Starting a business in Victoria: 8 steps to find success

Starting a business in Melbourne, or anywhere else in Victoria, is exciting, but it requires plenty of planning. You need to be certain that there is a market for your products or services before you launch. You also need to become familiar with the tax and regulatory requirements of operating a business in Victoria, while also having the financial means to invest in growing your business.

With all of that in mind, here are the eight key steps involved in starting a business in Victoria.

1. Do your market research

You will need to learn about your market, your competitors, and your customers if you want to succeed with your business. Traditional market research methods can be costly, but there are free resources such as Google search and social media that can help you to understand your target audience and how your new business can help them.

2. How to structure your business when setting up a company

Choosing the structure of your new business in Victoria is an important step in starting your business. The business structure you choose will impact your legal obligations, company tax requirements and liabilities, as well as how you run the business. The following three business structures are popular options for new businesses in Victoria:

  • Sole trader: The simplest business structure. It’s easy to set up and manage. However, if things go wrong you could lose your personal assets.
  • Partnership: An organisation created and owned by multiple owners with joint ownership.
  • Company: The company business structure is more complicated than the sole trader and partnership options and reduces your personal liability, as it is an independent legal entity.

It’s important to note that as your business grows, you can change its structure via the Business Registration Victoria Service website, provided you adhere to the legal requirements for setting up a company.

3. Create a business plan

It is essential to have a small business Victoria business plan to guide your new business. Your business plan should define your vision for your business and your plans to achieve those goals. Part of your business plan should include a SWOT analysis of your competitors, which will help to define your business idea and its place in the market. If you intend to secure a business loan, lenders will likely require a detailed business plan before they approve your loan.

Your business plan should be reviewed regularly, especially in the early days of your business. It’s also a good idea to revisit and revise it often to ensure that it reflects your business and the current business climate.

4. Choose where you will operate

Depending on the nature of your business, you might operate remotely, from a physical location, or from your home. Remember that not all businesses require a shopfront. However, you will need a head office, which may be in your family home or at a commercial premises that you lease.

The location of your business premises can be crucial, especially if you are a retailer. Consider the foot traffic, accessibility issues, and parking availability in the area. If you intend to run your new business from your family home, this Business Victoria website can be a great resource when it comes to setting up your business at home. You may also seek professional advice regarding tax deductions and insurance requirements for operating your business from home in Victoria.

5. Calculate your costs

When considering the cost to start a business answer, there will be ongoing and start-up costs for your new business, which will be determined by the type of business you’re starting and its size. Your start-up costs may include:

  • renting or buying a property;
  • fitting out your business premises for your business needs;
  • purchasing equipment;
  • registration fees; and
  • marketing collateral such as a company logo, a website, business cards, and corporate brochures.

The next step is to estimate your ongoing running costs, which may include:

  • wages
  • rent
  • utilities (electricity and water, gas, telephone, internet)
  • ongoing marketing
  • stock and
  • shipping charges.

6. Register your business name

Unless you intend to trade under your own name, you will need to register a company name. Consider these factors when choosing a business name:

  • is it memorable?
  • is it simple, concise, and easy to spell and pronounce?
  • Is it unique?
  • Is it trademarked?
  • Is the domain name (website) available?

When you name a business in Victoria, there are certain rules and restrictions that apply. You will receive a green, amber, or red result when you apply to register the name of your business or verify that it is available via the ASIC website. To find similar company names, use the Australian Business Registration website.

7. Register for the licences, permits, and registrations that you need

While there is no start-up business licence required to operate a business in Victoria, you may be required to have certain licences and registrations depending on your line of work. The Australian Business Licence and Information Service website lets business owners search for licences, regulations, and approvals from councils that might apply to their new company based on the type of business and industry.

The following are common registration requirements for new businesses in Victoria:

  • A business number in Australia (ABN);
  • Tax file number (TFN);
  • Pay as you go (PAYG), withholding;
  • Fringe benefits tax (FBT); and
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST).

These registrations can be applied for at the Australian Business Register.

8. Find out where you can get help for your new business

The Australian Government’s SelfStart Website provides comprehensive support for those looking to start their own business, including in the areas of branding, marketing, managing business finances, and more. Whether you are new to business ownership or a veteran business owner, the Victorian Government’s Small Business Bus can be a handy resource for helping you build your business capabilities and obtain practical advice.

Small business essentials checklist

As the old adage goes, prior planning prevents poor performance. So here is a checklist of 10 essentials to consider when launching your own small business in Victoria.

  • Conduct market research: Learn as much as you can about your customers, your industry, and your market.
  • Create a business plan: Develop a business plan and formalise your go to market strategy.
  • Estimate your costs: Determine how much money you will need in reserve to successfully operate your business.
  • Track your financial performance: Get comfortable with monitoring the financial performance of your business using financial statements.
  • Choose the location for your business: Find an ideal address for the head office for your business.
  • Choose your business name: Select a business name that defines your business and what your business does.
  • Protect your idea: Once you’ve created your business identity, it can be a good idea to protect it with a trade mark or a patent to ensure competitors don’t simply copy it verbatim.
  • Licences, registrations, and permits: Ensure that you and your business hold all necessary licences, permits, and registrations to carry out the work you intend to do.
  • Protect your business: Reduce the risks to your new business by investing in small business insurance.


What is my business structure?

Your business structure refers to the financial structure of your business. For example, your business can be arranged as a trust, partnership, or a company, to name a few common options.

What types of support are available for small businesses?

As well as business grants and sponsorships, small business owners in Victoria can access a range of support from Business Victoria and the City of Melbourne. These include workshops, mentoring opportunities, and the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). The City of Melbourne also has a dedicated team of Business Concierge case managers to support business owners in the city.

Do I need licences and permits to start a business in Victoria?

There are permits, approvals, licences, and registrations that you may be required to obtain when operating a business and undertaking business activities in the City of Melbourne and broader Victoria. For more information visit the Business Victoria website.

Business insurance made easy with BizCover

At BizCover, we help new business owners in Victoria by making purchasing small business insurance, including Public Liability insurance Victoria, quick, easy, paperwork-free and drama-free. Our innovative online platform enables small business owners to compare competitive business insurance quotes from leading insurers in an instant, purchase their small business insurance in 10 minutes, and get back to the job at hand.

To learn all about small business insurance for your new business discover online now or call our friendly team on 1300 920 867.

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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