10 tips for starting up your small business in New Zealand 

If you’re planning to set up your own business or start your new self-employed adventure in New Zealand, we’ve got 10 tips below to help you on your road to success. 


Make sure your idea is viable 

 We’ve all come up with ideas that seem like a winner from time to time but that on closer inspection don’t really hold up to their original promise. Before you commit a huge amount of time, money and effort,  carefully examine your business concept as if you were an outside assessor deciding whether to invest money in it. Draw up a full business plan and inspect it item by item, and ask for help from outsiders to get their opinion on your plan too. Not only will this prevent you from backing an idea that might not have much going for it, but if it is a good idea this will give you extra enthusiasm and motivation to follow through. 


Think of your business name (the catchier the better!) 

A good business name is something which can be crucial to the success of your business. No matter what industry your business is in, there will always be competition , so you need something that makes your brand stand out from the crowd. 

If you can find a name that will attract customers by being uniquely different from others, you’re already ahead of the game. Try and think of something that is easy to remember, that describes your business, that sounds good, and differentiates you from other businesses. Once you’ve decided on a name, use the ONECheck website to make sure that it is available for use. 


Decide on your structure 

When you set up your business, you need to think of the type of business structure that is going to be suitable to your business needs. Typically the most popularly used small business structures are sole trader, partnership, or company. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to each form of business structure, and each one has different sorts of official registration requirements. One of the best ways to decide on the structure that will suit your business  is to seek professional advice from people like your accountant. 


Obtain a RealMe login 

The RealMe loginii has been developed by the New Zealand government to make things easier for business owners and others when dealing with official services. Once you have a RealMe login you only need a single username and password in order to access a range of New Zealand government services, including local council services, the inland revenue, financial assistance services, and company registration services. 


Get your New Zealand business number 

Your New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)iii is a specific number that can identify your business. It provides links to allow those interested in working with you to discover your trading name, email, phone number and so on. The NZBN helps to streamline the process by only having to  give clients and customers  one number rather than numerous pieces of information, and if you change anything – such as your email – you just have to update your information and anyone accessing your number can see it. Companies are issued an NZBN automatically however partnerships, sole traders and the self-employed can register for one free online. 


Secure your business name 

The last thing you want to do is set up your business, have a great business name only to find out that somebody else is using it. The process of having to change it to something else is a drama you could do without.  That’s why it is important to check and secure it before you start printing off those business cards. 

 You can check the names of New Zealand businesses using the ONECheck tool. You should then reserve the company name with the Companies Office; you have 20 days from reservation to formalise your company’s operations. You should also register a domain name for your business with any authorised registrar and apply to the intellectual Property Office (IPONZ)iv for an initial assessment report on trademarks. 


Check the regulations 

Your region or industry may have particular regulations that are applicable to your business in numerous areas such as health and safety, food licensing, fair trading, and others. Make sure that you know all the applicable federal and local government regulations. ;  


Get registered 

If you decide that your business should be structured as a company, visit the Companies Office online to register itv;.. You have to have a RealMe login to do this.  


GST registration 

If you are earning – or you anticipate earning – over NZ$60,000 per annum, you may need to register for GST. You can do this simultaneously with registering your company. If you haven’t done this, or you are running another type of business, you can register simply, easily, and free of charge online at the Inland Revenue (IRD).vi 


Trademark registration 

The optimal way of protecting your brand against any copying by others in your market is to acquire a registered trademark. The SPA check is a good place to apply online via IPONZ: the process costi a small sum for a large amount of protection for your business. 

Hopefully all of the above will be helpful to you as you start the exciting process of setting up your own company or business. Another thing to consider when setting up your own business is to get your business insurance sorted. 

At BizCover, we understand that you have plenty going on to get your business up and running, so let us take away some of the stress by doing the shopping around for you. We will provide multiple quotes from some of New Zealand’s most trusted insurers, so all you have to do is compare and get covered. 

Find out how you can start protecting your business with BizCover today! 


* The information provided on this page is general guide only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. This information should not be construed as any form of advice. Consider your own personal circumstances, objectives, financial situation, needs, Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), and full policy terms and conditions before making a decision. Product descriptions on this page are intended only as a guide to coverage terms and conditions, and should not be relied upon to determine policy coverage. Policy coverage is subject to the specific terms and conditions of each policy wording. 

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