As we settle into the rhythm of 2021, you may be looking towards new adventures with the opening of a business. The excitement of a new business can quickly become overwhelming with a long to-do list that never seems complete. 

Here are some important steps to help you navigate this exciting but overwhelming time.

Planning Ahead

Your first step is to complete a business plan. This charts the course for your business, sets out action items and a measurement of performance against your expectations in the first few years. The Queensland Government has a number of tools to assist you in this endeavour which can be found at www.business.qld.gov.au/starting-business. 

Setting your business structure

The main entity structures for any business are sole trader, partnership, company and trust.

As lawyers, we usually work with your accountant to determine the best structure for your purpose and set of circumstances, as each structure has both advantages and disadvantages.

We will look after any set up required and agreements such as partnership agreement, shareholders’ agreement and unit holders’ agreement. These documents clearly set out how the business structure will work and, most importantly, dictate what will happen if the owners are in dispute or wish to leave the business. This can avoid legal expenses and lengthy disputes down the track.

Getting Timely Advice 

It is important to liaise with various professionals to seek advice and assistance. These include:

  • Accountant: for financial advice, as well as tax, business and bookkeeping set up.
  • Insurance professional: for property, premises, as well as life and income protection insurances.
  • Banker: for setting up of accounts, loans, overdrafts, and EFTPOS facilities.
  • IT provider: for computer, telephone, internet and internet security, software and hardware.

If you are leasing premises, it is important to get a lease and seek legal and financial advice. Often you will be spending considerable money on fit-out or be signing up for long-term financial obligations. It is also important to check your obligations when it comes to repairs, which can add to your financial burden.

Kelly Dwyer is a partner at Charlton’s Lawyers, Bundaberg’s longest serving law firm.