Registering a business and other admin tasks
After all the excitement of deciding to start a business, you’ll have some paperwork to do. These first tasks as a business owner won’t be the most fun, but they’ll help keep you out of trouble with the law.
How to register a business with the government
The government will want to know you’re going into business. Get in touch with:
the government department responsible for business and commerce
This is a great first stop. They often guide and support new businesses through the startup process. They can also tell you what other branches of government to go to, and they may issue you with a business identification number.
the tax office
Depending on where in the world you are, you may have to pay tax on your income and tax on each sale. The tax office can set you straight on your obligations and tell you how to lodge your returns.
There may be other departments to speak to for things like:
permits and licenses – you may need permission for certain types of business activity, such as retail, manufacturing, or handling particular types of products.
employing people – if you’re hiring staff, the government will want to track and tax your workers’ pay, and they’ll expect you to comply with employment rules and regulations.
Where to get help
If you’re unsure of your obligations to the government, there are people who can help. Look for industry associations for your type of business; search around for a Chamber of Commerce and other local business advocacy groups; find businesses like yours and ask the owners what regulations they have to comply with; or simply speak to a local accountant.
Should I trademark a business name?
You can legally protect a business name and logo to prevent others from mimicking your identity. This can be a valuable step for businesses that plan to invest a lot in making their brand widely known.
This area of the law can get complicated – especially if you expand into overseas markets and find there’s a business there with a similar name. Ask for advice from a legal professional with experience in this area.
At the very least, use online trademark registries to check that no one already has your business name. Many of them have search engines to help you see what names have already been taken. It’s an easy way to save yourself a lot of hassle.