Starting Your Own Business

Would you like to start your own business?

The following is a guide to help you discover what is necessary and directs you to several useful websites.


The single most important thing you can do before starting your own business is research to understand your customers, competitors and industry.

Small Business Victoria will provide greater information on how and what to research before continuing with the process of starting your own business.

Business Plan

A business plan is a useful tool to help you understand what you must do to make your business a success. It will give you an accurate picture of how your business will operate and cover areas such as:

  • How you will structure your product and/or service so it sells
  • Market and competitors
  • Marketing strategy
  • Financial objectives
  • Business structure, management and ownership
  • Action plan

Small Business Victoria offers numerous templates and guides for business plans.

Business Structure - Sole Trader, Partnership, Company?

To pay your business taxes, claim deductions for business expenses, open accounts and trade legally, you need to choose the business structure that will be right for you.

For new businesses the three most popular structures are:

  • Sole Trader (only one business owner)
  • Partnership (more than one business owner)
  • Proprietary Limited Company (a separate legal body with its own tax return).

For more detailed information visit the ATO - Choosing your business structure.

Register for your Australian Business Number (ABN)

All businesses need an Australian Business Number (ABN), which can be obtained through the Australian Business Register.

Businesses can register for GST, PAYG withholding, AUSkey and a business name in the same online session as their ABN application.

Register your Business or Company Name

Business names are registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission

When you start a new business you should consider protecting your Intellectual Property.

For an overview of what constitutes Intellectual Property, visit IP Australia.

Register for taxation

The Australian Taxation Office website has a range of free resources to help you with your tax obligations and calculations, including a free checklist for new businesses.  

Find out about licences, permits and registrations

The licences, permits and registrations you need will mainly depend on what sort of business you are running and what activities your business will be undertaking.

Choose the right premises and insure your business

When choosing your business premises you need to ensure whether your business:

  • Is it in the right zone?
  • Will require a planning permit?
  • Should be run from home?

The Planning Department at Council can provide you with the information you need.

Insuring your Business

Insuring your premises and contents is essential. To investigate the insurance needs of your business, you should consider using the services of an insurance broker.

For more information and to find a broker in your area, visit the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA).