Four to-do’s when starting your own business

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So you’re thinking of starting a business? Good for you! Whether your vision is a full-scale bricks and mortar establishment, or a small work-from-home business or side-hustle, there are a few things that you should do right off the bat.

Register your business name

Firstly, hit the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) website to register your preferred business name. While you’re there, the site has a lot of great resources on starting up a business so have a good look around. You must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or have applied for an ABN to register a business name too so make sure you do that first!

Register your URL and social media handles

Make sure that your preferred business name is available on the major social media channels, and that the URL you want is still available. You can check that with a provider like Go Daddy or Crazy Domains and purchase through them too. If everything is available, then snap them up asap. Keep in mind that to register a URL that ends in .com.au you’ll need to have registered the matching business name first.

Get your structuring right

How will your structure your business? Will you be a sole trader, a company, a partnership or a trust? For most new businesses, a sole trader structure is a good starting point – basically it means you just include your business income and expenses as part of your personal tax return. It keeps life simple in the early days, but the downside is that if you are earning a lot you can end up paying a lot in tax, so when that happens be sure to talk to your accountant and see if it is beneficial to move to a company structure.

Keep track of your incomings and outgoings

From the very beginning its important to have an easy way to track your incoming dollars and any expenses you incur, and also store your receipts so that come tax time you don’t have to dig through old emails to find what you need. Check out the ATO myDeductions app to start with, and don’t forget that special rules apply to claiming deductions if you work from home.

Starting a business is a big step, especially if you’ve always had a steady income, so seeing a financial adviser is always a good first port-of-call. And a piece of personal advice from my early days as a business owner, I always recommend getting up and getting dressed as if you’re “going to the office” even if “the office” is just your dining table – it helps to get you motivated for the day.

Good luck!

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