How to start a business in Australia

February 03, 2022

Setting out on a new business endeavour is both exhilarating and worrisome.

On the one hand, you'll finally be in charge; the master of your own destiny chasing achievement in an area of true interest. On the other side, you now have a laundry list of items to check off before you start a business to ensure that everything goes well.

While working for someone else relieves you of these duties, the startup owner bears all of these burdens alone. Not only that, each nation has its own set of rules, regulations, and requirements for starting and operating a business. Thus, even if you've established a business in one nation, you'll need to do extensive study to ensure that it operates correctly in another.

How to Start a Business in Australia

1. Determine the structure of your business

The company structure you pick when you start a business is critical, since it has a direct impact on factors such as:

  • Your degree of command
  • The amount of tax that you must pay
  • Obligations under regulation
  • Requirements for occupational health and safety
  • The extent to which you will be personally liable

In Australia, you may create your business on one of four structures:

Sole trader

This refers to the process of registering someone (often oneself) as the sole proprietor of a business. That means you are legally accountable for all parts of operating the firm, but you also have the right to hire employees.


A company is a commercial enterprise or legal organisation that exists independently of its stockholders.


A partnership is formed when more than one person and/or entity start a business jointly, but not as a corporation.


A trust is a legal body that holds property, money, or other assets for the benefit of another person.

2. Determine the nature of your company

By establishing a framework, you may have a better understanding of the sort of company you're going to need. There are several company kinds to pick from, but some of the more common include the following:

Each sector has its own set of legal duties and regulatory regulations, which is why it is critical that you choose the company structure that is most appropriate for your industry.

3. Register your company name and get an Australian Business Number (ABN)

Without an ABN, it is illegal to start a business in Australia. This is an 11-digit number that is unique to your firm and serves as the business's government identity.

After obtaining an ABN, you will be able to:

  • Obtain registration for your company name
  • Establish a connection between your firm and other businesses for purposes such as ordering products and services or sending invoices.
  • Make tax claims, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Take advantage of credits for items such as energy grants.

It's advisable to settle on a company name before embarking on the process of producing assets such as your website URL, logo, or other graphics. Otherwise, you'll have to redo everything if your business's name changes. If you do establish a company logo, it's worth thinking if you should patent it to guard against copyright infringement.

4. Purchase a domain name

This stage can only be completed after you've registered your company name and ABN, since address is only available to registered Australian businesses. Your domain name should be relevant to your company in some manner and make it simple for potential clients to identify and recognise it.

While you may have the ideal domain to match your great company name, you'll still need to verify that it hasn't been claimed by someone else. Fortunately, there are several websites that can assist you in this endeavour; here is one of them to get you started.

5. Determine the source of money

If you're like the majority of new businesses, your first issue will be cash flow. You may have the finest company strategy in the world, but it will be useless if you lack the funds necessary to keep the lights on while you get your feet wet. This is why it's critical to understand what resources are accessible to make the early development phase much simpler.

While there are few federal grants available to assist you in starting your company, there are several state-specific choices. For instance, if you're looking to start a business in Adelaide, you may apply for a cool $20,000 Small Business Development Fund.

6. Select a software stack

As you begin to start a business, you will face several significant choices. One of the most critical decisions is deliberately selecting software that will simplify your life as you expand.

While your specific software options may vary depending on the sort of business you're starting (a SaaS firm will need tools that are significantly different than a coffee shop), there are many products that are worth considering for every organisation.

7. Ensure that you are registered for the relevant taxes

"The only certainties in life are death and taxes," as the proverb says. Regrettably, this is also true if you establish a company in Australia - you must register for the necessary taxes in order to prevent any legal consequences. The taxes you must register for vary according to the sort of company you intend to create, with some being universally applicable and others being restricted to particular categories.

Several instances include the following:

  • GST (Goods and Services Tax) – this is mandatory if your firm generates more than $75,000 AUD in revenue.
  • Withholding tax on a Pay As You Go (PAYG) basis - this is necessary if you are compelled to withhold an amount for tax reasons, such as when paying wages or salaries.
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) - if you're fortunate enough to be able to give benefits to your workers such as a company automobile, you'll need to register for the FBT.

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