Being the ‘Sunshine State’, Queensland makes it seem like anything is possible, so knowing how to start a business in Queensland is slightly more of a challenge than deciding if you want to.
But how do you do it? Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be an overwhelming task. With the list set out below, you’ll have some helpful guidance.
1. Research your market – First, identify who your customers are (age, gender, location, interests, income, etc.). Next, identify your competitors and research them via reviews and by checking out their website and social media. Do you have a competitive advantage? What does the demand seem to be for the products/services you intend to sell?
2. Choose a business name – Make sure it differentiates your business from your competitors. Try to pick one that’s easy to recall, easy to spell, and don’t make it too specific to one product or service in case you branch out in future. It should also be available on the Queensland business names register, and a suitable domain name should be available. You’ll also need to use the name on social media platforms.
3. Obtain any permits you need – Depending on what you’ll be selling, you may need to get specific licenses or permits from the government, such as food, alcohol or tobacco licenses.
4. Know what registrations you need in Queensland – Will your business be a sole trader, partnership, company, or trust? Depending on which you choose, you may need to register your business with ASIC, the Australian Business Register, or the Queensland Government’s Office of Fair Trading. You will need an ABN (Australian Business Number) and/or an ACN (Australian Company Number).
5. Plan your first product or service – You may already have a product in mind to sell, or you may already have been supplying your services through a job you’ve had. For products, decide what you want to sell, purchase or create the stock to have on hand, and post listings for them on your website. For services, put together a menu and consider creating packages, to entice clients to spend more with you.
6. Decide on pricing – You’ll need to do some calculations to make sure that what you sell generates a profit. For product sales, you’ll also need to figure in the cost of shipping. When selling services, spell out what the client will receive for the price you charge.
7. Set up your digital presence – Today, your online presence has to be more than just a website. Your website is kind of a static view of your business, but your social media is where it comes alive, with up-to-the-minute announcements, product launches, photos, interaction with customers, and so much more. Be sure to work out which social media platforms will make sense for your business. Instagram is brilliant as a visual platform, but Facebook is great for providing more information.
8. Organise your bookkeeping methods – To keep track of your business's financial transactions and meet your tax obligations, you'll need to set up a bookkeeping system. You can use software such as QuickBooks or Xero, or you can hire a bookkeeper to manage your finances.
9. Explore insurance options – You’ll probably need public liability insurance, but will you need professional indemnity insurance? Stock, products and asset insurance? Worker’s compensation to cover employee accidents or illness? Speak with an insurance broker who can connect you with the right insurance policies for your business.
10. Set up your business finances – See your bank about opening a specific business account. You might also like to set up a separate account that you can pay your GST into each week or month. That way, it’ll be put aside for BAS time. Seek the services of a bookkeeper, accountant or tax adviser to be really sure that you’re doing everything right. It could even save you money in the long run.
11. Payment methods – Merchant facilities are needed for product sales. That way, you’ll be able to accept payment via cash, credit card, debit card or EFTPOS. After all, you don’t want there to be any barrier to someone paying you! Your bank can organise a terminal or you can choose a non-bank option such as Square or Stripe. If you’ll be invoicing your clients, you might like to invite them to pay by EFT deposit to your bank account.
12. Plan your product/service launch – Set yourself a deadline to have your business up and running. Then, decide if you’d like to hold a launch, and invite potential customers, vendors and associates to come along, to get the word out. Seek some free publicity by inviting members of the media to attend.
13. Make your first sale – Woohoo! This is the exciting bit! That very first transaction you put through on your payment gateway, or the very first invoice you send to a client … well it’s intoxicating and there’s nothing like it. Congratulations, you’re on your way!
By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to starting a successful business in Queensland.
A Course that Can Help When Starting a Business in Queensland
Give yourself every chance of success! We have an excellent course that will help you, from developing your business idea to getting settled in your business and growing it. You’ll learn practical skills like financial planning, resourcing, managing customer relationships, marketing your business, and so much more.
Join our Certificate III in Entrepreneurship and New Business. We offer weekly and fortnightly payment plans so you can get started sooner and can pay for the course in a way that best suits you.