Lady Business.
How to Start your own business

[Step-by-Step] Ok wait. Lemmie just say HOT DIGGITY DANG! You’re starting your own business! How super exciting for you! Most people just dream about starting their own business, but here you are…  breaking free, taking control and doin’ your thang. CONGRATULATIONS on taking the first step!  

I’m not going to pretend that this will be an easy journey for you, but together we will get your Lady Business started on the right track!

… are you ready?

Firstly – Take a Deep Breath. (This is important! Do not skip this step)

I bet you’re so excited about your Lady Business that your head is probably swirling with ideas about your product, creative ideas for your logo and business name, what your website will look like etc. It’s so damn tempting to just rush bull at a gate to start getting everything together…  but just stop for a sec.. and breathe.

Go get yourself a notebook and write down everything you are thinking. Get it all out of your head, don’t spend any money on anything or proceed any further, just brain dump it all in there. When a friend or family member give you advice (and boy oh boy they will) just write it all down.

  • So you wont forget the idea
  • So you can think clearly
  • These are all your notes which will help you write a business plan and marketing plan. (Yes, we will make both of these, but I promise I’ll make it easy!)

Secondly –  Do not jump ahead of these 5 steps!

Don’t design a logo or buy a domain name… do nothing other than these 5 steps below.  

I know you are excited, but don’t rush ahead. Trust me, starting at the beginning and doing this properly from the get-go will save you a tonne of money and possibly legal implications in years to come.

Yes. That means we have to do all the boring stuff before we get to the fun creative stuff. But these 5 steps will help guide you and give you all the external links you need to get started on your Lady Business.

Step 1. Decide if you are setting up a ‘hobby’ or a ‘business’.

For Start-ups, this is a good question. If you’re selling crocheted wine bottle holders at the Sunday markets (like my mum does) you most likely won’t need to register for an ABN. However, if you are serious about setting up a profitable business, you will need to register for an ABN and Business name. So which are you? A Hobby or a Business?

To find out more about running a business or a hobby, visit: www.business.gov.au

Why is this so important right now?  You cannot register a business name or domain (website) name ending in .com.au unless you have an ABN. If you are serious about running a business in Australia, you need both. So you will need to make this decision before you proceed any further.

If your Business is a hobby, please skip forward to Step 3.  

Step 2. Decide on your business structure.

You need to consider your circumstances for how your new business will be structured. Are you a Sole Trader, Partnership, Trust or Company? Now is the time to discuss your business set up with your accountant or solicitor – especially if your spouse is already in business.

To get more information about business structure visit: www.business.gov.au

Why is this so important right now? You will need to answer these questions during your ABN application, so you need to decide this now, so you can move forward.

Step 3. Perform a Business Name check – DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

So, you’ve thought up an awesome new business name! (So exciting!) STOP RIGHT THERE!! Before designing a logo… before you buy a domain (website) name… before you spend ANY money on the creative or branding your business you MUST CHECK if your newly created business name is available. Please please PLEASE do not skip ahead of this step!

To conduct a free Business Name search visit: www.help.register.business.gov.au

Why is this so important right now? You cannot operate a business or hobby with a name that is already registered. If you jump straight into your logo design without checking if the business name is available, you could be wasting loads of money or open yourself up for a potential lawsuit.

Step 4. Conduct a Trademark check

Businesses register Trademarks to protect their brand identity and intellectual property, so this step is particularly important for new brands and new product designs. A Trademark search can be performed on both words (Business Name) and an image (Logo and product designs) to identify existing or pending registrations.

To conduct a free Trademark search visit: www.search.ipaustralia.gov.au

Why is this so important right now? If your business name, logo, design or product is similar to one already registered, you could open yourself to a hefty lawsuit.

If you want exclusive rights to your business name or to protect your brand, design or product moving forward, you should consider registering a trademark. This can be done at any stage, however, please note that new Trademark applications are submitted regularly, so you will need to apply sooner rather than later.

Step 4. Register for an ABN & Business Name

You can register for an ABN via the ABR website and a business name separately via ASIC, but it’s quicker and easier if it’s done at the same time via the Australian Government Business Registration Service, which will connect ABR with ASIC and the ATO all in one hit.

Registering for an ABN is free. You will need your personal tax file number and any other ABN details previously registered.

Registering a business name costs around $36 for a year, with longer options available.

To register for an ABN, Business name and discover licences, visit: www.register.business.gov.au

TIP! The Australian Government has given us all the tools and information we need to get our business started and at a very low cost. There are loads of businesses out there in Google land offering services to register your business – some with extremely high fees! My tip is to make sure you click on a .gov.au site throughout this process for all of your registration and information, or you could potentially be ripped off with services you don’t need!

Step 5. Set up a bank account for your business

If you are a sole trader, you don’t have to set up a separate account for your business, but it’s smart if you do. You absolutely will save time and money (on bookkeeping hours) if you set up a separate business account, as it makes it a whole lot easier to balance your work and private expenses. If you are a Partnership, Trust or Company, you must have a business account.

Account set-ups and charges differ between institutions, so before you dive in to set up your new business account, have a think about what you need. How will you be accepting payments? Will you need an EFTPOS Machine?  Will you be selling overseas?

To find out more about business banking visit: www.ato.gov.au/business

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FUN STUFF! 

This blog will link to:

  • How to design a Logo (or similar title)
  • Which accounting software is best for small business
  • How to choose a business name
  • How to apply for a trademark
  • How to register a domain name
  • How to build a good website

Disclaimer: Lady Business Marketing is an Australian marketing advice service only. The author of this article is not qualified to give accounting, tax or legal advice. For more information and resources, visit www.business.gov.au Information detailed in this article should be used as general advice only.  Lady Business. accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material contained on this website or any linked site.

Leah Bramich
Leah Bramich

Leah is a degree qualified marketing professional with over 17 years experience across Marketing, Media and PR. She has owned several successful start-ups and understands first hand the difficulty business owners face in building a successful small business empire. As the Founder of Lady Business, she hopes to inspire and educate women who are on their own business journey.

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