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10 tips for starting a business

Image of a woman who plans to start a business of her own

5-minute read

Taking the leap of faith to start your own business is a big decision and there are many things to consider. Here are 10 tips to help get your new venture off to a good start.

What we'll cover

  1. Business plan
  2. Your niche
  3. Business community
  4. Customers
  5. Registrations
  6. Business banking
  7. Taking payments
  8. Your website
  9. Closing sales
  10. Business visibility


Key take-outs
  • Capture all aspects of your business idea in a business plan
  • Be clear about your offering and involve your business network in its launch
  • Carry out market analysis to identify your target audience
  • Choose a name and register your business
  • Establish ways to advertise using strong marketing messages
  • Decide how to take payments and bank your business income
  • Establish your sales methods and optimise your website.

1. Write a business plan

Many small business owners find that writing a business plan helps them pull all the aspects of a business idea together into a single document. You'll probably need to show a business plan to any banks or other financial institutions if you want to access business loans to help cover startup costs. And if you're seeking funding from an investor or partner, they'll want to see your business plan too.


Typically, your plan would include an overview of your business model, market research, information about your target market and potential customers, marketing strategy (including social media marketing), and financial projections, plus details of any professional services you're using, such as an accountant.


A SWOT analysis (listing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) can also be included. Drafting it will help you address issues before it’s too late, while recognising ways to increase the chances of becoming a profitable business.

2. Know your niche

Be very clear about why you’ll be doing what you do, why your service is different to other businesses, and how you intend to stand out from the crowd. Be inspired by your vision, as this is what will connect customers to your passion for the services or products you offer.


Try to identify or develop a unique selling point (USP), which could be either a new product feature or a better way you provide a service. Then ensure you communicate it strongly in sales and marketing messages.

3. Recognise you are connected to a community

No entrepreneur achieves success alone. Each business is supported by a thriving eco-system of suppliers, partners, customers and clients. That is, your business community.


When you recognise that collectively you are contributing to a bigger picture, you’ll feel much more supported in your journey towards becoming a successful business.

4. Know your ideal customers

Have a really strong sense about who your ideal customers and clients are. At the start, while you might be willing to take business from anyone, it’s a good idea to understand how your pricing, offer and service to these customers will (or will not) grow your customer base.


And think about who you actually want to do business with. Is the potential customer aligned with your business ethos? Can the initial sale grow into more of a mutually beneficial business partnership?

5. Attend to your business registrations including GST

Choose your business structure (such as sole trader, partnership or company) and register your business through the Australian Government Business Registration Service.


If your business has an annual turnover of $75,000 or more, you must register for GST. Other thresholds apply for taxi/ride-share businesses and not-for-profits. You can find out more about the requirements and register for GST on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website


Learn more about business registrations in our 4 key steps when setting up your business article.

6. Open a separate business bank account

Tax time can be simpler if you separate your business income and expenses from your personal finances. Using a dedicated account for business gives you more control of your cash flow and better visibility of income and outgoings.


And if you choose an account that's designed specifically for the needs of businesses, it may include extra features that simplify bookkeeping and make preparing tax returns easier. 


Tips on how to choose a business bank account
Things you may wish to consider and compare include:

  • The way you mainly bank, such as all online or by app, or mostly in branch
  • Transaction fees and other costs
  • The services you'll want, such as connecting to accounting software
  • The ability to link your account to a card payment taking facility such as EFTPOS Air mobile app
  • Features designed specifically for small business owners.


With Westpac for example, you can choose between a $0 monthly fee business account (Business One) and an added value business account (Business One Plus) that gives you access to exclusive discounts on popular business products and services. To simplify financial management and bookkeeping, you can connect your account to accounting software such as MYOB and Xero.

7. Decide how to accept payments

When choosing the payment method for your business, the first factor to consider is whether you’ll be taking face-to-face payments, online payments, or bank to bank remote payments.


If you’re starting a shop, café or restaurant, you’ll probably want an EFTPOS machine that takes credit and debit card and digital wallet payments. You could also consider an app such as Westpac EFTPOS Air that takes card payments using a compatible smartphone or tablet1. You can use EFTPOS Air as your main payment method – particularly if you’re a mobile business such as a trade or food truck – or as a backup for busy times.


If your customers prefer to make bank-to-bank payments, you can just give them the BSB and account number of your bank account. Or if you’d rather not share your account details, you can ask customers to pay by PayID®, meaning you’ll only need to provide the unique number you’ve registered for the service – which could be your mobile number or ABN.

8. Build and test a website

Regardless of the type of business you're starting, you'll need a website. It's generally the first thing people refer to when looking for a product or service, or checking out a business.


If you've worked out how to start and build a business, you’re likely to find building a website to promote it pretty simple. Search ‘website builder’ to get links to all the main self-build website providers, making sure you choose a platform that can grow as your business grows.


Then test your website with people whose opinions you trust, such as friends, family or former colleagues. That’ll help you tell when something isn't clear or if there’s a website design issue that may put people off buying from you. This is particularly important if you're building an online store, as you'll want the buying process to be as smooth and simple as possible.

9. Know how to close sales

When you start a business, you may believe you have a great offering, but you’re still going to need confidence to successfully close sales with customers.


Many business owners engage a coach or business mentor to help them learn top sales and marketing techniques. Ask around amongst your network to identify a good local one.

10.  Be visible as a business to your network and beyond

Even if you are yet to land your first client or make your first sale, it's very important to be visible as a business to your network. That's one reason why building a profile on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok is important.


Once you’ve started trading, using these platforms to share work that you’ve completed, testimonials from happy customers, and news about industry developments, are all great ways to promote your business locally.


To sum up

Setting up and running a new business is the dream of many Australians. From choosing a company structure and business name to stock planning, pricing and hiring staff, there's a lot to consider. Rest assured, Westpac will be with you every step of the way with help for your business.

Read more

Business basics for sole traders

Here are some of the first things you should think about to get your business off on the right foot.

How to write a business plan

A business plan is the building block that can help you reach your business goals.

How to set up business banking

New to business banking? Here are three things to consider when choosing banking products for your business.

Things you should know

Westpac's products are subject to terms, conditions and fees; and eligibility criteria may apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs for Westpac business bank accountstaking payments and payment services and Online banking and consider if the product is right for you.


This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.


PayID® is a registered trademark of NPP Australia Limited.


1. Compatibility: To use EFTPOS Air your iPhone or Android device will need to be Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled and running on one of the supported iPhone Operating Systems (iOS) or Android Operating Systems (OS) listed at, which may change from time to time. Tap to Pay on iPhone requires iPhone XS or later running iOS 16.4 or later and a supported payment app. Some contactless cards may not be accepted by your payment app.