Starting a business is a big decision, and needs careful research and planning well before you start trading.

2015_FEB - AU - Starting your business

This video is an overview of tax and super obligations that may arise when starting and running a small business.

Duration 5m:27s. A transcript of Tax basics overview video is also available.

To begin with, you need to figure out what type of business you're going to be operating and then design a structure to suit that business type. You'll need to think about the premises from which you're going to run your business, as well as the most appropriate billing, paying and record-keeping systems for it.

It's essential you find out sooner rather than later what your tax and superannuation obligations are going to be and whether or not you need to register your business.

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Essential tips and tools for small businessesThis link opens in a new window (video, duration 1h:4m:57s) discusses reducing red tape, deductions for business set-up costs, franchising, collective bargaining, and using digital channels.

Do your research

Some quick and simple research can save you time, money and stress. Find tips on business benchmarks, a checklist for people starting a new business and a guide for contractors. You may want to talk to a financial planner, business advisor or seek advice from one of the many government support services. It is also a good idea to develop a business plan.

Are you operating a business?

One of the very first steps is to work out if you are operating a business or if your activity is actually a hobby. This affects what income you need to declare along with deductions and losses you can claim.

Choosing your business structure

When you start a business, it's very important to choose the business structure that best suits your needs.

Registering your business

You may need to register for a range of obligations, such as goods and services tax. You can register for many of these using a single registration form.

Setting up your invoicing, payments and records systems

Invoicing customers, paying creditors and keeping records are essential parts of running your business.

Setting up a home-based business

Many small businesses are operated as home-based businesses. A home-based business is one where you operate the business either at home - you carry out most of the work at your home (for example, a dressmaker who does all the work at home and has clients coming to their home for fittings) or from home - the business does not own or rent any premises other than your home (for example, a tiler who does most of their work on clients’ premises, but does not have any other business premises).

Save yourself time and money by doing some research before you start your business. Find out how to develop a business plan, decide on the best way to set up your invoicing and payment methods, choose a business structure and work out what you need to register for. You may want to talk to other people with similar businesses or perhaps talk to a tax professional, business adviser or financial planner.