If you, like many other people over the past few years, have decided to strike out on your own and start up a business, it can seem like a daunting task. Incorporation, GST, business names, trademarks – for at least the first few months you may find yourself doing just as much admin work as paid work. Below is a handy guide of things to consider.


Directors – who will be the director(s)? At least one must live in Australia.

Shareholders – how many shares, and who will own them? Are any shares held beneficially, such as for another person or Family Trust?

Director’s Identification Number

All Directors of companies now need to have Director IDs, for which you can apply here.


If you think your company will end up generating healthy profits, it can often be wise to incorporate a Trust, whether that’s a Family (discretionary) Trust, or a Unit Trust, in order to maximise tax efficiency. We can set up a Trust for you while an accountant can advise you as to your financial planning.

Shareholders Agreement

A shareholders agreement is a pre-nuptial agreement for people looking to invest in a company together. It covers things such as what happens if one person wants to sell, or there is a dispute/deadlock between shareholders, or if one group of shareholders wants to sell the business, but another group doesn’t want to.


Make sure your business name and company name(s) are available. Try using ABN Lookup in the first instance, as well as the ASIC website.


You’ll want to separate your business from your competitors. The first thing you should do is check IP Australia’s trademark register to make sure nobody else has registered a similar trademark in the same class of good or service as you.

We can advise on trademark registration and make the application for you.

Registering for an ABN, Business Name and GST

All businesses need to register for an ABN. You can do so with the ABR here.

You’ll want to register a business name, which can be done via ASIC.

For GST, head on over to the ATO’s website.

Asset protection

Now that the admin side of your business is up and running, you’ll want to make sure your hard earned profits are safe. Talk to us about developing a plan to keep your trading risks and your business assets separate.

Final word

Nevile & Co are experienced at helping small businesses with all stages of starting up. You should talk to us as soon as possible on your business journey so we can structure your business in a manner that protects it from potential risks and is tax-efficient. The earlier you chat to us, the better. If you’re thinking about taking the leap and starting your own business, contact Jack Nevile at jack.nevile@nevile.com.au