Guide

Starting a business

You’ve got your business idea. You’re inspired. So what’s next? We take a look at the steps to starting a business.

A small business owner placing a price tag on a lounge chair

1. Start with a 1-page business plan

A small business owner writing a business plan

A short plan helps you lock in the idea, and iron out the rough bits. You can make it longer later.

2. Profile your customer

A small business owner profiling customers

List key characteristics like:

  • where they are
  • what they care about
  • how much they spend

This will help you refine your product and your marketing.

3. Check out the competition

A small business owner using binoculars to scout their competition

Figure out who’s competing for the same customers and learn from them. Why have they succeeded? And how could you be better? List their:

  • Weaknesses: Why you can win
  • Strengths: Why winning will be hard

4. Do your numbers

A graph showing quarterly projections

Plot your projected costs on a timeline. Do the same with projected income. You'll run at a loss when you first start a business. How will you make up the shortfall?

Most Australian businesses get their money from:

31% owner’s savings | 19% bank loans | 11% friends and family | 22% credit cards

5. Speak to a pro

A small business owner consulting a mentor

Check your numbers with a bookkeeper, accountant, or a business mentor. They know how to start a business and will call out gaps in your thinking.

6. Register your business

A small business owner registering their business

Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and see if you need any special permits at the Business Registration Service.

After starting a business

So now you know how to start a business, but what comes next? Lots of questions, that’s what. Keep your advisors and mentors close. And look for helpful articles in our small business guides.

The covers of three small business guides

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