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How to start your own business

Find out the basics of setting up a new business.

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Setting up a new business

Before you go into business, it’s helpful to do some research first.

Questions to ask yourself before you start

Guide to starting a business

Planning your business

You’ll need to think about the practical side of your business too, such as how you’ll finance it and run it.

How much money do you need to set up and run your business?

How to write a business plan

Protecting your business name and ideas

You need to think about your branding and protecting your business idea.

What is intellectual property

Check if your business name, trademark, web domain and social media usernames and domain name are available.


Structuring your business

You’ll also need to find a formal structure for your business. The most common structures are a company, sole trader or partnership.

Ways to structure your business

Before you start a company

Buying a business

It can be cheaper to buy an existing business than to set one up from scratch. Investigate the market to make sure you’re getting a fair deal.

Buying a business or franchise

Running a business

Staff and human resources

If you hire staff you need to know your duties as an employer, and implement good management practices, including health and safety.

Hiring an employee

Employment agreement builder

Compliance requirements

Use the Compliance Matters tool to find, understand and manage the reporting your business must do to government.

Compliance matters — figure out your compliance requirements

ACC levies

What you pay depends on the number of staff you have, their income, the industry you’re in and your claims history.

ACC levies

Tax obligations

You’ll need to keep accurate records, budget for upcoming tax payments, and account for your business expenses and deductions for your business and your staff.

Introduction to taxes and levies

Business tax obligations

Going contracting

You can also be a self-employed contractor. You’ll normally be paid more than a salaried worker, but you’ll need to pay your own tax, and you do not get holiday pay or sick leave.

What is a contractor?

Going contracting

It’s common for contractors to have to take out insurance — for example, liability insurance — before they sign a contract.

Insurance cover for contractors

Advice and support for your business

A number of government agencies provide help for new businesses.

Grants and help for your new business

Contact a business adviser for business start up and development help

Inland Revenue has community compliance officers and Kaitakawaenga Māori who help small businesses with tax advice.

IR’s community compliance officers

IR’s Kaitakawaenga Māori business support

Utility links and page information

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