Business Structures 102: Tips For Existing Business Owners

Business Structures 102: Tips For Existing Business Owners

In January this year we posted an article titled ‘Business Structures 101’. This is the follow-on to that article, and is aimed at existing business owners who are thinking about starting a second (and separate) business (Second Business). Although we will cover some different content here to Business Structures 101, we recommend reading these articles in sequential order), so if you haven’t already checked it out we encourage you to have a quick read: Business Structures 101 and then come right back for the follow-on.

The quickest and easiest option when setting up a Second Business is to use the entity you already have, and simply register a new business name and start operating the Second Business. In some circumstances that can work, but making this decision still requires taking some time to consider whether it is really the best option in your specific circumstances.


The following are some key issues you should consider:



You should consider how your current business (First Business) will be impacted if anything goes wrong with the Second Business.

This is quite a big risk to consider, because you want to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to protect the First Business if something happens with the Second Business (and vice versa). For example, if a disenfranchised former employee of the Second Business decides to bring a claim, then the claim is brought against the controlling entity. If the Second Business was trading under a separate entity, then only the assets and money held by that entity would be at risk, and (all going to plan) the First Business could continue to operate totally unaffected by that claim.

In short, you might lose the Second Business, but you would still have the First Business to fall back on. Alternatively, if both business are operating under the same entity, then both businesses are impacted and you may be required to sell the First Business (or at least some assets in it) to meet the claim. 



One business is a lot of hard work, let alone two. It’s highly likely that at some point you may want to sell one of the two businesses, or bring someone in at an ownership level to help run it. If both businesses are operating under the same entity, it is very difficult to ‘uncouple’ them for a sale. It can be done, but will cost significantly more than it would to set up a new entity at the outset. Whereas if the businesses are operating under separate entities, then it is a much easier task to sell the relevant business or bring someone in by way of a share sale.


Tax Planning

You should also seek accounting/tax advice, again based on your specific circumstances. There may be some added tax benefits that you can obtain by separating the Businesses into different entities.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider your own risk profile and how opening a Second Business will affect your First Business, and more importantly you as an individual.Knowing your business entity and structure is one of the most crucial parts of setting up your business and is very important to consider when adding to your business portfolio.


Enterprise Legal offers a free Business Health Check, in which we arrange a time to meet with you in-person or by phone/Zoom to assess your business needs.

We will work closely with you, your accountant and other financial advisors to give you all the relevant information and discuss the best way to move forward. We can even create your new entity, amend your existing structure, or draft supporting entity documents to support your structure (such as company constitutions, association rules, shareholder’s agreements etc).

Contact the Business Law Team today or book in for your Free Business Health Check:

☎️ | (07) 4646 2621
✉️ | Submit an Online Request

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