Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Starting a business checklist: ticking off the essentials

So you’re ready to start your own business and endeavour into the journey of being a boss. Assuming you have a business plan in motion and funding ready, you’re well positioned to begin the lifecycle.

But before you start, follow this business checklist to ensure you don’t miss out on the nitty gritty details.

Registration and administration

The rules and regulations surrounding business registration is completely dependent on which country you reside in, so be sure to find region specific information. In this business checklist, we will cover Australia’s legalities.

ABN

The first essential you’ll want to tick off is acquiring an Australian Business Number (ABN). Although it’s not compulsory, it will make your business journey a lot easier and the best part of all – it’s free.

Here’s how an ABN will assist your business:

  • Identifies your business to the government and community – gives credibility
  • Enables you to claim GST credits
  • Claim energy grant credits
  • Claim tax fuel credits
  • Let’s you run a website with a ‘.au’ extension

Seeing as an ABN is free and comes with many benefits, this 11-digit number is an essential which should be part of every business checklist.

TFN

Every employee has a personal tax file number (TFN), however a business must register for their own TFN. As per the rules of the Australian Taxation Office, a TFN is used for tax and superannuation purposes.

Only sole traders can use their personal TFN for their business and everyone else must register for another unique number. This is compulsory and it’s best to tick this one off your business checklist as early as possible to avoid future complications.

Liability insurance

Another non-mandatory yet essential item is liability insurance. Liability insurance will protect your business on the off chance that it’s responsible for damages or injuries to a person or property – making it a well worthy investment for every business.

Licenses

Depending on the industry of your business you will require licenses to maintain legal compliance. For example, businesses in the gambling or liquor industry will require specific licenses – as part of your business checklist, make sure to research the relevant obligations of you must comply by.

Accounting

Your business checklist won’t be complete until you address essential accounting tasks, which is often the more challenging part of running a business. There is a lot to tick off under this section, but we’ll cover the barebones to get you on track.

Financial software

Categorising your expenses is a must for every business.

Without it, you can’t understand or track your income and expenses. You’ll also struggle to find a margin of error, plan budgets or notice any trends in your spending. Whether you’re a lawyer, IT company, FMCG business or any other industry player, you will need to categorise your expenses and this is best done on a financial software.

There are plenty of financial software options available, with each of them having the capability to automate whatever is required.

Payroll

Next on the business checklist is making sure your employees get paid.

From reconciling your bank accounts, confirming employee details to setting PAYG, establishing your payroll is a technical process. The path you take when developing your payroll template depends on multiple factors, so here are some considerations:

  1. Compliance – a payroll system must comply with laws and regulations regarding taxation, minimum wage, overtime pay and benefits.
  2. Accuracy – you don’t want a payroll system riddled with errors and inaccuracies. When designing your payroll, make sure it contains strong access controls and encryption protocols.
  3. Seamless integration – data should be easily transferrable and payroll should have interoperability with other systems for convenience.

Tick those of your business checklist and your payroll system is ready to go.

Marketing

Let’s not forget the powerhouse behind driving brand awareness and creating leads for sales. Regardless of how great your product or service might be, without marketing nobody will know!

Consumers are exposed to thousands of marketing material on a daily basis

You don’t need to create a large-scale campaign – although if you can, go for it – but there’s a few basics you’ll want to nail before the grand launch. So here’s a few points to add to the business checklist.

Website

In the current age, every business must have a website and you’ll want this ready before the launch.

Here’s a snapshot of why:

  1. Credibility – you’ve launched the business, someone’s Googled you but . . . it can’t be found. A website is your business’s first point of contact between you and potential customers. A professional looking website with high-quality content will help you seem established and credible.
  2. Branding – a website is your space to showcase your brand, colours, logo and identity. Keeping consistent branding across all channels will help establish brand recognition.
  3. Increase your reach – as a business starts out it’s likely to only be in one location, but through a website you can target a wider audience beyond its geographic location. A website will also give you search engine optimisation opportunities, which will help in spreading the word about your business.

Prior to the launch, it’s beneficial to have industry or product related articles on your website to maximise SEO.

But before reaping the benefits of a website, you’ll need to register for a domain name and find one that isn’t taken already. The website will also need to undergo several forms of testing to check for broken links, 404 errors and any pages which aren’t optimised for speed or SEO.

Your workplace

Probably the biggest and most expensive part of the business checklist, is finding an office space. While working from home is a possibility, don’t fall into the trap of using a home address for advertising your business or using it as a place to meet clients – it’s unprofessional and doesn’t compliment your credibility.

A business in its earlier stages is very malleable and will undergo many changes, so it may not be wise to lock yourself into a long term office lease. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a professional looking office space to operate from.

When looking for an office space, it’s important to consider the location and lease terms to ensure you find a suitable fit for your business.

Virtual office

If you’re not ready or don’t require a physical space, then you may want to consider a virtual office. This will let you work from home but won’t compromise on the credibility and functionality of your business.

A virtual office is a subscription based service which provides a business address, a landline phone number and virtual team support. Virtual office providers usually have meeting rooms available at the physical location of their office, which can be rented at a low cost when meeting your clients.It’s best to do some research on what a virtual office is before going ahead with your purchase.

Coworking

A perfect balance point for those seeking a flexible and physical workspace with low costs, coworking spaces have become a popular alternative to the traditional office.

A coworking office is a shared workspace where professionals from various industries work in a fully-furnished, communal setting.

If you’re looking to add coworking to your business checklist, you’ll want to compare between a hot desk and dedicated desk to understand which one works best for you.

What is a hot desk?

Show up with your laptop and work accessories, choose an empty desk and get to work.

A hot desk is a flexible lease term solution for business owners and workers which don’t require a permanent desk, but still need a professional environment with amenities such as a business address, administrative support, mailing services and a dedicated receptionist.

What is a dedicated desk?

As the name implies, a dedicated desk is a space which is permanently occupied by you. It still has flexible lease terms but gives people 24/7 access to the workspace and the desk belongs to you.

A dedicated desk is also accompanied by the same amenities as a hot desk, making it a great solution for startups and a worthy addition to your business checklist.

The grand launch

Now that you’ve completed all the administrative duties, established accounting essentials, delved into marketing and sorted our a workspace, the grand launch is ready to go!

Make sure to trial run your website and double check that all legal obligations have been complete & are approved – once this is done, you’re ready to make your mark.

 

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Arsen Armstrong

Arsen Armstrong

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