Before setting up a business in Australia there are a few simple steps you need to take which will ensure that the set up is legitimate and correct.
Keeping in mind that not everyone is entitled to register a business in Australia you must first assess whether you are eligible to do so.
Unfortunately there is no simple or structured formula for assessing whether you are in business or not. Many cases differ from one another. If you are uncertain whether you are in fact in business or will be in the near future ask yourself these questions:
- Does your hobby or activity have a commercial nature or purpose?
- Do you have more than just intent to run a business?
- Do you have a purpose of profit and or a prospect for profit?
- Do other businesses in your industry carry on activity in a same or similar manner as you?
- Do you manage your hobby in the same way you would a business?
- Does your hobby or activity have traits of scope, scale and longevity?
- Do you sell the products of your hobby through a retail outlet?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, chances are you will be eligible.
Assuming that you are, the next step will be to apply for an ABN. An ABN is short for Australian Business Number. It is a unique 9 digit number which helps the Australian Tax Office and other government organizations identify your business.
An ABN allows businesses with which you trade, to easily confirm you company’s details for ordering and billing. This is a relatively simple 15-20 minute process which you can do on your own, or ask a corporate service provider to complete on your behalf. Most ABN’s are issued right away, however some special cases may take up to 28 days.
Once you have an ABN, you should do some business name research. Check the ASIC website to see if your desired name is available, as duplicate business or company names will not be approved. Next, do some trademark homework to ensure that you are not infringing on anyone’s intellectual property. Remember, just because a name is not registered, it does not mean it isn’t trademarked! It is also a good idea to check if your preferred domain name is available. You wouldn’t want to have a web address too different from your business name.
Should everything be in order and available, your last step is to register. Business name registration is relatively simple. You can do it on your own through the ASIC website, or if you don’t like to deal with government organizations you can have an authorized third party like Shelcom apply for you.
You’ll simply need to have your chosen business name, your ABN and a few details such as your business address and postal address on hand and you’ll be ready to trade in no time. The turnaround time for business registration is about 5 working days. When your name is confirmed by ASIC you will receive a letter of confirmation which signals that you can register your domain, start creating your logo and business cards and anything else you may need to get your new business up and running.