Start-up Business Essentials


11 October 2017
Posted by Jennifer Tutty and Bree Coker

Starting a new business and want to get your legals sorted?  We’ve got you covered!  Read on to find out about important things you need to consider and do when setting up your new business.

Business Structure Set-up

One of the first things to consider when setting up a new business is the legal structure of your business.  Will you operate as a sole trader, partnership, company, trust or other legal entity?  The legal structure you choose will affect the way various laws apply to your business, what taxes you pay, how your assets are protected and your operating costs. Read our “Business Structures 101” blog for general information about various business structures and speak to us (and your accountant) to obtain tailored advice on what business structure might be right for you.

ABN, TFN and Business Name Registration

Once you have decided on your business structure, you will need an ABN and TFN.  Additionally, if your trading name will be different to your legal entity name, you will also need a business name registration.

Trade Mark

Before you lock in the brand name for your new business, we recommend you have a trade mark lawyer check that your brand name does not

  1. infringe another person’s existing brand; and
  2. is capable of being registered as a trade mark in the countries you wish to trade in.

Once the above clearances are complete and you have chosen your new brand name, we strongly recommend you apply to register it as a trade mark.  A registered trade mark gives you the exclusive legal right to use, license and sell the mark in relation to its registered goods or services.  Check out our blog on “Trade Mark Registration” for more information. (If you are interested in trade mark protection, please contact us for a complimentary proposal).

Business Licences and Permits

Depending on the type of business you wish to operate, you may be required to apply and obtain various licences and permits.  For example, if you intend to play music or sell liquor at your business premises, you will need to obtain the appropriate licences to do so.  Business Victoria has a great webpage where you can do some research yourself and work out what you need.

Lease Review

Will you be leasing a commercial premises for your new business?  If so, we urge you to engage a lawyer to review and provide advice on any ‘heads of agreement’ and lease before you sign.  These documents can contain many hidden terms that can have a huge and often negative impact on your new business and you personally.  When it comes to entering a lease, don’t assume anything and exercise caution before signing on the dotted line.

Business Owners’ Agreement

Where more than one person is setting up a new business, we recommend that an agreement is prepared between the owners which clearly outlines how the business will be owned, operated and managed. The type of agreement you need will depend on your business structure.  It is best to discuss and agree on these matters in the beginning while the going is good, rather than waiting to address issues if a dispute arises later.

Next Steps

Please note that the above list is not exhaustive – these are just some of the things we recommend when setting up a new business.  For example, other things you should consider are registering for GST (if required), employment agreements, contractor agreements, customer terms and conditions, privacy policy and insurances. There may be additional items you need, depending on the nature of your business.

We love assisting start-ups and new businesses. If you are thinking of setting up a new business, we would love to hear from you!  Please give us a call on 03 9521 2128, or email us at  We can then put together a complimentary proposal outlining the most suitable items for you.


The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not constitute formal legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please see the full disclaimer in our website terms. Please contact Studio Legal if you are seeking advice about a specific legal matter.