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Your Checklist to start a Business

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: December 17, 2019

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If you’ve decided to start your own business, congratulations! This is an exciting first step, but there’s a lot of hard work required to get it from this idea stage to a successful, thriving business.

To help understand some of what is involved in getting your concept off the ground, read our recent blog on ‘How to start your own business’. As you can see, there are lots of different elements to consider. This can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. To guide you (and to ensure you don’t miss any important steps), we’ve put together a simple checklist that will walk you through the entire process.

Before you start your business

Ideas and research

  • Do you have an idea for your business?
  • Have you considered what your unique selling point will be (USP)?
  • Have you carried out detailed market research to establish the feasibility of your idea?
  • Do you understand who your target audience will be?
  • Do you have an idea for a business name?


  • Have you considered what the best structure for your business will be i.e. sole trader, partnership, trust or company?
  • Have you planned out the exact product/service you’ll be offering?
  • Have you planned what marketing you will carry out to promote your business?
  • Have you considered what finances you will need i.e. to cover business start-up costs, technological expenses and ongoing running costs?
  • Have you written a detailed business plan?

Starting your Business


  • Have you registered for an Australian business number (ABN)?
  • Have you registered your business name?
  • Do you understand your legal obligations i.e. in terms of licenses and permits?
  • Do you have appropriate business insurance?
  • Do you know what to include in a written contract?
  • Do you have suitable protection for your intellectual property?


  • Have you considered your best source of finance?
  • Do you know if there are any grants that could be available to your business?
  • Are you clear on your tax obligations?
  • Do you have a system in place for record-keeping?
  • Do you have a system for managing your cash flow and finances?
  • Have you considered whether you need support from an accountant or bookkeeper?


  • Have you developed a detailed marketing plan?
  • Do you have a website set up to promote your business?
  • Do you plan to set up and run any social media channels?
  • Will you carry out any other marketing tactics?


  • How do you plan to drive sales for your product/service?
  • Have you set sales targets for the first few months/years?

Human resources

  • Do you plan to run the business on your own, or are you looking to hire someone to help with certain tasks?
  • Do you know what is required when employing staff?


  • Do you know where to go to get expert advice and support when needed?
  • Do you know what business events are taking place near you, where you may be able to get advice, support as well as benefit from networking opportunities with other business owners?

Future and growth

  • Do you have a plan in place for how you will grow your business over the next 1/2/3/5/10 years?
  • Are you prepared for an emergency such as a leave of absence or financial issues etc?

If you’re looking for a more detailed list and further support, we’d recommend downloading the Australian Government’s detailed business checklist.

Whilst starting a business can seem overwhelming, breaking steps down into clear, manageable steps is a great way to move forward effectively. For more help starting your business, you could also consider taking one of Open Colleges business courses. This will give you the skills and experience you need to turn your business idea into a successful reality. Browse our full selection of business courses now.


Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabethis an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

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