Published 21 March 2017 Category: Australia, Business

What you need to know before expanding your business to Australia

If you currently already have a business in the APAC region, it would be natural to think about expansion plans. Australia is an appealing option for many entrepreneurs, especially those looking for a country that has less cultural and language hurdles to overcome. This English-speaking country with hospitable weather (sunny most days!) also happens to be the world’s 12th largest economy and is an easy gateway to Asia. With an ever so rocky environment back in the U.S., expanding your business to Australia – and possibly even relocating there never seemed so appealing – but here’s what you need to know and research, before making the plunge.
The steps to legally establish yourself and your business.  
Like all countries, Australia does have strict rules regarding who can live, work or open a business there. But don’t be thwarted – with enough research, it is totally possible to establish yourself there legally. First, you need to make sure that as a foreigner, you enter Australia on the right visa. If the purpose of your stay is just to do some preliminary research, a tourist visa is fine. However, should you decide the environment is right and you do want to expand yourself and your business there, you’ll need to look into a business or investment visa. Check out some of the requirements for the Business Innovation and Investment Programme here.
After establishing your own presence, it’s time to tackle the business registration side of things. For more research, visit The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC); this outlines the criteria for foreign companies to get registered.

What the overall market looks like and potential competition.
Being that you’re in a foreign country, you’ll want to do through research on your competitors. It’s also important to have a holistic understanding of the country. The main industries in Australia, for instance center on mining, tourism, industrial and mining equipment. This is important to keep in mind, in order to understand what drives the economy. Australia has also made many strides to innovate technologically, and is now considered one of the best places in the world to live in terms of quality of life.
Try to research the market before you even get there – reach out to any Australian friends living in town, or attend events at the embassy in your city to get insight from real people. Do thorough research on your competition in Australia – what local companies exist already? Are consumers loyal or would they be receptive to new companies? It is worthwhile to invest resources into mapping out the overall picture.

(Not so obvious) cultural differences.
Despite sharing English as a common language, there’s a plethora of cultural differences that those who hail from the West may have to get used to. There is the long held notion that Australians are more relaxed and laid-back than their Western or Asian counterparts.  One of the ways this is reflected in the workforce is the number of annual leave days per year (20)!. This is often shocking to many who hail from U.S. and most of Asia.
Things in Australia are also generally more expensive. Even compared to expensive cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, the price in Australia for a simple beverage or snack is higher. Luckily, like Asia, you don’t need to add tip or extra surcharges. If you’re hailing from cities where late nights are common and everything is open late, keep in mind that Australia are among the world’s earliest risers, according to a recent study conducted by Philips in 2015, with 45 percent of Australians surveyed waking up before 7am every day. This also means things tend to wind down earlier, something to consider if you’re a night owl.