8 government resources for SMBs.

Dec 17 2020 | PayPal editorial staff | 3 min read

The Australian Government is committed to supporting a vibrant business community. They provide a huge number of online resources to help you grow and manage your business, from practical tips and templates to tax advice and grants to help you start selling in a new market.
To help you navigate the range of support and information available for SMBs, we’ve compiled 7 of the best resources.

The catch-all Chances are, you’re already familiar with business.gov.au – a great site covering all areas of planning, establishing, running and exiting your business.  But you may not be aware of just how many different tips and tools can be found here, including information on everyday topics like tax, hiring and people management, and free trade agreements, as well as more specialist advice on things like intellectual property (IP).

Most of the advice comes in the form of short articles, but you’ll also find videos, downloadable templates and links to other government websites.

Grants

The government offers hundreds of grants to help small businesses grow and take advantage of new opportunities. So while it’s part of business.gov.au, we felt this grants and assistance programs search tool was worth a particular mention. You can search for grants and assistance suitable for your business by location, industry and purpose.
 

International trade

The Free Trade Agreement Portal is a dedicated site available to all businesses looking for advice on global trade opportunities.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) offer countless benefits for businesses looking to expand into new markets and grow across borders. They’re agreements between governments and they can deliver big cost advantages on import duties that help boost your margins and make your business more competitive.

While there’s a wide range of information available about the different FTAs Australia holds, the most useful part of the site is the search tool. It lets you quickly identify trade opportunities and restrictions by simply entering a product or category code, trade direction and country.

Did you know, for example, that the tariff for Australian businesses selling fashion in China dropped from 4.6% to zero this year?
 

Dispute handling

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO)  is an advocate and champion for small businesses, particularly when it comes to handling disputes.

The ASBFEO reports that non-payment for goods or services, intellectual property, unfair contracts, commercial leases, IT services and franchising are the top 6 causes of conflict.

If you ever find yourself in a dispute with a client, supplier or someone else, the ASBFEO site offers a step-by-step guide to getting it sorted. And if the ASBFEO can’t help directly, they’ll know who can and will provide a referral.
 

Taxes

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offers information on tax obligations, business expenses, registration, reporting income and keeping business records in its small business newsroom.

They provide a number of calculators that help make it easy to work out how much to pay for tax, super and the Medicare levy. And if you have a specific problem, you can try Small Business Assist  and live-chat on a range of topics, including Business Activity Statements (BAS) and Goods and Services Tax (GST). You can even book an after-hours call back with a tax adviser.
 

Benchmarking

Another great resource from the ATO are its small business benchmarks which show you how your business compares to competitors.

The benchmarks are developed with data calculated from the tax returns and activity statements of more than 1.4 million small businesses with varying turnovers (up to $15 million). With data across over 100 industries, almost any SMB can get a good insight into what’s going on and how they’re performing.
 

Industry fact sheets

Legal, operational and business requirements for retail business differ to those for service-based businesses. Luckily, business.gov.au has pulled together a number of industry fact sheets that give you quick access to key legislation, relevant government agencies and licence and permit needs. They include links to government sources to industry-specific stats, employment awards, workplace health and safety requirements, and a lot more so they’re a good resource to bookmark and check on from time to time.
 

Events and training

Various government agencies, including the ATO, IP Australia and AusIndustry, hold free events and training all year round for small businesses. From learning your recordkeeping requirements to understanding patents to implementing performance management systems, these free sessions are a valuable resource, particularly for entrepreneurs just starting out and small businesses looking to grow. Many sessions are held in all major cities, and some are available online.

Search business.gov.au’s events pages to find the latest sessions happening online or in your local area.


 
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.