Yay it’s go time on starting your business! But with this exciting time comes a few housekeeping tasks that need to be completed to make your business legal.

But good news, to set up a business in New Zealand is cheap, easy, and can be done by yourself.

Let’s get started!

1. Choose your business structure.

The 3 most common types of business structures in New Zealand are:

1. Sole trader:

Sole traders are people who start in business or contracting on their own, without registering as a company. Many small business owners, contractors, and self-employed people begin as sole traders. It’s the cheapest and easiest option and may appeal to you if you want to make a living by following your passion or working as a contractor.

2. Company:

A company, in a legal sense, is separate from the people who own it — its directors and shareholders.

3. Partnership:

A partnership is when two or more people or organisations form a business. Partners set out in a partnership agreement how they’ll share profits, debts and work.

To read about business structures check out this article.

2. Get a New Zealand Business Number

The New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) is a unique identifier for your business.

Having an NZBN will make it easier to do business because you won’t have to keep repeating the same information over and over when dealing with someone new or when something changes. If you’re a company, you’ll automatically get an NZBN. Sole traders, self-employed people or partnerships can register for an NZBN online and it’s free. Register here

3. Register Your Business Name

Woohoo! You’ve already done so much at this stage. Next is registering your business name. Check to see if your business name is available, trademark-able and if the web domains and social media Handles are available here.

If you decide to structure your business as a company you need to reserve your company name with the Companies Office — it’s low cost, quick and easy. You’ll need a RealMe login. You must use the name to incorporate your company within 20 working days of reserving it. Register here.

4. Register Your Domain Name

You may have already done this step.

Register your domain name as in www.cultivecreative.com. Many .com websites have been purchased but there are now many other formats that you can buy such as .com.nz or .co to choose from.

You can purchase your URL from sites such as Crazy Domains or GoDaddy.

We recommend selecting auto-renewal so it’s always yours.

Funny Story, Google the Billion dollar tech giant actually lost its URL Google.com for a hot minute. The URL was returned ownership to the company and the purchaser or the URL was rewarded with a generous check that he very nicely gave to charity.

Microsoft had a similar issue when it lost ownership of the Hotmail.co.uk website,  However, the person who bought the domain name returned it the same day.

5.  Insurances

Depending on your type of business you may need insurance. What happens if someone gets hurt or sick using your product??

The cost will depend on the type and set up of your business, and how you’ll be serving your clients. This can be a super tricky field to navigate, so we’d recommend contacting an Insurance Broker to make sure that you’re getting the best cover, and the best deal.

6. GST

You’ll need to register for GST at Inland Revenue if you’re earning more than NZ$60,000 each year.  You can register for GST at the same time you register your company.  If you don’t or if you’re another type of business you can do it online here.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice, but is designed to provide general information relating to business and commerce. The Small Business Advisors’ content, information products and services are not a substitute for obtaining the advice of a competent professional, for example a licensed attorney, law firm, accountant or financial adviser.