Starting a business

Many of us dream of owning our own business – no boss to answer to, hours to suit us, holidays whenever we like – but it can be a lot of hard work, especially early on.

Getting started

It's a good idea to ask the hard questions at the start. Be clear about why you're going into business – having clear goals will help you stay motivated. Research the market to see if your idea is viable.

Can you afford to set up a business?

Start-up costs can include things like rent, furniture and office equipment, and installing machinery and technology. Don't forget to factor in costs like marketing, website development, insurance premiums, and legal and accounting advice.

Work out how much money you'll need to survive until you start breaking even. If you need to borrow money, talk to one of our business banking specialists. They'll help you figure it all out, and they'll continue to work with you as your business grows.

You should also consider things like:

  • Is there enough demand to sustain your business in the long term?
  • Who are your potential customers and how much are they likely to spend on your product or service?
  • Who are your competitors and what can you offer that they don't?

If your idea still stacks up, you'll need to develop a business plan – an outline of your goals and how your business will operate.

Helpful tools and sites

Banking and accounting

To get going, you’ll need some bank accounts. We also recommend seeking advice from someone like an accountant – and you might want to consider using an accounting system to help keep you on track.

You might want to open a:

  • Transaction account to collect money into and make payments from
  • Savings account like a Business Online Call account – somewhere to put your tax payments aside as you go, so you’re not hit with any surprises at tax time
  • Business credit card for any expenses that might crop up
  • Foreign currency account if you’ll be trading overseas.

You’ll also need a bookkeeping system and someone to help you keep your records.

Find a chartered accountant near you


If you’re self-employed, you'll need to:

  • Sign up with a KiwiSaver provider directly; and
  • Pay yourself a wage (so your income is subject to PAYE).

You’ll be considered an employee and your contributions will be deducted from your gross salary or wage.

If you employ staff, you'll need to:

  • Enrol them in KiwiSaver and make contributions on their behalf.

Find out more at

Tax, legislation and compliance

Whether your business is set up as a company, sole trader or a partnership, there are a number of legal and tax requirements you must comply with. This is a potentially complicated area – expert advice is well worth it.

  • Talk to your accountant about your obligations with Inland Revenue, Occupational Safety and Health, and Accident Compensation
  • You may need to protect your brand with copyright, or apply for resource consent for building developments.

Helpful tools and sites

Managing risk

It’s important to get the right insurance to protect your business and yourself. Your bank or financiers should know what risks you’ve got covered and sometimes they may insist on certain types of insurance, depending on what your business does. We can help you work through what you might need.

Talk to a business banking specialist

Talk to us

If you want to talk about starting your own business, get in touch with our business banking team.

Find a business banking specialist

Find a business banking specialist in your area. Request a call back, or call them directly.

Find a business banker

Call us

Call our business banking team on 0800 601 601, or +64 4 803 1646 if you’re calling from overseas.
Mon – Fri: 8am – 5pm.

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