How to Start a Business in SA: A Step-by-step Guide

How to Start a Business in SA: A Step-by-step Guide
Looking to start a business in South Australia? Here's a step by step guide to help you start your business in SA. Find out more with Square.
by Square Jan 29, 2022 — 5 min read
How to Start a Business in SA: A Step-by-step Guide

Starting a business is not an easy feat, it involves courage, drive, and passion. Being passionate about the industry and the goods/services you sell is crucial to forming the foundational success of any new business. Regardless of the type of business, you are seeking to open, whether it be a physical location or an online eCommerce store, there are standard steps and considerations that must be given.

With the Coronavirus pandemic shifting many traditional retailers online, the competition for customers and success is markedly harder. Building solid business foundations and operating principles will aid you in scaling your business – plan for the future and have an open mind.

The following article will outline all the processes you should undertake if you are contemplating starting a business in South Australia.

Choosing your business structure

In South Australia, there are three different business structures that are available to you.

The most common for new businesses is a sole trader – as a sole trader, the business owner conducts all activities with limited external help. Sole traders are legally and financially responsible for all aspects of the business and debts and losses cannot be shared with anyone else. Setting up your business as a sole trader involves limited paperwork and is an avenue by which you can begin operating in a short time frame whilst being legally compliant. As a sole trader, you will have an Australian Business Number (ABN) which will help identify your business and the structure you operate on.

A partnership is a legally binding business structure that involves 2-20 business owners who are all under contractual obligations as to their roles within the enterprise. If you and your partners decide to pursue a partnership, then an agreement must be put into place outlining everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Within this structure, all partners are equally responsible for the legal and financial shortfalls of the business – a partnership is not a separate legal entity. You may be personally liable for any business debts.

A far less common structure for new businesses is to become a company through the process of incorporation. Companies are separate legal entities that are considered their own ‘person’ under the law. Directors of a company in most cases are not legally and financially responsible for any shortfalls of the company. If you choose to incorporate your business, then you are placing significantly less risk on your personal financial circumstances. Companies are extremely complicated and involve the appointment of directors and a designated management team. It is not recommended for new businesses to immediately pursue this path but rather carefully consider all options to understand if becoming a company is in the businesses best interest.

Create a business plan

Once you have chosen your desired business structure it is important you formulate an effective business plan to outline your goals for the future and how you will profitably operate. Business plans don’t have to be lengthy documents that detail every aspect of the business – however, it is important that the fundamentals of your operations are outlined in an easy-to-understand way.

When going for a business loan, a bank may ask to see your business plan to determine the quality of your operations – this will directly impact the amount of credit you receive. Furthermore, if you are seeking to expand through external investors, they will want to understand the intricacies of your business and how you use your funds – a business plan will outline all of this and avail apprehensions for investors.

Conduct market research

Once you have created a business plan it is crucial that you conduct market research to understand where your business will sit in relation to others in similar industries. Market research will allow you to determine how to successfully market your business and position it in the public eye.

Analyse similar businesses strengths and weaknesses whilst also interviewing members of your target audience to gain insight into what they want from a business like yours. These valuable insights will provide a solid base of information from which you can start your businesses servicing the needs of your customers from the onset.

Choose a business location

Are you going to be a brick-and-mortar retailer or an exclusively online operation?

This is a consideration that must be given before you start operating. There are benefits and disadvantages to both business locations and it is important you research what is most suitable for the success of your business.

If a physical location is the right decision for you then it is important to determine whether a metropolitan location, such as Adelaide, or a regional location, such as the Barossa Valley, is the most appropriate location for success. There are various grants and support packages available to regionally based businesses, however, you must operate where your customers are located – market research will help you determine this.

South Australian business licenses and registration

South Australian businesses must register their operations and may be required to gain licenses to sell their products to consumers. For instance, if you are seeking to open a business in the hospitality space then you will be required to get food safety licenses and liquor licenses if you seek to serve alcohol.

There are stringent requirements for different industries. There is a range of responsibilities including the need to be aware of the local, state, and Australian government laws that may affect your operations. Please visit the South Australian government website to determine how licenses and registration may affect your business.

Available grants and programs

The South Australian government operates various grants and programs that help provide funding for small businesses making waves in local communities. These assistance programs can come in the form of tax waivers, exemptions for planning requirements, and commercial tenancy legislation changes.

Visit the South Australian Treasury website for detailed information. The Treasury website also offers free online workshops for businesses to learn digital skills along with financial management – if your business knowledge is limited then this may be beneficial for the success of your business.

If you are a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent then there are a number of initiatives available for you to commence your business operations. Visit the Business Development and Assistance Program website and the Indigenous Business Australia website for more detailed information.

If you are innovating in your industry, then there are grants available for innovation. These are on a more local level, administered by councils to encourage innovating within their local government area. To see what innovation grants may be available to you, visit the Business Australia website.

Small business support

Small businesses have struggled throughout the pandemic – in response, the South Australian government has provided support for struggling businesses. Implementing new techniques and skills within your business may improve its operations and increase profitability. These support services aid businesses in recovering in a post-pandemic world as well as how to learn and implement new skills.

To help with pandemic recovery, the South Australian government has released stimulus and relief packages for small businesses in the state. All relevant information is on the Business SA website. See if you are eligible by visiting the website.

Small Business South Australia is a government agency that aims to support small businesses with one-on-one support and practical workshops.

Developing an online presence

Building a website for your business is crucial in order for your operations to be found and recognised. A business website can help you increase profits by having an eCommerce offering as well as providing customers with an opportunity to browse from home.

Squares online platform allows small business owners to easily set up a website that facilitates secure and easy transactions. Our platform will allow you to accept payment from a variety of methods, increasing your customer base and reach, increasing your profits!

Build out your online presence and make a name for yourself by creating a stunning website with Square. After you have created a website with our online platform, you can begin to market your business on platforms like Facebook and Instagram – further increasing your customer base and market reach!

Be patient!

Starting a business is a journey and success doesn’t happen instantly. If you are passionate about what you are selling, then your chances of success are greatly improved. Access support and learn new skills to increase your chances. The internet is a fantastic resource for new businesses – there is always a customer out there, it’s just about finding them.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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