6 OFFLINE Boxes to Tick for Your Online Business

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The internet has leveled up the playing field for businesses. Now, it’s possible to start your own business online without the startup costs that come with a brick-and-mortar business. Just because it’s possible does not mean it is easier. There are unique steps that you must take as an online business owner to launch your website and business. You have to invest the same level of diligence in starting your online business as a traditional, offline one. 

We’ve outlined the steps you must do offline to get your online business up and running.

1. Choose Your Business Structure

There are four types of business structures in Australia: 

  1. Sole Trader
  2. Company
  3. Partnership, and 
  4. Trust.

You must select the appropriate business structure because it will determine the level of control you have over the company, the taxation structure, personal liability, and the regulatory obligations needed to start your business. 

If unsure, consult with a lawyer about the right structure for your online business. 

2. Register Your Business

The next step is to register your online business. Pick a unique business name and obtain your Australian Business Number (ABN). Without the ABN, you cannot operate legally in Australia. 

Once you secure your ABN, register your business name. You can use the ABN to secure goods from other entities, claim taxes, send invoices as a company, etc. 

3. Register for the Goods and Services Tax

All businesses or enterprise that has a GST turnover of $75,000 or more must register for Goods and Services Tax in Australia. If you are a new business and expect your gross income to reach the said threshold, then you must register for GST. If your gross income is below the threshold, applying for GST is optional. 

It is important to note that once you have registered, you must include GST in your fees and claims, even if you are unable to meet the $75,000 threshold. 

4. Get the Right Insurance

If you are a new business, it is important to get the right insurance coverage for your business. The type of business insurance you must obtain for your online business will depend on the industry and the nature of your business. 

Public liability insurance is one of the most basic types of insurance for businesses. This type of insurance coverage will protect your business from significant financial loss if you’ve been determined liable for negligence. For example, if your online business is about food services, you will be required to pay for any liabilities if your food products cause illness to your customers. 

The topic of commercial cyber insurance is a complex one. It is recommended that you speak to an insurance broker about your options. An insurance broker can help assess the nature of your business and the different risks you are exposed to so you can pick the right coverage. Even if you get insurance, you could end up paying out of your own pocket if you choose the wrong coverage or type of insurance. 

5. Set Up a Virtual Office and Phone Number

Your customers will want to have access to a contact number and a virtual office address. A physical location and the opportunity to talk to a person associated with an online company will help boost your online business’ credibility. 

Your Australian customers will find it difficult to trust your company if you don’t provide your contact details. Make sure to set these up to boost your online legitimacy. 

6. Register Your Domain Name for the Website

Before you can launch your website, you must do the offline task of registering your domain name. Just like your business name, make sure your domain name is unique. Even if you’re not ready to build your website yet, you can register for the domain name while it’s still available. It helps you to secure the domain name when you are ready to use it and build your website.

Register your domain name through an accredited registrar or reseller. Make sure it has the .au domain. You will need your available domain name and Australian Company Number or Australian Business Number to get started. 

The cost of the domain name registration will be approximately $20-$50 per year. This cost can be higher depending on the add-ons for your registered domain.