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Marketing

5 important things people forget about running an online business

There is A LOT to know when you start a business. It would be great if you could just come up with a good idea, plug in and off you go! But it doesn’t work that way.

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We have compiled the 5 top things we have found most business owners often don’t realise (and should know):

A business name doesn’t offer you any protection

 Your personal assets are at risk if you are operating as a sole trader with a business name only. A Pty Ltd company structure is the best way to protect your personal assets in the event of any claim by one of your customers. Try to set one up as soon as you can afford to do so. Or better still, make it a priority. Are you confused about the business structure options? You can read more about the various structures and their pros and cons in this How To Guide: https://legal123.com.au/how-to-guide/business-structure-australia/

Ongoing website costs can eat up your entire revenue!

To keep costs under control, learn the basics: how to add content to your website, change prices, dates and other basics to enable you to do your own simple maintenance and keep your website updated. Otherwise you will end up paying a lot of money for small changes you need or worse, you end up avoiding doing anything to your site and it becomes outdated. It also helps with costs to know what you are talking about when you outsource website work to contractors, so that you understand what you are paying for and negotiate a better rate. There are lots of great sites with courses to learn: Udemy.com is one of the better ones.

What is that GDPR thing everyone is talking about?

GDPR is the latest catchphrase all online business owners were and still seem to be tossing around. It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, it came into effect in May of this year in Europe and impacts business owners worldwide. Do you need to know about it? If you are doing any business, offering goods/services, or even if you collect email addresses from EU residents, you need to know about it! It means that you will need to familiarise yourself with the compliance requirements as well as to update your business processes and email marketing. Your Privacy Policy will also need to include GDPR specific clauses. If you do not want to have to comply with GDPR requirements, it means you are not permitted to market or do business with EU residents and need to make this clear on your website.

Privacy and Data Protection is the ‘buzzword’

If you are collecting personal data, including email addresses or telephone numbers through a contact form, you should have a privacy policy. If you are applying to a bank for a merchant account, the large banks all require that you have one on your website. It provides credibility that you have business processes in place to protect your customer’s personal information and you should also have a regular process in place to clean up your customer lists and purge any old or unused personal information. Customers also need to know, in your privacy policy, how their information is used and how to find out what personal data you are holding about them. Your privacy policy on your website is a fundamental way to do this.

 

Why is it important for my Pty Ltd Company to ‘hold’ my assets?

Besides having benefits from a tax perspective, if you are lucky enough to be approached by an investor, or better still, a potential purchaser of your business or even just to attract investor funding, you need to be able to show a list of what the company owns as its assets. It seems to be a common theme, that business owners do not think of it until the last minute. We were recently asked at Legal123, to assist the sale of the online business of one of our clients. When we asked to see a list of the assets that the company held and understand what was being sold, the owner had no idea what was considered an asset and quickly scribbled a few items down. He thought his entire business assets consisted of his client list and products.  Until we provided a checklist, he had no idea (as many people don’t) that he had to include as assets, and move them all into his company, including his domain registration, business name registration, trademark registration, and numerous other ‘assets’ he had not thought of. They were all in his personal name from when he started the business and were actually all ‘assets’ of his company that needed to be transferred to the company in order to be able to consider any investment or sale. 

 

One last quick tip: When you change your online business to a Pty Ltd company structure, don’t forget to let your customers know that your website business is protected by a Pty Ltd company. It is important to do so if you want the protection!

Vanessa Emilio

is a Practice Director, Lawyer, Founder and CEO of Legal123.com.au, a legal website business with easy-to-use, inexpensive legal templates, forms and agreements for everyday Australians as well as lots of useful information.

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