What are all the things you need to do to get your new business up and running? To make it easy for you we’ve prepared a checklist which covers the main things you will need to take care of.

The Key tasks are:

  1. Prepare a Business Plan
  2. Form Professional Relationships
  3. Set up the Business.

1. Prepare a Business Plan

do a SWOT analysis (assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities and threats in the marketplace)
prepare personal goals and then those for your business
identify your potential customers and do research to determine if there is a need for your product / service
identify your competitors and research them to determine how you will position your business in the market place
develop a marketing plan
choose your business location
determine the start-up costs
prepare operating budgets and cashflow projections
identify what, if any, funding you will require

It may be useful to download and print the publication Planning For Success -a do it yourself kit for developing your own business plan either as a whole document (PDF 947KB) or by smaller chapter sections. (Further copies of this publication can be obtained in hard copy or on CD-ROM from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise 0800 888 555, or by emailing BIZ at


2. Form Professional Relationships

Select a lawyer
Talk to other business owners for recommendations. Look in the Yellow Pages, consult the law society website


Choose a legal entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, or company)
Talk to your lawyer and accountant about this – see the Inland Revenue website for information on business structures


Use the online services at the New Zealand companies’ office for information on registering a company or company name


Create your business (register your name, incorporate the business, etc)
Your lawyer or accountant can assist with this or you can use the online services at the New
Zealand companies’ office to register a company or company name


Select an accountant
Talk to other business owners for recommendations. Look in the Yellow Pages, consult the Institute of Chartered Accountants website for information on selecting an accountant


Select a banker
Make sure that your banker is interested in your business and keep them informed of your plans and likely business needs.


Get financing
If you need financing then it is essential to have a well thought out and professionally presented business plan. Sources of finance can be your family, bank, a business partner or Venture Capitalist. See the vcapital website for information on seeking finance from a venture capitalist or business angel and information on the Escalator service at


Establish a line of credit

Select an insurance agent
Talk to other business owners for recommendations, look in Yellow Pages, consult the Insurance Council web site for a list of members


Obtain business insurance
Your business insurance should include your premises, stock, public liability and income
protection. In addition there are a number of specialist products available depending on your business type. See the Insurance Council of New Zealand website for information about commercial insurance:

3. Set up the Business

Organise business cards and letterheads


Secure a lease over, or purchase, your premises
Always consult your lawyer before negotiating or signing any lease agreement.


Acquire all necessary furniture and equipment
If part of your equipment is a vehicle, then you will need to keep a log book so you know how much you are allowed to claim. For an example of a Vehicle Logbook visit:


Obtain all necessary licenses, permits and resource consents
Consult your local council and industry groups for information on compliance issues. Make sure also that you comply with any Health and Safety issues. For further information on this, download the fact sheet Taking All Practicable Steps which can be found at:


Register with Inland Revenue
You must obtain a tax number for your entity for the
recording and payment of business taxes, PAYE for employees, GST and ACC levies. Your accountant can help with this. Check out the Inland Revenue website for information on requirements:

To apply for an IRD number you need to fill out an application form. You cannot complete this online, but to save you ringing up IRD you can download the application form at:

If you want to register for GST, then you can do this online at:

If you would like more information on your decision to register for GST, then you can view and print the document GST – do you need to register? at:


Join a professional organisation (your local chamber of commerce, your industry association)
See for a list of all Chambers of Commerce in New Zealand. See for employers and manufacturing associations (they have merged). There are others including retailers, tourism, agriculture, farmers etc. Most industries have their own association or support group.


Arrange suppliers
Make sure that your suppliers know you and understand what you intend to achieve with your business


Hire staff
Only hire staff when you start up if you have to and have discussed this with your accountant, lawyer and preferably an employment consultant.

If you do decide to employ staff, you must registeras an employer. This is so the IRD can send you the right information each month (such as the PAYE forms for your staff). You can register on line at:

If you do hire staff, then you will also need an accident register to document anything that happens which could harm staff. The accident register does not have to be kept in any particular format and can bedocumented on your own forms or photocopies of OSH forms. For an example of an incident and injury report form visit:


Set up accounting information system
Discuss this with your accountant. There are many suitable computerised options available but you can waste a lot of time and money buying the wrong package. At the very least you will require a cashbook to keep track of all your income and expenses. You can view an example at:

You will also need a petty cashbook for small amounts of purchases (like milk for the coffee). For an example of a Petty Cashbook visit:

Set a starting date
Go for it, and good luck!



If we can assist further, please email TotalAccounting as follows: