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So, you want to start a new business

And you're probably wondering where to get started? There are plenty of things to consider, here's a few to get you started.

The first thing I would tell you to consider is what structure will you use? Will you be a sole trader, a partnership or a company? Unless there's a compelling reason otherwise, you should always look to incorporate a company for your new business. The legal protections offered by a separately incorporated business are invaluable from the point of view of a director. 

Secondly, are you in business with anyone else? If that's the case then you should make sure you have a shareholder or partnership agreement in place from the outset. It may be exciting getting started and you may be good friends with your business partner but that doesn't offer either of you any protection. As someone who has spent some time as a commercial litigator I've all too often seen what happens when business relationships go south and there's no structure in place to determine how the relationship is dissolved. 

The next thing to think about is registrations you'll require. There are a wide range of registrations to consider such as getting an ABN, registering for GST, a Tax File Number and, if you are to have employees, PAYG withholding. 

Next is licensing, are you in a business that requires a licence from a government department? A real estate business will need to register their licence with the relevant State department of fair trading, a food service business will require local council permits and so on. It is not always obvious what licences may be required to operate your business so make sure you obtain proper advice on this topic or you risk exposing yourself to fines and penalties. 

Another consideration is, if you need workers, is how they will be engaged by your business. Will they be independent contractors or employees? If they'll be employees, are they full time, part time or casual? What is the relevant award wage?

The above is by no means a comprehensive list but it does give some starting points for what to consider. The Australian Government has some useful information available at

Finally, if you need advice on starting your business feel free to contact Liam Young Legal for a free initial consultation.  

Liam Young