Getting started

You’re excited and confident about your idea for a business, and wish 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, and how much money you need to cover expenses without needing sales. Start by:

  • Identifying 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 amount of cash you should have in the bank to operate before sales starts to cover monthly overheads, salaries and drawings.
  • Conducting 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, to 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; the easier way to do this, is at the same time you apply for an ABN. You can do this through NAB Startup and our partnership with EasyCompanies or at the Australian Business Register.
  • Register for AUSpay so you can conduct tax activities (GST, BAS filing) online to handle your tax payments easily and efficiently.
  • 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:

  • 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/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:

· NAB EFTPOS or NAB Transact for on-the-go and in-store payments.

· NAB Now to accept credit and debit card payments from customers using your smartphone.

· NAB Direct Debit allows you to debit funds straight from your customers’ accounts.

· NAB Business Cards to pay for business expenses immediately and manage your cash flow.

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.

More information

Please consider if the products mentioned are right for you by reading the product terms and conditions, available from NAB, before making any decisions regarding the products. All products referred to above are issued by National Australia Bank Ltd ABN 12 004 044 937.

How to write a business plan

A business plan is used to help support an application for business finance or business grants, or as a roadmap for the growth of your business.

How to use our start-up costs calculator

Will the costs of starting your business outweigh the returns? Use this calculator to help work it out.

Identifying your business drivers

Like to boost profitability? An important first step is to identify your key business drivers – here’s how.

Growing your business ideas

From architectural designer to owner of a funky café – Max Li has tasted early success. Hear him talk about his recipe for growth.

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