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So, you’d like to start an online business?

There’s no better time to launch an online business in Australia than now – and Little Big Shop is excited to help the growing number of small businesses achieve their goals of getting online!

Before we get ahead of ourselves though, there are some things you need to consider and organise before your first sale. We’ve put together a four part checklist to help you get your shop up and running – from developing your business idea to setting up payments.

Research your online business idea

Follow your passion and at the same time, think about the audience for your product or services.

Let’s begin with asking – have you done any research into your product, target market, competitors? It’s always good to know whether you are competing in a crowded market and also, what makes you different.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Who will your customers be?
  • What are they currently buying?
  • Are there any other businesses selling in your intended space?
  • Is there room for another brand like yours?
  • Identify why your customer would buy from you and what is unique about your offering.
research and planning involved in starting an online business

Develop your Business Plan

You’ve probably heard the old cliche ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ – and it’s true. A well researched business plan will support your business/brand direction, and will help guide you as you get involved in the day to day workings of your business.

dream big
Aliko Dangote

A business planning template would cover such things as:

  • Vision, mission, goals and objectives
  • The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (S.W.O.T)
  • Your business and its resources – Warehousing, Distribution needs and any other requirements
  • Business numbers & talking with your accountant
  • Growth potential

The Australian Government’s website provides some great tools, to help get you started on your market research and business plan, including:

Choose your business structure

When you start a business, there are things you need to consider such as tax and super responsibilities, and regulatory obligations, so choosing the right business structure for you is important.
The four main types in Australia are:

Sole Trader

One person operates and manages the business on their own.
The business is not a separate legal entity.


An association of people who carry on a business jointly and share the income and risks.


An entity that is in possession of property, income or other assets for the benefit of a third party.


An incorporated entity with an identity separate to its shareholders.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

Your ABN is a unique 11-digit code that allows the government and the wider community to identify your business. You will need an ABN to start selling online.

Don’t have one yet? Visit the Australian Business Register to apply for one.

Time tip: allow at least 20 minutes to set this up.

Register a domain name for your online business

To complete this step, you’ll need to have your business name and ABN sorted. This is because you can only get a address if you’re a registered Australian business.

Make sure the domain name you pick is related to your business in some way as it makes it easier for customers to find you. Keep it short, simple and unique like your brand so that it’s easy to remember.

To get your own domain name (website address/URL), you can buy from trusted Australian providers such as:

So now that you’ve researched your idea, prepared your business plan and sorted out some of the legalities that comes with setting up a new online business, what comes next?

Part 2 of our blog post will touch on some of the ‘fun stuff’ like brand personality, design, and get you to start thinking about your website.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about small business at our blog, and start your free 14-day trial here.