Starting a business can be exciting, but it can also be fraught with legal pitfalls. So no matter where in Australia you plan to start your business, professional legal and accounting advice is essential to get your started on the right foot.
Starting a business – Which business structure?
Carefully think about whether:
- you become a sole trader,
- you trade in partnership,
- to use a discretionary or unit trust, or
- a company structure is the way to go.
This depends on many factors including the size of the business, the expected income stream, the risk of product or personal liability, the value of the business assets, the various taxes, and whether you see your new venture as short-term (build it up and sell it) or long-term (running for your family).
Consider the name under which you trade. If you use your exact name with nothing added, you do not need to register a business name. If you use another name, you must have a registered business name or trade under a company name. You probably will not get a name registered which is:
- already in use by someone else,
- offends public decency,
- might lead to confusion with an existing business, or
- implies connection with another body, such as a church, charity or government.
Public promotion of proprietary name, product, service, or field of business is critical. Areas that require professional legal advice include:
- patent, trade mark and copyright,
- domain name, website terms and business promotion,
- franchises, distribution rights, licensing, service agreements and all commercial agreements
If you will be operating from a physical premises, you may need advice on whether the premises you intend to use can be used for a business purpose. You may need approval of the local council or other authorities.
Wherever you are in Australia, these are matters on which you need sound advice when starting a business. Consult a lawyer early and ensure, as best you can, that you are protected.