You’re excited and confident about your idea for a business, and want to take it to market successfully. That’s great. Our checklist will help you cover off the things that you should do, and must do to start a business in Australia.

First, know your numbers

The amount of money you need to launch depends on how much your set-up costs are. You should also include the total you'll need to cover expenses without needing sales. Start with the following.

  • Identify your set-up costs. These can include things like equipment, vehicles, initial stock, marketing material and any costs you pay for, before you even start.
  • Estimate how much cash you need as a buffer. This is the total you should have in the bank to cover monthly overheads, salaries and drawings, before you begin making sales.
  • Conduct a break-even and profit analysis. This will tell you if you’ll generate enough revenue in sales to cover all your costs and profit.

It’s also a good idea to create a cash flow forecast to identify sales and expense fluctuations each month. This will help you predict when you may have too little or too much cash. We’ve got a guide and template to help you do this.

Make sure you’re set up

There are a number of things that you will have to do before you can make a start and open your doors for trading.

Get an Australian Tax File Number (TFN)

A TFN is needed for the Australian Tax Office (ATO). If you are a sole trader then use your own personal TFN, nothing more to do.

Partnerships, companies and trusts need a separate TFN, and the easier way to get these is at the same time you apply for an ABN. You can do this if you set up your business with EasyCompanies or at the Australian Business Register.

Check what licenses or permits you’ll need.

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) can help you find the government licences, permits, approvals, codes of practice, standards and guidelines you need to know depending on your industry.

Review any intellectual property issues

Be aware of anything that could get you into trouble later, such as copying another business name by mistake, or their ideas, logo or process that you didn’t realise was protected. Visit IP Australia for more information.

What else do you need?

All businesses are different, but in general it’s important to do the following.

  • Set up an accounting system so you know what’s happening to your money. Products like Xero, Reckon and MYOB offer cloud solutions so you can get real time data, and you can integrate them with your NAB Business Everyday Account.
  • Check with your lawyer, Business banker and accountant – they’ll ensure you haven’t missed anything. They’ll also go over your business plan with you so it’s in great shape.
  • Obtain business insurance – it’s important that your business is covered by the right insurance. We’ve got a comprehensive range of options for all businesses.
  • Have a back-up plan. Once you’ve worked out how much capital you require, it’s time to decide if you’ll need financial assistance. Some typical options small businesses adopt include:
    • using supplier finance; order product or materials and negotiate to pay for them later
    • using credit cards for initial purchases
    • accessing Vehicle and Equipment Finance if you need machinery and equipment
    • getting a Business Overdraft or a NAB QuickBiz Loan if you’re unsure exactly what your monthly shortfall will be.

Make it easy to make and receive payments

Offer as many ways as possible to get paid or pay. It’s important to make it as convenient as possible not only for customers to pay you, but also for you to pay suppliers. The NAB Business Package is designed for your business needs and offers the right mix of products to make and receive payments. They could be in-store, on the go or online including options such as:

Develop and write a great business plan

It’s important to write down what you aim to achieve in business, and how you will keep your business on track and focused on achieving its goals and objectives.

We’ve got a free guide and template that will help you write your business plan.

Start organising your business accounts

Even though you might not be ready to open a business account just yet, it’s a good idea to know what you’d need to make your cash flow easy to manage.

Try our comparison tool to help you decide which account is right for your business. This simple side-by-side comparison compares the features and costs of our transaction, savings and specialised accounts.

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Billing and recurring payments

Make it easy for your customers to pay their bills with our range of billing solutions.

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NAB QuickBiz unsecured business loan

Fast, unsecured business lending made easy. Get access to funds for your business without physical assets as security.

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Business loans

Manage your cash flow, purchase stock or inventory and grow your business with our wide range of business loans.

Important Information

The information contained in this article is correct as of July 2018 and is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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