How to start a business in South Australia

From the serene hills and valleys that make the state’s iconic wine region to the laidback atmosphere that fills the streets of Adelaide and the mild days filled with sunshine year-round, there are plenty of reasons to start a small business in South Australia.

Whether you are looking to be a barista in the Barossa Valley or a graphic designer in Glenelg, there are some things you might want to consider before jumping in.

This guide provides the essential information you’ll need to know when launching your latest and greatest business idea in South Australia.

From the ins and outs of registering your business in South Australia to business insurance tips such as knowing where to get a Public Liability insurance quote, by the end of this article, you’ll hopefully learn how to start a small business in South Australia.

1. Seek the help of a professional

Before you read any further, it’s important to note that many of the points mentioned in this business guide could likely have a significant impact on your financial situation.

So when deciding on these critical points, it’s important to consider seeking the advice of a professional, like an accountant or a business advisor, who will take the time to understand your business and advise on the best judgment call to make.

A popular choice among small business owners for their accountant needs is POP Business which can give you a wide range of advice from understanding your BAS statements to sorting out your obligations during tax time.

2. Choosing your business structure

Choosing how your business will be structured is one of the first and most significant steps of your business journey. From partnerships and co-ops to trusts and Indigenous corporations, there are many different structures to choose from. However, for the sake of brevity, this section will focus on the two most common structures: solder traders and companies.

Sole traders

A sole trader is the most common business structure for small businesses. Perhaps the most important thing to note about being a sole trader is that, unlike companies (which we’ll get to next), the business owner is personally responsible for the business – legally and financially.

All debts and losses cannot be shared with anyone else. While this may sound a bit scary, it also means that you have total control over the dealings of your business – and its profits. It’s also one of the most straightforward business structures to set up. It requires only a few registration steps, such as getting an Australian Business Number (ABN) and setting up your Tax File Number (TFN).


A more complex and less common business structure for setting up a new business is registering as a company. Registering your business as a company will make it a separate legal entity. While you can still be found legally responsible if you breach your obligations as a director of the company, you are not liable for its debts. That said, you will usually have to answer to the company board when making decisions – especially about profit.

Recommended reading: How to Register a Business Name in Australia

Companies are also a lot more complicated to set up and require rigorous annual reviews by the government, which usually costs a fee. Companies are best suited for new businesses that expect a highly fluctuating return in the first few years. That way, you can operate at a loss for the promise of future profits and not be personally liable for the debt.

3. Create a business plan

The next step after choosing the proper business structure is to develop a business plan. Your small business needs a strategy, and this business plan will serve as your blueprint for success.

From analysing your competitors to developing a financial and marketing strategy, this step is crucial to the longevity of your business venture.

It doesn’t have to be lengthy; a business plan can be designed so you can identify your goals and strategies moving forward. However, some banks may want to look over your plan for things like loans, so you may want to follow a particular template from the start.

A top tip is to try to continuously work on and refer back to your business plan as your business evolves. For a more comprehensive analysis of what should go into your business plan, visit here.

4. South Australian business licenses and registration

One of the little intricacies of operating a small business in South Australia is that you need to register your operations. Many industries are highly regulated, and you may need additional licenses in order to operate legally.

While this may seem annoying, ensuring there are industry standards is a measure that protects both the customer and the business.

Please check out the South Australian government website to learn more about what business licence you may need and how the regulations may affect your business.
Small business support and grants

South Australian small businesses have been through a lot in recent times. In response, the state government has provided several support mechanisms to help small businesses.
These initiatives are through the government agency Small Business South Australia, which offers a variety of programs designed to support South Australian small businesses.
There are countless workshops and upskilling events that you can attend that could help you early on in your business journey.

From offering information about the latest small business news and health advice to providing one-on-one support through Industry Advocate South Australia, there are many opportunities to get a leg up for your new business.

There are also many business grants and programs from the state and national government that you can apply for, so be sure to check them out.

Furthermore, if you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, visit the Business Development and Assistance Program website and the Indigenous Business Australia website for even more initiatives.

5. Sorting out your business insurance

Another you may want to consider before opening your doors in the great state of South Australia is to sort out your business insurance.

For some industries, your business may need certain types of business insurance, either because it’s mandatory or because your customers or suppliers may require you to have it.
But even if that’s not the case, business insurance is an important measure that can protect you from risks.

Public Liability insurance* is a popular type of insurance policy for many small businesses. It is designed to protect you and your business in the event a customer, supplier or a member of the public brings a claim against you due to their being injured or sustaining property damage as a result of your negligent business activities.

Sorting out your Public Liability insurance in South Australia (or most other types of insurance products, for that matter) is easy through the online platform BizCover. Just jump online and compare quotes from some of Australia’s leading insurers, and you’ll be covered in no time!

Get your South Australian small business started

There are not many better places to start a business than in South Australia.
Hopefully, this article will help set you on your way to living your dream and being your own boss.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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