PNG Business Startup Guide: Step by Step Guide to Start a Small Business in Papua New Guinea

Planning a home base startup

Planning a home base startup

Here is the definitive guide to starting a small business in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

I know starting business in PNG can be confusing for newbies who have never traveled that path before. Therefore I have prepared this guide to help you from start to the end.  Take this guide and modify it to suit your need.

  1. Brainstorm business ideas

Time spent planning helps minimize resource wastage.  Most successful entrepreneurs we see today are successful because their saw a problem and solve it. Tune into the world around you and question everything. How could things be better? What do people complain a lot about every day at home, in office, in bus, in supermarket, in playing field etc.? You don’t need to be super genius or super creative to come up with smart business ideas that work. Use your senses. If it doesn’t seem right, how can you do it better? If you do it better, will your solution be the solution to the people’s struggles? Don’t be afraid to be unconventional.

  1. Choose an ‘on-demand’ niche market

The term niche is not very popular in PNG but the term is gaining traction with few Papua New Guineans venturing into online business. A niche is a focused, targetable part of the market. In a niche market, you are a specialist providing a very specific product or service to a specific group. There are many pros and cons of choosing a niche market. Here are four key advantages of niche markets;

  • Increased profits – If you product is a general one, you will attract general customers, most of whom are not genuine and you end up wasting your time, effort and money and other resources with little sales. Focus on niche products and sell to customers that are genuine and profitable.
  • Reduced marketing costs-Your genuine customers won’t create more headaches to you because they may have already done their due diligence and have chosen your product over that of your competitor. This helps you save time and resources and maximize profit.
  • Greater trust and credibility – Overtime, your genuine customers may become loyal to you and you don’t need to do much marketing to convince them to buy from you.
  • Reduced competition –Try selling something that everybody down the street sell and you end up creating competition for yourself. Find something no one has thought about and no one is selling and you will have less competition and more market share.
  1. Create a simple business plan

Some successful entrepreneurs will tell you that you don’t need a business plan. If you can plan everything in your head and stick to it until you get it done, than good. Otherwise, it’s advisable to put your plans down in paper. Always remember the saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. We looked up key components of a business plan from Entrepreneur and Forbes magazines. Details from the two magazines are grouped into three categories.

  1. Executive Summary – Snapshot of your business
  2. Analysis – Industry analysis, assessment of your competitive advantage
  3. Plan – Operational plan, marketing plan and Financial plan

Note: Keep an eye for our post on “Guide to Writing a Professional Business Plan

  1. Create highly demanded product or service

Just by creating your business plan, you will have a broader understanding on how your business fits into the existing market and the share of market your business can capture. This insight is very important for the success of your business. Many businesses in PNG fail because people rush into business thinking if they build a business, customers will flood in. Rarely does this happen. Look around a find product or service that is highly demanded but is not offered in the area you live.

  1. Pick a unique business name

This shouldn’t be hard. Find a name that rhymes with your products or services for easy branding. Most internet business like to use fancy, weird names like Yahoo, Google etc. If you run a T-shirt printing business at home, why not use JohnGrey Screen Printing or Riverside Media if you run a home base media. If you want to be a bit fancier, you can go online and use ‘Business Name Generators’. There are lots of cool websites that can allow you to generate your business name online. Type in business generator on your browser and voila.

  1. Understand legal business structures in PNG

To be on the safe side, we wish to briefly introduce to you the legal business structures in PNG.  The four legal structures you need to know are briefly outlined below.

  • Sole trader – Under this structure, you may own and manage your business activities by yourself.
  • Company- Being in business means that you will often see organizations whose names end with the word ‘Limited’. A company may be managed by a board of directors, appointed by the shareholders.
  • Partnership – Partners commit capital assets, time or both, to the partnership business and in return share the profit depending on the agreed revenue sharing ratio.
  • Trusts – The basic principle of a trust is that the settlors may vest some or all their property into the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Trustees manage the trust and risks are limited to the trustees.
  1. Register your business name at IPA

Now that you are ready, the next step is to formally register your business at Investment Promotion Authority (IPA). Visit their office in Konedobu in Port Moresby or visit IPA website www.ipa.gov.pg or you can directly download the forms following the link below;

Download Business Name Registration Form

Download Company Name Registration

Fill the forms and lodge in the forms at IPA office. You also have the option to lodge the application online.

  1. Get your Tax Identification Number (TIN) from Internal Revenue Commission (IRC)

After registering your business at IPA and getting your certificate of incorporation, what you need next is your TIN from IRC. Go down to Revenue House in down town Port Moresby and pick up TIN Application form. Form TIN 1 is for Company and Form TIN 2 is for Business.  Fill the form and bring it up to Level 2 Revenue House again and they will process and give your TIN and your certificate of compliance (COC).

  1. Open a business account

Now you have your IPA certificate and your COC including your TIN. Get that and go to any local banks and open your business account. To save time, visit the bank of your interest and ask for all the requirements for opening a business account. Ask them to give you a checklist as most banks normally do. Work according to the checklist and provide all the necessary requirements.

  1. Create a website and social media page

A website and a social media page may not have been a necessary part of business few decades ago but today it really is. The number of internet users in PNG is exploding so why not leverage that.  Let me give you a classic example. Creating entrepreneurlink blog in 1080 in PNG would have been total waste of time and effort. But I created the blog 10 days ago and the page views exploded overnight with 1000+ page views the first day. Amazing isn’t it? The more eyes you have landing on your website of Facebook or Twitter pages, you have greater chance of being known and your products or services sold.

  1. Create marketing materials

No one will be serious with you unless you are serious with yourself. Create your own or pay someone to do you professional ID and business cards. If you can, use Microsoft Publisher to create simple marketing brochures.

  1. Create a free email account

You are in business and your professional contacts may wish to stay in touch with you at a professional level and that means you need to have a business email. We suggest you create a free Gmail address. You can have Yahoo or even Hotmail. Include your email address and phone number in your business card and marketing brochures.

  1. Launch your business

This is really not necessary but if you wish to pull some media stunt and go with a big bang than plan properly and do a formal launching of your business. Invite some key people. If you can get your local Member of Parliament to be present that would be a great bonus. Try as much as possible to get maximum media coverage for your launching and if you can, do given away some freebies. Freebies go a long way to build your brand and customer loyalty.

  1. Sell! Sell! Sell!

Finally, if you can’t sell, than you shouldn’t be in business. Business is all about selling. Great business are built because their owners are master sellers of their ideas or products.  Get out and network. Promote your business. You are the main evangelist of your business. So spread the good gospel about your business.

About EntrepreneurLink (16 Articles)
Entrepreneurship skills, tips, tools, resources and inspiration for Papua New Guineans

27 Comments on PNG Business Startup Guide: Step by Step Guide to Start a Small Business in Papua New Guinea

  1. Wow, just a click would imparted me with such a important message.

    Very interesting, please keep me posted.

    Thank you.

    Desired Business boy.


  2. Cybele Druma // August 12, 2015 at 6:40 am // Reply

    Useful information on the process of starting up. Thank you.


  3. David L. Rahe // August 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm // Reply


    This is so cool, thank you very much and please do update as often as possible.

    Well done, please keep up the good work.


    David L. Rahe


  4. Hi
    can you email a copy of how to start your small bisnese to me as iam trying to run a pmv service


  5. Nailed it bro… Am compelled.. I need a private lecture from you..


    • The EntrepreneurLink // November 27, 2015 at 7:15 am // Reply

      You are on champ. Hit us anytime for your session when you are in Port Moresby. Our Creative StartUp 101 is your perfect choice.


  6. Brendan Sasanui // November 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm // Reply

    This is a great help. Now I know the procedures. Thank you


    • The EntrepreneurLink // November 27, 2015 at 7:16 am // Reply

      Glad you found the article useful. And you even signed up for our Creative Startup 101 which is an added value for money.


  7. Thanks Linked, am all excited to be part of this network hoping to learn alot of new.things about starting my own business online. please keep me posted.


  8. All I can say is keep it up IAN…….you’re doing us a service as well as planting the seeds of your future success….great stuff..!


  9. Hi Thanks,
    I have been trying to register my company and have been struggling, thanks alot for the tips

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Estelle Walters // January 22, 2016 at 1:24 am // Reply

    Very helpful information for upcoming entrepreneurs like us. Thank you!


  11. Thank you for this site, it has helped me understand the procedures of starting up my little business.


  12. MARGARET KARIKO // January 26, 2016 at 2:44 pm // Reply

    Am very much interested ..any possibilities if sending the start up guide to my email


  13. eunice bualia // February 4, 2016 at 1:12 am // Reply

    Very good and informative guide for those aspiring to go into business…please keep me informed…


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