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12 Essentials things to do when starting a new business

Starting a business can be a scary and sometimes overwhelming journey. Most people have never started a business before and consequently there may be many things that you’re unaware of, unsure of or just have questions about.


We want to take some of the weight off your shoulders, so we’ve put together the twelve things that we think are essential to do when starting a new business. Some of these you can do yourself; some just need consideration and others you may prefer to consult a professional about. Just remember, when in doubt, you can always ask us!



1. Consider business name options

Your business name can make a BIG difference - positive or negative - to your branding or positioning in the market. It can ultimately determine how people respond to you and your services. Starting off with a strong name is the first step towards making your marketing work. A good business name needs to be DESCRIPTIVE, MEMORABLE AND COMMUNICATIVE. Read more about choosing a good business name (link to How to choose a good business name blog)



2. Research business name availabilities

Before you lock down your business name you should do two important searches to see if the name/s you like are actually available.

  1. Check that name/s you like are not already registered as Registered Business Names via the ASIC website. This will search Australia wide. If the names you like are already taken, you will need to come up with other ideas.
  2. Check that the domain name/s you desire are available. There’s no point having a registered business name without being able to have an appropriate website domain (URL) to locate your website. There are many different website domain providers, a couple we like are Crazy Domains and Go Daddy.


Once you’ve carried out your research and pulled together a final list of options, feel free to run them past us. We’d love to see your business name before you lock it in.



3. Sort financial logistics with your accountant

At some point you will need to discuss your business financials and structure with your accountant. We think it is best to do this before you start purchasing business names and domain names etc. as, in most cases, you’ll need an ABN to make these purchases.


Some things to consider discussing with your accountant include:

• Trading structure for your new business e.g. company, trust, sole trader

• Taxation and legal requirements

• Registrations for GST tax file numbers, PAYG withheld from staff wages

•  Business plan, budget and cashflow statement

•  Business loan requirements and financing options

• Bookkeeping and record keeping

•  Financial software to automate e.g. Xero

• Staff payroll and HR requirements


An accountant that we would highly recommend is Mayberry Meldrum Anderson at Murwillumbah.



4. Apply for ABN through ATO

Whether you are a sole trader, company or a trust, you will need an ABN. Visit the Australian Business Register website for more information.



5. Register your business name

If you want to make sure you own your business name and prevent someone else from buying it before you, then you’ll need to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).



6. Secure your domain name, emails and a phone number.

As above re the domain names, you can purchase the domain name/s you decide on via a domain name provider. Then you will want to look into hosting to generate the email addresses you require, e.g. ross@yourdomainname; support@yourdomainname. We can recommend local hosts (which is a preferred option for a business website and email hosting) or you can use hosts like Hostgator, Crazy Domains and Go Daddy.



7. Consider any relevant trademark or IP requirements

A trademark is a recognisable sign, design or expression, which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. Registering a trademark protects your business name and look.


For more on trademarks and to see if you need to register any for your business, visit IP Australia.



8. Check insurance requirements

Do you need work cover, professional indemnity and public liability for your business? Talk to an insurance professional to discuss how to cover-off on your risks. We’d recommend Paul from Elders Insurance - (07) 5506-2900.



9. Establish logo and branding


When you start a new business it’s essential to have a look at your branding early. Your branding is the visual component of your business. There are two key aspects that you should consider:


  1. What your clients will need to see to make them buy, and
  2. If your brand will be good for your business in 10 years time.


It’s best to start with branding that you will have for at least 10 years. Do it right at the beginning. Otherwise, you can have trouble with recognition 5 years down the track when you decide you need to rebrand. Make your branding memorable.


BEWARE - many small business owners make the mistake of designing their brand around concepts and components that excite them, not their clients. This has obvious ramifications when it comes to attracting clients.


We have a ‘Love Your Logo Guarantee. This means we’ll keep working on it until you’re completely happy! So for all the ideas you have in your head, we end up designing. Here’s an example where you can get into trouble:


Say if you have a cleaning business - you like butterflies and your favourite colour is purple. You may ask for a purple and yellow butterfly for your cleaning business logo. You may think it’s beautiful, but when clients look at it do they think, “it’s a cleaning business”? Do they think you look professional? If they are looking for a bargain basement cleaner and don’t care too much if you do a good job or not then perhaps it doesn’t matter. But if they are looking for a commercial cleaning team that is professional and conscientious then more than likely this won’t resonate with them and they’ll move on.


See how this example was based on a business owner’s personal preference? This happens a lot. Business owners want to see something that they like, so they put their own personal preferences in front of any other choice - instead of thinking about what their target audience would expect to see.


We know that starting a business is really personal. It’s scary and exciting. You may have just quit your job and have three kids and a mortgage, but you’ve decided to do it! You’re committed. If we design your logo, we still want you to be happy. So we’ll always put your request before making the design exactly right. Because if you don’t love it, you’re not going to get out there and sell it!


So have a think about what you want your logo to look like. Consider what you’re target audience would expect to see and start looking at your competition’s logos as well as logos in general, so you can see where you’d like to sit in the market. E.g. do a Google search for ‘gold coast cleaners’, ‘cleaner logo’, and ‘butterfly logos’. See where you want to sit, visually in your market.


Also have a read of our blog post: 10 Biggest Branding Boo Boos To Avoid.


10. Consider your marketing campaign/s

We’re going to cover this in a lot more details in a future blog post – but in the meantime, check out these two articles to get your mind thinking about marketing campaign ideas:


•  How To Get More Bang-For-Buck From Your Marketing Budget

10 Tips To Boost Your Social Media Results


11. Consider the benefits of joining a high quality business networking group

Have you considered joining a business networking group such as BNI or Chamber of Commerce? We’ve been part of a BNI group at Tweed Heads for the past 8 years and have found it to be extremely beneficial. A good portion of our revenue is generated through our networking group. Chat to Kelly if you’d like to know more about BNI.


12. Surround yourself with a professional team

Most people don’t have the capital, when starting a business, to employ professionals to carry out all the necessary advisory roles required. That’s pretty normal. But trying to do it on the cheap carries significant risks. Considering all the work you’re going to invest in getting your business off the ground you’ll most likely find that it’s better to start off on the right foot. Rather than finding you need to make major adjustments down the track, or worse still, you get caught out! Source professionals you trust for advisory roles such as accounting, legal, insurance, marketing, design and HR etc. It’s much easier in the long-run and it sets you up with a solid foundation to handle your business growth.


We really hope this blog post has been of great help to you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.