open for business? Here's some tips before you cut the red ribbon. Contributed

Want to start a small business? Read this first

YOU'VE long dreamed of starting your own small business, and the time is right. But there is a lot to contend with before you welcome your first customers.

Here are some tips on making sure you're well prepared, so that when you launch your small business, you have the best chance at succeeding and growing.

1. A business plan

It's impossible to pin down your exact revenue and outgoings ahead of time, but a detailed business plan will allow you to plot major costs such as staff, stock, rent and electricity, and work out how much business you to need to do to be able to pay yourself a wage and prosper. Be realistic, otherwise you can find yourself inflating potential sales to meet costs.   


2. Business registrations

All business owners in Australia have to register before commencing any business activities. Speak to an accountant about your obligations regarding an Australian Business Number (ABN), a tax file number (TFN), collection of the GST and pay as you go withholding taxes. If you want exclusive rights to a business name, you'll need to register it as a trademark.

Welcome to our Business Class series.
Welcome to our Business Class series. News Corp

3. Insurance

It is crucial to ensure your relevant insurances are in place before you open for business. These may include public liability, workers' compensation, travel, and building and contents. Without the relevant insurances you simply cannot afford to go into business, and may be risking other assets.

4. Know your opposition and future zoning plans

It's crucial to know what is being sold nearby. Are there shops that will complement your offerings, or shops that will limit your ability to meet your targets? The federal government's website advises potential small business owners to contact their local council to learn about zoning, planned developments and rates.

5. Location

A poor location can cruel the best business ideas, yet not all regional small businesses need to be paying main street rents. Light industry, tutoring and sporting venues, and legal, medical and accountancy practices, for example, do not necessarily need to be right in the centre of town. If you're thinking hospitality or retail, study the market at different times during the week and note parking facilities and foot traffic.      

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6. Employing people

The federal government advises small business owners of the "many legal obligations for employing people". They include paying correct wages; reimbursing for work-related expenses; adhering to work, health and safety regulations; ensuring employees have workers' compensation insurance; ensuring you have a Working With Children check; and not acting in a way that might damage an employee's reputation or cause mental distress or humiliation.

7. Listen and Learn

You'll need to develop a thick skin to survive, so run your business idea past as many trusted friends and family as you can. Ask for suggestions and tips. There is nothing to say you have to take any or all of the advice, but the greater the pool of information you draw from, the better your decision making should be.