There are lots of things to consider when you decide to take the leap and go into business. This can make it a slightly stressful - but also very exciting - time! Our 20 points below will help you with some of the things you need to consider as a start-up business. And remember - we're always on hand to help ambitious entrepreneurs navigate their business journey.
Perhaps you are taking your skills/qualifications as an employee across to your own business, or turning a hobby/passion into a business.
All businesses start with an idea!
Examine the market and consider the requirement and customer-base for your business. You will also need to research your competition and the industry you’re entering.
Writing a business plan is an essential step in the start-up process, especially if you intend to approach investors, banks, lenders, or specialist advisors.
4. Choose a name
This is worth getting right from the offset. You’ll need to check its availability (website domain, social media accounts, company register) and whether anyone else is using it. Also be careful to check for word meanings/associations!
Register your domain and social media accounts as soon as you settle on a name. Design and content can come later but securing these early will avoid disappointment if they become unavailable further down the line.
6. Legal structure
You will need to decide how you are going to trade. The most common entities are:
Limited Liability Partnership
Whatever your chosen structure, you will need to incorporate/register with HMRC.
Once your business is registered, you’ll need to consider your banking set up. Limited companies must have a business bank account and all businesses must keep track of income and expenditure.
You might consider personal savings/ borrowing from friends and family/ small business loans/ overdrafts or 0% credit cards/ investors or business angels/ government loans or grants/ crowdfunding/ invoice or stock financing
Do you need to source essential supplies for your business? If so, where from, and do you need to set up trading accounts?
Does your business need premises? The right location can make all the difference.
Consider the types of insurance you need for your business to be compliant and covered for risks.
...and design. You’ll need to consider the way your business appears and the message it gives across – this includes design of a logo, website, literature, signage, packaging etc.
Think about which software systems/apps will keep you organised and improve efficiency.
Will you need employees to make your business a success? If so, you’ll need to recruit and set up a PAYE scheme (with ongoing payroll processing).
You will need to register with HMRC for certain taxes. This may include Corporation Tax, VAT, PAYE, and Self-Assessment. At this point you must also acknowledge the joyous tasks of bookkeeping and accounting (and how you are going to manage these)!
You’ll need to spread the word about your new business. An initial marketing plan, and ongoing marketing strategy could be key to success.
Consider how you will store and manage customer data. You must be compliant with GDPR rules and register with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office).
19. IT risks
Consider keeping files and data in the cloud, so that your vital documents and data are safe and accessible.
Find someone who will give you honest feedback about your business and share their own experiences/wisdom. Government-funded schemes may be on offer to match start-up businesses to a mentor