Steps to setting up a business
It can be helpful to have a pathway to follow. Here are some initial steps and a framework to consider to set you on your path.
Initial questions to ask yourself
- Are you ready to start your own business?
Here's an article with 7 Tips and Decision-Making Tools to help guide you before making the big leap into the startup world
- Define what you are offering and to whom:
- What are your services?
- Who is your target market?
- Market research:
- Who else is doing/providing same/similar products or services?
- What’s your point of difference?
This article explains the importance of this step — The 3 Basics of Startup Branding:
- Have you got a name for your business?
- A logo design in mind?
"One of the most important steps when starting a business is branding your new company. Do you know what defines your brand? Three elements — logo, website, and domain name — are key to building a startup’s brand. Let's take a look at each..."
- Do you have the money to set up or will you need to finance this with a bank loan?
- Do you have investors?
- Are you planning on crowdfunding?
- Can you run your business by yourself or will you need to employ or contract to others?
- Do you have experience managing staff?
- Where will you work?
- Do you have space at home to run a business or will you need to rent premises?
- There are many co-working or shared working spaces around the Wellington CBD and these include rent a desk / hotdesk by the hour, through to serviced offices with shared admin facilities
Design a Plan
With these questions answered the next step is to design a plan. If you are seeking finance from a bank you will need to present a business plan, and a business plan also helps you work through and keep track of the necessary steps you need to take.
Wellington City Libraries' Business eLibrary resources offer the following resources for this task, which you have access to with your library card:
Business: Entrepreneurship (Gale)
Gale Business Entrepreneurship covers all aspects of starting and operating a business - including accounting, finance, human resources, management, marketing, and more.
Download reports and articles to help you write a business plan, craft a marketing campaign or launch a product.
Business: Entrepreneurship (Gale)
Business: Plan Builder (Gale)
A step-by-step planning tool for starting, managing and optimizing a business or nonprofit. The program will walk you through five areas of exploration to develop a business plan. (You'll need to create an account to save your progress.)
Business: Plan Builder (Gale)
Courses and other resources for Business Plans
Consider doing a course — two options in Wellington are:
As well, Business.govt.nz is part of MBIE and offers a range of resources including its Digital Boost service ‐ free, online training videos on all aspects of business:
Digital Boost — an MBIE service
Get accurate legal and financial advice
Once you have a plan, getting accurate legal and financial advice is crucial.
Limited legal advice can be accessed at the Citizens Advice Bureau and through Community Law Offices:
Business.govt.nz — Guidance on seeking financial advice
- Register with the NZ Companies Office
- Register with the Inland Revenue and get set up for GST
Set up a bank account
Key points here:
- Keep your business income separate from your personal account.
- All the main banks have a business advisor who will work with you.
- Bank websites also offer free business training resources.
Accounting software and an accountant
Your accountant will advise on accounting software packages such as Xero, Hnry, MYOB or Reckon.
Xero (bigger business) and Hnry (used by sole traders, contractors) also offer online training modules for small businesses. Both these businesses are Wellington based.
Depending on your business you may also need to consult with the following to ensure you adhere to the correct legislation.
Wellington City Library is working with CERT NZ to encourage all business people to implement a 2FA security system across all online accounts. This added level of security is particularly important if you collect and store client details and/or do online commerce across any social media platforms.
You can find more information about online security and protecting yourself from cybercrime at:
CERT NZ (government site)
Relevant legislation can be found through Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise:
Standards NZ (SNZ) is a part of MBIE and develops and sells standards that guide the development of many products and services:
Wellington City Council is the place to contact for a variety of licenses, permits you may require to operate or advertise your business:
Health and safety
The Privacy Act applies to almost every person, business and organisation in New Zealand. The Act includes privacy principles that guide how personal information can be collected, used, stored and disclosed.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC)
Next up – tell people about your business (aka marketing). Advertising and networking are important to a fledgling business — some options and pathways for marketing your business are below:
- In today’s world a business that’s not online is difficult to find.
- Have a look at the websites of companies offering a similar product to yours.
- What do you like or not like about them? There are free websites available but depending on your business having a website made professionally is probably a good investment.
- Make sure your website is appropriately optimized. Consider to whether you might need an appointment booking feature or an e-commerce/shop feature.
- Facebook vs Instagram vs Tiktok vs... There's always a new platform!
- What are you comfortable using? Which platforms are your target market likely to use?
- Make sure you are familiar with the platform/s you choose and your content is appropriate and effective.
- If you plan to make videos or podcasts, then Wellington City Libraries offers a recording studio in Johnsonville Library at our Hive Makerspace (also useful for prototyping).
- Don’t under estimate the flier or business cards at local points if your business is targeting locals. There are often noticeboards in supermarkets, libraries, community centres.
- A local newspaper is often a good place to advertise.
- Use a local facebook network or neighbourly to advertise your business.
- Depending on product consider a stall at a local/community street fair.
Developing your business
Great – your business is up and running! Well done! The next step is developing your business. The opportunities and organisations below may be helpful in this process.
Coaching and mentorship
Would you benefit from a business mentor or coaching?
Business Mentors New Zealand
"Business Mentors New Zealand is the only independent national business mentoring service provider to the small business sector in New Zealand. The service matches experienced businesspeople, the Mentors, with small business owners."
There are also numerous business coaches in Wellington who offer independent advice — find opportunities for this through the Wellington Chamber of Commerce website:
The Wellington Chamber of Commerce — Business Coaching
"Wellington Chamber of Commerce is a membership based organisation
responsible for providing a range of services for Wellington members. These range from lobbying and advocacy work on Wellington issues through to running events and training courses in Wellington. We issue chamber of commerce trade documentation such as Carnets and Certificates of Origin and provide trade facilitation services through the global chamber network."
If thinking of exporting then talk to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise:
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
If developing a product for an Asian market talk to Asia Foundation NZ:
Asia Foundation NZ
For a Latin American market, talk to Latin America New Zealand Business Council:
Latin America New Zealand Business Council
Wellington City Libraries has a range of resources to support your business development — you can find these in detail at the link below, with a few highlights on this page. These include our Business Blog, books, video training courses, eBooks and audiobooks you can listen to on your commute for work or recreation, streaming film and more. Plus, of course, our Research Databases.
Library Services for Businesses
On our Business Blog, we write about a variety of topics of interest to Wellington and local businesses, and post about materials and resources available from within our collections to benefit your business:
Library Business Blog
Katalyst has comprehensive profiles on 15,800 New Zealand business to business (B2B) companies including details on their activities, brands, people, products and services searchable by 30 different criteria including location, Number of employees, turnover, products (by ANZSIC code), job category or job title.
Access is limited to Wellington City Libraries members, and it's available for in-library use only (remote access is not available).
Katalyst (in-library only)
On the go? Listen to business audiobooks and eBooks
On the go? Listen to business audiobooks and eBooks on your mobile device with our Libby app. Browse their special 'Business Reading Room' below, or browse the whole Libby site.
LinkedIn Learning is a video tutorial service providing access to over 12,000 instructional videos on many topics including computer software, business skills, video editing and more. Learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to meet your personal or professional goals - with expert tutors who know how to teach.
Need more help? Our Prosearch Service
Prosearch is Wellington City Libraries' professional search service. We have the skills and specialist resources to track down reliable, up-to-date information quickly.
Have an information query or research need related to starting your business? Our Prosearch team can help you find information across a range of perspectives and resources.
Our Prosearch Team members vary, but always include Linda Stopforth, our Business Customer Specialist, as well as other subject specialists as needed depending on the size and scope of your enquiry. All enquiries are treated in confidence.
Our Prosearch Service — more information
This page is written and maintained by our Business Development Librarian, Linda Stopforth. Last updated June 2022. Contact us with any feedback.