Home > Blog > Are You Ready to Start a Business: The Small Business Checklist

Have you got a small business idea in the works? If you think you’re ready to get underway, it’s time to start considering some of the key components involved in getting your business up and running.

Whether you want to open a cafe or start a trades business; there’s a lot to consider when you’re getting started. You need to be prepared for planning, paperwork and crunching numbers.

We’ve created a checklist with the initial steps you need to take to get your business set up and ready for action.

Define your unique selling point (USP)

A USP should solidify your business idea. It’s what differentiates you from your competitors, and makes you stand out to customers. Define your USP in a couple of sentences and be prepared to use it in your business pitch and marketing strategy.

Create a plan

Your business plan should be your path to success. Consider where you are currently and where you need to get to, then map out the steps you need to take to get there. This plan will become the blueprint for your business.

Budget and forecast

Consider all the costs required to get your business up and running. This includes everything from equipment, vehicles and initial stock, to marketing and advertising materials. You should then estimate how much money you need for a buffer. This is the total amount of money you’ll need to cover monthly overheads and salaries, before you’ve started making sales or securing jobs.

Lastly, conduct a forecast that includes a break-even and profit analysis. This will give you a good indication of whether your business will be profitable after you’ve covered all costs.

Register your business

Next, you’ll need to complete a few official steps towards becoming a business. Register your business name, apply for an ABN and any licences and permits you require.

You’ll also need to choose a structure when you register your business. You can register as a sole trader, company, partnership or trust. Learn more about business structures in Australia before making your decision. Your structure will determine how much tax you pay, any licenses you require and how much control you have over the business.

Register a domain name & create a website

Your digital presence will be key in your business’ success, so be sure to get your website set up as soon as possible. Firstly, register a domain name that matches your business name. Avoid free hosting sites as they tend to have a negative effect on a business’ credibility.

Choose a host with a reasonable plan that meets your needs and then either pick from a selection of website design templates, or create your own from scratch. Ensure your website includes your logo and all the information customers need to know about what you’re offering.

Organise your finances

You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the basics of accounting, including bookkeeping, creating reports and dealing with taxes. Start by setting up a business bank account and research the bookkeeping products available to find one that’s best suited to your business. You’ll then need to prepare budgets, decide on payment terms and types and create invoicing templates if applicable.

Develop a marketing strategy

Once you’ve got the important paperwork out of the way, your finances are in order and you're getting closer to launch; it’s time to consider how you’ll market your business to customers. Complete some market and audience research, define your strategy and decide on which mediums you’ll use to reach your customers. This is a great time to set up your business social media profiles.

Learn more about the new marketing trends to help build your business.

Open for business

There’s lots to consider when you’re starting out as a new business owner, so be sure to do your research, ask for advice from other professionals and write your own checklist that covers everything relevant to your business and the industry you’re operating in.

If you’re still in the early stages of gaining experience; take a look at our guide on how to go from trainee to business owner. You’ll find some key focus areas that can help to develop the skills needed to become a successful small business owner.


Do I need a qualification to start a business?

Why do I need to register a business name?

Do I need a licence to start my own trades business?

How long does it take to get an ABN?

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