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I would advise reading the Codices and a few articles on the interwebz to see what units and strategies in SM and Tau interest you.
Once you find a theme you like, then start buying models.

Regarding battleforces, if you are interested in Tau, their battleforce is one of the best available in my opinion.
 

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There are exactly 0 armies with bad battleforce boxes. Every single army has a pretty good one, both value-wise and choice-wise. Sure, there are better boxes, but none are bad. If you want to start collecting an army, buy a Battleforce box or two first.
Personally i dont really like the SM battleforce.

The SW one isnt really much better either. I guess it is if you plan to use a Drop Pod, but if you dont then you are better off using the money to buy different stuff.



Oh, and Cuinlan, consider the Assault on Black Reach boxed set.
This will give you quite a bit of stuff, and is much better value for money. Its EXTREMELY good value for somebody new to the game.
Includes the rulebook, dice, templates, SM HQ, tactical squad, dreadnaught, and terminators. Also includes an Ork warboss, 20 boyz, 3 deffkoptas, and 5 nobz, which you can sell to a friend who plays (or is thinking about playing).
All for the price of a standard battleforce.
 
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