Starting a Business

Are you thinking of starting a small business? Then you need to be well prepared before starting, to ensure you are set up correctly, right from the start.

Logan City Council joined the Small Business Friendly Council’s program in September 2021, led by Queensland Small Business Commissioner. The signing of the Small Business Friendly Council charter reinforces the commitment of Council to supporting our Logan small businesses through collaborative advocacy, fast and fair assistance.

To help you decide if this is the right option for you, we recommend that you consider the advantages and disadvantages of starting a small business


Being your own boss

Financial independence

Creative freedom

Greater flexibility

Build your own team

Build your own branding


Not making a profit straight away

A lot of research

Issues with suppliers

Issues with competitors

Married to the business

May affect your family situation

Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming and daunting. That’s why the Logan Office of Economic Development (LOED) has created a checklist to help guide you through the process. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve already made some progress, the checklist provides a step-by-step roadmap to help ensure you don’t miss any important steps.

How to start a small business

1. Planning

It is very important that you put some thought and planning into your business and how you will scale it. Think 3 and 5-year planning and how you will get there – here is a list of things to consider, to help you set yourself up for success and enable you to grow!

You have decided on a product or service you would like to offer – now research to establish whether your idea can be converted into a viable business. Google is your friend as is “Google Trends”.

Check out your competitors – how are they doing things? Can you do it better or differently? Have you identified your target audience? Is it financially viable? Do you need to start it as a side hustle? Or are you in a financial position to go full steam ahead? It’s important to put in the work now to answer these questions so you can move forward with confidence.

If you want to start, grow or manage your business effectively, you’ll need a business plan.

Learn how to develop a business plan with a business plan template to suit your planning needs to get started. The Business Plan Template will take you through the necessary elements you need to consider, before starting a business. It is a useful tool, to help determine whether you are prepared to start a business, and fundamentally put you on the right steps to success.

2. Determine your legal business structure

A business can be legally structured in several ways. Choosing the best legal structure for your business is one of the first and most important decisions you need to make. You can change your legal structure as your business grows, changes or evolves.

This guide gives you general information about the advantages and disadvantages of the 4 most common business structures – sole trader, partnership, company and trust.

Read more about the pros and cons of the 4 main business structures in QLD

A sole trader is 1 individual who runs a business without partners or a company structure. This is the easiest and most inexpensive business structure. A sole trader has full control of the business, including ownership of all profits and responsibility for all debts.

Read about sole trader business structures.

A partnership is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to set up or structure a business. It involves 2 or more co-owners participating together in a business. A partnership also requires an intention to make and share profits and an understanding that these co-owners act on behalf of each other in business.

Read about partnership business structures.

A company is an entity that has separate legal obligations from its owners. This means if you start a company, as an owner, you’ll be a company director in a management and operations sense and a shareholder in a financial sense. A company’s legal status gives it the same rights as a person, which means that a company can incur debt, sue and be sued. All companies must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and have significant set-up costs and ongoing fees.

Read about company business structures.

A Trust is a legal relationship where a Trustee (an individual or a company) carries on business for the benefit of other people (the beneficiaries).
Trusts can be expensive and complicated to set up – usually to protect the business assets for the beneficiaries. It is recommended you seek professional advice to support you through the process.

Read about trust business structures.

There are two types of NFPs. These are charities and other NFPs. Depending on the type of NFP, your organisation may be eligible for a range of tax concessions. Different types of NFP legal structures include –

Read about NFP structure.

3. Register with the government and ATO

ABN –  Australian Business Number. An ABN is a unique 11-digit number used to identify businesses. You use your ABN to interact with other businesses and government departments and agencies, like the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). As a sole trader – you will then use your personal Tax File Number.

You do not have to have an ABN but having one will avoid having amounts withheld from payments to you. If you provide a service or goods (valued over $75) and do not have an ABN, then other businesses are required to withhold the top rate of tax from the payment and pay this to the ATO.

It will also make it easier for you to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other business tax registrations such as pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding if you start hiring staff.

Applying for an ABN.

GST – Goods and Services Tax is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. Some things don’t have GS included these are called GST-free sales. You must register for GST if your business has or is expected to have a GST turnover (gross income from all businesses minus GST) of $75,000 or more.

Applying for GST.

Most businesses will need to apply for a registered business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You can carry on a business in your own name if you don’t change or add anything to your name.

Things you can do to check business name availability before registering

Once you know the name isn’t taken and you can use it, get your name protected (see the checklist item under Intellectual Property).

Businesses often have to comply with particular state, territory and local government regulations to operate a business from home, a shop front or commercial property.

To operate a business in the City of Logan, you need to meet relevant licensing requirements. The Logan City Council Toolbox and Business Launchpad provide guidance across different industry types, their requirements and applicable fees.

4. Do you know if your business has the correct level of insurance cover?

Insurance is an essential part of running any business. You may want more than just property insurance if you are operating a small business. Taking out the right insurance will help protect your business, minimise its risk exposure and ensure you can compensate others if you are at fault. Some insurances to consider:

Public liability insurance protects you and your business against the financial risk of being found liable to a third party for death or injury, loss or damage of property or ‘pure economic’ loss.

Professional indemnity insurance protects you from legal action taken for losses as a result of your advice.

If you’re self-employed personal accident and illness insurance (including life insurance and income protection) is an option to cover yourself in these events.

You can obtain insurance to protect your various assets and your revenue-generating capacity.

If you sell, supply or deliver goods, even in the form of repair or service, you may need cover against claims of goods causing injury or damage.

5. Do you use good Information Technology (IT) practices?

Good IT practices involve protecting the security and integrity of your computer systems and managing the risk of information loss by regularly backing up your data and storing a copy in an external location.

If you handle personal information (information that can reveal an individual’s identity) electronically or otherwise, you may need to comply with the Privacy Act 1988. The Office of Australian Information Commissioner has available, a Guide to Securing Personal Information giving guidance on the reasonable steps entities are required to take under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) to protect personal information.

Learn more about cyber security.

6. Do you understand your legal requirements?

To comply with the law, your business may need specific registrations, licences and permits. What you need will depend on your business structure, location, staffing requirements and the type of business you plan to operate.

Find out what other common legal laws your new business may need to comply with, such as registrations, contracts, marketing and employment. When you start a business, you need to understand what laws apply to your new business. Consult a legal expert or business adviser to understand which laws you will need to follow. The Expertise & Advice finder tool will assist with finding a suitable expertise and business adviser for you.

7. Have you organised your finances?

Here are some steps to help you with this and keep your business on the financial track.

It’s not a legal requirement as a sole trader but easily tracks your business income and expenses. Separate your wages and business money to make a clear division between ‘your money’ and what belongs to the business. It’s also easier to see the financial state of the business at any time.

Also, consider setting up a savings account to transfer your provision of tax and/or GST of sales to this account. This will help you identify what money is “ATO”s money and avoid having cash flow problems or paying late fees and interest, as you will have the necessary amount to cover your obligations.

There are many manual and electronic bookkeeping products that could suit your business. If you have an Accountant or bookkeeper, ask them which one would be best eg Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks, etc.

Preparing a budget outlining your forecast income and expenses helps you manage your cash flow when starting and running your business.

You’ll need to decide on your payment terms and payment types your customers can use. You may also need to set up an invoicing template and receipts to give your customers when selling goods and services. Note that some requirements are different depending on if your business is or is not registered for GST.

It’s important to provide a correct invoice for your goods and services. Make sure to include a clear due date and follow up on payments that fall behind. If your business provides subscriptions or memberships, consider setting up an automatic payment system or direct debit. This will save you the hassle of chasing payments.

Keep track of the money that’s coming in and going out of your business. An easy way to do this is to use a cash flow statement. A cash flow statement allows you to track your income and plan your expenses. This lets you plan ahead and feel comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll have the money to pay your bills.

8. Building your team – Employ vs Contract?

If you are thinking about hiring someone for your business or need to understand the process, when you’re ready to grow your business, then have all the information to help you get it right.

First, you need to assess your business needs so you can hire the right person for your business. Think about

  • the tasks you need the employee to do?
  • any skills and qualifications they’ll require?
  • how long do you think you’ll need someone for? Can they be part-time or casual?
  • Can you outsource the tasks instead of employing someone?
  • Can you contract out?

The Hiring employee’s checklist will assist you with the necessary areas you need to consider.

The newly developed hiring employee checklist will help you meet Australian laws when hiring an employee and step you through the employment process.

The Hiring employee’s checklist will help you

  • understand all mandatory government regulations and obligations when hiring
  • complete tasks in a logical order, such as:
    • assessing the impacts and costs
    • preparing your employee
    • paying your employee
    • superannuation and tax
    • records you need to keep
    • keep track of your progress by “ticking off” each step

9. Government Assistance Schemes

Depending on the business and where you’re operating, there’s a range of government assistance schemes available. Most common government assistance for start-ups is free or low cost, and supports businesses to increase core skills and adopt best practices – such as mentoring programmes, networking opportunities and soft skills training.

To find out more visit:

This economic assistance is supported by the existing

You can search for grant programs using 1 of the following

  • Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find industry-specific grants and funding programs
  • Queensland Government Grants finder for available grants and assistance programs
  • the Australian Government’s
    • Grants and programs tool to find Australian, state and territory government grants
    • GrantConnect for all current grant opportunities
  • the coronavirus (COVID-19) business assistance finder for COVID-19-related grant programs.

Small Business Support

Logan Office of Economic Development (LOED) offers low or no-cost support services for locally-based small business owners, to start, sustain and grow their businesses.

  • Confidential one-on-one meetings with a small business adviser
  • Access to resources and up-to-date market information
  • Relocation, expansion and redevelopment support
  • Business assistance and referrals
  • Business courses and workshops
  • Monthly E-newsletter
  • Assistance finding local staff through Logan Jobs
LOED Small Business Advisor providing consultation services to a customer

Additional Services

LOED staff can connect you to resources and services provided by government agencies and community organisations. This can include

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Customised business support sessions

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Access to emotional wellbeing support

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Connect to initiatives and support from all levels of government

If you want to start a business, or operate a small business and would like assistance, please speak to one of our Small Business Advisers.