It takes more than a great idea to start a successful company. Let us help you understand what to expect to set your plan in motion.

1. Test your idea for potential

The first step of a journey might involve getting an idea on paper into a concept you can pitch to friends or potential customers. You might need help with branding, a brochure or a website to test out your idea. 
Member-only solutions:

  • Access the Marketing Advice Line for a free consultation on what to do
  • Engage our marketing consultancy at a discounted member rate to help you bring your idea to life and discover what potential customers want

Marketing Advice Line Marketing and Design Services

2. Create a business plan

If you’ve tested the idea and there’s interest, you may have a winner on your hands! Don’t just wing it from there – start with a game plan. It doesn’t need to be a 30-pager though. A simple business plan focuses your business goals and guides an action plan that prioritises activities and articulates a roadmap to profitability.  

How to develop a plan

3. Find funding to kick it off

So you’ve developed your business plan, now what? You should have a clear understanding of the amount of money (or capital) you need to start and run your business. If you need to raise or borrow money, there are options available.

Bootstrap: This means starting a business with little capital using personal savings, personal credit card debt or operating revenues of the new company to finance operations and growth.  You can control all decisions you make, but at a potential risk if you don’t make enough revenue to survive. 

Borrow money: Get funding via an external lender, such as a bank, building society or credit union. This is called debt equity. The most typical source comes via financial institutions that offer a range of products with both short and long-term finance solutions. These may include business loans, lines of credit, overdraft facilities, invoice financing, equipment leases and asset financing.
Your application’s success will depend upon how well prepared you are. Ensure your business plan, required documentation and financial figures are accurate, well researched and concise – still retaining enough detail to offer the lender confidence in your plan.

Crowdfund: This offers a finance option through donations of money from the public through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. Post your business idea with a clear description of the project. If people support your campaign, they can donate money – as low as $5 – to help you reach your goal. This method enables you to build a customer base before launch, to test your concept’s demand and retain full ownership of the business. 

Which finance option is best?

4. Define your business structure

Choosing the legal structure - sole trader, company or partnership - that best suits your business type is a top priority.  

Member-only solutions: 

  • Access the Legal Advice Line for a free and objective expert consultation on the best business structure for your business. 

Useful resources:
  • A brief explanation of the different business structures can be found here
  •  If you’re just considering between being a sole trader or a company, here’s a great checklist outlining the difference.
  • All businesses – sole trader, partnership or company – that operate in NSW must register with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) online.
  • Once registered with ASIC, you might consider whether you need to register for an Australian business number (ABN) which is free when you register with the Australian Business Register (ABR). All information on whether you need one, benefits for business and applications can be found on the site.  

Legal Advice Line

5. Great business branding

Creating the perfect brand can be tricky. Things to consider include what your business’ unique selling proposition is, what problem it solves for customers, and whether the name conveys this solution clearly and is not already registered. Working with a marketing expert can help crystallise this for you and advise on market research, competitor analysis, branding and marketing.

Member-only solutions:

  • Access the Marketing Advice Line to help you with advice in a quick call
  • Engage our marketing consultancy at a preferential member rate to help you create and/or develop the brand from end-to-end

Marketing Advice Line Marketing and Design Services

6. Secure the rights to my business

Once you've chosen a name, it's time to register it so you ensure you get to keep it!

Firstly, find out if the name is available. If so, register it with IP Australia here and then determine if you should trademark it to protect your claim.

Member-only solutions:

  • Access the Legal Advice Line for a free legal consultation with an expert who can walk you through the steps involved in protecting your business rights

Legal Advice Line

7. Get a great shopfront – online or physical

You might only need one or both. 

If you only need a great website to start, consider whether it’s merely a brochureware site (just content-based information) or one that requires more functionality like a shopping cart and online payment (e-commerce).

For a physical location, consider a home office, co-working space or commercial location.  You should check on requirements for:

  • permits or licences to pursue a location
  • compliance with tax and work health and safety laws
  • property leasing, conveyancing or purchase.
Member-only solutions:
  • Access the Marketing Advice Line to help you with advice in a quick call.
  • Have your site designed and built by our marketing consultancy at a preferential member rate.
  • Take advantage of the Marketing and Growth Discovery Session for free. It will help you understand where you are at and where you should be headed.
  • Access the Legal Advice Line for a free expert consultation to understand your obligations when considering a physical location to house your business.

Marketing Advice Line Legal Advice Line

8. Check if I need a licence to operate

Not all businesses require one, so tap into the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find out which government licences and registrations apply to your specific business.

Check licence requirements

9. Hire my first employee

If you can’t do this alone, hiring your first employee is a big step and introduces new complexities. Apart from just finding the right person, as an employer, you must consider workplace regulations and payroll taxes that apply.  

Member-only solutions:

  • Access preferential rates to recruitment services from a range of trusted recruitment agencies who can help you find the right person for your team
  • As an employer, the Workplace Advice Line is your membership lifeline to expert advice on complying with workplace obligations which cover everything from pay rates to annual leave and superannuation. The friendly and knowledgeable Advice Line team break down complex regulations into simple “what you need to do” answers. 

Recruitment Services Workplace Advice Line

10. Network for support or advice

Launching a startup is all about getting your business out there. It is also a powerful way to build a support network. Networking with other businesses in your space can allow you to share experiences and ideas with one another, as well as make some valuable contacts with potential clients or partners. For small and startup businesses in particular, networking can provide a lifeline of support and extensive business development in the early days.

 Member-only solutions:

  • Gain free access to great networks of peers and potential clients through the many networking events run by the Chamber. Non-members are also welcome to attend at a fee.
  • Hear what real members say about how networking events benefit their business - video.

Events Become a members

11. Open for business!

You're ready. We wish you an amazing journey. Let your Chamber membership support and advise you along the way!

Become a member
I am a fleet of one, but I'm a growing business. There are other companies out there offering services, but I am more inclined to engage with the Chamber because I feel they focus on growing my business and not their own. Tim Phillips, Kennovations - Member since 2012

Workplace Assured starts from as little as $47 a week for complete peace of mind. Membership to NSW Business Chamber is included as part of the service.