how to register small business in australia

How to Register a Small Business in Australia

Business Plan

In Australia, as in many other countries, you must have a good business plan or at least a business advisor to help you, in the process of establishing your business. There is also advice that you can get from many of the government support services. Establish your accounting system as this will be needed to apply for loans and startup costs.Find the location for your business. Are you going to build, lease or work from your home. Depending on what you choose there may be obligations that come with it. Decide the type of business you are operating, such as retail, service or manufacturing. There can be different laws and regulations depending on the business so once you have established that area check to see what ones will be relevant to you and your company. Once you have your business plan, begin the process of getting your registrations, permits and licensing.


One of the first things you may need to register is your company name. You can check with Australian Securities and Investment Commissions National Name Index, to make sure that the name you have chosen is available. Each State or Territory is responsible for registering the company name so check with the appropriate office in your area.

Choose the type of business structure:

Sole Trader Owned by one person who is liable for all profits and debts.

Partnership between two or more people will share in profits and debts.

Company (Pty Ltd) Proprietary Limited Liability which is what most companies are.

If you anticipate annual sales of over $50,000.00 you will need to register with Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) for goods and service tax. When you register for this you will need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). This is an eleven digit number that will help you when buying from vendors to keep them from withholding amounts from payments. The exception is a sole trader who can then use their personal tax file number (TFN). Again each state or territory is responsible for all business licenses, permits, registrations and certificates so check with your local government offices to see what you will be required to do. The ASIC will also be able to inform you if you will have to file financial reports. ASIC has an on line lodgement service to help you if you need to change any of your companies details. You can also review annual statements and receive email alerts.

It would be a good idea to go ahead and register for your website, even if you aren’t planning on using it immediately. You can receive all the information you need at Australian Domain Name Administration. Having a website ready to go will take the stress out of setting it up later when you need to actually be working on it. Today there is more business being done on the internet than ever before. There are also accounting programs available that are done on line that will make doing business easier than ever. A good website could add more sales to a business that is trying to establish itself. You can find a good web site developer to help you with the design and function of your website.

Advertise in your State or Territory to help increase your recognition, and jump start your sales. Check your competition and see how they are advertising, this will help you know how to set yourself apart and become unique in your field.


Visit the Australian Business License and Information Service and see if you fall in the Legal Obligations Competition and Consumer Act. This covers legal and ethical selling guarantees and protecting privacy and trade measure laws.


If you are going to employ a work force you will need to know the Employer Obligations Common Law for State, Federal and Territorial. For information you can contact Employer and Workplace Relations at an Australian government small business website.


You can visit business.gov.au for more tips and information including many forms and services you may need. There are several places to check to see if vendors you are using are licensed and since you are just beginning your business it will be worthwhile to make sure you are dealing with reputable companies. The more research you do for your company will only benefit it. They have more information about basic business practices and can help you structure your business to maximize its’ success. There are videos and articles that can show you how to implement the best plans for your business. This is one of the best sources for the most information.


Your responsibility as an Australian company is the same as in many other countries, make sure you have finished all the registering and licensing and that you understand your obligations. Report in a timely and correct manner.

Insure your business with the appropriate insurance such as Public Liability and Product Liability. Educating yourself to all your obligations and being informed of any changes to your laws and regulations will make doing business easier and more enjoyable.


Do your homework. Research every avenue of your business. Consult with a business advisor or hire a CPA firm to guide you through the paperwork and tax information you are going to need. Take advantage of the free information at many of the government websites and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are having trouble understanding any of the laws and regulations you may be required to follow. Check with your state or territory to see what forms you need and what licenses you are required to have to conduct business in that area. Establish your company in your customer target area and maximize your sales with good advertising. Make sure your company is covered from any type of liability claim by having the correct insurance. Many lenders will require liability insurance. Use your financial information to help guide you through the managing of your business.


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