Thursday, 30 January 2014

Are you meeting all your compliance obligations? ABLIS can help!

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to be aware of and understand all the regulations that apply to your business activities.

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) External Link - opens in new window is a searchable online tool that helps you find these and the government controls your business needs to comply with. For ACT businesses, ABLIS contains information about all the licences – sometimes referred to as permits or approvals – and codes of practice that you need to operate your business.

ABLIS saves you time by providing a single website to gather all the compliance information you need. ABLIS results include information summaries, links to forms and contact information for the relevant agency if you need more information.

While ABLIS is designed with starting a business in mind, established businesses can also use ABLIS, for example to check their compliance responsibilities, or to check for new requirements when you are growing or adding a new business activity.

The first step is found on the home page – you will need to enter a business type and a location to get started.

The business type matches to the ANZSIC classification system External Link - opens in new window, so if you’re not getting matches you can check what terms ANZSIC uses to describe your business. If you still don’t get a business type match or a list of business types to select from, try entering commas between each word or you can contact us for help.

The location field lets you search by State or Territory, or use a suburb or postcode. The more specific you are with location, the more tailored your search results can be. For ACT based businesses where there are no local government councils, this isn’t as important. If you are planning a base in NSW there may be local council requirements that apply to your business: to get the right council, you will need to use a more precise location.

Next, ABLIS will take you through a series of questions and answers. Once you’ve completed the questions and answers, ABLIS will generate a list of results containing regulation information that matches your business activity, location and the information you provided through the questions and answers.

If you are based in the ACT, all of the results that ABLIS provides are legal requirements. But there are some important differences between Licences and Codes of Practice. To find out more about the differences, visit our ABLIS page.

If you need help with understanding the regulations, your ABLIS results include contact details so that you can contact the relevant area of government.

If you’re based in the ACT, you can also contact Canberra BusinessPoint, the ACT Government’s business mentoring and advisory service. They can offer support and tailored advice in the establishment, operation and development of your business. You can contact them on 1300 648 641 or visit External Link - opens in new window for more information.

If you have found any regulations that affect or impede your ability to do business in the ACT, you can report it using Fix my Red Tape External Link - opens in new window – an online feedback tool designed for you to provide feedback or suggested reforms. You can also ask questions and lodge complaints through this form.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Does it have legs? 3 things to ask yourself before you quit your day job

By Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window.

With many Australians considering launching a small business each year, it’s important that they give their business idea a once over before embarking on their entrepreneurial journey.

1. Does the business idea satisfy a compelling unserved need?

Finding an idea worth pursuing is about working out who wants what you’re offering so badly that they’ll buy it even if it’s an early version made by a start-up without a proven track record.

Identifying the intensity of the need and the inability of your potential market to solve the problem gives you an idea of the likely demand there will be for your offering. But before you print those business cards, you still need to consider how many people this is important to and work out whether there are enough of them to build a business around.

2. What is the risk of failure? 

Sometimes even with a compelling need, the risks outweigh the opportunities and an idea is best shelved until the market is more receptive to it. It’s important to look at things like changing trends, the impact of socio-economic and regulatory factors as well as dependence on outside resources before deciding to proceed. Very often these risks can be managed, but it’s better to understand what they are from the outset rather than hit an iceberg a couple of months in.

3. How will the business make money?

Having a business model that makes sense often takes a lot of thought and planning. You need to have a good understanding of the resources you will need to operate the business as well as the profitability of your products and services. Many companies have to re-visit their business model a few times before getting it right.

When you launch a new business you’re putting a lot on the line – your money, your time, your reputation and very often your relationships, so it’s important to give yourself the best chance of success. Investing the time upfront to refine your idea and improve areas of weakness can save you a lot of heartache down the track.

If you need some help evaluating your business idea, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window has developed an online tool that draws on extensive research and input from business facilitators, researchers and subject experts as well as the hundreds of start-ups who work with Lighthouse to commercialise their ideas. You can view the tool at External Link - opens in new window.

Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre is a joint initiative between the ACT Government and Epicorp Limited. Lighthouse can provide you with advice, education and training, mentorship and networking opportunities to help commercialise your idea and grow your business.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Festival of Ambitious Ideas: Ken Kroeger, Seeing Machines

The Festival of Ambitious Ideas held on 6 November 2013 featured the stories of 12 of Canberra's most innovative businesses and inspiring projects. It is a fast-paced event where presenters have only 5 minutes to tell their story.

Hear what Ken Kroeger from Seeing Machines had to say at the event in this video from Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window.