Doing Business In Australia

Foreign companies

A foreign company wishing to carry on business in Australia must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”). Foreign companies are required to lodge copies of financial statements with ASIC, notify ASIC when some company details change, appoint a local agent and have an Australian registered office.

If a foreign company requires an Australian presence it may choose to establish a wholly owned subsidiary, such as an Australian private company limited by shares or a public company, provided some basic requirements are met. Those types of companies must also be registered with ASIC.

The Australian Government’s foreign investment policy may require a foreign company or its subsidiary to obtain Government approval prior to acquiring assets or shares owned by an Australian company.

Australian business structures

Many businesses in Australia operate as private or “proprietary limited” companies, either in their own right or as trustee of a trust, or as public companies. Private companies must have at least one Director. Public companies must have at least three Directors and a Secretary – the Secretary and two Directors must reside in Australia.

Australian businesses may also utilise other business structures such as partnerships, joint ventures and trusts. All Australian businesses are governed by a robust legal framework and taxation regime.

Franchising

Franchising is a very common method of doing business in Australia. Franchising has a significant and positive effect on the Australian economy, with its inherent stimulus for growth and creation of jobs in a number of industries and markets. Franchise arrangements are subject to the mandatory Franchising Code of Conduct (“the Code”), which comprises part of Australia’s competition and consumer legislation.

Australian Regulators

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) promotes compliance with the Code. The ACCC regulates Australia’s national infrastructure services, and is responsible for ensuring that individuals and businesses comply with Australian competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws. Part of the ACCC’s role is to ensure that mergers and acquisitions do not result in a substantial lessening of competition in an Australian market.

The Intellectual Property Office of Australia (“IP Australia”) administers intellectual property rights and legislation governing patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. IP Australia processes trademark, designs, plant breeder’s rights and patent applications, conducts hearings and decides disputes regarding Australian intellectual property rights.

ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. It regulates, licenses and monitors all Australian companies, financial services organisations, superannuation, insurance, deposit-taking, credit and investment professionals, and financial markets.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (“APRA”) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. APRA oversees Australian banks, credit unions, insurance and reinsurance providers, building and friendly societies, and many superannuation industry members.

The Australian Taxation Office is Australia’s primary tax law regulator and revenue collection agency.

Commercial due diligence

Commercial due diligence is an important first step to any business acquisition or private equity investment.

Engage a lawyer with commercial business experience to advise you on the risks and opportunities of a transaction and protect your interests.

Stone Lawyers assists clients from a range of industries across the spectrum of their commercial activities and in a variety of specialised areas.

Why Creating A Brand Identity Is Essential To Your Online Home Business?

Having a brand identity is considered to be one of the most key aspects and strongest marketing instrument in business, irrespective of whether your business is small or big. And to many people, a logo plays a vital role in representing your business and in creating an unforgettable impression of your business. It gives a unique and memorable identity of your business on the market.

One day, when I was scanning through the posts in one of the marketing forums, I came across a thread in which the forum members were discussing whether it was necessary for a small business owner to spend his time and money on creating logos for their online businesses. While some saw it important, others did not see it necessary for a small online business to bother itself with brand identity creation.

What I read made me reflect on it further and I would like to ask you, “Is creating a brand identity really important to your small online business?” In my own experience, I believe that it’s important to have a brand irrespective of whether your business is small or big. And I would like to iron out the misconception that brand recognition is only for big businesses and that brand creation is something you can think about when your business has grown to some level.

Secondly, brand identity is much more than having a logo. Many people think that a brand is just an artwork or a company’s logo. It’s much more than having a logo. It’s a memorable message a business creates when it effectively promotes the emotional attachment it wants its clients to have with its business. Of course that emotional connection can be created by a logo, a message, a behavior, etc… Which memorable message do you have to create that emotional attachment?

A brand identity is very necessary to you as a small online business owner because you need to have a clear identity and to be memorable in your marketplace. There is a lot of competition in online marketing. Believe me or not there are thousands of websites that are engaged in online small home businesses and online marketing. If you do not create your own identity, it is hard to survive the competition and sustain your business growth.

Yes, you may be making money online without having a brand of your own. But remember that you are in the world of competition and online businesses are very competitive. You may not have given it a thought but it’s one of the business quality standards that can help you to sustain your business growth.

Your brand identity should reflect the messages that you want to communicate to your targeted audience. It should reflect the kind of business you are engaged in and easy to understand. It should reflect your unique selling proposition. Once you have created your brand, you should use it in all your marketing campaigns. Use it on your website, business cards and other marketing tools. Remember that the more people see and hear it, the more they remember and connect it to you or to your business.

Your behavior with your targeted customers should also reflect your brand. The message perceived by your targeted audience from your brand should blend with your behavior to fill the missing link that people want to be filled. If you want your brand to be effective, you have to communicate it out consistently in all your promotional campaigns whether online or offline so as to maintain your brand value.

Finally, I would like to remind you that if you have not thought about having a brand identity for your online home business, it’s high time you did it to create a memorable message to your customers. If you intend to start a home business, it’s important to build your brand right from the time you begin your business.

Small Business Strategy – Why Bother?

Small business strategy is often the first thing a business owner will say they need, are going to do next, and is most likely the very last thing they will actually put time and energy into. It’s not that you don’t know it’s the right thing to do, it’s not that you don’t think it will be of any benefit to you and your business, it’s that the day-to-day chaos and challenges always seem to take priority. To be very honest we too are challenged with the very same things day-in, day-out. But to not give some time to creating a business strategy is dangerous over the long haul.

So, given that we all have small businesses to run, how do we make the time necessary to sit down with a clear head and put together the semblance of a strategy that makes sense and one we can follow to build and grow our businesses?

First thing you must do is STOP! If you are serious then block time in your diary. If you’re not serious then there is no reason to read on. Creating a small business strategy is serious business, so you need a minimum of 2 hours, depending on the size of your business is could be half or a full day.

Don’t carry this out on-site, go somewhere offsite so you can clear your mind. Don’t do it on your own, you need someone (or two) to bounce your ideas off. If you have a senior management team or some senior employees then include them, they will provide a great sounding board, they will often come up with great ideas and think of things you couldn’t imagine. It’s a 50,000 foot view of the business landscape. Business strategy is all about looking down the road 12 to 24 months.

What things should you be thinking of, here are a few:

- What will my business look like

- What turnover/revenue will we be doing

- Who will we be employing then

- What skill-sets do we need in our business

- What role will “I” be taking in the business

We have worked with and studied many businesses over the years and there is one clear difference between the companies who continuously grow and expand year after year. In all cases the business owner and the senior team (if they have one) and employees are very clear what their small business strategy is, and they review it on a yearly basis. They continuously look for business advice and business help when they need it, and they all agree that they don’t have the answers but they know where to go to get those answers.

Do you have a strategy for your small business? What works best for you when putting that together?