How To Start a Business in 10 Steps

Every entrepreneurial journey starts with a dream, a passion, and a hefty dose of determination. Starting a business is an exciting adventure, filled with promise and opportunities. It’s a chance to make a real impact, bringing your unique vision to life, and possibly even changing the way we live and work.

We’ll shed light on the crucial steps you need to take when starting your own business. This journey isn’t without its hurdles, but with JD Scott & Co by your side, we make the complex simple.

1. Researching and Validating Your Business Idea

Before you dive headfirst into your new venture, it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of the landscape you’re about to enter. This is where the “how to start a business” idea transitions into “researching and validating your business idea.” Let’s dive deeper into this:

Understanding the Market

First and foremost, you need to understand the market you’re entering. This means looking at the big picture: economic trends, market size, growth rate, and the competitive landscape. Analyse your industry’s performance over the past few years and identify trends that might influence your business. If you’re entering an already saturated market, consider how your business could differentiate itself.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Who are you selling to? What are their needs, pain points, and desires? By identifying your target audience, you can create a product or service that directly addresses their needs, leading to a higher chance of success. Market research tools and surveys can be incredibly useful in gathering this information.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis identifies your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s a comprehensive evaluation of your business idea’s potential.

  • Strengths: What are the advantages of your business idea? What makes it unique?
  • Weaknesses: Are there areas that need improvement? What challenges could you face?
  • Opportunities: Is there a demand in the market you’re looking to fill? Are there trends you could leverage?
  • Threats: Who are your competitors? Are there external factors (economic, political, etc.) that could pose a risk?

Researching and validating your business idea might seem daunting, but it’s a vital step in the process of starting a business. This stage is all about learning as much as possible, giving you a solid foundation on which to build your business. After all, knowledge is power when you’re an entrepreneur.

2. Creating a Business Plan

Once you’ve validated your business idea, the next step in starting a business is creating a robust business plan. Think of it as a roadmap to success, providing a strategic overview of your business’s goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them. Here’s how to get started:

Defining Your Mission and Objectives

What is your business’s purpose? What do you hope to achieve? Your mission statement should succinctly articulate your business’s goals and values. In addition, set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives to provide a clear direction for your business.

Detailing Your Products or Services

Describe what your business will offer. What makes your products or services unique? How do they meet the needs of your target market? This section should highlight the value you bring to your customers.

Market Analysis and Strategy

This section should summarise the market research conducted earlier. Who are your customers? What’s your target market size? Who are your competitors? Following this, outline your marketing strategy: how will you attract and retain customers?

Organisational Structure

Describe how your business will be structured. Will you be a sole trader or a partnership? Who will manage the business? What roles will you need to fill, and when?

Financial Projections

Detail your business’s financial aspects, including start-up costs, projected income, and cash flow. This section is crucial for securing financing, as it shows potential investors that you have a clear understanding of your business’s financial health.

A well-crafted business plan not only helps you organise your thoughts and set clear objectives, but it also communicates your vision to potential investors and partners.

3. Registering Your Business

Once your business plan is ready, the next step is to make it official. Registering your business involves a few key steps:

Choosing a Business Structure

The structure you choose will impact your business registration process, tax obligations, and personal liability. The most common structures are:

  • Sole Trader: You’re the sole owner of the business and have complete control over it.
  • Partnership: Two or more people share ownership of the business.
  • Company: A legal entity separate from its shareholders.

It’s crucial to understand the implications of each structure to make the right choice for your business.

Registering Your Business Name and Acquiring an ABN

In Australia, you need to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and get an Australian Business Number (ABN), which you’ll use in all your business dealings.

Registering your business makes it a legally recognised entity. It’s a vital step in making your dream of running your own business a reality.

4. Understanding Business Tax Basics

Running your own business means dealing with taxes. But don’t worry, here at JD Scott & Co, we believe in making the complex simple, and we can help you do this. Let’s break down the basics:

Overview of Business Tax in Australia

Businesses in Australia may have to pay several types of taxes, including Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST), and Payroll Tax, among others. The taxes you need to pay will depend on your business structure, the nature of your operations, and your revenue. JD Scott & Co have experience with a wide range of business structures, and can help you make the right decision.

Understanding GST: When to Register and How it Works

GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods, services, and other items sold or consumed in Australia. If your business has a GST turnover of $75,000 or more, you need to register for GST. Once registered, you’ll need to include GST in the price of your taxable sales and regularly report to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) through Business Activity Statements (BAS).

The Importance of Keeping Accurate Tax Records

Keeping accurate and detailed records is crucial. It helps you monitor your business’s performance, ensures you pay the right amount of tax, and helps you meet your legal obligations.

Business tax can be a time consuming task. JD Scott & Co have business accountants that can handle your business tax so you can focus on what you do best: starting and running a business.

5. Financing Your Business

To kickstart your business, you’ll need some form of financing. This can come from various sources:

Personal Savings

Many entrepreneurs start their business using personal savings. It’s a simple option with no interest or repayment obligations. But, this option is obviously not suitable for everyone.

Bank Loans

Bank loans are a common source of funding. To secure a loan, you’ll need a robust business plan and potentially some form of collateral.


If your business has high growth potential, you might consider seeking funding from investors. This could be through venture capitalists or an angel investor. Keep in mind that investors typically expect a share of your business in exchange for their investment.


In Australia, there are numerous grants and funding programs available to support businesses, particularly in the early stages.

Maintaining a positive cash flow is also crucial for your business’s survival and growth. It involves managing your income (sales) and your outgoings (expenses), ensuring that the former always surpasses the latter.

6. Choosing Your Business Location

Your business location can be a critical factor in its success. Here’s what to consider:

Physical vs. Online Presence

Will you operate from a brick-and-mortar location, or will your business be solely online? The choice depends on the nature of your business and where your customers are. Many businesses today opt for a hybrid model, combining the strengths of both physical and online presences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Business Location

If you need a physical location, consider factors such as visibility, customer accessibility, proximity to suppliers, and local competition. Remember to factor in the costs associated with the location, including rent, utilities, and local taxes.

7. Building a Team

As your business grows, you’ll likely need a team to support its operations. Here are a few points to consider:

Hiring Employees vs. Contractors

Will you hire full-time employees, or would contractors be more suitable for your business model? Each has its pros and cons and different legal and tax implications.

Legal Requirements When Hiring

When hiring employees, you must adhere to legal requirements, including minimum wage, leave entitlements, and superannuation contributions. Make sure you understand your obligations as an employer. Keeping on top of your payroll administration and legislation can be complex and time consuming. At JD Scott & Co, we have specialists that will take payroll accounting off your hands.

Remember, building a team isn’t just about filling positions. It’s about fostering a company culture that attracts the right talent and encourages them to stay.

8. Marketing Your Business

To grow your business, you need customers. That’s where marketing comes in. Here are some aspects you should consider:

Building a Brand Identity

Your brand is more than your business name and logo. It’s what people think and feel when they hear your business name. This encompasses your mission, your values, your visual identity, and the overall experience you offer. A strong brand sets you apart from your competitors and helps attract and retain customers.

Importance of Websites

In today’s digital world, a website is essential. It’s not only a place to showcase your products or services but also a powerful marketing tool.

Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategies

Social media provides a platform to connect with your customers directly. Sharing engaging content and offering excellent customer service via social media can help you build strong relationships with your customers.

Digital marketing, including email marketing and online advertising, is another way to reach and engage your customers. These strategies should be tailored to your target audience to ensure they are effective.


Networking remains one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your business. This could include attending industry events, joining local business associations, or even participating in community activities. The key is to build genuine relationships that can lead to referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Direct Mail

Direct mail can still be a powerful marketing tool, especially for local businesses. This could include sending out flyers, brochures, or special offers to potential customers in your area. The success of this strategy often depends on a compelling offer and a clear call to action.

Public Relations

Getting media coverage can significantly boost your business’s visibility. This could involve pitching stories to local media, writing press releases about newsworthy business activities, or participating in community events.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Partnering with complementary businesses can be a win-win situation. This could involve joint marketing initiatives, package deals, or referral agreements.

Remember, the best marketing strategy often involves a mix of both digital and traditional methods. The key is to understand your target audience and use the methods that will most effectively reach them.

9. Setting Up Your Business Operations

To deliver your products or services consistently and efficiently, you’ll need to establish your business operations:

Establishing Operational Processes

These include production, delivery, payment, customer service, and more. Documenting these processes ensures consistency and helps identify areas for improvement.

Importance of Customer Service

Excellent customer service can set you apart from your competitors. It involves not only addressing customer concerns and queries promptly but also going the extra mile to make customers feel valued.

10. Navigating Challenges

Developing Resilience

Challenges are inevitable when starting a business. Building resilience, maintaining a positive attitude, and being ready to pivot or adapt your plans can help you overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.

Asking for Help

Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Whether it’s advice from a mentor, support from your network, or services from professionals like us at JD Scott + Co, getting the right help can make all the difference.

Embracing Change

In the business world, change is the only constant. New competitors, changes in customer preferences, technological advancements, and market fluctuations can all impact your business. Be prepared to embrace change, regularly reviewing and adapting your business plan to ensure you stay relevant and competitive.

Understanding and Managing Risk

Every business decision involves some level of risk. The key is to understand these risks and find ways to manage them. This might involve diversifying your offerings, investing in insurance, or building a cash reserve to buffer against unforeseen circumstances.

Learning From Mistakes

Mistakes are part of the journey when starting a business. Rather than fearing them, learn from them. Each mistake is an opportunity to gain valuable insights that can guide your future decisions and strategies.

Prioritising Self-Care

Running a business can be demanding and stressful. It’s important to take care of your physical and mental health. This might involve regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, ensuring you get enough sleep, and taking time out to relax and recharge. Remember, you’re the driving force behind your business – your well-being matters.

Starting a Business: The Gateway to Your Future Success

Starting a business is a thrilling and rewarding endeavour. It’s a journey filled with challenges, learning experiences, and opportunities for growth.

At JD Scott + Co, we’re committed to helping you build your business and wealth, offering our expertise and support every step of the way. By making the complex simple, we enable you to focus on what you do best: running your business.

How to start a business FAQs

Starting a business with no money is challenging, but not impossible. It requires creativity, hard work, and a willingness to leverage your resources efficiently. Consider starting a service-based business that requires minimal upfront costs or looking for partners or investors.

The cost to start a business varies widely, depending on the type and scale of the business. It can range from a few hundred dollars for a home-based sole trader to tens of thousands of dollars for a brick-and-mortar store. It’s essential to plan your startup costs carefully and secure adequate funding before you start.

There’s no ‘perfect’ time to start a business. It largely depends on your personal circumstances, market conditions, and the nature of your business idea. However, it’s important to start when you have a well-researched business plan, sufficient funding, and a clear understanding of your target market.

The best way to start a business involves researching your market, validating your business idea, writing a comprehensive business plan, securing adequate funding, and executing your plan effectively. Remember, starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint, and consistent effort and resilience are key.

Got more questions? Remember, JD Scott + Co is here to support you at every stage of your entrepreneurial journey. Reach out to us anytime.