Starting a Business in Melbourne

Dubbed as the most livable city in the world, Melbourne is also considered as a great place to start a business.


MelbourneOne of the biggest perks of starting up in Melbourne is the support, advice and motivation offered by the existing business community. A number of startup events are held in the city throughout the year. These events are attended by hundreds of entrepreneurs and aim to both inform and inspire.


Today we’ll take a look at some different business structures, financing options, how you can register your business, find office space in Melbourne and how you and your employees can travel to and from your place of business.


Structuring your Business

Once you’ve written a business plan, you’ll need to decide on how to structure your business.

Following are the three most common types of business structures in Australia.

1. Sole Trader

This is the simplest one and in this structure you are solely responsible for all aspects of your business. It is easy to set up but you’ll end up being liable for debts and employee claims.

2. Partnership

A partnership can be set up between a minimum of two and up to a maximum of twenty people. This structure allows you to share the risk and workload but compromises have to be made to keep everyone in the business happy.

3. Company

BusinessAs opposed to a sole trader and partnership, a company will be a separate legal entity. It is more complex to run but personal liability is limited.


At this point, a tax adviser or legal consultant can help you in choosing the right structure for your business.



Financing a Business

Many entrepreneurs have to take out loans to get their startups off the ground and here the three most common types of business loans available in Melbourne.

1. Fully Drawn Advance

This type of loan provides the entire amount that you need upfront and in this case, you don’t have to worry about when you’ll get the next installment.

2. Overdraft

If you already run a business account with a bank then it’s possible for you to apply for an overdraft.


The agreement for this type of loan will have clauses stating how much you can overdraw, the interest rates and penalties for non-payment but you will be able to spend more money than you have in your account.

3. Line of Credit

This loan can be obtained against some type of collateral which can be a business or a personal asset.


For example, you can offer your home as collateral and get a loan for your new or existing venture.


The main drawback of this loan is that if you fail to pay back the amount your asset will be repossessed by the bank.



Registering a Business

After deciding on the financing, the next step is to register your business.


Think 2At this stage, you should think about what you’ll name your business. It should be easy to spell, memorable and professional but not similar to other existing businesses or companies.


If you want to use your own personal name for your venture then you don’t have to register it.


Be sure to check the Business Names Register and Company and Other Registers on the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC) website to confirm that your chosen name is available.


If your business needs a website, you’ll also have to check if you can get a domain that matches your business name.


Before registering your business name, you’ll have to apply for your Australian Business Number (ABN) at the Australian Business Register (ABR) website.  The ABR website will also link you to the ASIC website so that you can apply for your ABN and register your business name at the same time.


Depending on the nature of your venture, you might also have to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN), register as an employer, register for goods and services tax (GST) or apply for an Australian Company Number (ACN).


You can register for an ABN, TFN and GST at the ABR website.



Office Space in Melbourne

The following areas are popular for office space in the city.

1. The Central Business District (CBD)

Melbourne CBDThe best place for office space in Melbourne is the Central Business District.  This is the financial hub of the city and provides employment to about 50% of Melbourne’s population.


Firms across multiple industries including mining, finance, legal, retail and administration have offices in this area.


Two of Australia’s largest banks ANZ and NAB along with BHP Bilton and the Rio Tinto Group, two of the most well-known international mining corporations, have also established themselves here.


2. The Docklands

Well connected by various means of transport, the Docklands houses a number of large organisations including the Bureau of Meteorology, the Bendigo Bank, the Medibank Private and the AXA Asia Pacific.


The locality also offers a host of amenities including banks, parks, entertainment centres, retail outlets and eateries.


3. The North Precincts

The North Precincts consists of North and West Melbourne and Kensington and are popular with manufacturers.


It is in close proximity to the CBD and is well serviced by the airport, the Port of Melbourne and the Victorian Road Network.


Bellair Street and Macaulay Road are famous hotspots for dining and shopping in Kensington while Errol Street, Queensberry Street and Victoria Street offer a multitude of consumer and professional services in North Melbourne.



4. The South Precincts

South MelbourneThe South Precincts consists of the Yarra River, South Wharf, Southbank, Northbank and St Kilda Road. This region is popular with tourists who come here to work and relax.


The Southbank Promenade is located here. In addition to world-class retail outlets, it also houses office space, apartments and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.


5. Fishermans Bend

Located in Port Melbourne, many corporations from the service and industrial sector have set up offices in Fishermans Bend.


The area has excellent transport links and is also close to the international airport.



Co-Working Spaces Vs. Serviced Offices: Which Setup should you Choose?

1. Co-Working Spaces

Open space 2The term Co-Working was put forward by Brad Neuberg in 2005. It refers to a flexible office setting where like-minded professionals from a community can come together, work and share ideas.


A co-working area is usually a casual space and comes equipped with workstations, couches and coffee tables. The entire area is shared between several people who also share amenities like printers, scanners, pantry supplies and internet connections.


Many co-working facilities regularly host networking events allowing their members to mingle with one another.


Co-working areas are a common feature of business centres across the world. Many IT professionals and entrepreneurs prefer these work areas because of their flexible terms and conditions.


You can easily get access to a co-working space without signing a long-term contract. You can also use and pay for the space on a day-to-day basis.


The main disadvantage of this space is that it doesn’t offer much privacy and you’ll also find that they tend to get noisy.


Co-working areas don’t provide storage space so you’ll have to take your work back with you when you’ve finished. Your desk or working area will also change regularly depending on availability.


2. Serviced Offices

Serviced OfficeA serviced office facility is a fully furnished building or floor which is let out in the form of individual rooms or suites. The rooms are usually of different sizes and can accommodate a certain number of people.


As opposed to a co-working space, the room assigned to you in a serviced facility will not change. You’ll have your own storage space along with more privacy.


The day-to-day operations are handled by an on-site management company. Services such as administrative support, IT backup, meeting rooms and pantry supplies are available on a “pay-per-use” basis which results in considerable cost saving.


Many business centres also give you the flexibility to increase or decrease your space according to your requirements.


Serviced offices have a corporate look and feel but they don’t allow companies to extend their brand to the facility. It’s also possible that meeting rooms, services or equipment might not be available when you need them.


Transport in Melbourne: Commuting to and from your Office

1. Public Transport

Public transport in Melbourne consists of the bus, tram and metro train systems.


Bus in MelbourneBuses are a popular mode of transport in the city. They run on around 300 routes and use the Myki ticketing system. A Myki is a contactless smart card which is used to pay the fare on various modes of public transport in Melbourne and regional Victoria.


With over 200 kilometers of tracks and more than 1800 stops, Melbourne boasts the world’s largest tram network. Using this service, commuters from various suburbs such as Brunswick West, Caulfield North, Thornbury, Elwood and Reservoir can reach the CBD in less than 40 minutes. Trams also use the Myki system.


The metro train service in Melbourne runs on 16 lines and has more than 200 stations. It is based on the commuter rail model and works to transport commuters from different suburbs to the CBD. Initially, the metro employed a Metcard system for fares but now the Myki card is being exclusively used.

2. Roads

Melbourne has the largest freeway network in Australia and roads are the primary mode of travel in the city.


Although they can get crowded during peak hours, these roads facilitate a variety of public and private vehicles and also connect the suburbs to the CBD.


Melbourne enjoys easy access to some of Australia’s major cities via the highway network. The Hume Highway connects Melbourne to Sydney. The Princes Highway goes through Victoria linking Sydney to Port Augusta while the Western Highway connects Melbourne to Adelaide.

3. Airports

Melbourne has five airports in total.


Melbourne AirportThe Melbourne Airport, situated in Tullamarine in the North-West, is Australia’s second busiest airport.


The Avalon airport is located in the South-West of Melbourne and operates flights to Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.


Essendon Airport was the city’s first major airport but it’s now mainly used for general aviation purposes. It is currently the base for Victoria’s Air Ambulance service.


Moorabbin airport is situated to the south of Melbourne and is used by flight instructors and for recreational flying.


The Royal Australian Airforce originated from the Airbase RAAF Point Cook which is located near Melbourne’s south-western perimeter.

4. Taxis and Bicycles

Taxis and bicycle sharing services are also available in Melbourne.


The city has numerous cycle lanes which are used for daily commutes and recreation.


As opposed to other forms of transport, taxis in Melbourne charge fare based on a meter. They are usually painted canary yellow but those working at peak times, at special events and at night only must have green coloured tops.


This excellent infrastructure not only makes it easy to commute between different parts of the city but also facilitates travel between Melbourne and the rest of Australia.


With all these advantages and more, Melbourne is by far the best city for startups and big corporations.