How to start a business in Western Australia

Whether you’re thinking of starting a brickie business in Broome, a professional consulting business in Perth or a bakery in Bunbury, there’s a few things you need to know before setting up and starting your own business in Western Australia.

It all starts with a small business idea; throw in a dose of enthusiasm and the next thing you know you are your own boss. We’re here to provide a guide on how to start your business, what things you need to keep in mind and how to make the process run smoothly from those early idea phases to swinging the doors open to greet your first customers.

1. Have an action plan

Creating a blueprint, a guide to underpin the path of your business is one of the initial things you need to consider when setting up your new business. Making your small business idea become a reality takes a bit of research and planning, a small amount of effort that will be worth the results in the long run.

Have a think about the following:

  • Your finances – how much do you need to set up your business? How much money do you need to be able to have in savings to pay for your everyday living expenses? Do you need to buy new business assets to help run your business? Will you need to get a business loan?
  • Your business goals – where you want your business to be in the future? How are you going to get there? What actions do you need to achieve to get to your desired goal?
  • Know you competition– understand who your key competitors are and what kind of products and services they offer. Think about how you can do it differently and stand out from the crowd

2. Decide on a business structure

This is a pretty major decision that you need to make in those initial stages of setting up your small business. The structure of your business can have a big impact on things like the financial structure of your business and whether you’re creating a start up by yourself or seeking the support from others.

These are some of the key things you need to know about the different types of business structures in Western Australia:

  • Sole Trader– this is one of the most common and easiest of the structures to establish. As the name suggests, you are the sole trader, and are held responsible for the conduct of the business activities. You are also financially and legally liable for all the aspects of the business which includes things like debts and losses. When comparing to the set up process doesn’t involve as much paperwork and the business can be set up quickly. You will need an Australia Business Number (ABN) to operate your business.
  • Partnership– this business structure typically involves 2-20 business owners who are legally bound to the business. Under a partnership structure all business owners are under a contractual obligation within the business. You will need to seek professional advice and have agreements in place which outline the key responsibilities and roles of the business owners.
  • Company– one of the not so common business structures, setting up a company is more involved than the other two types of business structures. A company is a separate legal entity under Australian law. The directors of the company are not legally or financially responsible for the shortfalls of the company. Setting up a company involves appointing directors and a management team.

3. Bricks and mortar or online?

These days there is a great amount of flexibility around the kind of business set up you choose to go with. Maybe you are an IT start up business in Perth looking for an office space or an online retailer from Albany, different businesses will require set-ups that work best to suit their business needs.

Things to consider when establishing your business space:

  • Do you need to lease a business space or can you manage to operate from home? This may save you some significant dollars, especially in those starting out phases.
  • If you are operating your business from home review things like your internet connection, set up a business address, create a dedicated space for your business
  • If you’re unsure of the kind of area you want for your business look at co-working spaces as an option

4. Legal stuff

Part and parcel of starting up any small business is looking after the legal side of things. The kind of legalities involved will depend on the type of business and industry you are operating in. If you’re not sure required, best to check with your industry board or body to find out further details.

An example of some of the types of things you may need to arrange include:

  • Licenses- for some professions you may need to have certain licenses arranged before you can start operating
  • Registrations – you may need to register your business with certain industry bodies or government departments
  • For most businesses you will need to have things like your ABN and tax file details sorted
  • When signing contracts or creating them you may want to hire the expert eye of a legal professional to make sure they are all good to go

5. Grants and programs

Take some time to research any available government grants and programs which may be available to assist your business. The Western Australian government website for The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation features a range of various resources that may help your small business.

Business.gov.au also offers a search function to look up any grants and funding which your business may be entitled to access.

6. Arranging insurance for your WA businesses

After putting all those hard-yards to set up your business, the next step you need to consider is protecting it with the appropriate kinds of business insurance. Not all kinds of business insurance policies will be right for your business, so here is an overview of some of the basics to consider when looking at business insurance for WA businesses.

Public Liability insurance* is designed to provide protection for 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.

Professional Indemnity insurance* Covers you for losses claimed by a third party & defense costs due to alleged or actual negligence in your professional services or advice. This includes defense costs cover.

Business Insurance* is an insurance package designed to provide cover for your business contents, stock, tools and commercial premises when an insured event occurs (such as fire, storm, theft or even accidental damage). A Business Insurance package can also cover your portable equipment, glass and for loss of revenue due to business interruption in specified circumstances. In addition, cover is available for public liability, tax audit, employment practices and statutory liability risks.

Find out more about how you can start protecting your WA small business with BizCover today. Give us a call or jump online to arrange your policy in minutes without the drama.

*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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