Links to helpful resources for starting a small business in Australia.
Government websites to help business start-ups
- Australia loves entrepreneurs. Business.gov.au is the Australian Government’s friendly helping hand to wanna-be business owners. It offers easy access to information, forms and services any small venture needs plus heaps of good business plans guides and templates
- The Government also runs the website Digital Business to help small business establish an online presence
- The State Government of New South Wales runs a helpful website with tips and tools for small business, called Smallbizz. So does the states of Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia. There is also a good website for startups in the UK
Register a business in Australia
- Register a company name and get a company number with ASIC – the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (costs about $450)
- Register any business and get an Australian Business Number with ABR – the Australian Business Register (free)
ASIC – Australian Securities and Investment Commission is where to register a Pty Ltd or similar and clarify allocation of shares, legal status and trademarking of the company name (if available) in the state where the company is registered.
The ACN (Australian Company Number) is not to be confused with the ABN (Australian Business Number).
The ABN identifies you as an Australian business in the Australian Business Register (ABR) and with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It establishes your professional identity in the eyes of suppliers and customers, since any ABN can be easily checked on the Australian Government’s ABN Look-up service.
The ABN is also required in order to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST), buy Australian website domains (.com.au) and other things.
Business networks and industry organisations
Business networking opportunities are offered by e.t.c:
- Flying Solo for sole traders
- Young Entrepreneurs for young business owners
- Bondi Chamber of Commerce, Leichardt Chamber of Commerce (Sydney) and other local Chambers of Commerce for small business networking. Usually arrange business networking events such as breakfasts, local enterprise visits and after 5 drinks for a very cheap price
- New South Wales Business Chamber for business networking on state level. There is most likely one in every state
- Business Enterprise Centres Australia provides useful information about e.g. government regulations and trends, consultancy, legal advice and workshops for small business owners in Australia
- Business Council of Australia. Association of the CEOs of 100 of Australia’s leading corporations
- Australian Industry Group. Peak industry association representing the interests of more than 60,000 businesses in a range of sectors
- COSBOA: Council of Small Business in Australia. Council representing the interests of small business in Australia
Add your business into the business directories, so people can find your services. Common general directories include:
- Yellow Pages is free for a basic listing. Very important registry due to its integration with various other Internet platforms and mobile apps. E.g. ‘Around Me‘ builds on data from the Yellow Pages
- Hot Frog is free, but you will get marketing emails
Tax for business in Australia
- ATO Business is the Australian Taxation Office’s section for Business, where you will need to register for an AUSKEY to be able to access the business portal and meet your tax obligations online such as lodge quarterly Business Activity Statements. You can also register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) and PAYG if required
- Record keeping for small business by the ATO
- Legal requirements to record keeping for business in Australia
- Small business benchmarking by the ATO
- Tax essentials by Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Market data for Australia
- Australia demographics profile 2011 – quick data from Index Mundi (based on CIA World Fact Book)
- Australia’s population growth (doc) by the HIA economics group, June 2010
- Business demography of Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, updated 2011
- Using statistics for business or franchise planning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, updated 2010
- Finding Government statistics by the Australian Government
- Market research for specific states and territories by the Australian Government
- OECD Economic Surveys: Australia 2006 (online book)
- Sydney city research by City of Sydney, the local government authority responsible for development and services in Sydney
Intellectual Property Rights
Export market data
- UNECE Statistical Database. Key indicators for European countries by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
- Nation Master. Global country statistics comparisons presented graphically
- Executive Planet. A comprehensive wiki with guidelines for business etiquette in overseas countries
- Export Market Potential Index. Produced by the International Business Center (CIBER) of the Michigan State University in the US, and located on their website ‘Global Edge’
Exporting to Asia
- Doing business in Asia – Tips and Suggestions. Blog post on Australia China Connections, 2011
- Australia’s trade with East Asia 2009 (doc). By Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Purchase market research about export markets
- Eurostat. European statistics by the European Commission
- Euromonitor, ‘world leader in strategy research for consumer markets’. Subscription and pay-per-report
- Factiva. Business Intelligence by Dow Jones
- IBIS WORLD World. Australian market research database, subscription and pay-per-report
Online resources for exporters
- Austrade, the Australian Trade Commission
- Fita, the Federation of International Trade Associations
- Australian Institute of Export. To be frank the website is mediocre, but certain sections are useful as brief introductions or checklists. Example: Managing Risk under Export Information
- Exporting Online. Ebusiness for Australian exporters by Austrade
- Service Export Toolkit by the New South Wales Government Trade & Investment
- Export from NSW by the New South Wales Government Trade & Investment
- Exporting from South Australia by the South Australian government. Case studies, contacts, directories and information for exporters
- Export Victoria by the Victorian Government. Case studies, funding and brief useful country information from an Australian perspective such as export overview, current and emerging opportunities and tariffs and taxes. Example: China profile
- Book: Import/Export, a practical guide for Australian exporters by Sebastian Ioppolo. Handy, easy to understand handbook for exporters and importers
Export Service Providers
- A.F.I.F: Australian Federation of International Freight Forwarders.
I can recommend Vision International in Brisbane and Sydney and World Link and DHL in Melbourne based on personal experience. Cue: your contact person / the person who actually looks after your shipments makes all the difference… the man on the floor is key
- Andrew’s Consulting in Sydney.
Benita Andrews has more than 25 years of experience in International Trade and offers coaching in export and offshore trading.
Last updated Jul 2011.
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