Starting an Online Business in Australia – What Should I know?

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Starting a new business is not an easy endeavour, but if you decided you want to go down that road, we’re here for you. To make sure you understand what it needs to be done to open and grow an online business in Australia, below we listed the most common laws, regulations, and updates that will have a powerful influence on your future as an entrepreneur.

The Registration Process

Before you can do any type of commercial activity (online or not), the Australian law requires that you register as a business. For this, you should already know the name of your business and the type of structure you want to apply (company, partnership, sole trader, or more).

For this article, we’ll discuss the case of a business, but if you want to apply a different structure, other registration rules may apply.


Besides your business name, the registration process will also require the domain name (specific for online companies) and the type of taxes that apply in your case (more about this,“”here).

The ABN (Australian Business Number)

The ABN is not released by the authorities for every type of business, so first—Charities/Applying-for-an-ABN/ABN-entitlement/”check if you are entitled to one. Australian business owners use it on orders and invoices (to confirm their business’s identity) and it’s a way to avoid paying certain taxes.

Since the ABN is not required for every company, it won’t give you any troubles during the registration process. However, it is highly recommended to make sure if you need it or not.

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

The ACL is part of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and its purpose is to make sure online businesses protect consumers’ interests all over the country. So, before you even think about starting an online business in the Australian environment, we recommend reading the “”ACL guide that teaches business owners how to avoid misleading conduct towards customers and how to establish contracts and guarantees without making the customer feel like they were coerced.

While no one puts the basis of a serious business thinking to deceive their future customers, it’s best to be up to date with commercial practices and advertising regulations. Otherwise, you may get in trouble with the authorities!

GDPR and The Privacy Act

There’s been a lot of talk about GDPR lately, but what many online business owners in Australia don’t know is that it affects them as well. While the GDPR was designed to protect the privacy and personal data of European consumers, many online businesses all over the world have people from Europe buying their products or using their services. As a result, each business owner should check if they need to “”apply GDPR rules and how.

However, Australian businesses also have to consider “″The Privacy Act, which comes with a series of amendments regulating that Australians have the right to know why your business retains information about them, the type of information being stored, and the parties that will see it.

Other Important Updates

As an online business, besides privacy issues, your success and exposure are influenced by search engine updates as well. For instance, “”in this article, you can read about how the latest Google update influenced businesses all over the world. So, to make sure traffic on your website doesn’t suddenly drop, it’s important to follow the news and prepare yourself for such an event.

Finally, Australian businesses also (especially those using online tools for daily activities) must maintain a high level of cyber-security. Under the incidence of the data breach notification scheme, if your database was breached and sensitive data was leaked, you have to report the breach to the authorities, notify all business partners and customers, and pay a hefty fine.

So, you won’t just be losing money, you’ll also lose your good reputation, and this may be a powerful blow, especially for a fresh business. As a result, we recommend investing in security updates and maintaining them.

In Conclusion

While it may seem like a lot of work, once you learn about customers’ rights and the current commerce practice in Australia, it should be easy to start and grow an online business. The laws are geared to protect customers’ personal data, but they’re also designed to help new businesses, which is a very nice touch.

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