Department of State Development

Success in business can’t be predicted or foretold. The decision to go into business is not one to take lightly. It can be challenging, rewarding, fulfilling and enjoyable.

However it can also be time-consuming, stressful and lead to financial hardship when things don’t go according to plan. There are, however, some common factors that underpin success.

The information below provides practical tools and resources that can assist you in starting and operating your business.

It provides a structured way of thinking through the issues and making decisions before you start spending money on setting up your business and can also be used to review and monitor progress once you are operating.

Topics in this section include:

Planning your business

There is a well-known saying in business that business owners do not plan to fail, they merely fail to plan. This saying draws on small business studies which show that owners who plan their businesses are much more likely to survive and prosper.

The best way to avoid many of the problems that lead to business failure is to document your ideas in a plan and take the time to really test and challenge them before you start the business.

A business plan should include a description of the business, the market/s in which it operates, objectives and goals and the strategy to achieve them.  It serves as a major planning and control tool because it is like a road map - it tells you what to expect and what alternative routes you can take to arrive at your destination.  Sound business plans take time to develop and are created systematically over a period of time as ideas and strategies are developed and problems are identified and resolved.

Once you have started your business planning remains an on-going fundamental business process, and you should take the time to regularly review progress and update your business plan accordingly.

Resources and downloads

A guide to starting a business in South Australia
Download PDF | 378 KB
Business Planning
Download PDF | 273 KB

Structuring your business

One of the early decisions when going into business is what form of legal structure to adopt? Your choice will involve consideration of many variables and often personal preferences. In most cases it will boil down to being unincorporated (sole trader or partnership), forming a proprietary company or operating as a trading trust.

Each has advantages and disadvantages so it is important that you make the decision that is right for you in conjunction with your professional advisers.

Irrespective of the legal structure adopted you may also choose to trade under a business name to help customers recognise your business.

Home business

You may like to operate your business at or from home like over 60,000 businesses in South Australia.

Dramatic changes in communication technologies have made it possible to deliver services and products to world-wide customers whilst operating the business at home.

Owning a home-based business is, for the most part, just like owning any other business - regardless of location every business must serve a market for its products and services, generate sufficient sales to cover operating expenses and make a profit. The level of profit must be sufficient to reward the business owner’s time, repay any loans, accumulate capital for expansion, reward the capital invested and pay any taxes applicable to net income.

Starting a restaurant, cafe or take-away business

The guide to starting a restaurant, café or takeaway provides specific help and information into what is required and what is recommended when starting or buying a restaurant, café or take-away business.

It's divided into five sections and will assist you in making key decisions and provide advice in the following areas:

  • Turning an idea into a business
  • Business planning
  • Starting a restaurant, café or takeaway business
  • Licence and regulatory information
  • Key contacts and industry associations

Please note that the guide provides an overview of general information available for new business starters. It is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or financial advice. You should, when necessary, seek your own advice for any legal or financial issues raised in relation to establishing your business. 

Resources and downloads

  • Visit Food SA for more information on starting a food business
  • Visit Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA), the national industry association committed to ensuring owners and operators within the hospitality industry remain profitable and sustainable.

Buying a franchise

Franchising is a business relationship in which the franchisor (the owner of the business providing the product or service) assigns to independent people (the franchisees) the right to market and distribute the franchisor's goods or service, and to use the business name for a fixed period of time. 

Buying a franchise can be an exciting and rewarding experience but there are some things you must find out first. A legitimate franchising company is proud of its name and welcomes detailed investigations. A franchise can be a good way of investing, provided you do your homework. Beware of any company that refuses to answer your questions.

You should consult your accountant, your bank, a solicitor or a registered franchise adviser before you sign any contracts.

Resources and downloads