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How to start an online business in Australia in 2022


At $38.7 billion, Australian e-commerce revenue is among the largest globally. The growth in revenue means that more and more people choose online shopping over brick-and-mortar shops.

For an aspiring business owner, now is the perfect time to start an online business and capitalise on the growing market. With this in mind, here is how you can successfully create and launch your online business in Australia.

1. Decide on the Type of Business

With so many small business ideas to choose from, you need to decide what suits you. Some points to consider:

  • What are you good at?
  • What are you interested in?
  • Do you know how much capital you’ll need to set the business up?
  • Do you have enough time to invest in your business – will it be part time or full time?
  • Do you have any prior business and marketing knowledge?

Keep in mind that choosing an online business that relates to your interests and strengths will help you in the long run, and is more likely to keep you motivated even when things get tough.

Sit down and look at both your strengths and weaknesses. Be realistic about your knowledge and experience, then decide on the type of business that’s going to suit you best. Not every online business model will suit your personal circumstances. 

Types of online business ideas include:

  • App development
  • Teaching (online courses)
  • E-commerce store – eg. homemade goods
  • 3D printing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Online Services 
  • Drop-shipping

2. Register the Business — The Legal Aspect

When starting a business in Australia, you need to comply with certain rules and regulations regarding business registration. Some registrations you need to comply with in Australia are:

Australian Businesses Number (ABN)

You must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) to run a business. An ABN is simply an 11-digit number that identifies your business and helps with taxation. You can register for ABN free of charge online.

Registration for Business Name

You should also register the business name. A business name differentiates your business from that of your competitors. Basically, the name connects your customers to your brand. 

You need to have an ABN and a clearly defined business structure to register your business name. If the name of the business you have chosen is not taken, you can register it.

Goods & Service Tax (GST)

Generally speaking, most online businesses in their first year of operation won’t exceed an annual turnover of more than $75,000, which means you do not need to register for GST. 

But if you are expecting to reach this threshold then you should register for GST, which can be done online or over the phone. Check the ATO website for more details on registering for GST.

Other Registrations

Depending on the type of business, you may need to register for other licenses or permits


3. Setting up your Website

Whilst it might be obvious that you’ll require a website if you’re going to set up an online business, having one that is easy to use and functional is absolutely imperative in today’s world. 

If you’re wanting to build your website yourself, you can look into our blog “How do I get a website for my business?” which covers off choosing a domain name, hosting your site, building your website, and tips on promoting the finished product.

If you’re starting an e-commerce business selling physical products, take a look at Shopify and WooCommerce


4. Set Up Other Accounts to Support Your Online Business

Even though your website puts your business in the limelight, you need to incorporate other properties to grow your business.

Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, YouTube, etc., can drive traffic to your website and increase sales. In 2021, about 20.5 million Australians were on social media, with Facebook being the most used platform.

Having a social media platform can help you reach more customers and help build up a relationship through sharing information not only about your products/services but about you as an individual too.

It’s worth noting that you do not need to be on every single social media platform out there – figure out what suits your business, what more of your target demographic would use, and focus on them. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool to track visitors, audience demographics, sales and much more on your website. It can tell you how many people have visited your website and the pages they visited. In other words, the free tool gives you analysed data which you can use to drive sales and make intelligent choices for your business growth. i.e. if the data tells you that most of your traffic is women aged 40-60 who live in NSW, then it might be worth shifting the way you advertise and promote your products/services to even better appeal to this market. Try to focus on a niche audience to begin with, dominate it, then expand your targeting. 

Email Account 

An email marketing account is an excellent way to not only engage with your customers but to house all their contact details. 

With an email marketing account, you can set up an email list for sending promotions and other helpful content for your website and business. Email marketing is a great way to build up trust and develop relationships with your customers. Many email marketing services offer affordable rates or even free plans for small businesses. 

5. Promote Your Business

After you’ve registered your business and created your website and socials, you should look to promote your new business. Whilst Facebook Ads and Google Ads can work well, you may not have the money to invest in these, but there are ways to get free publicity for your small business in Australia.

6. Source for Funds — If You Don’t Have Capital

Starting a business is no walk in the park. Even though there are several challenges facing online companies, financial challenges seem to top the list.

If you have funds, it can be easy to keep your business running for a sustained time. However, facing financial hardship can cripple your business, and whilst starting a business online may not incur as many startup and ongoing costs as a standard brick and mortar type business, it is worthwhile considering seeking Government support.  

The government has several small business grants which you may be eligible for depending on your region, the amount you want, and the type of business. Besides government grants, there are other sources for small business grants in Australia which you may be eligible for.

7. Legal Notices

For your online business to operate legally, you should have the proper legal documents to protect the company and customers. Such documents include a privacy policy, the company’s terms and conditions, and disclaimers. 

  • Privacy Policy – shows that you will protect your customer’s data and not misuse it.
  • Terms and Conditions – show what your visitors must comply with while on your website. The rules limit liability if a customer claims to have suffered the loss while on your site.
  • Disclaimer – A disclaimer works alongside your terms and conditions. A disclaimer limits liability and only allows you to take liability to legally required claims.

All of these documents need to be unique to your business. If you copy verbatim from another site, you risk facing a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

Online Business Solutions for Success

Online businesses are a valuable resource for people to create and tap into endless possibilities while seeking an income. Even though starting an online business is challenging, it is not impossible. With proper tools, help, and guidance, you can be on your way to establishing a successful brand online.

At Nationwide Super, we’re the Small Business Super Business for entrepreneurs and small business owners in Australia. Contact us today to see how we can serve you and your future employees. Read our disclaimer