If you are thinking about starting an online business there are a number of financial and legal foundations you must be aware of if you want your business to become successful.

Here are some important things to be aware of when you are going through the process of planning your online business before you eventually launch it.

Register Your Business

The first step that must be taken before you launch your business is to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). An ABN is a unique 11 digital number that is used to identify your business.

Unless you are operating under your own name you will be required to register a business name.

Try to come up with a few options in case your favourite is already taken. You can check for availability with online searches.

Check If You Need A License

You will also need to check if you need a licence or a permit to carry out specific business activities online. For example; if you are selling alcohol or using music on your website.

The requirements you must follow vary from business to business and state to state.

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service is an online portal that will give you all the information required for your business.

Create A Strong Professional Looking Website

Whether or not your potential customers like the look of your website will play a huge role in whether or not they decide to make a purchase with your business. If people aren’t hooked by their first impression, they are unlikely to look inside. They also expect the purchase process to be straightforward and simple. This isn’t a place to cut costs. Your success could depend on how professional your website looks and how easy it is to navigate.

Unless you have extensive experience in web design, it is much better to invest some money in a professional web developer. Before they start work, have them sign a contract setting out things like delivery timelines, how and when you’ll pay and, most important, that you’ll own all of the codes and passwords so you can easily use a different developer in the future. If you’re entering into a contract with a web developer, it’s a good idea to get legal advice so you understand each parties’ rights and obligations.

Secure Payment Options

Consumers are very sceptical about sending money to websites they don’t know so it is vital to make sure you have a clear returns policy and spell out your security processes. You also need to offer effective and reliable payment options. It is also a good idea to have the option for your products to be sold via multiple currencies with the highest levels of security.

Optimise Your Sales Funnel

Your online marketing activities shouldn’t stop once your shopping website is up and running. Some ways you can improve the customers’ experience, and be rewarded with more sales, include:

  • Offering free or discounted shipping for customers who spend above a specific amount.
  • Being transparent about your shipping fees and providing a shipping cost calculator.
  • Optimising your content for online search by incorporating relevant search keywords into each landing page.
  • Adding a page which explains your shipping and returns policies, plus any other important information the customer needs to know.

It is also important to not underestimate the power of ‘organic’ SEO. Creating useful and engaging online content such as blog posts, videos and podcasts can be very helpful and cost-effective way to get noticed, build trust and draw visitors to your website.

Furthermore, making an effort to interact with your followers on social media is also a great way to understand their needs and their desires.