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3:30AM | Friday, 15 March

You might have seen the news this week Google will be shutting down its popular RSS aggregation service, Google Reader.

Bowen forks out $200k for regional Business Enterprise Centres

3:11AM | Friday, 15 March

Three Business Enterprise Centres in regional areas have each received $200,000 government grants to provide coaching and mentoring to small businesses, but it’s unknown whether other BECs will receive similar support.

Don’t ever let tech jargon cloud you over

3:24AM | Thursday, 14 March

The other day, Old Taskmaster met an entrepreneur whose view of the cloud was somewhat up in the clouds, to say the least.

THE NEWS WRAP: Northern Territory appoints Adam Giles as new chief minister

3:28AM | Friday, 15 March

Adam Giles has been appointed the new Northern Territory chief minister, following a party room coup against Terry Mills.

Google maps inside shopping centres, using social media

3:20AM | Wednesday, 13 March

Google is rolling out a major update to Street View in Australia today, with the search giant now displaying photos inside shopping centres and other buildings, giving local businesses a chance to boost their rankings.

Five tips for increasing business efficiency

3:23AM | Wednesday, 13 March

Time is money when you're a business owner. The more efficient you are with your time, the more profitable your work and the more time you have to bring in new income.

Know what the cloud is – and ask the right questions

3:25AM | Wednesday, 13 March

Earlier today, an entrepreneur attempted to explain to the Taskmaster what “cloud computing” is.

Five start-up standouts from SXSW 2013

3:22AM | Monday, 11 March

A ride-sharing service that uses oversized pink moustaches to distinguish itself has spoken of its success at South by Southwest 2013, having raised $7 million from a number of investors.

Google-backed “airwriter” lets the user write in mid-air

3:31AM | Monday, 11 March

A glove that lets people write in mid-air could spell the end of the keyboard and pen. Its creator claims it could even be woven into clothing so people can type anywhere.

Facebook updates the News Feed: Everything you need to know

3:31AM | Friday, 15 March

The latest updates to Facebook’s News Feed are not only crucial progress from the company as it faces more competitors, but a call to action for SMEs, experts warn.

CommBank names first five businesswomen for Silicon Valley tour

3:01AM | Friday, 8 March

Queensland businesswoman Yvette Adams will take part in a study tour in Silicon Valley along with nine other women, two years after appearing in the 2011 StartupSmart Awards Top 50.

Start-up legal basics: Getting the right structure

4:24AM | Monday, 15 April

Over the coming weeks, StartupSmart will be running a five-part series that covers the legal basics involved in starting a business.   This first instalment, by Lachlan McKnight, CEO of LegalVision, looks at the crucial decision of choosing a legal structure for your venture.   Launching a new business is all-consuming. Unfortunately, in the rush to develop a viable product and sales strategy, many entrepreneurs forget to complete a crucial task: choosing an appropriate legal structure.   As with anything in life, choosing a legal structure requires trade-offs. The simpler structures (sole trader or partnership) are cheaper and easier to set up but less flexible in the long term.   Setting up a company, and potentially a family trust to hold your shares in it, is more complicated and expensive, but if your start-up does turn into the next Instagram you will benefit from your foresight.   This article will give you a brief rundown on the benefits and drawbacks of the three most popular structures in Australia – sole trader, partnership and company. We will then discuss the benefits of using a family/discretionary trust structure to hold the shares in your company.   Small and simple – sole trader   A sole trader is an individual who operates a business in their own name.   There are very few legal or taxation requirements to setting yourself up as a sole trader. A sole trader controls and manages the business. Any profits made during the operation of the business, as well as on its sale, are counted as the income of the individual who is the sole trader.   Setting yourself up as a sole trader can make sense if you’re launching a business that will generate limited revenue, you don’t plan on taking on many liabilities and you are operating in an industry where the risk of being sued is low. A good example would be a PR consultant who works by herself.   The key downside to being a sole trader is the fact that you, as an individual, take on all the risk of the business. This means that, for instance, you personally owe suppliers and lenders any unpaid amounts. Additionally, if you have a great year and generate over $180,000 in profit, a portion of your earnings will be taxed at the top marginal rate. If you’re more successful than expected you could end up with a huge tax bill!   All together now – partnership   A partnership is a group of individuals and/or entities that run a business together as partners. Although a partnership is not a separate legal entity (and as a consequence each partner pays tax on their proportion of the partnership income in a financial year), it must have a TFN and an ABN and it must lodge a tax return.   Setting up a business as a partnership is cheap and easy, but only a limited number of businesses should consider this structure.   The key downside to a partnership is the fact that each partner is legally responsible for all the liabilities and losses of the business (including taxation obligations and superannuation contributions), even if another partner incurs those liabilities. This means that each partner’s assets are at risk.   When launching your business with a partner you will probably think nothing will ever go wrong – but this is rarely the case!   If businesses start to fail it is not unusual for entrepreneurs to take on risks, hide these from their partners, and end up saddling the partnership with huge liabilities. Unfortunately, if you’re in a partnership, the debts your partner incurs become yours.   Story continues on page 2. Please click below. From SME to behemoth – company   A company is a legal entity that is separate from its shareholders or members. The shareholders are therefore not liable for the liabilities and losses of the company. This protects the assets of the shareholders.   A company is a more complex, and consequently more expensive, way of structuring your business compared to a sole trader or partnership structure. There are initial establishment costs, regulatory costs (e.g. annual fees payable to ASIC) and compliance costs (e.g. accounting and other expenses relating to tax reporting).   Incorporating is, however, the best way to go if you’re building a business that is going to take on liabilities, employees or investors. A company is a flexible structure which allows you to raise capital easily and ensures you are not personally liable for your businesses debts.   The additional costs and complexity of setting up and running a company are heavily outweighed by its benefits.   Reduce taxes and protect yourself – family/discretionary trust   When launching a start-up which you’re aiming to build into a multimillion dollar company, it’s also a great idea to set up a discretionary or family trust.   A discretionary trust is a trust in which the trust fund is held by a trustee and administered in accordance with the terms of a trust deed. In each financial year, the trustee determines which beneficiaries (if any) will receive distributions of income and/or capital from the trust, and in what proportions.   Using a trust to hold shares in your company is a great option for a few reasons. The first relates to tax.   If you end up selling your start-up to Google for $10m you will receive an extremely large windfall over one or two financial years.   If you hold shares in your company personally, your tax bill will be immense given the top marginal rate in Australia is 45%. Holding your shares through a trust structure allows your clever accountant to significantly reduce your tax liability.   Secondly, using a trust structure will reduce the risks associated with being a director of a company.   Although it is unusual for a company director to be sued, it is not unheard of. If you set up a family trust and transfer all of your assets into it (including your shares in your company), suing you becomes a thankless task; you are penniless!   Future-proofing   Before you get into the details of product and marketing strategies it is crucial that you think about your company structure. Choose the structure that will work for you now, but more importantly, make sure it will work in the years to come.   Lachlan McKnight is the chief executive of LegalVision, a start-up that provides SMEs with access to online legal services, including customised legal documents.

Apple working on iWatch to be released later this year

3:35AM | Friday, 15 March

The pundits who have been waiting for Apple to come up with a new product category may just get their wish. New reports today suggest Apple is working on a wristwatch that could be released as soon as the end of the year.

Pollenizer celebrates fifth birthday: Five lessons from the start-up pioneer

3:34AM | Monday, 4 March

Mick Liubinskas has highlighted the trials and tribulations of Pollenizer, including how it turned Spreets into a $40 million company, as the online venture builder celebrates its fifth birthday.

Andrew Mason fired as CEO of Groupon: “I’m okay with having failed”

3:38AM | Friday, 15 March

Groupon founder and chief executive Andrew Mason has been fired on the back of the group buying site’s December quarterly loss.

PayPal co-founder launches Affirm, aims for one-click mobile payments

2:29PM | Thursday, 28 February

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is launching a new mobile payments start-up called Affirm, the first project to come out of Levchin’s San Francisco tech incubator.

Top trends from the Mobile World Congress 2013

2:51AM | Thursday, 28 February

Technology advisory firm Ovum has highlighted a number of key trends to emerge from Mobile World Congress 2013, based on announcements from Telefonia, Google and MasterCard.

Samsung joins Visa for mobile payments, Australian rollout could take a while

3:40AM | Friday, 15 March

Long after many in the tech industry believed contactless payments in phones would be the norm, a new partnership between technology giant Samsung and payment group Visa may lead to more widespread adoption of using phones as wallets.

Sacked Sensis staff welcomed by new tech start-up

2:51AM | Monday, 25 February

The chief executive of Melbourne-based tech start-up Miiy has offered to find positions for retrenched Sensis staff within his company, which is developing a range of business services.

The three reasons to sell your start-up: Twitter co-founder tells

2:59AM | Friday, 22 February

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has identified the three reasons to sell a start-up, hoping to “create clarity” for entrepreneurs who are unsure whether an acquisition is the right move.

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