Idea to execution, by the books.
I have a web app idea which I am currently working on. I have come up with name, bought some domains and have developed the sites "style" and working on the application at present. I have organised blank facebook and twitter accounts, to secure them prior to alpha testing.
I dont really want to disclose the site's market or main idea but it is basically a free service that customers can sign up to. ie Facebook, twitter, myspace etc. This is a hobby site now that if it takes off could be profitable and could develop partnerships with some big companies. It could be an excellent advertising medium for these big companies. That said..
- What legal requirements are there for starting up a like this (ie facebook, myspace etc) either in Australia or internationally?
- Should I trademark my name or wait to see if it takes off?
- Do I need to register a business with Au government and get an ABN or should I wait and see if it takes off?
Thanks a bunch,
Obviously legal input will be required for most of the questions you have raised above; therefore I will leave that to the legal minds out there. Re the ABN, unless you are planning to operate as a company or actually carrying on a 'business enterprise', you may not be entitled to register for an ABN. I may be misreading it contextually but you mentioned that it is a hobby (site) or is it a hobby-related site? The extent of involvement into the day to day or the fact that it is currently not generating any income are not the only determinative factors in determining whether it is a hobby or an actual 'business enterprise'. Given the outlay that you will spend to get this up and running, you may want to reconsider your position. I have pasted some links below re legal guidance that you may find useful:
Thanks for your reply and the links you have provided I will surely look into them.
In response to whether I need an ABN or not and what I mean by hobby, I guess the best thing to do is fill you in on my background. I currently work full time as an IT Support Officer for a local government organisation, am extremely Internet savvy (using the net since I was 9 through till now 25 very heavily and experimenting with development from age 13), I develop websites for either friends or friends of friends (some businesses) and even also write specialist software as I guess a freelance developer.
I have come up with, over the last 5 years, a number of what I can see as profitable ideas for Web Applications (which I have brainstormed in depth) and am now looking to try some out. I guess I see this as a hobby, hoping to turn full time job if I "hit big". I can get the sites up relatively cheap, all development done by myself and hosting on a business grade server I currently pay for, for my own personal endeavors and out of my own pocket, which I'm happy doing. I hope that helps describe my situation a little better.
I guess the main question is, can I roll out 1 or 2 of these ideas and see what happens? If they die, they die, but if 1 takes off then I worry about it being a business? That probably sounds pretty naive as I know very little about business, but as I said before they are just things I can get up very cheaply. Obviously not as quickly has paid help as I will be doing in my spare time.
The other questions were merely to protect myself and my idea, which as you mentioned are best left for legal advisors.
From my perspective, it is sounding like you are already doing a business venture albeit you may still be at the scoping stage and notwithstanding that you want to keep the costs low & doing it in your spare time. Now it is a matter of when you are planning to recognise this fact and build in strategies to 1) help the business venture being profitable 2) if it is not profitable in, say 12 months, should you be repositioning/finetuning your offering 3) if it is profitable where to from there and 4) any exit strategy and the timeframe before exiting if it is not profitable or is profitable. Some of the strategies would be at a high level at this stage but this should provide you with guidance once you experience one of those what if scenarios. If you choose to run it in your own name at this stage, you should keep the portability aspect in mind when going through for instance IP registration if you decide to restructure (which would be likely if it flies) and move the venture into a different business structure. In short, yes go for the ABN and even contemplate whether it is worthwhile registering for GST.
If I was you I would do more work on the business plan before launching. You sound like you want to make this more than a hobby but your plan to get revenue needs a lot more work.
Given that you are already thinking about how youre going to raise revenue from this and if your idea takes off, I suggest you form a company with relevant abn's etc that you need. I would also patent or copyright your idea to protect it from being copied. Why leave yourself exposed?
This is also if you are serious about making money from it?