Business Starters Checklist

This checklist will help you plan and determine if your idea is worth pursuing.


    -Your first step

    -Will it work?

    -Choose your business structure

    -Regulations and protections

    -Employing staff

    -Locations and leasing

    -Money matters


    -Building your support team

    -What's next?


1. Your first step


Don't know where to start? Then book yourself into a free Business Basics workshop.


Business Basics will guide you through the steps involved with starting and running your own business. It will also help you to figure out:


    why do I want to start my own business?

    will running a business give me what I'm looking for?

    do I have the right skills and experience to make this business a success?


2. Will it work?


Research your business idea to make sure there is a demand for your products or services. For example:


    conduct a survey

    analyse your competitors ...have others tried your idea and failed? the market saturated?

    analyse the industry your business will be a part of - is it stagnating or in a period of growth?

    find out what information already exists and start with:

        the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

        the State Library of WA or local libraries

        industry reports (IBIS World) - visit our Business Information Centre to read IBIS World reportsfor free

        business benchmarks - visit our Business Information Centre to get help with accessing the right business benchmarks


Assess and manage your risk. What are the key risks that could have a negative influence on your business and how can you reduce their impact?


3. Choose your business structure


Determine the legal structure of your business. The best business structure for your business will depend on a number of factors including number of owners, risk, liability and tax rate. Learn about these different business structures:


    sole trader



    trust or



Seek professional advice from your accountant on the best structure for your situation.


4. Regulations and protections


Register a business name or a company name with the Australian Securities Investments Commission (ASIC).


Register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to get an:


    Australian Business Number (ABN) and if applicable

    register for GST (only applies if turning over $75,000 or more per year).


Identify necessary business licences and permits.


For those businesses planning to have a website register a domain name


Contact IP Australia to protect:


    intellectual property or

    register a trade mark


Contact an insurance broker to determine what insurances your business will need.


5. Employing Staff


Check which industrial relations system applies to your business - the WA system? or national industrial relations system?


Check your obligations towards staff, including insurance, occupational health and safety, and minimum conditions of employment.


    Arrange superannuation payments for yourself and your employees (compulsory even for some contractors).


6. Location and leasing


Determine the most cost-effective and practical location for your business. For example:


    home based,

    business incubator, or

    commercial premises.


Read and review all the relevant documentation before signing a lease agreement.


Call the SBDC commercial tenancy specialist on 13 12 49.


7. Money matters


Analyse your current financial situation. Can you afford to start this business?


Don’t be baffled by profit and loss statements, balance sheets or cash flow statements. Make them work for you and book into an Understanding Your Business Financials Workshop


We also help you with examples and templates that you can download:


    Determine if your business needs any additional funding by completing the Establishment Expenses spreadsheet.


    Complete Costs of Goods Sold and Operating Expenses Forecast spreadsheets to determine costing and pricing.


    Prepare a 12-month sales forecast using the Sales Forecast spreadsheet.


    Prepare a 12-month cash flow forecast using the Cash Flow Forecast spreadsheet.


    Determine the break even point of your business using the Breakeven Calculator.


Open a business bank account.


Set up a financial records management system, such as MYOB, QuickBooks, Xero, Wave or other accounting software. You can also use Excel spreadsheets to start with.


8. Marketing


Determine your unique selling proposition Why will your customers buy from you and not your competitors?


    Identify your target markets (for example, who is your product or service aimed at?) and determine the characteristics of these target markets.


    Create a brand for your business that matches these target groups - logo, colour theme, website, and culture - and then build awareness of your brand within these target markets.


Make it easy for yourself and book into a Spreading the Word - Marketing your Business workshop, where you'll learn how to:


    do your market research

    identify your unique point of difference

    develop your business brand

    profile your target markets

    understand the value of your customers

    outline your key marketing objectives

    determine your best marketing strategies

    set a marketing budget

    monitor your marketing.


The Marketing Tips and Tricks section in our Tourism BOOST online guide offers a variety of adaptable examples and templates for:


- traditional advertising

- brochures

- how to write a media release

- email marketing

- websites

- search engine optimisation

- social media

- the mobile revolution

- a marketing action plan.


9. Building your support team


Find an accountant to assist with business direction and taxation.


Find a lawyer to assist with business contracts and legal issues.


Join the relevant industry association or body to gain better understanding and support.


Join relevant business networks to build a support team and spread the word about your business.


10. What's next?


Use all the information gathered through this checklist to prepare a practical, workable business plan (we also have a great 12 Step Business Plan workshop).


Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed) goals for your business.


    Save time and energy by attending workshops to help you take the right steps.


    Buy business books to build your knowledge and sign up to business e-newsletters and blogs.


(Small Business Development Corp.)