How to start a business

The basics of starting a small business

What are the things I need to think about before getting started?

Getting expert advice

When you're starting a business, there are some complex financial, legal and tax aspects that may be difficult for a newcomer to understand straight away. You may require advice from different people across a range of services, to help you
- choose the right legal structure
- develop a plan to get funding for your start-up costs
- separate your personal and business finances
- understand your obligations as an employer
- understand your tax obligations
- understand your key business risks and how to best protect your investment and effort
- put together a strategy for growth.

For financial matters, you can save time and often money by seeking help from a financial Adviser.

If you're planning to talk to an Adviser, it's important to understand how to make the most out of the relationship. Find out more about the value of financial advice.

Knowing your obligations

It pays to be organised when you’re in charge of a business. By sorting out some of the government requirements from the outset, you can focus more on the core ideas of your business. Some requirements include:

1. Register your business

Depending on your legal structure you may need to incorporate a company, settle a trust deed, or enter into a partnership agreement. Your business may require its own IRD number, but if you're a sole trader you will use your own IRD number. You will also need to register the business for GST if you expect to make sales of more than $70,000 in the following 12 months. If you're starting out small you'll need to keep an eye on the value of sales to see when you do need to register for GST, or when it makes sense for you to do so voluntarily.

2. Sort out how you’ll keep track of money

You’ll need a suitable invoicing and record keeping system, so you can be efficient when it comes to dealing with tax.

3. Understand your KiwiSaver obligations

You’ll probably need to pay KiwiSaver contributions for you and any employees. So it’s important to understand your obligations.

4. Get the right insurance

It helps to understand what insurance you’ll need. Consider the activities of your future business and get advice on your suitable insurance and levels of cover.

Find out more about your tax obligations as a business owner.

What kind of things can I cover?

When working out which things you need cover for it’s a good idea to ask yourself what in your business could be lost or damaged and how that would impact your business.

At AMP we split our business general insurance into two categories - business insurance and farm insurance. This way you can choose the cover that is suited to your specific needs.

Your business could look at getting covers to protect against:
- material damage
- business interruption
- business vehicles
- liabilities

Take a look at more information on your general insurance options for business.