As well as thinking about potential clients, possible business partners and areas of specialisation, executive coaches who are starting up a new business need to consider some key areas that are relevant to all new businesses.
– Structure – Sole trader, partnership, trust or company? You need to think about which structure is best for your new business. Here is a useful link.
– Company – If you decide on a company, remember to check the personal services income rules for tax purposes. You will need to meet ASIC requirements to register your company and consider who will act as director, public officer and company secretary.
– Insurance – Before you start, ensure you will have adequate insurance in place to cover key liability. For an executive coach business, this may include public liability and professional indemnity. Workers compensation may also be required. You can discuss this with an insurance broker.
– Business name – Register your business name before you begin to trade. However, registering a business name does not give you any intellectual property rights in the name. For that, you need a trade mark – see below. Also, you need to make sure your business name will not infringe someone else’s trade mark.
– Domain names – Consider registering your business name and variations, including .com.au, .net.au and other suffixes. As for business names, registering a domain name does not give you any intellectual property rights, and you need to check that you do not infringe another trade mark.
– ABN – Apply for an ABN once you’ve determined that this will be a business not a hobby and have met the requirements for an ABN. A company or partnership will also need its own TFN.
– GST – Decide whether you need to register for GST and check the turnover threshold. If you do not register for GST, you are not entitled to charge a GST component and your invoices need to reflect this. Here is a useful link.
– Finance – How will you fund the initial business expenses, such as regulatory expenses, insurance, equipment and supplies? Ensure that you have a business plan in place that covers issues including finance, and tax and accounting input. This is particularly important if you will have a business partner, to set out each person’s responsibilities in the business.
– Marketing & advertising – Your business plan should also cover how you will market and advertise your business to help you grow. Will you engage a marketing specialist? If so, ensure that an appropriate contract is in place protecting your IP and confidential information.
– Records – Set up your systems for accurate records for tax and compliance.
– Employees & consultants – Ensure that you have agreements in place (including protection for your IP and confidential information) and appropriate tax and accounting input, as well as workers compensation insurance. You’ll also need to look at SuperStream compliance requirements for employees.
– Trade marks – Only a trade mark registration will protect your brand name. You should apply at the beginning of the process, not after you have already invested years of marketing into a name that turns out to belong to someone else!
If you would like help with any of these issues to establish your new business, contact influence legal.
Contributor: Elizabeth Burrows is a founding partner of Executive Coach Exchange and director of influence legal.