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Starting a Business

Starting a business is not a linear process. The resources below are a guide to some of the steps you need to take, organisations you need to register with, and more.

Photo of a person at a laptop with a cat.

Steps to setting up a business

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?
  • Branding: Have you got a name for your business? A logo design in mind?
    This article explains the importance of this step — The 3 Basics of Startup Branding.
  • Finance: 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?
  • Staffing: 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 offers the following resources for this task, which you have access to with your library card:

eLibrary Resources for Starting and Running a Business

Business Courses

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.

Other Business Resources

Get accurate legal and financial advice

Limited legal advice can be accessed at the Citizens Advice Bureau and through Community Law Offices. Bussiness.govt.nz also have advice on this topic.

Register your business

  1. Register with the NZ Companies Office
  2. 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.

Legal Requirements

Depending on your business you may also need to consult with the following to ensure you adhere to the correct legislation:

Online security

Wellington City Library is working with CERT NZ to encourage all businesses 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/legislation

Relevant legislation can be found through Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise.

Standards NZ

Standards NZ (SNZ) is a part of MBIE and develops and sells standards that guide the development of many products and services. You can find Standards NZ here.

Local government

Wellington City Council is the place to contact for a variety of licenses, permits you may require to operate or advertise your business. Visit the Wellington City Council website for information about certificates and licences.

Health and safety

Privacy Commissioner

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. Contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner here.

Marketing

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:

A Website

  • 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.

Social media

  • 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 Tūhura HIVE Makerspace (also useful for prototyping).

Local advertising

  • 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.

Networking

  • Use LinkedIn effectively for both promotion and building networks
  • Join a Wellington professional networking group – there are a number around the city.

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? If so, check out Business Mentors.

"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."

Going international

If thinking of exporting then talk to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

If developing a product for an Asian market talk to Asia Foundation NZ.

For a Latin American market, talk to Latin America New Zealand Business Council.

Need more help? Our Prosearch Service

Prosearch is Wellington City Libraries' professional search service. Learn more here.