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Result 2
TitleHow to start a business in the UK
Urlhttps://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2021/03/how-to-start-a-business/
DescriptionWondering how to start a small business? From writing a business plan to understanding tax and legal requirements, this guide has you covered
Date
Organic Position
H1How to start a business: a 9-step guide
H2Starting a new business – ideas and inspiration
What do I need to start a business?
9 steps to starting your own business
H3Download your guide to starting a business in the UK
1. Research new business names
2. Choose a legal structure
3. Write your new business plan
4. Secure funding and finance
5. Plan your advertising strategy
6. Buy your new business insurance
7. Work out what you need to do for tax
8. Create a system for keeping business records
9. Maintain your business with support guides and templates
Looking for self-employed insurance?
People also liked
Landlords could be targeted in new capital gains tax raid
H2WithAnchorsStarting a new business – ideas and inspiration
What do I need to start a business?
9 steps to starting your own business
BodyHow to start a business: a 9-step guide7-minute readCatriona Smith and Sam Bromley23 March 2021So you’re thinking of starting your own business? We’ve got some tips for getting started – from writing a business plan to understanding tax, benefits, and legal structures as a new business owner.While it may seem overwhelming, with passion and dedication you could join one of the six million small and medium sized businesses in the UK.Ready to go? Read our nine-step guide on how to start a small business in the UK.Download your guide to starting a business in the UK. Download your free in-depth guide on starting a business in the UK, from writing a business plan to understanding the tax requirements.Your email address will be used by Simply Business to keep you posted with the latest news, offers and tips. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. Simply Business Privacy policy.Starting a new business – ideas and inspiration. Of course, the first thing you need to do is choose your business idea. It should be something you’re passionate about so you’re happy putting your time, money and energy into making it a success.Start by checking if a product or service is viable by looking at Google Trends, conducting market research, or even building a blog or social page to test if there’s interest.You’ll need to find a niche so you can stand out to customers – is there a gap in the market for something? Can you make use of specific skills and experience you have already? Do you have a unique perspective on something?Next, think about whether you want to start an online business or if you need physical premises. If you're thinking of setting up an online shop then it could make more financial sense to start your business from home.Still stuck for ideas? Check out the business trends in 2021 for more inspiration.What do I need to start a business?Aside from a great idea that you’re passionate about, you’ll also need:courses and training – depending on your business, you might need specific training or want to complete a general business qualification – City & Guilds offer a range of vocational courseslicences – check the government website to see if you need a business licence, for example to sell food, play music or trade on the streetspecialist equipment – make sure you budget for any equipment or toolsproducts – if you’re setting up a shop or selling your own creations you’ll need to get your stock together9 steps to starting your own business. Follow our checklist below to get started with your new business:Research new business namesChoose a legal structureWrite your new business planSecure funding and financePlan your advertising strategyBuy your new business insuranceWork out what you need to do for taxCreate a system for keeping business recordsMaintain your business with support guides and templates1. Research new business names. Coming up with a name for your business is an important step as it shows the personality of your brand and helps you stand out. Your name should be unique and appeal to your target audience – and it’s your chance to be creative.It's also worth understanding:how to define your brand so you can stand out from your competitorswhat you need to do to protect your intellectual property, including any patents and trademarksIf you’re looking for some light-hearted inspiration, try our Business Name Generator to get you started.2. Choose a legal structure. Next, you’ll need to choose a legal structure for your business:sole trader – the simplest business structure, but with no legal distinction between you and your businesspartnership – if you’re starting a business with a business partner or partnerslimited company – a complex structure with plenty of admin, but your business is legally distinct from you as an individualIf you’re not sure, this guide explains the difference between a sole trader and a limited company.3. Write your new business plan. A business plan is an important document for a business of any size. It helps you to get an idea of your strategic goals, financials, market research, and potential obstacles.And as part of any new business strategy, you’ll need to create a budget. The cost to start a business can vary widely – it depends on things like whether you need to buy specialist equipment, rent a business premises, or if you’re running your business from home. Have a look at our budget calculator and cash flow forecast guides for help with planning your budget.Our guide on how to write a business plan has a more complete overview of writing your plan – plus you can download a free business plan template there too.4. Secure funding and finance. How much money do you need to start a business? It’ll vary depending on your product or service. But, as mentioned above, you’ll need to think about this question before getting your new venture started.You might not need much initial investment if you’re starting small.But if you’ve identified a number of costs in your budget, you should know how you’re going to fund your project. Will you use savings? Or will you ask for help with starting up a new business (for example, loans from friends, family, or a bank)?Keep in mind you might be able to find grants for new businesses to help lighten the financial burden. The benefit of a small business grant rather than a loan is that you don’t usually have to pay the money back.It’s worth checking for government funding for new businesses. Another government-backed scheme is the Start Up Loan, available from the British Business Bank. You can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of six per cent per year. You also get 12 months of free mentoring.Read more about the small business loans available from different lenders.Crowdfunding is another innovative source of finance. Plus, if you’re a young person looking to start a business, it’s worth checking out the Prince’s Trust, which offers mentoring – and sometimes, funding.5. Plan your advertising strategy. Now you’ve sorted your finance, it’s time to think about how you’re going to attract customers and grow your business.When it comes to advertising a new business, you’ll need to consider marketing, branding, and how you’ll balance online and offline promotion.Here are a few of our top tips:do competitor research – this helps you understand the market, set your prices, and find a way to stand outbuild a social media presence – social media is a great way to showcase your brand’s personality, connect with customers, and even sell your products with tools like Facebook Shops and Instagramcreate a website with SEO – optimise your website for search engines so people can find your business and understand the products or service you offersend emails and newsletters – a simple and cost-effective way to keep in touch with your customers and boost salesuse flyers and print marketing – a tangible way to reach potential customersnetwork at industry events – get to know your industry and make connections at virtual or in-person events6. Buy your new business insurance. The type of business insurance you’ll need depends on your business. Whether you have an online shop or deliver a service, you can tailor your cover and protect yourself from the costs of everyday risks like accidents, damage and legal fees. You can also add specific covers if you need to protect stock or tools.You can select from a range of covers:public liability insurance – this is important if customers visit your premises or you carry out work on client sitesprofessional indemnity insurance – covers you if a client loses money because you provide negligent advice, services or designsemployers liability insurance – this is a legal requirement if you have employeeslegal expenses insuranceself-employed health insurance – affordable insurance which can give you quicker access to health professionalssmall business health insurance – affordable healthcare cover for you and your employees7. Work out what you need to do for tax. Running a business comes with legal and accounting responsibilities, so it’s important you’re clear on what’s involved. There’s a £1,000 tax free allowance, but after that you’re legally required to register with HMRC or Companies House.Sole traders need to:register with HMRCsubmit an annual Self Assessment tax returnLimited companies need to:register with Companies Housepay corporation tax on the profits you make from your businessfile a company tax returnpay VATas a self-employed person, you’ll also need to send a Self AssessmentOne of the benefits of registering as self-employed is you can claim back some of your expenses and reduce your tax bill. Our guide on self-employed tax deductible expenses goes into more detail on the expenses you can subtract from your business turnover when working out how much tax you need to pay.And a good way to test your business venture without as much financial risk is to start a business alongside full-time employment – but make sure you understand everything about paying tax when you have a side hustle first.You may also be able to recoup some of the tax you pay with new business tax relief, such as business rates relief and VAT relief.8. Create a system for keeping business records. After you’ve worked out what you need to do for tax, it’s important to stay organised so you can meet your tax obligations at various points throughout the tax year.If you don’t have a record-keeping system, you’ll spend a lot of time sorting paperwork when you have to do your Self Assessment – valuable time that could be spent running your business, or on relaxing and recharging.Firstly, it’s a good idea to keep your business and personal finances separate. That’s because allowances like tax-deductible expenses can only be for business purposes – it’s much harder to separate money coming in and out when you’re using one account.Many of the major providers offer a business bank account – here are some of the best.What’s more, there’s lots of software available that can make record-keeping much easier. Software can do tasks like create and send invoices automatically, and monitor your income and outgoings:best accounting software for UK businessesbest invoice apps for small businessesFinally, you’re required to keep business records for a number of years. If HMRC asks for them, accurate and organised business records can help keep you out of trouble in the event of a tax investigation. Read more about how long to keep tax records.9. Maintain your business with support guides and templates. For more resources on running your business, from conducting a business health check to hiring employees, explore the support guides and templates below.get a strategic understanding of your business in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with our free SWOT analysis templateselling goods or services means you’ll need to send clients an invoice so you can be paid – read our guide on how to write an invoice and get your free templateIR35 support and guides for contractorshow to calculate turnover for your businessSelf Assessment and tax resourceswhen you’re ready to hire your first employee, download our free contract of employment templateAre you starting your own business? Let us know how you get on in the comments.Looking for self-employed insurance?With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.Start your quoteWe create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimerFind this article useful? Spread the word.ShareTweetPostPeople also liked. 19 November 2020 • 2-minute readLandlords could be targeted in new capital gains tax raid. Landlords could be hit by another massive tax raid, as the Office of Tax Simplification outlines its recommendations for an overhaul of…Read moreKeep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.Subscribe to our newsletterFollow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterSubscribe to our videos on YouTubeFollow us on LinkedInCategories. 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TitleSet up a business - GOV.UK
Urlhttps://www.gov.uk/set-up-business
DescriptionWhat you need to do to start a business: choose a legal structure, see if you need licences and insurance, learn about reliefs and benefits
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H1Set up a business
H2Cookies on GOV.UK
Register your business
Rules for your type of business
Where you work
Taking on people to help
Get help and support
Related content
COVID-19 vaccinations
Is this page useful?
H3Sole traders
Limited companies
Partnerships
Becoming an employer
H2WithAnchorsCookies on GOV.UK
Register your business
Rules for your type of business
Where you work
Taking on people to help
Get help and support
Related content
COVID-19 vaccinations
Is this page useful?
BodySet up a business What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help. Register your business. Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership. Sole traders. It’s simpler to set up as a sole trader, but you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities. Find out more about being a sole trader and how to register. Limited companies. If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities. Some people get help from a professional, for example an accountant, but you can set up a company yourself. Partnerships. A partnership is the simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together. You share responsibility for your business’s debts. You also have accounting responsibilities. Find out more about being in a partnership and how to register. Rules for your type of business. You may have other responsibilities depending on what your business does. Check if you need: licences or permits, for example to play music, sell food or to trade in the street insurance There are also rules you must follow if you: sell goods online buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad store or use personal information Where you work. Check what your responsibilities are if you: run your business from home rent somewhere to run your business from If you rent or buy a property, you may have to pay business rates. Small businesses can apply for a discount on business rates and some may pay nothing. Check if you can claim office, property and equipment as expenses. Taking on people to help. If you take on agency workers or freelancers you have some responsibilities, for example their health and safety. Becoming an employer. There are things you’ll need to do if you take on your own employees. You’ll have more responsibilities, including: running payroll paying for their National Insurance - but you can claim an allowance to reduce your bill providing workplace pensions to eligible staff Get help and support. You can get help with setting up your business. Related content . COVID-19 vaccinations. Book your coronavirus vaccination and booster dose on the NHS website Is this page useful? Maybe Yes this page is useful No this page is not useful Thank you for your feedback Report a problem with this page
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Result 5
Title15 Steps to start a business from scratch with (almost) no money
Urlhttps://entrepreneurhandbook.co.uk/starting-a-business/
DescriptionLearn how to start a business with our step-by-step guide covering every aspect of business setup from ideation to company setup, creating a brand and more
Date
Organic Position3
H115 Steps to start a business from scratch with (almost) no money
H2A step-by-step guide to starting a business, covering everything from coming up with business ideas to business planning, fundraising and more
1. Know yourself as an entrepreneur before you start
2. Coming up with great business ideas
3. Research your business ideas
4. Test your business premise
5. Create a business plan
6. Registering a business
7. Setting up finances, accounting and tax
8. Protect your business
9. Create a brand and identity for your business
10. Buying the business essentials
11. Find funding for your new business
12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy
13. Building a team for your new business
14. Starting a business in your spare time
15. A little bit of entrepreneurial inspiration
H3Discover your motivation for starting a business
Understand your entrepreneurial passions
Are you the right age to start a business?
Start generating business ideas
Define & analyse your target market
See if there’s a demand for your product or service
Understand your potential customers
Have a marketing & sales plan that makes sense
Make sure your business model will work
Find funding for your business
Be precise when measuring performance
Different testing methods
Key elements of a business plan
How to write a business plan
How to format and present your business plan
Keep your business plan updated
Tools for business planning
Different types of business structure
Selecting a structure for your business
Register a limited company
Register as a sole trader
Registering a limited liability partnership
Opening a business bank account
Understanding your accounting, tax and filing responsibilities
Hire an accountant
Choosing small business accounting software
Find a solicitor or law firm
Getting intellectual property protection in place
Make sure you have small business insurance
Choosing the right business insurance
Create a professional brand for your business
You need to create a website for your business
How to create a website for your business
Create an e-mail address for your business
Setting up business broadband
Getting a business phone line
Finding office space
Selecting business stationary and signage
Your savings
Friends & family
Business grants
Business competitions
Angel investors
Venture capital
Crowdfunding
Business Loans
Business credit cards
Business overdrafts
Getting a product or service ready for sale
Positioning your offering
Understanding your USP (Unique selling point)
Setting price at the right level
Choosing a route to market
Selecting marketing channels
Build a sales process
Building sales assets
Building a sales pipeline
Create a customer service team
Brilliant recruitment practices are linked to business success
Creating a management ethos and system
Making sure you are compliant with employment law and taxes
Managing yourself
Perfect businesses to start in your spare time
Hide your entrepreneurial intentions
Only work on your business in your spare time
Social life on hold
Maximise the number of hours
Work on your business every hour
Make sure to get some rest
Advice from owners of successful spare time entrepreneurs
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About
Topics
H2WithAnchorsA step-by-step guide to starting a business, covering everything from coming up with business ideas to business planning, fundraising and more
1. Know yourself as an entrepreneur before you start
2. Coming up with great business ideas
3. Research your business ideas
4. Test your business premise
5. Create a business plan
6. Registering a business
7. Setting up finances, accounting and tax
8. Protect your business
9. Create a brand and identity for your business
10. Buying the business essentials
11. Find funding for your new business
12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy
13. Building a team for your new business
14. Starting a business in your spare time
15. A little bit of entrepreneurial inspiration
Body15 Steps to start a business from scratch with (almost) no money A step-by-step guide to starting a business, covering everything from coming up with business ideas to business planning, fundraising and more. Editorial team | October 2, 2017 Coming up with a business idea and starting a business can seem overwhelming and complicated. There are so many things you have to consider from coming up with an excellent idea to registering a company, all the way to business planning, fundraising and much more. That is why we have put together this in-depth guide to take you by step by step through how you can start a business. It covers every conceivable thing you could want to know when setting up a business, including: Know yourself as an entrepreneur before you start Generating new business ideas Researching the validity of your ideas Testing your business premise in the real world Creating an initial business plan Setting up the right legal structure for your business Understanding your financial, accounting and tax obligations Protecting your business from a legal and disaster perspective (insurance) Creating an identity for your business including building a brand and website Get your business essentials sorted including setting up internet and stationary Funding options for starting your business including investment, grants, loans and more Devising initial marketing and sales strategies Building your initial team including recruitment, management and company culture Starting your business whilst keeping a full-time job I highly recommend that if you are new to starting a new business you should read this guide from beginning to end, but if you want to skip ahead, there’s a table of contents below with quick links to sections and subsections. This guide is designed for UK entrepreneurs but most of it relates to entrepreneurs starting a business anywhere, only the financial and legal sections will differ significantly. 1. Know yourself as an entrepreneur before you start. Starting a business is a process that requires an enormous amount of thought and careful examination. First, you need to take a good look at your strengths, weaknesses and skills. This will allow you to start thinking about what you can do and what you cannot do. It is important to start here even if you already have world’s best business idea, because you might not have the skills or personality traits to enable you to make it into a successful business. You want to come up with business ideas where you are naturally best suited to be successful, for example: A person with a decent level of programming skill is well adapted to starting a web development agency. A person that has a short attention span might not want to consider accountancy related businesses. An person that doesn’t enjoy speaking to new people wouldn’t consider a heavily client facing business. These are just three general examples, but it gives you an idea of the thought process. The crucial point is to understand yourself and your team, and if you are well suited to any business ideas, areas of business or specific types of business. It allows you to start coming up with ideas and narrowing down what businesses you could start. Discover your motivation for starting a business. Before you start a business, you should be absolutely clear about why you are doing it. That may sound obvious, but there are actually many reasons why someone should choose to turn their back on the security of a job and career for the uncertainty of starting a business. So the clearer you are about what exactly you are trying to achieve, the better chance you have of achieving it. Wealth, power, fame, saving the world? Most entrepreneurs are motivated by a mix of the above although most wouldn’t like to admit it. Understanding what is driving you to start a business is a major factor in determining what type of business you should start. Why? Because when a business you start isn’t aligned with personal ambition, it is much more likely you will fail. You should make sure from the beginning that your personal goals and drive are compatible with your business, for example: Someone who seeks wealth might want to look at companies in the financial services industry, where Fintech valuations and revenues are typically much higher than other start-up businesses. Someone who seeks power and influence could achieve this through any form of media business. Someone who seeks out fame might be best suited to an entertainment related business. Someone who wants to save the world might start a business tackling climate change through renewable energy. It is important to understand why you are starting a business so you can focus on business ideas that will help you get to where you want to go. Make sure it’s a good reason to start. In reality, you are unlikely to have just one reason for starting a business; it is likely to be a combination of several of them. So be aware that the aims may conflict with each other. Creating a long-term family business to pass down the generations, for example, may well be incompatible with making a serious fortune, because you may find you need to sell the business in order to realise its full worth. While it is possible to create a successful business solely to make a lot of money, in reality, it will be hard work if there isn’t at least one other factor acting as a motivator. This is because it can take many years between starting a business and receiving any money from it – if ever – and along the way the hard work required is immense, and the possibility of failure is very real. Simply pinning your hopes on a future possible pot of gold is unlikely to be enough to sustain you through the difficult times. So make sure you have a good reason, work hard and enjoy the ride! Understand your entrepreneurial passions. When it comes to starting a business, if you are passionate about it, you will be more likely to be successful. The main reason for this is simple: you will work harder and persevere more on a business you are passionate about, thus be more likely to succeed at it. Often the only difference between an entrepreneur who starts a successful business and an entrepreneur who fails is passion. Logic dictates that if you want a successful business then you should begin in an area that you already have a passion for. To start figuring out what businesses or areas of business you are or could be passionate about start by thinking about the areas, activities, and things you are passionate about, that is, that interest you and you have strong opinions on, for example: Someone who loves to hike might consider setting up a travel business. Someone who loves Lego might think about a toy or construction business. Someone who spent their whole life with a passion for music might start a company related to sound When thinking of offline or online business ideas keep in mind that starting any business is hard enough, if you make sure it is one you are passionate about you are much more likely to succeed. Are you the right age to start a business? Questions such as what is the average age of a startup founder, what is the optimal age to be a founder and is it possible to be too old/ too young to start a startup, are all often asked. The graph from HBR shows the distribution of ages of the founders of billion dollars, venture capital-backed private companies. It’s an interesting distribution that undeniably favours those between the age of 20-35.  Of course, these $1bn companies are huge outliers and represent a very small dataset of total startups.  Having said that, it’s an interesting graph to note as after all, for those of us that start startups, isn’t this the ultimate dream that we’re all swinging for in the long run?  For those that fall into this age bracket, the signs are good. Even Fred Wilson, prolific New York based Venture Capitalist was quoted as saying that “tech is biased toward the younger generation” as the article notes. In contrast to the graph above, the Kauffman Foundation conducted a study and released a report entitled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur“. They found the average age of a founder to be 40 years old. Of course, I can think of a number of benefits of waiting until this age to start a company; the most obvious being years of experience under your belt. Ultimately, age should not be a limiting factor in success. There are pros and cons about certain ages, and some people might have biases one way or the other.  Regarding starting a startup often it is down to the circumstances and thought process of the individual. There will always be reasons to not take the plunge but in reality are these reasons even valid? Your age should be way down the list of factors that you consider if you’re thinking of starting a startup.  With startups being the roller coaster that they are, the range of emotions from almighty highs to deep lows experienced by any founder on a day to day basis will dwarf the benefits or negatives caused by the founder’s age. There are many metrics that startup founders can pay attention to at any one point in time.  In my opinion, age should not be one of them.  What’s your opinion? 2. Coming up with great business ideas. Coming up with a business idea is relatively easy, coming up with a great business idea is hard. It is critical to your success that when starting out you explore as many ideas as possible before deciding on the final one you will take forward. In this section, we will guide you through the process of finding a great business idea that you can turn into a successful, profitable and valuable business. Start generating business ideas. It is now time to start coming up with ideas, this is often a long and time-consuming process but have some patience and you will bring to life some fantastic ones. Below you will find advice on how to get started in the ideation process and come up with great business ideas! Solve a problem that prospective customers care about. Start by thinking about what significant problems you could solve and how. Many successful companies started out on a mission to solve real problems that affect millions of people and provide a solution through their products and services. For example, Tesla started with the objective of making the world’s cars purely electric and they are well on the way having built a hugely successfully multi-billion-dollar business in the process. Identify where you provide a better solution. Look for areas where solutions are already available but you can do better than existing companies either regarding efficiency, innovation or cost. For example, Apple entered the mobile phone market more than a decade ago as an underdog with a new innovative product and are now a market leader. Despite the fact the technology had been available for years no one had brought the level of innovation the iPhone did to the market. Be cheaper than other businesses. You should look for areas where you can provide significant savings to the customer vs competitors. These types of businesses grow incredibly fast, particularly during recessions. For example, Poundland is a great example of this kind of business, since its inception its used price as the primary differentiator to its competitors. Through offering the lowest price possible on a big range of consumer products the business has grown to a highly successful high street chain. Innovate in a traditional slow changing market. Is there a field of business or industry that hasn’t seen much innovation in the last 10-100 years? This is often the case in non-tech industries that are slow to push forward change while the status quo remains profitable. These industries often have tremendous opportunities to disrupt them with new technologies, innovations, systems and methods. For example, only recently has the taxi industry rapidly changed with the introduction of Uber innovating how we find and hire taxis. Build a business for a future need or market. Try to think into the future, what will the world look like in 5 or 10 years? Thinking about the future will allow you to think about new markets and niches that may open due to innovations and new technologies. For example, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in the last few years have grown to be significant markets by themselves with a whole eco-system of technology and infrastructure providers developing around it. Copy other businesses and be better. It is unlikely, unless you are on the forefront of technology, that your business ideas are unique. Plenty of the world’s biggest companies were not revolutionary, yet they came into markets with developed players and just outperformed everyone else. You do not have to have the most original idea to create a brilliant business, you just have to do it better than anyone else! For example, Microsoft came out of nowhere and beat every other competitor to become the dominant operating system provider in the early 1990’s. Turn your hobby into a business. A logical jump is to take a hobby and turn it into a real business. Why? A hobby is something you already know a lot about, clearly have a passion for and you will know where to start. For example, it is logical to go from collecting models to selling models. Think about a global business. The world is now a very global place, you can have a business in China and operate it from New Zealand if that is what you want. Globalization and technology offer immense possibilities to run businesses in new and emerging markets around the world. If the conditions are not right for your business model in your home country market look for a country where they are. For example, Rocket Internet built their multi-billion-dollar business by copying innovative business models from developed markets and taking them to less developed markets where they were the only company. Don’t limit yourself to one business idea. It is easy to settle on one idea but to give yourself the best chance of coming up with a great idea it’s best to pick a few to explore and compare. If you’re stuck, stop thinking. You can overthink it when it comes to ideation, so if you are stuck stop thinking about it. Many times, when you stop actively thinking about something the solution or idea will come to you later. 3. Research your business ideas. This stage is all about researching your business idea as much as possible to decide if your idea or ideas could turn into a great business. To assess and compare each, you want to have a clear understanding of the points below. Define & analyse your target market. Is there a market for the business, product or service and is it big enough to support your goals? You should also consider the competitive landscape and know who your main competitors are. Analyse what their and your weaknesses and strengths are, as well as market opportunities and threats. You want a clear idea of the overall market and how your business would fit into it. See if there’s a demand for your product or service. Is there a direct demand for your goods or will you have to educate customers about the need for your product or service? Understand your potential customers. You should have a clear idea of who your potential customers are, including demographic data and business details if you are selling B2B. Have a marketing & sales plan that makes sense. Having a good understanding of how you would reach your potential clients and grow your market share is critical to success. Specifically, understanding what marketing and sales activities and channels will you need to pursue and how. Make sure your business model will work. Can your business model work given the current market and potential customers? This is often an overlooked point, but many start-ups fail because their business model does not operate. Find funding for your business. Is it going to cost a significant amount to set up your business? This is a key factor on whether your business could work as it depends on your resources and your ability to raise finance if needed, i.e. Small business grants, business angels, venture capital, invoice finance or bank business loans. 4. Test your business premise. Once you have a few thoroughly researched business ideas it’s time to test quickly and validate if the premise of your proposed business works in the real world. Many entrepreneurs who skip this stage, end up wasting much time chasing ventures that would never work. So now that we have established it is a good move to test your ideas and research, this section explores the different routes to market for testing different ideas. Be precise when measuring performance. When testing a proposed business, you can assess the performance of any venture in different ways, so it is important to initially work out what you want to measure to gauge success or failure. Here are some suggested measures to get you started: How much revenue could you generate/ How many products can you sell? How much customer interest can you generate? How much press/notoriety can you generate? Different testing methods. As per the title of this section, you should find and deploy the fastest, cheapest, and most robust way possible of testing your business premises. How you choose to do this largely depends on your business idea, below are some of the most popular methods that fit the above criteria. Create a landing page and carry out e-mail marketing. If you have services or a specific solution based business and your primary sales channel will be online, this is often the quickest way to test: Set up a quick one-page website (for non-technical people Wix is a good solution). Make it seem and feel professional (you can get a 5 dollar logo/brand off Fiverr). List your services/solutions. Add a contact email. Find the e-mails of ideal potential buyers and contact them about your service. Then manage communications and see if anyone is interested, if not ask why and be persistent. Build an online store and buy adverts. If your idea involves selling products online: Create a quick online store (WordPress, Shopify or BigCommerce are good options). Add a brand and make everything look professional. Add mocked up graphics of your products. Add contact details and sort an email. Spend £25 on Facebook ads and see how many clicks, sales and how much revenue you can drive. Set up a market stall and sell. If you are starting a product based business and your primary sales method will be face-to-face, a cost-effective way to test your business is to build initial versions of your product and book a table at your local market or festival. You can gauge via sales and customer feedback if the premise is a success and gain valuable feedback as to how you could pivot the premise to success if it fails. Innocent Smoothies started by testing their products at a festival before becoming a business (and later being acquired by Coke for hundreds of millions). Sell over the phone (Telesales). One of the best ways to get meaningful qualitative feedback is to find the ideal buyer of your product on LinkedIn for example, track down their phone number and call/pitch as much as possible to gather as much feedback and as many pre-orders as you can. 5. Create a business plan. At this point you have chosen the business idea you are going to turn into a business and tested it, now it is time to put together a business plan to outline in detail the objectives of your business and how you are planning to achieve them. A business plan is a great exercise for sorting out your thoughts and it allows you to plan your business in a structured way, for yourself and so outside parties such as investors or partners can understand what you are trying to achieve and how. Great planning from the start can be the difference between a business that is successful and well executed and a business that fails. In this section, you will find guidance on how to create a great business plan. Key elements of a business plan. Your business plan should include many key elements and follow a simple and clear structure. Always aim to create a business plan that anyone could pick up and understand what your business is, what its objectives are and how you are planning to get there; this means breaking it up into clear sections. Executive summary. An executive summary is an introduction to your plan, its content, and an overview of everything in your business plan. It should provide the reader with a short, concise and clear overview of what your business is and what you are trying to do in no more than two paragraphs. Contents page. The readers of your plan will often want to skip to specific parts that interest them; a contents page allows them to navigate quickly to the appropriate section. Business model and products/services. Here you need to outline your business model and what are the products, services and solutions you provide. Customer, market and competition. In this section, you need to show a clear understanding of your ideal client, the market for your product, service or solution (also have your market clearly segmented) and an understanding of the competitive landscape, including who your competitors are and where you are in the market in comparison to them. Marketing and sales. This section is about demonstrating a clear plan from a marketing and sales perspective as to how you intend to achieve your objectives, whether that is scale, revenue generation or some other tactic. Finances and projections. You want to show your current finances and any projections you have for the business moving forward. Always make sure to be realistic with financial projections, you will have to back them up at some point! Team. Include a short section about your current team, who they are and their qualifications/experiences. If you have expansion plans for human resources, you should also include them here. Business plan summary. This section should should showcase the entirety of your business and your business plans, through key points in bullet point format and provide contact details so a reader can easily get in touch with you. How to write a business plan. Writing a business plan when you are starting out is often a new, complicated and sometimes overwhelming task. There are however some golden rules you should take into consideration when writing that will make your life a lot easier! Keep your writing short. Make sure to summarise and keep your writing as short as possible as this will help your plan be very clear. It helps you organise your ideas but most importantly, it makes it much easier for external parties to understand. Make sure everything is relevant. It is very easy and tempting to include irrelevant information in your business plan. This extra information usually makes your communication less efficient and makes the idea harder to understand. To get rid of any irrelevant material, once you have finished a section do a quick review and get rid of anything that doesn’t support or add to the main point you are trying to make in that section. Check grammar and spelling thoroughly. If there’s even a chance external parties will at some point read your business plan, then make your spelling and grammar excellent. As with any document, you lose much credibility and sometimes meaning if there are spelling and grammar errors. Create a simple mission statement. A mission statement should concisely explain what the overall purpose of your business is, for example, the mission could be: to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. Set clear objectives. Set SMART objectives by being very specific on what you are trying to achieve across the business and in individual areas. State how you are going to get there. It sounds simple but many entrepreneurs are not very clear about how they are going to achieve their business objectives, make sure you thoroughly think and create a way for your business to get from point A to B. Use a realistic timeline. Setting a realistic timeline alongside your activities and objectives is a critical factor when composing any business plan. How to format and present your business plan. Making sure you have created your plan in the appropriate format can be very important to how it is perceived or used. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve the best format. Business plan formats. Create your initial document in Word, Google docs or Open Office, these tools are easy to use and you’ll end up with an easily editable file. You can also use Excel to create and update a clear structure, this helps to give you a good overview of the plan. Make sure to use a theme that is consistent throughout the document regarding fonts, colours and design features. If you must give a copy to an external party, always export the file to PDF, and make sure to have professional graphics in place if desired (if you want to design something graphically complex, Adobe InDesign is perfect for this). How to present your plan. If you are going to make a presentation of your plan, you need to create a PowerPoint/Keynote version. The presentation format will differ from your business plan in that each page should make one key point with a maximum of other three supporting ones. Make sure to use simple graphics and focus on what you are trying to communicate (remember you can always provide a full business plan at the end of a presentation to any parties). Keep your business plan updated. Your business plan should be updated as circumstances and objectives change. If your business is now running, it’s impractical to continually update this document but it should be reviewed and kept up to date over time. Apart from anything else it is a good reflection on where you started and where you are now. If you are looking for a way to track your progress against objectives, it is best to build a tracker/planner on Excel or use tools like Asana or Trello. Tools for business planning. Usually, Excel, Word or even a whiteboard is sufficient, but if your business is a little more complex or you struggle with organisation, then using a business planning software makes sense. The best and most popular solutions out there are Asana, Trello and LivePlan. 6. Registering a business. The structure you select for your business depends on your specific needs. In this section, we will take you through the various business structures, their advantages, disadvantages and how you can set them up. Different types of business structure. There are several types of legal structures you can choose from when setting up a business, we have detailed them further below. Sole trader. A sole trader is a business-type where one person owns and runs the entire business. It is the simplest business structure you could adopt. It is very suitable for any one-person businesses; this includes independent accountants, web developers and gardeners among others. Being a sole trader means the individual is entitled to all/any profits of the business but is also liable for any debt/damages incurred. In the UK, there are currently over 3 million registered sole traders, and the number is growing with a massive influx of skilled freelancers. Limited company                                               . A limited company is a structure that means a business is a separate entity from its owners. This means the owners are only liable for any business debts to the extent of the amount of money they have put into the business, thus limiting any exposure for business owners beyond their total investment. There are two types of limited companies you can incorporate in the UK. Private limited company (LTD or Ltd) In a private limited company, the owners privately hold shares. This is the most common and preferred incorporation structure for most small businesses in the UK. Over 5.2 million limited companies are operating in the UK now. Public limited company (PLC) In a public limited company, shares are available to the public for ownership and purchase. A public limited company must have a value of at least 50,000 pounds before it can trade as a PLC. PLC is commonly used as a structure for major companies after they make an initial public offering (selling a large portion of their shares in the capital markets). Limited liability partnership (LLP). An LLP is a partnership structure used by many businesses including vets, dentists, law firms or accountancy firms. An LLP is made up of at least one limited partner and one general partner (there can also be more than one of each), and these partners have different responsibilities and exposure regarding the business. Limited partners On formation provide property or money to a Are liable for all debts up to the amount they have They have no operation control and can’t actively manage the business. They cannot remove the initial investment (property or money) they put into the partnership. General partners Are liable to pay any debts the partnership cannot pay off. Actively manage and control the operation of the business. Can make binding (irreversible) decisions on business matters and for the business. General partners can apply for ACS; this is where assets and money are put together and managed on behalf of the partners. The partners end up co-owning the assets but only must pay tax on their share of any profits. Guarantee Company (LBG). LBG is a structure used by not-for-profit businesses such as social enterprises that seek a legal structure to operate. This structure is somewhere between a charitable status and a limited company. In an LBG no share capital is issued, instead, the members act as guarantors for the company. It’s commonly used by trade associations, schools, and other businesses. Selecting a structure for your business. There is no simple answer to which structure is best for your business, it depends on your business operation and needs. For example, if you: Plan to grow your small business beyond yourself (one person) and then sell it, then a Private Limited Company would likely be the most suitable structure. Plan to only operate as a one-person business for the near future, then a Sole Tradership would probably be the best structure. Plan to start a business that has a significant amount of senior management, capital and that deals in services, then a Limited Liability partnership would be the best choice. Setting up a structure for your business is not something you do every day, do some more in-depth research and decide what legal structure is best for your business. Register a limited company. Forming a limited company can be a simple process, but it is also something that should be done very carefully (if you are unsure about something, seek legal advice). Below you will find an overview of what you will need to register a company, where you can register and other useful details on company formation. Where can I register my company? You can register your new company at Companies House on GOV.UK, this process will take you about 30 minutes if you have all the required details ready. How much does it cost to register a company? It costs £12 to register a company online (you can pay this fee via PayPal, debit card or credit card). It takes on average 24hrs for your company to be registered. Details needed for registering a company. To register a company, you will need to have the details below ready: A company name (You can find more information on naming your company below). Address for the company. One or more directors’ names and details (if it is just you that is fine). Details of the company shares, shareholding, and shareholders (with at least one shareholder). A Memorandum and articles of association. This is a standard document that shareholders create and agree to that outlines the company’s written rules, it’s usually very standardised unless you have specific needs. Detailed information on anyone who owns a significant interest or control in the company (this means anyone who owns 25% or more shares or voting rights in the company). Choosing a company name. When choosing a company name you need to consider legal requirements but also apply common sense: Make sure the name you have chosen isn’t trademarked by another company, you can check this via the Intellectual Property Office search on GOV.UK. Your name cannot have any profanity in it (that is, rude language). Your company name does not have to be the same as your trading name, for instance: your company name could be “Generic media group Ltd” and you might trade under different names for various products the company owns such as “Business magazine, Agriculture magazine…” It depends on your plans, but it can be useful to have a name different from your product or service if you intend to launch other areas of the business, products or services. Your name cannot be to the same or too similar to another company that’s registered at Companies House. Your business name should be something that’s simple to say, spell and remember. Be creative and try brainstorming as many options as you can. Test your name and get feedback from your social group. Ultimately, you should take some time before you decide on a business name. Setting up a company address. To start a limited company, you need to have a registered business address. A registered address will appear on your Companies House listing and it is where the official post is sent including corporation tax and annual return requests. You can use your home address, office address or even a PO box. A PO box can be bought from a virtual office provider and is usually a good option if you want a more formal business address from the start (virtual address providers will forward any post onto your home or selected address for a fee). Creating a memorandum and articles of association. The standard articles of a memorandum document are usually sufficient for most new companies, all you need to do is have all the shareholders read, sign the document and submit it. If you have more complex needs regarding your company’s rules, you should consult a lawyer. Understanding directors & secretaries. Every company needs at least one director to start, this director or directors form the initial management team of a company. If you are starting a company by yourself, you would need to be listed as a director. You will also need to nominate a company secretary, which would also be yourself if you are the only founder. Getting shareholding & shareholders right. You want to get shareholding and shareholders details right from the let-go, it can cause a painful situation later if you submit this poorly or even incorrectly, particularly if you take on investment. A new company with only one director and one shareholder (who are the same person), and a shareholding of 100 ordinary shares owned by this director/shareholder would work well initially. Register as a sole trader. Registering as a sole trader is a simple process, it just requires you to fill out and submit several forms to the HMRC registering yourself as self-employed. What details do I need to register as a sole trader? You only need your national insurance number, a home address and a business name. Where can I register as a sole trader? You will need to register as self-employed with the HMRC by filling in the appropriate SA form and submitting it. Choosing a sole trader name. Being a sole trader, you can trade under your name or a business name of your choosing. If you want a separate business name, it cannot conflict with any existing trademarks, and you will also need to use your name and the business name on any official paperwork. Deciding on an address for a sole trader. Usually, a home address is fine as this is not made publicly available and many self-employed people operate from home. If you are going to list your business address on a website or anywhere else though, you could consider getting a virtual office or PO Box if you do not have a fixed office address. Registering a limited liability partnership. Registering a limited liability partnership (LLP) is more complex than most registrations. The details below provide a helpful outline of how you can go about registering an LLP with practical advice. How can I register a LLP? You will need to download the LP5 application form from GOV.UK and send it by post to Companies House. All partners in the company must sign this form and it typically takes five days for your limited partnership to be set up. You will also need to send in a fee of £20 via cheque or postal order at the same time (payable to “Companies House”). As an alternative, you can incorporate the company online through a third-party software. Choosing a partnership name. The same rules apply to selecting a partnership name as with a company name, see advice in the above, limited company registration section. Choosing an address for your LLP. The same address rules as for a limited company apply only that your registered business address, for official mail and public listing, must be in the territory where you incorporate initially. For instance, if you incorporate in Wales your registered partnership address must be in Wales. You are free to change this after registration though. You need a general partner and a limited partner. You must have a general partner and a limited partner to start a limited liability partnership. This cannot be the same person, so the minimum founding team is of two people by default. 7. Setting up finances, accounting and tax. Once you have set up the legal structure of your business, there are several important financial and tax responsibilities you need to figure out. Opening a business bank account. Before you can start generating any revenue or making purchases, you are going to need to open a business bank account to send, receive and securely store your businesses capital (money). It is essential to select a bank and business account carefully as it is very likely you will be with the chosen banking provider for the life of the business. Choose a bank for your business. There’s no simple answer for this, it is best to gather some information on each bank and their offerings and compare to see who’s the best fit. You should look for details such as: What’s their track-record in working with small businesses? Do they have a range of products and information specifically for small businesses? What do other small business customers think of the bank? Is the bank respectable, have they engaged in any illegal activity recently? Once you collect all this information, which you can find online; you should have a good idea of which bank is best for your business. Select a winning bank account. You also must decide what type of business account or accounts your set up. If you have the wrong type of account, it can significantly affect the cost of business banking. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a business account: Do they charge fees based on different transactions, is it a flat monthly fee or is it even free? If transaction fees are applied, what charges are applied to each type of transaction? Do they provide transaction fee free accounts for certain types of transactions such as online or retail? Does the bank offer any complimentary benefits such as insurance, software, or other benefits if you open a certain account with them? Do they offer free business banking and accounts for a period? For new ventures, banks tend to offer from 6-24 months free banking. It will take you a bit of time to gather information on bank accounts and compare it, but it is worth doing as it can save a lot of money, time and headaches in the future. It can be difficult to change banks. Once you are a few months or years into trading, it can be challenging to change banks and even to change your accounts, as you will likely be processing many payments and purchases through your bank and accounts at any one time. If you change banks or accounts you will need to update individual partners, suppliers and customers, which is a very time-consuming task. It usually ends up being severe enough that many businesses do not switch banks even if they have an unpleasant experience. Understanding your accounting, tax and filing responsibilities. As a shareholder, owner or director you will likely be responsible for filing some form of accounts, filing paperwork and paying various business taxes to the HMRC on an annual or more regular basis. Understanding your basic accounting, tax and financial responsibilities from the start is essential to running your business properly, being legally compliant and avoiding hefty fines from the HMRC. Record your financial transactions. Most businesses are legally required to keep an accurate and up to date record of their finances, this means recording expenditure, income and any other financial transactions of the business. Having up to date records helps to make financial plans and enables you to file your accounts relatively quickly as you have all the relevant data ready for your accountant. Prepare & file annual accounts. Limited companies and limited liability partnerships are required to submit accounts annually. These accounts are a record of your businesses expenses, revenue and financial transactions across the accounting year. Your corporation tax bill will also be worked out based on these accounts. It’s typical for an accountant to prepare these accounts based on your accounting records from the year, depending on how organised and up to date these records are this can be a simple or complicated process. Filing a confirmation statement. Limited companies and limited liability partnerships need to submit an annual confirmation statement. This statement is simply to check that the information that Companies House has about your business is correct and if any is incorrect or out of date, you will need to update these details. Register for self assessment. Self-assessment involves the annual filing of a set of simple accounts covering your income during the year. The HMRC uses this to assess the tax you need to pay personally. Sole traders, company directors and limited liability partners will need to register for self-assessment (company directors will also need to know about PAYE and dividends). Sole traders can also use any business-related costs to reduce their income and overall tax bill. One final exception is that if your limited company is not-for-profit, then you do not need to file self-assessment. Register for VAT (Value Added Tax). If your business is likely to have more than the VAT threshold in annual sales, you will need to register for VAT. This is a flat rate tax you must charge on top of any goods or services you sell. On the positive side, once you’re VAT registered and have your VAT number you can purchase products from other businesses VAT free. Register for corporation tax. If you have a limited company and it is trading (this means making any financial transaction), you will need to register for corporation tax within three months of starting your business or beginning to trade. You will be assessed for corporation tax through your annual accounts and will need to pay a flat rate tax based on the profits generated by your business. You can find more details on paying corporation tax here and further details on registering for CT here. Understanding business rates. Business rates are a tax levied on business premises by the UK government and delivered by local authorities. They are charged annually on business properties including shops, factories, offices, warehouses, bars and more. If you own or rent commercial premises, it is likely you will need to register for and pay business rates. However, if you are running your business from home it is unlikely you will need to pay business rates. Tell Companies House and HMRC of any changes. If your business details significantly change you will need to inform the relevant authorities, for instance, for instance; if your registered address changes you will need to tell Companies House/HMRC straight away. Hire an accountant. When it comes to starting any small business, it is advisable to have an accountant. A good accountant will save your business substantially more money than they cost to hire. Specifically, an accountant will ensure: You pay the right amount of tax. Ensure you meet, file and pay any major tax deadlines,e. annual statements, accounts, corporation tax… Have expert financial advice and information at your service. Ensure your annual accounts are correctly compiled and submitted to the HMRC. In summary, a good accountant will make the financial aspects of your business much easier to handle and save you much money in the process. Choosing an accountant. The ideal accountant for a small business that’s just starting up is a local independent accountant who will give your business finances the time and attention it needs and probably be less costly than a major firm. How much does an accountant cost? Accountants will either ask you to pay a lump sum annually or more commonly a monthly fee that will cover the ongoing work. The amount typically depends on how well you can negotiate, but it will likely be between £30-150 a month depending on the complexity of your business financial matters and filing needs. Sole traders however, probably only need an accountant once a year for self-assessment and this should cost between £80 -200. Choosing small business accounting software. Unless you are a sole trader with a few transactions going through your business each year, yes, you need small business accounting software, and there are two primary reasons: If you are a limited company or partnership, your annual accounts, which you must legally submit to the government yearly, require all your records from the annual accounting period. So you can accurately track all your financial transactions and the financial health and future of your business (including costs, revenue, and profit). It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep up to date and accurate financial records from the start. Failure to do this can result in losing a lot of time, money and in some cases criminal prosecution. 8. Protect your business. Once you have taken care of all financial matters, it is necessary to protect your business from the unpredictable by taking care of certain legal and insurance issues. Find a solicitor or law firm. Most companies will not need to hire a legal advisor initially, except if they want advice on company set up or have some specific legal matters that need attending. However, at some point in your businesses life-cycle, you will need some form of legal support, whether that is drawing up contracts or protecting your business interests in court. Make sure that if you hire a legal advisor at some point, you always agree on an hourly rate and on the amount of time required in advance for any work. Getting intellectual property protection in place. Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is the result of creativity. Protecting your IP as a business can be critical to protecting your business, brand and products from damages that come from people using your intellectual property without your permission. This section explores intellectual property rights and protections you can put in place to protect your business’ intellectual property. Trademarking a name and brand. A trademark is a legally registered symbol, word or words representing a business that legally owns it, protecting the business from anyone else using this name or symbol. For new ventures, you will want to trademark your company name and brand, this makes sure you legally own your brand and company name, and prevents anyone from misusing it. Patenting an idea, technology or process. A patent is an exclusive right granted for a product, invention or process that provides a new way of doing something or provides a new technical solution to a problem. Applying for a patent is only relevant for new businesses that have invented innovative technology or product that could be copied by others. A patent grants your legal ownership of this invention and the exclusive right to it, thus providing your business with protection. The relevance of copyright law. Copyrighted work means that other businesses cannot use your written or creative work without permission. Copyright is primarily employed by book publishers, theatre companies and other types of entertainment/information based companies who need to ensure works are not reproduced without authorisation. Make sure you have small business insurance. Business insurance for a new business can be an absolute lifeline that provides much-needed financial and legal support when the unexpected happens. Whether you must recall a dangerous product or have an employee endure an accident at work, having the right insurance can be the difference between a business being able to cope with a disaster or having to close. With that in mind, this section gives a quick overview of the major types of insurance you might consider for a new business. Public liability insurance (PLI). PLI protects businesses against losses suffered by people or customers injuring themselves or sustaining property damage due to the activity of business, it is one of the most common types of small business insurance. It is of particular importance if you operate physical premises and regularly interact with customers in a third party or business owned premise. Professional indemnity insurance (PII). PII is for businesses and professionals that provide advice or services to customers. It protects your business against any claims for damages or legal costs which arise due to act omission or breach of professional duty in the daily course of operations. It actively protects your business if advice or a service provided negatively affects a customer. Employers liability insurance (ELI). ELI protects a business that employs staff from financial losses incurred when a staff member experiences a job-related illness or injury. Workplace injuries can be extremely costly for an employer if they are liable. ELI offers protections against this and it’s particularly relevant for business who have many staff involved in physical work on their behalf, i.e. manufacturing, event running… Product liability insurance (PLI). Product liability insurance protects your business from damage to property or personal injury caused by products your business/company has supplied or sold. Key man insurance (KMI). Key man insurance protects businesses from the loss of a key employee such as a CEO by paying out a large sum on the event of their death or incapacitation. It is effectively life insurance against anything critical happening to a key employee. If your business is entirely reliant on one employee or a small group, this insurance can often help save the business from bankruptcy in a disaster situation. Landlord insurance (LI). Landlord insurance protects business owners who own property from losses sustained as the result of renting that property. If a business owns its office and rents it out to other companies, this type of insurance will protect you from damages caused by a tenant. Trade credit insurance (TCI). Trade credit insurance is insurance that protects private companies from their customers being unable to pay back a debt due to bankruptcy, default or insolvency. It’s most relevant for companies that operate under a B2B model and have a range of key customers who use offered credit facilities. Director’s and officers liability insurance. D&O insurance policies can protect management from personal liability in the event a claim is made against them for wrongdoing. For example; if a director knowingly or unknowingly communicates incorrect financial information that leads an investor to lose money or make a poor decision, resulting in a claim against the director. Business contents insurance. Business contents insurances provides coverage for your equipment, tools and even stock on your business premises (you can also get specialist stock insurance if you carry high volumes of goods), to cover the cost of replacement or repair commonly in the event of fire, flood or theft. Choosing the right business insurance. As with buying any product or service make sure to shop around and compare prices and clauses. With insurance, you will want to read the small print very carefully and clarify the conditions around your insurance policy (to make sure you a policy covers losses or damages thoroughly). Regarding selecting an insurer, look for firms who have an excellent reputation and long record of accomplishment in insuring small businesses. 9. Create a brand and identity for your business. Now that you have protected your business adequately, it is time to create a public facing identity. This is how you present your company to the world including branding, setting up a basic website and creating a business e-mail address. Create a professional brand for your business. Having a professional brand is critical to any business that wants to stand out in today’s competitive environment. That does not mean the branding process needs to be costly or time-consuming, there are just a few key things you should consider for creating a professional brand: Create a logo (Keep it simple and hire a designer on Fiverr, online logo maker, or a cost-effective design agency). Create a colour scheme for your business that will be used across all promotional and company assets (you can use a colour selector to find a palette and it’s also a good idea to look into basic colour psychology before you choose). Come up with a slogan for your company if you think it is useful. You can also create a symbol that can be used as a recognising mark of your company when you do not want to put your full dress logo, such as on a product (it is typically included in your logo). It is important to take your time though and explore a few different branding options before settling on an initial brand. You need to create a website for your business. Whether you are a retail store, a chemicals company or a modelling company having at least a basic website is a requirement for business in the 21st century, customers expect you to have a website and expect to be able to find it easily. Your website should: Include and show your company/business details including address, phone number, name, and logo (if you have a limited company number it is also a legal requirement to list it here). Provide a clear description of what your business is/does. Provide details of your products, services, and Provide a business e-mail or contact form that enables prospective customers/outside parties to reach you easily. You can add many more things to your website, this is just the basic information you need to include. Now, how do you create a website? How to create a website for your business. Creating a website is not nearly as complicated as you might think it is. There are many different types of software, website builders and helpful information that allow you to build a simple website for your business. Easily build your own website. If you do not want to take on this task or are unclear on how to do it, you can always outsource it to a freelancer, but there is a far better and cheaper option available. Website builders have come to the stage where you can build your entire website quite simply through one provider with no prior experience. Companies like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Shopify or BigCommerce offer very simple to use tools so that you can often have a simple website up and running in under an hour. However, if you decided to explore the possibility or even build your own website, we have outlined the main steps you will need to accomplish this with helpful tips. 1. Purchase a domain. A domain name is your public address on the internet, it is the URL that appears at the top of your browser on any website, for example: www.cocacola.com. The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain for your business. Typically this domain would be your business name, if this taken, try different variations. You can buy a domain name from popular domain registers such as GoDaddy or Name Cheap (try to make sure you purchase a .co.uk or .com domain, these are important trust indicators for anyone visiting your website). 2. Purchase website hosting. Web hosting involves renting all or part of a server (online computer) where your website will be stored, think of it as renting virtual land for your office. When looking for a reliable website host, you will want to review a few things before choosing a hosting provider: What’s the reputation of the hosting company? What’s the cost of hosting compared to other providers? What’s the host’s uptime compared to other vendors? (% of time their servers are live.) Do they provide one-click installs of LAMP/LEMP and CPANEL/WHM and WordPress (Read further on for descriptions.) If you are in a hurry, popular and cost-effective web hosting companies include Bluehost, GoDaddy and 1&1. 3. Point your domain name to your server IP address via DNS. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the internet’s mail routing system in a way. When someone types the domain genericmedia.co.uk, your hosting company’s server will respond by telling the computer that genericmedia.co.uk website is stored on a particular server with the IP address of xxx.xxx.xxx. Many hosting providers will automatically generate the correct DNS record, pointing your web address to the server IP address when you install your website, but a number do not. If you need to set this, you will need at an elementary level to add an A record pointing your domain name to your correct server address (you can typically find your DNS panel in your hosting provider’s portal). 4. Point your domain to your web hosting company. Now that you have set up your domain, hosting and correct DNS records it is time to point your domain at your web hosting company. This is done by changing your domain’s nameservers. Start by looking for the nameservers/DNS in the domain company’s portal. Once you have found it, you will want to swap out the current nameservers for the ones your web host has given you and click update (if you do not know what these are, do a Google search on “nameservers” and your web host’s name, they usually pop up!).You now need to wait 5 – 48 hours for the nameserver change to propagate across the internet. 5. Install LAMP & WHM/CPANEL. Depending on your hosting company this may already be set up, if you see anything that says ‘enter cPanel’ or ‘cPanel’, it likely already is and you do not have to do anything! For other hosts, you will need to install a LAMP stack (the underlying technology used by the server) and WHM/CPANEL, the web hosting software that allows you to set up your website. There are many steps by step guides providing information on how to do all this for different hosts across the web. 6. Install WordPress. WordPress is often the go-to choice for flexible content management systems that allow you to build and manage websites with little technical skills. Installing WordPress usually requires a one-click install from cPanel under Softaculous or another auto-installer (if you do not have an auto-installer you will need to download and transfer WordPress via FTP, this gets a bit more technical). Make sure to note down your login details as well! 7. Purchase & install a website theme. Login to WordPress at yourwebsite.co.uk/wp-admin. You should have a new up and running website, now you need a design in the form of a WordPress theme. These themes (designs) give different aesthetics, structures and control options depending on which one you get. You can find a free theme or purchase a theme to suit your needs. There are particularly good paid options built for many types of small businesses including blogs, restaurants, builders, and many more. You can find themes to download via WordPress or go to paid providers like Themeforest. Once you have one, you will need to upload and activate your theme via the appearance-themes panel in WordPress. 8. Add all your information. Now it is time to create pages and add all your business information. Create your pages (Home, about, contact us). Add your logo. Add your product, service, or solution listings/details. Add a menu. Congratulations you have built a basic website, now it’s time to get a professional e-mail address. Bonus step for eCommerce entrepreneurs: Choosing your eCommerce platform. If like many new entrepreneurs your wading into the eCommerce waters, then choosing a platform is potentially the most important facet to get right before you start a site build. There are many eCommerce platforms available out there that promise to provide the best online experience. To keep you guided on what eCommerce platform to choose, it pays off knowing their different categories. Web-based eCommerce platforms: Web-based platforms provide eCommerce software or shopping cart service directly to the end users. Some examples of these platforms include Commerce Server, Drupal, and Joomla. Web-based platforms offer the user a fully-functional online store while others give limited functionality. On-premise eCommerce platform: A lot of businesses prefer to use an on-premise eCommerce platform for their eCommerce needs. These platforms have been designed for small businesses and are highly customizable. They also provide a hosted service that includes full-customization options for customers. Off-premise eCommerce platform: An off-premise eCommerce platform is designed for larger businesses or companies. They also offer the user greater customization and features that come with the hosted services. The main benefit of using off-premise platforms is that they are able to offer the full features and security level offered by the hosted services without the additional cost. The downside of using this platform is that it does not provide any of the same options that the hosted solutions do. Hybrid or multifunctional eCommerce platform: This platform allows you to choose from many different ways to manage your business. The main advantage of using this type of platform is that it helps reduce operational costs and improve the overall operational and business performance. Some of the features of this platform include automatic submission of orders, automatic replenishment of stock, automatic inventory management, and customer management. They also offer customization for custom logos, themes, and colour schemes. As you can see there are many factors to consider when choosing a platform for your eCommerce website. If you want a platform that will help you make better use of your resources and get the maximum return out of your investment, you should opt for an eCommerce hosting provider that has all the features that you need. The right platform will help you increase your profits as well as the profitability of your business. Create an e-mail address for your business. Once you have a website, you are going to need a professional e-mail address where prospective customers and external parties can reach you, this means that instead of using: [email protected]/outlook.co.uk or [email protected] you will be using [email protected] or [email protected] Having a business branded e-mail address is critical to engendering trust and is a general standard for most businesses in the UK. Fist set up an email address using G Suite or another third party email service. Then you’ll need to make sure your email is routed correctly which is done by updating your MX records. To change your MX records you will need to look for your hosting company’s DNS panel. Once your MX records are updated any email received by your server for your domain will be sent to Gmail (or the email service provider you’ve chosen) i.e. any mail received by genericmedia.com would be forwarded to your email. This is easier to do than it sounds! Initially, unless you have more team members, you will want one generic email address: [email protected], [email protected] and one personal address such as [email protected] or [email protected] 10. Buying the business essentials. Getting the basic essential setup for any new business is not glamorous, but it is very necessary. Whether that is sorting the internet, phone, utilities or purchasing technology among many other things, here’s a quick guide to getting the essentials right. Setting up business broadband. Fast and reliable internet is a necessity. Whether you need to sell online or communicate with customers, the internet is a vital component for most new businesses. Here are some guidelines for choosing a secure, reliable and fast internet provider and package: Make sure your connection will have a minimum of 20mbs download speed and 6mbs upload speed (Broadband or Fibreoptic). Check reviews online of each company and the different tiers/types of internet packages they offer. Make sure the contract length is no longer than 18 months (you usually negotiate heavily when your contract comes up for renewal, lowering the cost). Verify that the company has a responsive customer service team rather than an automated machine or poor customer service. This can be a nightmare when internet problems occur and has a been a big problem over the last year, particularly in the UK. If you live or work in an area where broadband or fibre is weak regarding internet connectively or it doesn’t connect at all, consider a 4G internet contract and an antenna as an alternative solution to get fast and stable internet. Most of the above is quite logical, but it is easy to miss things in the hubbub of starting a new business. Getting a business phone line. Having a landline number for your business is still a necessity for having a legitimate business image from the start and for having a fix and reliable number where customers can reach you on. If you own or rent a private office, it is easy to set up a business line with your phone package. However, if you do not, you can still purchase a business landline in London and many other cities that will route to your mobile phone, allowing you to take calls via that number and make calls online using that number. Finding office space. Apart from working from home, there a few different options for entrepreneurs looking for space to start and run their businesses. Rent a co-working space. Co-working spaces allow you to flexibly rent office space or an individual desk at a relatively low cost compared to traditional serviced or private office options. They also offer an environment designed for start-ups with a great community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Apply for a business accelerator. Accelerator programs provide seed investment, mentorship and office space for a limited time to start-ups and other small companies. If you are a technology business there are many accelerators where you could apply for in many major cities in the UK. Rent a business incubator office. Incubators are effectively low-cost office space that offer some level of community and network. Non-for-profit companies, charities or universities typically run them. Rent from another local business. Many large to medium sized businesses that find they have excess space are often open if approached by a smaller company about renting unused space in their premises. It is a great source of extra income for the landlord business and often a flexible renting agreement for the tenant business. Rent a serviced office. If you are starting with a large team and have investment ea serviced office is probably the best option for you. A serviced office will not be cheap but you can usually choose the layout that best suits your team on a particular floor or area of the building. Selecting business stationary and signage. It may be hard to believe but for limited companies there are specific laws you must obey regarding the details you include on signage, stationery and promotional material. Choosing a sign for your business. It is a matter of British law that you must display a sign showing your company name and your registered business address as well as any other address where your business operates in your business premise (if your home address is where your business is based you do not need to display a sign). Office supply and stationary options. When purchasing official company stationary or producing promotional materials such as letters, forms or your website, you must display your company name, company number, registered address, and the country your business is registered in (Scotland, Wales, England, or Northern Ireland). If you also decide to list a director’s name on materials, you must include all the directors’ names if there are more than one. 11. Find funding for your new business. Most businesses require some source of funding to start. This section covers the primary sources of financing available to small businesses with the relative advantages and disadvantages. Your savings. Some of the world’s most successful companies have been initially self-funded. The upside of this option is you do not lose any control by involving any outside party. The downside is that depending on the business you are starting, you may need more capital than you have or it may run out very quickly. Friends & family. Many entrepreneurs receive their initial funding from friends and relatives in the form of an investment or loan. This is because in many cases you will not have to pay this money back if something goes wrong or you can agree on preferable terms when dealing with friends and family, usually both! The upside is that your family or friends are unlikely to try and bankrupt your business to retrieve their money if you cannot pay them back within the terms set. The downside is you can put relationships in jeopardy if things do not go to plan and you cannot pay the money back or if expectations are poorly managed. Business grants. Business grants are free funding (money) awarded to qualifying businesses. A significant amount of public and private grants are available for new businesses; typically they are designed to support businesses starting up in impoverished areas, to boost the economy or to promote technological innovation and research. The best place to start looking for small business grants is your local Council website. They typically will have all the details of local grants available and of some national ones as well. Grants tend to range from £1,000 up to £5,000,000 in size, the amount depends on the grant (it is also common for payment to be made in stages based on achieving certain conditions). The plus side of grants is it’s free money with the downside being that applying for grant funding is often a complicated and time-consuming process, and the probability of obtaining one is not very high. Still, many businesses in the UK receive grant funding each year, it is still worth a shot! Business competitions. Business competitions offer the chance to win free funding for your business, typically between £500 and £50,000. Large corporates, universities, or local councils usually run them to gain exposure, support the local economy or as a PR and marketing stunt. Competitions are often underapplied for and applying is usually far less time-consuming than applying for other funding sources like grant funding. The downside is you might not win and lose a lot of time and energy in the process, depending on the requirements and conditions of the competition. Angel investors. An angel investor or business angel is a wealthy individual (commonly a former entrepreneur) who is willing to provide money for your business in exchange of a percentage shareholding in your business. A business angel is usually a good option for businesses who are a little further along than just starting out, as these investors typically want to see some growth/traction in your business before investing. However, some entrepreneurs do raise business angel finance initially ranging from £30,000 to £150,000 (typically under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme or EIS). The downside of this option is you’re losing some control at an early stage. The upside is that it’s a much quicker way to raise money than through VC or grant funding. Angel funding usually has few requirements and angel investors at this stage are primarily investing in people much more than they are in the business! Venture capital. Venture capitalists are professional investors who invest significant sums of money into many companies with the aim of making a return on their overall portfolio. At this early stage, venture capital unfortunately is only applicable to highly technological companies that operate in fields such as life science and biotech. These types of companies require huge initial investments from the start and can justify this funding by the promise of massive innovations and breakthroughs in technology and science that could yield considerable returns. The relative downside of venture capital is that it is hard to raise and, as professional investors, they will actively take ownership and control of part of your business. The upside is that you can raise a considerable amount of money very quickly (if your business already has much traction, venture capital could also apply to you). Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a relatively new form of investment, it allows you to raise small amounts of funding from many people. This can be done by selling equity or offering a reward or product in a presale crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding campaigns typically require an enormous level of marketing to be successful in most cases. The upside is that a campaign gives you the chance to test if people are receptive to your business and if you crowdfund goes well, in some cases, you can raise your funds in 48hrs (of course, after having prepared for months). Crowdfunding platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube offer equity solutions, and Kickstart and Indiegogo are the go-to choices for pre-ale/rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns. Business Loans. A simple business loan means you borrow an amount of money from a bank, person or lender and agree to pay it back over time, such as in a timeline with interest. Although loans offer a flexible way for businesses to raise capital, in most start-up situations they are not an ideal form of funding as you’re immediately taking on a risk where if you cannot pay back the loan you could lose your business and any personal wealth you have (depending on the liability). Given that banks do not lend as much as they used to to new businesses, the start-up loans scheme detailed below is likely the best option for anyone starting up if you want to raise finance this way. Getting a Start Up loan. The Start Up Loans Scheme was launched in 2012 by the British government. It made available £150+ million pounds of public money to entrepreneurs in the form of a favourable, low-interest loan up to the amount of £25,000. Eligibility and facilitation of a start-up loan are carried out by delivery partners who assess each business plan or business case. The loan is typically payment free for the initial year where you only pay nominal interest payments each month, with the bulk repayment starting on the second year and being paid back over as much as five years (be aware that although the loan terms are very favourable the actual debt obligation lies on you). Over the last few years, many businesses have been successfully launched by entrepreneurs who took startup loans. It can be a good funding option depending on your situation. Business credit cards. You occasionally do hear stories about entrepreneurs maxing out business credit cards to fund their new business that quickly becomes successful. What you do not hear a lot is about most entrepreneurs who max out their credit cards and go bankrupt. A business credit card is one of the worse forms of finance to use for starting a business. The interest rates, penalties, and complexity of this kind of short-term finance only make it useful to trading businesses which are profitable and need a flexible credit facility. Business overdrafts. A business overdraft is a flexible lending/credit facility you will agree with the bank or another financial institution. An overdraft allows you to borrow a set amount of money on an ongoing basis or until the bank withdraws the facility. You pay an agreed monthly rate of interest on top of anything you borrow. It is not a good form of finance for starting a business and should only really be used by trading profitable companies. It is specially useful for businesses who have seasonal businesses or cashflow issues due to longer client payment terms or other reasons. 12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy. Sales and marketing are the beating heart of any new business, for a business to be successful it needs to be innovative at marketing and effective at selling. When it comes to starting a business, this means thinking about preparing your product or service for sale, how you plan to go to the market and what channels and systems will be employed to reach and close customers. Getting a product or service ready for sale. Once you have a product or service ready to be sold, you need to start packaging it for the market, this means considering differentiation, positioning and pricing. Positioning your offering. Positioning is all about identifying your product’s/service’s key attributes and how you are going to communicate them to the customer. It is about defining who you are and what you are offering in a way that resonates with your prospective customer. Understanding your USP (Unique selling point). Differentiating your offering from your competitors is all about identifying and showing your USPs (Unique Selling Points). This means thinking about where you offer superior functionality and value over your competitors and how you can communicate this through your marketing message. Setting price at the right level. Pricing a product or service is tricky, it is often unclear for new entries into a market what pricing strategies you should implement, so here are few ways that will help you to calculate a fair price: Work out your costs per unit. Work out the profit margin you will be making per unit/per hour. Gather pricing information on your competitors’ products or services. Find out what the customer is willing to pay. This will require market Once you’ve done your research and pricing analysis, it comes down to what you think the market will bear combined with what you want to make per unit or per hour for any product or service respectively. Choosing a route to market. Once you are ready to go to market, you need to figure how you will get there. This means choosing the best route to market; this could be online, through fixed retail, wholesale, even selling through a third party or a mix. Selling online. Selling online could be in the form of an online shop or a subscription software platform (SAAS). The internet offers small businesses complete control over their route to market. Many new businesses will choose to sell directly to their customers through the web as it provides fantastically low overheads with little required investment compared to starting a physical business location. Selling via a retail shop. A retail store is a public place where customers can go and purchase from your business directly. Retail stores give you a guaranteed audience of passing customers depending on the site. This type of sales route is perfect for high-volume product-based businesses, but it also works for services, i.e. travel agents, insurers… Selling wholesale. Wholesaling offers businesses the chance to sell their products in bulk to suppliers or retailers who will then go and sell directly to the public through their own sales channels. The profit margin from this model is usually smaller given that there’s another party involved, but it does offer the potential for selling substantial orders and generating significant revenue. Selling through an agent or affiliate. Hiring an agent or affiliate on your behalf means they will find and connect you with potential customers, thus doing most of the marketing and some of the sales work for you. You will however usually have to pay a hefty commission to the agent when a customer they refer converts or a fixed fee on a per lead basis. Selecting marketing channels. Once you have chosen a route to market, selecting the correct marketing channels to generate interest and customers is critical. There are many different channels and you have to find the most cost-effective and high-return channels for your business. It can take some time and testing. Email marketing. Email remains the core way people and businesses communicate online. Thus, email marketing (reaching potential customers via email) is one of the primary marketing channels for generating customers and sales. This type of marketing could be done through newsletters or cold sales emails, and it is one of the online marketing channels available with the highest return on investment. Online advertising. Pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the most popular forms of online marketing. It typically involves using paid display and search advertising via Google and other networks to reach potential buyers and drive them to your website or landing page. If PPC campaigns are well targeted and managed, it can be a highly efficient and reliable method of generating business. It is important to note that social media and Facebook advertising also now accounts for a huge amount of marketing budgets for many businesses. Social media marketing. Social media is one of the newest and best ways to reach potential customers. Whether it is Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn or others, there is a range of social media platforms that are useful for effectively targeting and reaching your ideal customers. It is time-consuming to build and maintain an account, but in the long term it has proven to generate a significant return on investment for many brands. Content creation. Written content can be an excellent way to reach customers via online search. If you have access to a good writer and your business is primarily online, one of the best and cost-effective ways to reach your customers is through organic search. Out of all forms of online promotion, natural search traffic is the highest converting regarding sales, it is particularly useful for promoting your website to potential customers. Posting a letter. An old-fashioned method, direct mail marketing is still used by many companies today to inform potential customers about their offering and drive sales. It is particularly useful for service-based companies who have complex offerings that need to be described well, i.e. pensions, life insurance… Telesales. In the UK you may be asking yourself ‘how can telesales even be a marketing channel anymore? No one has a positive experience’. However, you might be wrong, many businesses still rely heavily on telesales for large swathes of their marketing and sales budgets, and the return is still substantial, particularly in the telecoms industry. Build a sales process. Creating an effective sales process is about taking potential customers generated by your marketing efforts and turning them into paying customers. With sales and marketing inextricably linked, it is important that your sales process will highly convert the leads that your marketing delivers, otherwise marketing is a waste of resources. This section covers the assets you will need, the pipeline you will need to set up and how to create a great customer service team. Building sales assets. Sales assets are the documentation and document-based promotional material used in the selling process, for example, this could mean leaflets, brochures, PDFs, pitch decks and much more. These materials are critical to a salesperson as customers will often ask for a presentation or written document during the sales process. These assets demonstrate key features and advantages of any product or service. It is imperative to have these assets ready, looking professional and well-structured for your sales team to use. Building a sales pipeline. A sales pipeline is at the core of any sales process, it is a system that continuously tracks the stage of the customer. This pipeline allows sales teams and managers to see where prospective customers are regarding the sale and to look for efficiency gains and problems that need correcting in the sales process. A typical sales pipeline is just a set of stages going from A to Z, A being the first contact, Z being when the sale closed (there can be further steps if you include cross-selling or up-selling as part of the same process). To manage this pipeline businesses will typically use a software-based CRM (customer relationship management) system. It is crucial to the sales process to have a structured pipeline set out so you can ensure every potential sale is tracked and there is maximum conversion. Create a customer service team. One of the most overlooked areas of sales is customer service, with many organisations seeing sales and customer service are separate functions. This leads to a lack of focus on proper customer service will dramatically increases the amount of customers lost and thus the long term profitabilltiy of any sale. This means that from the start it is critical to building a strong customer service framework and team to minimise the loss of any clients and maximise the longevity of clients or repeat purchases. This all contributes to the sales bottom line. 13. Building a team for your new business. Most new businesses will start with a small team or begin to grow one very quickly. Thus, businesses and entrepreneurs need to learn early on how to effectively recruit and manage their team, while developing a great company culture and themselves as leaders. This section is here to guide you through the initial setup of what will become your business’ human resources department, covering recruitment, management, company culture and self-management. Brilliant recruitment practices are linked to business success. Don’t hire anyone until you absolutely need to. The work and responsibility that come with employing another person is tremendous. When you do get to a stage when you need to recruit, it is important to make sure you take the right approach to finding and employing the best person or people for the role and for your business. Attracting great employees. The start of a recruitment process is about finding and getting the best potential candidates to apply for the position you have open. Companies who want to attract great candidates should: Offer a competitive remuneration package (salary, benefits, share options). Use their company’s vision to inspire a candidate to want to be part of the enterprise. Show career progression possibilities for the candidate. Demonstrate a progressive, diverse and exciting work culture to the candidate. Beyond the basics of attracting great employees, it is often about highlighting how your offer is better than other organisations’ offerings, i.e. if you cannot compete on salary, compete on offering responsibility and progression. Create a strong recruitment process. Once you have attracted a good pool of potential candidates having a strong recruitment process is key to making sure you end up hiring the best candidate. At a minimum, this means having a process with: A clear timeline and stages for candidates. Unambiguous criterion for what you are looking for and how you will be assessing candidates. At least 3 interviews (ideally with different members of your team). A step for checking previous work references and thoroughly vetting candidate claims. A poor recruitment process may leave you with the worst candidate. A strong recruitment process will enable you to work down to the best candidate efficiently. Companies who choose to invest time and resources into the recruitment process will always outperform those who do not! In-house recruitment vs outsourcing. Outsourcing recruitment to an agency and in-house recruitment both have advantages. When it comes to choosing there is no easy answer, the best method depends on your business situation. However, to help here are some the key advantages/disadvantages of each. Outsourcing recruitment A professional agency will find candidates that exactly fit your profile. It eliminates the need for an extensive in-house recruitment team. It can be very expensive (the agency will usually take a fee between 15% and 25% of the candidate’s total first year annual earnings). In-house recruitment It enables you to control and optimise all aspects of the recruitment It’s usually cheaper than hiring an outside agency. It will require the use of an internal team and resources. When it comes to choosing, smaller companies who are profitable will often choose to initially outsource the first steps of the process to attract candidates and then do in-house recruitment and asses the candidates themselves. Creating a management ethos and system. Excellent management is essential for the success of any business. From the very beginning your management team or even just you as an entrepreneur need to create a clear management structure, a positive work environment, and build a company culture that will support the business and its people as you grow. Set management structures. Getting a management structure in place early on is critical to any small business that hopes to grow. This ensures that business’ policies and objectives initiated at the top will be carried out throughout the structure and that there will be accountability for their progress. In practice, this means having clear structures, roles, objectives, roadmaps and responsibilities, tracking employee performance, having team building exercises and feedback sessions, among other areas. Create a positive work environment. Having a productive workforce is inextricably linked to creating a positive and supportive work environment. This means that from day one, managers and CEOs should make creating and maintaining a positive work environment a core company objective. This could mean holding office social events, providing large desk spaces, having clear HR policies and career progression, offering flexible holidays or any other initiatives that employees would value. Build a great company culture. People are the primary resource of any business. Your founding team may work hard, be passionate and close-knit but how do you make sure that culture of excellence and responsibility scales with your business? Very simply, by clearly outlining and documenting your company culture and making sure it is one of the main objectives of your business. Company culture should be considered in the hiring process and each new employee should be introduced to it. It should not be something unspoken but something at the core of the business. Making sure you are compliant with employment law and taxes. Building a great team can be complicated and not just regarding recruitment and management, but also regarding understanding and adhering to your tax and legal responsibilities when hiring. You need to be aware of the legal, tax and pension responsibilities that come with employing people. Knowing employment taxes. When hiring anyone in the UK, you will need to pay several monthly employment taxes on their behalf including national insurance contributions for each employee. These taxes are typically paid via PAYE; this system is the primary mean of collecting employment taxes from UK companies by the government (speak to your accountant if you need to register for PAYE). Understanding employment law. Employment law in the UK is strict and well set up to protect both businesses and employees; there are several key areas all employers should be aware of: You must pay each employee at least the minimum wage. After two years of continuous service, employees are entitled to a redundancy package if they are forced by your organisation to leave their job without cause,e. workplace closure or need to reduce workforce. Females employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and men up to 2 weeks if they have worked longer than 26 weeks for the business. The maximum number of hours anyone can work for an employer in a week is 48 hours, unless they agree to work further and sign a release. Employees are entitled to at least 28 days paid holiday a year (this is prorated for part-timers). You cannot unfairly discriminate by race, gender, disability, or any other factor regarding recruitment, pay, promotion, access to training, or termination. Unfair dismissal applies after two years of continuous employment and companies can be fined by having to provide compensation to employees wrongly terminated. It is important to be aware of employment law and the aspects that affect you as an employer. Providing a pension for employees. As of 2018 the Pensions Regulator has made pensions mandatory for all employees who work in the UK, are aged 22 years or over, and earn at least £10,000 a year. This means that as a small business and employer, you are legally required to provide a pension scheme for all staff that meet the above requirements. Note that to contribute to this payment scheme you can choose a private business pension provider. Managing yourself. As an entrepreneur, one of the difficult things you will often face is managing stress, fatigue, and pressure while balancing work and life. This is common as there is an enormous level of responsibility upon you as an entrepreneur and leader. In this section, we cover how you can mitigate this by creating a support network, engaging in the community and finding mentors to guide you through the perils of entrepreneurship. Build a support network. Whether it is friends, family or colleagues, having a strong support network around you is critical. This system will help to support you and keep you going through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial path, make sure not to neglect this network! Meet the start-up community. Start-up communities and networks in the UK and across the world are prolific and well established. Engaging and becoming part of these communities in your local area is an excellent way to meet other entrepreneurs, share stories and exchange ideas and advice. Find a mentor. Finding an industry relevant mentor is one of the best things you can do when starting any business. If your mentor is knowledgeable in your sector, he or she will be able to provide advice and guidance. It is true what they say, great entrepreneurs learn from other people’s mistakes. 14. Starting a business in your spare time. If like many reading this article you have a full-time job and can’t afford to quit your job to start straight away, have no fear. In this section, you can learn how to start a business and make it successful in your spare time without having to leave your job. One way of reducing the risk of starting up your own business is to hold onto your day job in the early days and work on your business in your spare time at evenings and weekends. It’s an appealing idea because if your business venture fails then you still have your job, and if it succeeds then making the transition to being your own boss will be a lot less risky. In fact, there are now so many people running businesses from home in their spare time at evenings and weekends that there is even a name for them – the 5 to 9 ers. Perfect businesses to start in your spare time. An internet-based business which does not require your constant physical presence for it to function A business that can outsource many of its functions. Husband and wife Brent and Marilena Shaw run their online luggage business Swiss luggage.com in their spare time while both do full-time day jobs. They outsource the packing and posting of orders to a fulfilment company, which takes delivery of their stock and stores it in its warehouse. During the day a call centre handles their customer enquiries. One that allows you to communicate with customers by email rather than by phone, so you are not limited to conventional office hours Don’t start a business that will be in competition with the company you work for, and don’t start one that uses information or data provided by your employer, as you will quickly run into legal issues. Hide your entrepreneurial intentions. Downplay your entrepreneurial intentions in front of your boss. No matter how well you get on, no-one likes to feel that their employee’s attention and focus is elsewhere. Provide information solely on a ‘need to know’ basis and never bring up your business venture in conversation unless you are specifically asked about it. Only work on your business in your spare time. Don’t give your boss any reason to clamp down on your business venture. Be scrupulous about doing your day job competently. Only work on your business in your own time and never use your employer’s resources for your business – don’t take stationery, don’t use the office phone for your business phone calls. Social life on hold. Put your social life on hold, and try to get the support and understanding of your family – you can’t do a full-time job and start a business AND see as much of friends and family as you used to. Maximise the number of hours. Make the most of every hour you have available to you – When Chris Orrell was starting up his company Hotelstayuk.com offering cheap hotel rooms to employees of large firms, he would go down to the car park every lunch hour to make calls to potential clients on his mobile phone. His business now has a turnover of millions. Work on your business every hour. Don’t underestimate how much time you still have available – there are 168 hours in the week, so even allowing for a 40 hour a week full-time job and eight hours sleep a night, that still gives you a potential 88 hours left in which to work on your business. Make sure to get some rest. But don’t sacrifice sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep every night as over tiredness will make you feel ill, run-down, grumpy, short-tempered and lead to poor judgement and bad decisions. Advice from owners of successful spare time entrepreneurs. Janan Leo, is a typical 5-9er. During the day she works as a product development manager for Virgin Trains. As soon as she is finished there, she switches to running Cocorose, which makes folding shoes for women to wear while commuting. She started the company, which she runs from the spare room of her home in north London, in 2008 with £3,000 of savings. She works every evening from 5 pm until at least 11 pm and every weekend and now sells hundreds of pairs of shoes a month in boutiques and through her website. She may never see her boyfriend and barely get any sleep but for Leo, starting a business this way and running it at home has one huge advantage – it has minimised the financial risk. She says: ‘I lie in bed at midnight watching the orders come through on my BlackBerry.’ Steve Emecz, runs his own book company, MX Publishing, in his spare time from home while holding down a demanding full-time job as the business development director for Venda.com, an e-commerce support company. Steve, whose business publishes around 50 titles, including books on Sherlock Holmes and neurolinguistics, says: ‘I process urgent orders in my lunch break and regular ones in the evening. I have an outsourced warehouse that picks the books and ships them — it is all technology-driven and web-based. The authors all have day jobs themselves and so want to talk to me in the evening anyway, and the distributors do everything online. I have my e-mails sent directly to my BlackBerry, and I use Skype a lot.’ 15. A little bit of entrepreneurial inspiration. If at this stage you’re feeling a little overloaded you should be but don’t worry every one of the worlds most successful businesses started from the smallest of to-do lists. to remind you that’s its entirely possible to do here are 10 case studies of extremely successful businesses that came from very humble beginnings. Johnny Cupcakes This business started by selling t-shirts, sweaters, shorts and undergarments in a bakery-themed retail shop. The initial investment was $6,700. The firm is now worth $3.8 Million. The first store opened in 2005 and the founder, Johnny Earle, soon found himself on the list of ‘Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under’ in 2008. Adventure Life Adventure Life offers group tours and vacation packages for its customers. In 2008, it had revenue of $11 Million; the start-up costs, however, were very low. These included $3,000 for brochures, $11,500 for ads in 1999 and £33,500 in 2000. Paragon Space Development Paragon Space, which is now worth £8 million in 2008, started with an initial investment which includes $30,000 for computers and lab equipment, £600 per month for office and lab premises, and $20,000 for yearly travel. Chobani Yogurt The #1 selling yoghurt in the United States was founded in 2005 by Hamdi Ulukaya. However, his ex-wife claims that he stole the recipe and paid $40,000 for it. The founder used a loan of under $1 million to buttress the initial start-up costs. The company is now worth $1.1 billion. Sweet Leaf Tea With its current value of $12 Million, Sweet Leaf Tea was founded in 1998 with a $100,000 initial investment. The company broke even in its third year and reported revenue of £300,000. Tokyo Joe’s Earning revenue of $22 Million per year, Tokyo Joe’s was started off in 1996 with an initial cost of $330,000. Tokyo Joe’s is famous for consistently bringing nutritious and delicious food to customers’ tables. Tarte Cosmetics Tarte Cosmetics offers a wide variety of make-up products including brushes and body products. It was established in 1999 by Maureen Kelly in New York. The start-up cost was $18,000 and now the company grosses $12 million (2008 figures). Edible Arrangements This company changed the way people send gifts. They specialise in fresh fruit arrangements and offer a wide variety of speciality fruit gift items and gift boxes. Tariq Farid founded this company in 1999 with an initial investment of $100,000 and the company is now worth $19.4 million. Facebook Now worth over $200 Billion, Mark Zuckerberg started the world’s biggest social network when he was still in university. According to various reports, the idea was allegedly stolen from twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who eventually sued Mark. ZARA We have saved the best for last: ZARA. It was founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega. The big retail giant opened up several stores across the globe. The founder’s estimated worth is reported to be $65 billion. Now that you have made it to the end, hopefully, you’re well on your way to starting and beginning to build a successful business, good luck! Related topics. Tags: Business ideasBusiness planCompany formationNaming a business Related Posts. Start a business 15 startup ideas that can change your life . Are you happy and satisfied with your work? Your commute is short, the salary is quite big, and colleagues are ... Published by Editorial team 27th July 2021 Start a business Top 100 ways you can make money online . Whether you want to generate a passive income, earn some fast cash or launch a multi million-pound (or dollar) business ... Published by Thea Graves 6th May 2021 Start a business Writing an internal business plan . While all of the reasons for writing a business plan are usually described as external, such as landing investors or ... Published by Thomas Evans 27th July 2021 About. Advertise with us Privacy policy Terms of use Contact us Topics. Finance Insurance Technology Marketing Human resources Legal eCommerce Leadership Procurement Luxury Start a business Advertise with us Contact us Cookie list Home Alpha Join the Entrepreneur Handbook community Notifications error Privacy & cookie policy Terms and conditions of use Thanks for subscribing! Copyright © 2013 - 2022 Entrepreneur Handbook Ltd. All rights reserved. Registered offices at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU, United Kingdom. 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Result 6
TitleHow to start a business | Starting up a company In the UK | Start Up Loans
Urlhttps://www.startuploans.co.uk/business-advice/how-to-start-a-business/
DescriptionWe share the seven steps that will get you in a great position to start your own business, from conducting research to finding finance
Date
Organic Position4
H1Setting up a small business – The complete guide
H2If you’re thinking of setting up a small business, it’s essential that you know exactly what’s involved
H3The seven factors of creating a business
Step 1. Get your business idea right
Step 2. Assess your situation
Step 3. Plan your business
Steps to creating an online company:
Step 4. Research the market
Step 5. Choose a business structure
Setting up a limited company – the steps:
Step 6. Assess your finances
Step 7. Get help starting a business
H2WithAnchorsIf you’re thinking of setting up a small business, it’s essential that you know exactly what’s involved
BodySetting up a small business – The complete guide ← Back to Business AdviceBusiness PlanningFinanceStarting Up If you’re thinking of setting up a small business, it’s essential that you know exactly what’s involved.Our seven step guide covers everything you need to consider when launching a start up and running your own business.Launching a new business can be daunting, but nearly half a million new businesses start up in the UK each year, with many operating successfully and profitably.Setting up your new business involves lots of tasks, so it helps to have a working plan of everything you need to do before you start.The seven factors of creating a business. Business idea – Spend time carefully thinking through your business idea to ensure it’s feasibleAssess your situation – Understand what commitments running your business will involveBusiness plan – Create a detailed plan for your business, including how it will generate moneyResearch your business – Research potential customers and competitorsRegister your business – Choose the right business structureSort business finances – Decide if you need external investment or a small business loanGet business advice – Learn where to find business advice and mentoringWhatever the reason for setting up a business – from being your own boss to turning a hobby into a business – here are the steps to follow to give your start up the best chance for success.Step 1. Get your business idea right. Business ideas can be based around brand new products and services, or providing a service or product that’s cheaper or better than competitors. Not every business idea just strikes you out of the blue, so if you’re struggling for a good concept to build your new business around, start by brainstorming lots of ideas. Concentrate on identifying what people want and the issues that they face, then think about ways of solving their problems or satisfying their needs.Virtually all businesses have some form of online presence, so when you think about how to start up your own firm this should be at the forefront of your mind. In 2015 77% of UK Internet users made a purchase online, so you should be thinking about this from the start. Online businesses are easily scalable and can be tested before fully committing yourself. The most popular forms of online company models are stores, advertising, subscription and brokerage.Step 2. Assess your situation. Consider carefully whether you’ve the time and flexibility to start a business. Will starting a business fit in with family and other commitments? Will you run it full time, or part time alongside another job? Answering these questions will help you choose the right type of business for you.Launching and growing a start up takes time, hard work and resilience, so it’s important to be realistic about your situation. If you are running a business part time, for example, you may need to consider employing staff to help you when you’re busy or to take on the less demanding jobs.Perhaps circumstances will mean that you want, or need, to work from home. Businesses that you can run from home include childminding, selling cosmetics, tutoring, selling products and web design.Step 3. Plan your business. Create a detailed plan of the first five years of your business, including your strategy and marketing plan. Planning your business lets you understand business assumptions – how many customers you’ll need, how much you need to charge, and how much the business will grow. Those assumptions can be tested when researching the market to check they hold water.In your business plan, describe the market and your target audience, and outline your competition. Plan your pricing, production costs, marketing and advertising spend so you can roughly predict your profits. Learn more about market research for small businesses.Don’t think of a business plan as a rigid document – markets can change and you’ll need to be flexible – but it’s a good way to keep your business organised and on track. You can predict where you want your business to go and when, or indeed if, you’ll need to expand operations. For example, you may need to hire staff in the future or rent office space.Planning your business is a great way to foresee potential pitfalls. Many start up businesses don’t succeed in the long term, but by creating a detailed plan you will help to ensure the validity of your business and increase your chance of success.You’ll also need a comprehensive business plan if looking for a business loan to finance your start up. Download our free business plan template.Steps to creating an online company:. Come up with a business idea, name and plan: this will involve extensive research to find out what people are searching for, and therefore the likely popularity of your idea. Is it something people are looking for? Is it unique? What are competitors doing?The name should be easy to recall. One way of narrowing down the options is to brainstorm a few ideas, and then see if you can register the domain name at the same time. Try to find something that contains your business name and check that it is available. Aim for .co.uk or.com if possible.Host your business online: Find a reputable web hosting company. You can do this for free, but it might benefit you to use a company such as GoDaddy and pay a small amount per month to help you in the early days. The reason for this is that the host can help you grow and scale upwards if and when you wish to progress to the next level.Create a business website: The key for an SME is not to spend more than necessary. You’ll probably want a website with all the bells and whistles, but that can come later. As long as it looks good and performs basic functions well (i.e. you can take orders), that will suffice for the start. Save your money for marketing and running a good company.Know the regulations: These include The Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations. You can find more detailed information about online selling regulations at Gov.uk.Find out more about setting up an online business.Step 4. Research the market. Research is vital when it comes to understanding your target market, your competitors and your industry. The results of your research will shape your business structure, resources, customer demographics and pricing.Interview your target audience to test if your product or business idea creates interest. It’s best to ask people you don’t know, as a personal connection may prejudice the answers. Focus groups are a good way to get feedback on your product and service: select a small group of people based on certain attributes – for example age, career, gender – that you think matches your target audience. Alternatively, ask potential customers to fill in a survey online or visit potential customers to discover what they would like to see from your product or service.Be sure to research your competitors too; you’re looking for a gap in the market that your business can fill. Go through their ordering service – how did they deal with you, how much did they charge, and how would you improve on their service? Consider how your business can stand out from competitors. For example, if your competitors are well known chains, you may need to offer something different to make your business more appealing.Start up businesses which have researched their idea and market are more likely to succeed as their business model will be more feasible.Step 5. Choose a business structure. Once you’ve decided on your business concept and business name, you’ll need to register your business. There are different business structures you can use – from setting up as a sole trader to registering as a limited company. All have their pros and cons, so it’s worth ensuring that you choose the best structure for your business.Setting up as a sole trader – Most start-ups are registered as sole traders as it’s the easiest and cheapest way to start a new business. You must register with HM Revenue and Customs as soon as possible after starting your business. Find out how to set up and register as a sole trader.Setting up as a partnership – If you plan to work alongside people you know well, for example with your spouse or a relative, you may want to set up as a formal partnership. With this business structure, you share responsibility for your business with your partners and must agree how liability and profits will be shared. A business partnership is unlimited and so is different from a limited liability partnership.Setting up a limited liability partnership – This is essentially a business partnership combined with a limited liability company. This means, like a limited liability company, you’re responsible for business debts only up to the amount you invested in the partnership. Your tax situation is, however, the same as with a business partnership.Setting up as a limited company – A limited company is a private company owned by its shareholders, where you as the owner are responsible for business debts up to the value of your shares. The limited company’s finances are separate from your own, and tax is more efficient for a limited company than for a sole trader. You’ll have to submit full accounts and pay Corporation Tax every year. Profits from a limited company can be drawn as a salary or as dividends and you’ll have to pay income tax on this too.The advantages of forming a limited company include the fact that liabilities such as debts or legal action are limited to the company, meaning that you are protected from going personally bankrupt in the event the business fails. Limited companies can appear more professional, and they’re also easier to sell on should you wish to change direction in life later.Setting up a limited company – the steps:. Choose a name: There are certain restrictions on what you can choose as your name. For example, it cannot be too similar to other company names. Search the Companies House Register to find out more.Choose company officers: All limited companies must have at least one company officer who is responsible for the business at all times. These manage the company in accordance with its articles of association and the law, and ensure annual accounts and annual returns are completed. Larger businesses might also require a company secretary.Register the limited company: You can either do this yourself at Companies House (which takes 24 hours) or use a company formation agent. You’ll need a registered office address and several other registration documents including a memorandum of association which details directors and shareholders’ details. After you’ve registered the company, you’ll be sent a certificate of corporation confirming the company’s existence and you’ll be expected to meet certain requirements such as submitting your company’s annual accounts.Find out how to set up a limited company.Step 6. Assess your finances. Starting a business can be costly so it’s important not to overspend. Aim to keep costs to a minimum and spend only on important things that are likely to result in more sales.Many new businesses require finance when first starting. To apply for a business loan through a bank, you must be a UK resident, plan to start a business and not be bankrupt or in debt. Angel investors are another great way to raise finance, and have helped companies including Google and Yahoo. However, they typically require around 25% return on their investment. Alternatively, you can source from the Start Up Loans Company. You can borrow up to £25,000 as an unsecured loan.Find out the difference between a secured vs unsecured business loan.Step 7. Get help starting a business. Finally, before you take the plunge, seek advice and guidance in starting and running a small business. Business mentors can offer tailored advice suited to the type of business you’re running. There’s plenty of help available, from mentoring networks to government schemes. Schemes such as those from Start Up Loans include free mentoring support, offering a range of advice to successful loan applicants. (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) Feeling Inspired? Register You might also like: Start-up success – how to avoid 8 of the biggest risks for start-ups Overcoming adversity – how Valiant Lingerie transformed post-surgery underwear Innovate or improve – how to develop a successful business idea
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TitleHow to start a business in the UK: an expat guide | Expatica
Urlhttps://www.expatica.com/uk/working/self-employment/how-to-start-a-business-in-the-uk-1105218/
DescriptionThe UK encourages entrepreneurship, with millions of self-employed, sole traders, and freelancers. Learn how to start a business in the UK
Date1 Oct 2021
Organic Position5
H1How to start a business in the UK
H2Business culture in the United Kingdom
Who can start a business in the United Kingdom?
Legal structures for businesses in the United Kingdom
How to start a business in the UK as an expat
How to obtain a business visa in the United Kingdom
Foreign companies opening up a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom
Starting up a non-profit company in the United Kingdom
Administering your business in the United Kingdom
Business banking in the United Kingdom
Taxation for businesses in the United Kingdom
Business insurance in the United Kingdom
Employing staff when starting a business in the United Kingdom
Support and advice when starting a business in the United Kingdom
Useful resources
H3Sole trader
General partnership
Limited partnership
Limited liability partnership (LLP)
Private Limited Company (Ltd)
Public Limited Company (PLC)
Unlimited company
Social enterprise
Unincorporated association
Offshore company
1. Check that you can legally start a business
2. Write a business plan
3. Decide on your structure
4. Choose a business name and address
5. Register with HM Revenue and Customs
6. Check any additional rules for your type of business
Innovator visa
Start-up visa
Investor visa
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Corporate tax in the UK
Self-employed and freelance tax in the UK
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Home insurance in the UK: property, contents, and liability
Languages in the UK
Coronavirus in the UK: where to get COVID-19 information and support
A guide to British beer
Directory
H2WithAnchorsBusiness culture in the United Kingdom
Who can start a business in the United Kingdom?
Legal structures for businesses in the United Kingdom
How to start a business in the UK as an expat
How to obtain a business visa in the United Kingdom
Foreign companies opening up a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom
Starting up a non-profit company in the United Kingdom
Administering your business in the United Kingdom
Business banking in the United Kingdom
Taxation for businesses in the United Kingdom
Business insurance in the United Kingdom
Employing staff when starting a business in the United Kingdom
Support and advice when starting a business in the United Kingdom
Useful resources
BodyHow to start a business in the UK Home Working in the UK Self-Employment How to start a business in the UK Last update on October 01, 2021 Written by Stephen Maunder Share The United Kingdom encourages and promotes entrepreneurship, with millions of self-employed company owners, sole traders, and freelancers. The processes and documentation for how to start a business in the UK aren’t immediately evident to the budding entrepreneur, though. Starting a business in the United Kingdom can be a complex business, especially if you’re from outside of the European Union. This guide offers advice on starting a UK business, including the different types of company structures, tax, administration, and whether you need a visa. It includes advice on the following: Business culture in the United KingdomWho can start a business in the United Kingdom?Legal structures for businesses in the United KingdomHow to start a business in the United Kingdom as an expatHow to obtain a business visa in the United KingdomForeign companies opening up a branch or subsidiary in the United KingdomStarting up a non-profit company in the United KingdomAdministering your business in the United KingdomBusiness banking in the United KingdomTaxation for businesses in the United KingdomBusiness insurance in the United KingdomEmploying staff when starting a business in the United KingdomSupport and advice when starting a business in the United Kingdom 1st Formation. Looking to give your business the kick-start it needs? 1st Formation can help. One of the UK's leading online company formation agents, their team of experts can help with online company incorporation, address services, and more. Choose from their range of efficient company registration packages and give your business the best start in life with 1st Formations. Find out more Business culture in the United Kingdom. The UK has around six million private sector businesses, according to official government data, and this figure is growing. Since 2000, the number of businesses in the UK has increased by 2.4 million. Three-quarters of UK businesses don’t have any employees, meaning they’re owned by self-employed sole-traders or partnerships. Around five million UK residents are registered as self-employed, amounting to 15% of the overall workforce. Data from the Office for National Statistics show the most common sectors for self-employed workers are as follows: construction (920,000), scientific or technical activities (643,000), vehicle sales or repairs (396,000), administration and support services (361,000), and health and social work (349,000). Men are far more likely to be self-employed, with women making up just 33% of the self-employed workforce. People of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin (24%) make up the biggest proportion of self-employed workers, followed by people from Chinese and other Asian backgrounds (16%), and people of white heritage (15%). Find out more in our guide to UK business culture Advertisement Who can start a business in the United Kingdom? As it stands, EU and EEA nationals don’t need special permission to start businesses in the UK, with the exception of residents from Bulgaria and Romania. The UK still negotiating its withdrawal from the EU, however, so these rules could yet change. If you’re from a country outside of the EU or EEA, you may need a visa. Prospective entrepreneurs can receive favorable treatment in the UK’s points-based immigration system, but you’ll need to adhere to several rules to get Tier 1 status. Advertisement Legal structures for businesses in the United Kingdom. There are a variety of different business types in the UK, and you’ll need to choose the option that most closely fits your company’s structure. Sole trader. If you want to work as a self-employed person in the UK or run a business on your own, you can become a sole trader. As a sole trader, you can keep all of your business profits. You must make your own arrangements to pay income tax and National Insurance. You are personally liable for all business debts. Freelancers in the UK are also classed as sole traders. To work as a freelancer in the UK, all you need to do is to register as self-employed and make sure that you pay the right amounts of tax and National Insurance. General partnership. This business type involves two or more individuals (or companies) setting up together, with responsibility shared equally between partners. Profits are also shared equally, with each partner paying tax on their share and jointly liable for debts and losses. This structure is often suitable for small businesses. Limited partnership. These partnerships are similar to general partnerships but have at least one general partner who runs the business and is personally liable for any business debts. The partnership also has at least one limited partner whose input is purely financial and who is only liable up to the amount they’ve contributed. Limited liability partnership (LLP). This partnership agreement involves neither partner being personally liable for debts that the business can’t pay. This partnership requires a written LLP agreement and must register with Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies. Private Limited Company (Ltd). This business type is a separate legal entity from the people that run it. Limited companies are incorporated through registration at Companies House and need at least one director and one shareholder. Shares in the company cannot be traded publicly. Public Limited Company (PLC). PLCs differ from limited companies in that their shares may be traded publicly. You need to have a minimum share capital of £50,000, with at least 25% paid prior to start-up. Unlimited company. This company type isn’t very common in the UK. It involves shareholders having joint unlimited liability for business debts, meaning they can be covered with personal assets in the event of the business assets not meeting debts. Social enterprise. This is a UK business type that exists to invest any profits made to meet charitable, social, or community objectives rather than to distribute among shareholders. Social enterprises are structured similarly to limited companies and include charities, cooperatives, and community interest companies (CIC). Unincorporated association. This is an unregistered, unincorporated form of non-profit organization that can include voluntary groups, small community groups, and sports clubs. Offshore company. An offshore company is registered, established, or incorporated outside of your country of residence. Offshore incorporation is a straightforward process in popular offshore financial centers and tax havens around the world. Offshore structures can provide a wide range of benefits to the company and company principals, but you need to fully research the rules before setting up. How to start a business in the UK as an expat. If you want to become self-employed or start a business in the UK as a foreigner, you’ll need to follow these steps: 1. Check that you can legally start a business. You’ll need to make sure that your immigration status allows you to set up a business. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, this may mean ensuring that you have the necessary visa and residence permit. 2. Write a business plan. UK entrepreneurs need a business plan. This will help you determine whether your business ideas are likely to succeed and be sustainable. You’ll need to research the market and prepare budget forecasts. You can download the business plan and cash flow forecast templates from the UK government website. 3. Decide on your structure. As above, you’ll need to choose the business structure that best represents your enterprise. 4. Choose a business name and address. If you’re a sole trader, you can just use your own name if you want. You’ll need an address for registering your UK business for tax purposes and joining the company register. Only limited companies need to register their name, though others can register as a trademark to stop anyone else from trading under the name. If you’re setting up a limited company, you must appoint directors and a company secretary, work out your shares and shareholders, write your memorandum and articles of association, open a separate bank account, and register for corporation tax. 5. Register with HM Revenue and Customs. You will need to register your UK business with HMRC for tax purposes. Limited Companies need to register with Companies House at the cost of £12 (online) or £40 (by mail). 6. Check any additional rules for your type of business. Depending on the nature of your UK business, there may be additional requirements, such as: Licenses or permits (e.g., for selling food, playing music, or trading in the street)InsuranceRules to follow if you buy or sell goods abroad or store personal information Advertisement How to obtain a business visa in the United Kingdom. You can work as a freelancer, self-employed, or start a business in the UK as long as you have the right to work and live in the UK. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, this may mean having a relevant work visa and biometric residence permit. See our guide to UK visas and residence permits for more information. If you are looking to come and start a business in the UK or pursue a business idea, there are a number of visas you can apply for. Innovator visa. Innovator visas have similar rules to the now-defunct entrepreneur visas. You must have at least £50,000 in investment capital, or have invested this sum already in the previous year. If you haven’t invested the money yourself, it must come from a government-endorsed funding competition, a venture capital fund registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, or a UK government department. You must also adhere to some other rules too, such as demonstrating you are from a majority English-speaking country or have taken an accredited English language examination. Visas cost £1,021 and last for three years. You can extend your visa by a further three years if you meet the criteria. Start-up visa. You can apply for a start-up visa if you have an endorsement from a UK higher education institution or an organization with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. You’ll need to prove your business idea is new, innovative, and with potential for growth. Fees range from £308 to £363. You can stay in the UK for two years with a start-up visa. You can’t extend a start-up visa, but they can switch to an entrepreneur visa upon expiry in some circumstances. Investor visa. If you have £2 million to invest in the UK economy, you can apply for an investor visa. It costs £1,623 to apply and the earliest you can submit an application is three months before you plan to travel. Investor visas allow you to stay in the UK for a maximum of three years and four months. You can extend your visa by a further two years subject to meeting the criteria. Advertisement Foreign companies opening up a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom. Overseas companies that want to operate as a business in the UK or open up a branch or subsidiary in the UK need to register as an overseas company with Companies House. If you have a business in another country and want to open up a branch of the business in the UK, you need to complete form OS IN01 (Registration of an overseas company opening a UK establishment). The registration fee is £20. Starting up a non-profit company in the United Kingdom. Setting up a charity in the UK follows a slightly different process than a for-profit business. There are six steps: Find at least three trustees for your charity.Ensure the business will adhere to the government’s rules on having charitable purposes.Choose a name for your company.Choose a structure from the government’s four recommended charity structures.Create a governing document (rulebook) for your charity, which explains how the company runs to trustees.If you can prove your charity’s annual income will be more than £5,000 a year or classifies as a charitable incorporated organization, you can now formally register as a charity with the Charity Commission. Administering your business in the United Kingdom. All UK businesses must keep a record of their accounts for tax and auditing purposes. Self-employed freelancers don’t need to keep official accounts but do need to keep a record of income and tax-deductible expenses. Business banking in the United Kingdom. Limited companies, social enterprise companies, and registered charities need to have a separate UK business bank account. Partnerships and sole traders aren’t legally required to have separate business accounts, but it is a good idea to do so in order to keep accounting processes simple. To apply, freelancers and sole traders/partnerships usually must provide a passport/ID for all partners, as well as proof of personal and business addresses. Limited companies usually need to provide a Companies House registration number, details of directors, and estimated annual turnover. Most UK banks have a business manager or business-dedicated member of staff, who will usually want to meet you to discuss opening the business account, what your business goals are, and what you expect from the account. You might be encouraged to draw up a business plan or budgeting forecast; this is necessary if you plan to ask the bank for a loan at any point. Taxation for businesses in the United Kingdom. All UK businesses and UK entrepreneurs need to register with HMRC for tax purposes and are responsible for submitting their own tax returns. Self-employed sole traders and those in partnerships pay taxes on business profits. Limited UK companies and foreign companies with UK branches need to register for Corporation Tax. The rate of Corporation Tax is 20% on profits, minus any allowances and relief. UK businesses will also need to register for VAT if their annual turnover is more than £83,000, and may need to pay capital gains tax if business assets are sold at a profit. The UK tax year runs from 6 April. Tax returns must be submitted and any tax owed paid by 31 January following the end of the previous tax year. The government provides an online self-employed tax calculator and information on business tax. If you’re looking for independent, professional advice on financial matters, search online with Unbiased and find the right help for your situation. Find out more in our guide to corporate tax in the UK Business insurance in the United Kingdom . You must ensure that you have the right level of insurance to stay within the law and to protect your business. The main types of business insurance in the UK include: Public liability insurance – compulsory for businesses with a public premises or those carrying out activities publicly. This covers both injury and damage to property caused to third parties.Employers’ liability insurance – compulsory to all businesses with employees, covering any claims made by employees if they are sick or injured due to their work for you.Professional indemnity insurance – also called professional liability insurance. This is only compulsory for certain professions (e.g., solicitor, accountant, private consultant) but is taken out to cover businesses in the event of claims relating to financial or reputational damage.Building insurance – you may need this form of insurance depending on your type of business and type of premises you work from. It provides similar coverage to home building insurance.Contents insurance – this covers business equipment and movable property. It is not compulsory but is recommended for businesses with a large volume or value of movable assets. Employing staff when starting a business in the United Kingdom. If you are starting up a UK business that employs staff, there are a number of things you need to do, including registering as an employer with HMRC and getting employers liability insurance. You can employ foreign staff in your UK business as long as they have the legal right to work in the UK. You can check if someone is eligible to work in the UK by following the steps on the government’s website. When employing staff, you must abide by minimum wage rules and make social security and pension contributions in line with the regulations. You can find out more about employing staff in our guide to UK labor law. Support and advice when starting a business in the United Kingdom. You can get help and support for your UK business from a number of schemes specializing in different areas, including help with finances, taxation, and business planning. UK business start-up costs vary depending on several factors but there are various sources of support in terms of UK business grants and loans. Contact details for government business helplines in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland can be found on the government’s website. The government also provides a list of its current support schemes and UK business grants, as well as information on start-up loans for UK businesses. It is a good idea to get legal advice to help make the process as smooth as possible. The Law Society provides advice on setting up a business and finding a solicitor. Useful resources. UK government website: advice on starting a businessUK Business Support website: information on planning, setting up a business, finances, and moreExpert advice for UK small businessesLaw Society website for legal advice and finding a solicitorZegal: offers automated legal templates for businesses, complete with eSignatures Share Advertisement Related articles. April 7, 2020 Corporate tax in the UK. August 26, 2016 Self-employed and freelance tax in the UK. Advertisement Latest articles. November 4, 2021 Home insurance in the UK: property, contents, and liability. October 5, 2021 Languages in the UK. September 14, 2021 Coronavirus in the UK: where to get COVID-19 information and support. February 18, 2021 A guide to British beer. Directory. Business Coaches Business Consultants Business Lawyers Co-working Spaces Job Agencies Job Search Networking Professional Training Accountants and Tax Preparation Banks Business Schools Continuing Education Financial Advisors Life Coaches Mobile and Online Banks Money Transfers More Next Previous Have a cookie Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on our website – and don’t worry, we respect your privacy. You can of course change your mind and withdraw your consent at any time, by returning to this site after clearing the cookies on your computer or device. 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Result 8
TitleStart up Now: 7 steps to set-up a business today
Urlhttps://www.prowess.org.uk/set-up-business-today/
DescriptionWant to set-up a business? Starting a business in the UK is quick, cheap and easy. Follow these 7 steps to set-up your business in a day
Date15 Jun 2021
Organic Position6
H1How to Set-up a Business Today: 7 Simple Steps
H2Step 1. Let HMRC know you’re becoming self-employed
Step 2. Sort out insurance cover
Step 3. Choose a business name
Step 4. Set-up a business bank account
Step 5. Get compliant
Step 6. Start accounting for everything
Step 7. Sort out your workspace
Part Two – Starting a business with firm foundations
Step 8. Get your business image in order
Step 9. Decide on the best legal structure for your business
Step 10. Write a business plan
Step 11. Manage your cash flow
Step 12. Keep costs as low as possible
Step 13. Get your business kit in order
Step 14. Organise communications
Step 15. Get your support in order
Start now…
H3
H2WithAnchorsStep 1. Let HMRC know you’re becoming self-employed
Step 2. Sort out insurance cover
Step 3. Choose a business name
Step 4. Set-up a business bank account
Step 5. Get compliant
Step 6. Start accounting for everything
Step 7. Sort out your workspace
Part Two – Starting a business with firm foundations
Step 8. Get your business image in order
Step 9. Decide on the best legal structure for your business
Step 10. Write a business plan
Step 11. Manage your cash flow
Step 12. Keep costs as low as possible
Step 13. Get your business kit in order
Step 14. Organise communications
Step 15. Get your support in order
Start now…
BodyHow to Set-up a Business Today: 7 Simple Steps By Erika Watson on June 15th, 2021 For most UK-based start-ups setting up a business is quick, cheap and easy. In fact it’s just about possible to set-up a business in a day! If you know what line of business you want to start, you’ve been thinking about it for ages, you’ve read the books, done the courses… then maybe now is the time to ‘do’ it? This article is about the practicalities of how to set-up a business. Follow these 7 simple steps and you could be up and running in no time: Step 1. Let HMRC know you’re becoming self-employed. Get the right starter pack for you. You can do this all online, or by phone, and it will get you started as a sole trader (for other legal structures see ‘part two’ below). We’d also recommend completing HMRC’s free online training which will give you straightforward practical advice on record-keeping, filling in and filing your tax return – and what to do if you take someone on. Step 2. Sort out insurance cover. Insurance can protect you and your business against risks including accidents, sickness, theft, and legal fees. The cover you need will depend on the nature of the business and how you run it. The Axa business insurance quote wizard is a good start. It will tell you which insurances you need and which you should consider. Specialist brokers can be great for niche businesses and Trade Associations often arrange big discounts for their members. If you have dependants then make sure you get life insurance in place too. Step 3. Choose a business name. Search Google and Companies House to see if the name you want is available. If you can’t decide, go with your own name for now – eg. Jane Smith Cakes – but don’t invest in printing and brand materials until you’re sure. Buy the website domain name as soon as you’re fixed. Step 4. Set-up a business bank account. You need a business bank account if you set-up a company, as it is a separate legal entity to you. It’s not strictly required if you are a sole trader (though it’s usually recommended)  – but you must keep very clear accounts. Step 5. Get compliant. Make sure that you satisfy all regulatory issues eg. health & safety, licensing, data protection. Gov.uk has some great tools to take you through this. This only takes a few minutes and is straightforward for most start-ups. Step 6. Start accounting for everything. Appoint an accountant or set-up your own simple book-keeping system. As a minimum keep records of all sales and costs.  An online accounting package could save you a lot of time and effort, while keeping your records up-to-date and in great order. Step 7. Sort out your workspace. Your Local Authority/ Council should be able to provide information about business premises and rates in your area. If working from home, make sure you understand: what home business expenses you can claim, including a percentage of household bills planning permission – if you expect regular business visitors or to employ someone who’ll be working from your home, ask your local authority planning department for advice if you rent, check your lease to see that home-working is allowed. If you work online or using a laptop most of the time, you might want to check out co-working opportunities in your area, where you can rent a desk for a few hours or full-time. Co-working can be a great way of overcoming isolation and instilling routine and discipline when you’re starting out. Maybe a little bit of a push, but you could certainly do most and maybe even all of that, in one day. Part Two – Starting a business with firm foundations. So getting formally set up isn’t all that difficult and needn’t take long at all. But, of course, you are much more likely to  successfully set-up a business if you start with firm foundations: Step 8. Get your business image in order. Develop a brand identity that reflects your values and the way you want to be perceived by your target customers. Get a logo designed and use a consistent colour scheme and fonts across all your materials. Set-up a website and order business cards and stationery. Design platforms like Canva now make it quick, easy, and even free to design your own attractive materials and social media images. Step 9. Decide on the best legal structure for your business. For most this is a choice between being a sole trader and a limited company. However, if you are setting up a social enterprise there’s more to consider. Step 10. Write a business plan. A business plan is vital if you need to raise finance. It’s important regardless and should be a living document, regularly reviewed and updated. Your plan should include a marketing and sales strategy and financials. Here is a good Business Plan template to download and a great guide to putting your business plan together. But if the thought of putting together a business plan makes your skin creep, then check out The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. Step 11. Manage your cash flow. Start a cash flow forecast and update it with actual achievements very regularly. A simple spreadsheet is usually adequate. Here is a great free cashflow tutorial and download. Even if you need a bookkeeper or an accountant to do this, do make sure that you personally understand it and review it very regularly. Step 12. Keep costs as low as possible. Until your business model is established and you are making good sales, keep your spending as tight as you possibly can. There’s a lot you can do with very little money. If you do need a loan to get started, check out the government-backed Start-up loans company. Those loans are unsecured, with very reasonable interest rates and you will be supported by an adviser and mentor. Step 13. Get your business kit in order. Beg, borrow and shop around for IT equipment, office furniture, and transport. Step 14. Organise communications. Make sure customers can find you by phone, email, and on relevant social networks. Start with the social networks where your customers hang out. If you don’t know, then ask them! Your brand identity should be consistent across all the social networks, with the same icon and strapline – you want to be instantly recognisable. If you need to do a lot of social media marketing, use a tool like Crowdfire to schedule and manage your social media accounts. Step 15. Get your support in order. Assess your own skills and identify how you’ll fill the gaps. Don’t employ others until you really must. Lots of small businesses start by sub-contracting or collaborating with other freelancers or small businesses. That’s easier than ever using freelancer platforms like fiverr, where you buy slices of help with marketing, design, administration, and much more. Most importantly, make sure you have someone you can talk to regularly about your business. There will be high days and also days when things go wrong and your motivation slumps. So find a good mentor, a business adviser, or others in the same position as you, who you can talk to about the challenges and share the successes that lay ahead. Start now…. Download our set-up your business checklist to work through these steps and start moving forward with your business today.   We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.Ok
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Result 9
TitleHow to start a business in the UK | Tide Business
Urlhttps://www.tide.co/blog/business-tips/how-to-start-a-business-uk/
DescriptionLearn how to start a business in the UK by following these 10 detailed steps to help you boost your chances of immediate success and long term growth
Date4 Jun 2021
Organic Position7
H110 effective steps to start your business in the UK
H2Table of contents
1. Test your start-up idea
2. Create branding for your business
3. Write a business plan
4. Choose a structure for your business
5. Educate yourself on business laws and regulations
6. Work out costs and source funding
7. Secure a licence or permit
8. Decide where you will work
9. Market your business
10. Find the right business support
Wrapping up
Join our community of entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners
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A business bank account that's free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love
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H3Coming up with a business name
Creating a business logo
Choosing commercial premises
Insuring your business
Get a website
Develop a digital marketing strategy
Valentine Hutchings
Pros and cons: 10 ways to fund your small business
How much does it cost to start a business in the UK?
15 business ideas you can get started with today
H2WithAnchorsTable of contents
1. Test your start-up idea
2. Create branding for your business
3. Write a business plan
4. Choose a structure for your business
5. Educate yourself on business laws and regulations
6. Work out costs and source funding
7. Secure a licence or permit
8. Decide where you will work
9. Market your business
10. Find the right business support
Wrapping up
Join our community of entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners
You might also be interested in:
A business bank account that's free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love
Get useful stuff in your inbox
Body10 effective steps to start your business in the UK Published: June 3, 2020 | Last Updated: June 4, 2021 Home › Blog › Small business tips › 10 effective steps to start your business in the UK The UK is a booming market for start-ups, with approximately 660,000 new companies registered every year.  But while registering is an important part of getting started, it’s no guarantee of success. Only 40% of businesses make it beyond the three-year mark. Why? Because starting a successful business requires resolute planning and preparation. Before you launch, you need to build a strong foundation that details your idea and unique value proposition (UVP), how you will structure and market your business and how you will set up your business finances.  In this guide, we outline a detailed step-by-step process that teaches you how to start a business from scratch and set yourself up for the best possible chance of achieving immediate and long-term success.  Table of contents. Test your start-up idea Create branding for your business Write a business plan Choose a structure for your business Educate yourself on business laws and regulations Work out costs and source funding Secure a licence or permit Decide where you will work Market your business Find the right business support 1. Test your start-up idea. Your business idea should solve a problem for people, fill a gap in the market and provide long-term value.  To identify whether your idea is viable, start by running SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  SWOT analysis Try to answer the following questions about your business idea: Strengths.What makes your business better than the competition? Do you have a better product? Can you compete on price? Do you have greater expertise or industry experience?  Weaknesses. What might hold you back? Are there things the competition does better? Do you lack in certain areas? Opportunities. Why is now the right time for your idea? What problems do consumers have that you can solve? Are there fewer competitors in this area? Are market trends shifting in your favour?  Threats. What is your business likely to come up against? Are there emerging competitors? Is there a risk of the market changing? Could regulation changes cause problems? You’ll likely know the answers to some of these questions already. Answers to others can be found by carrying out primary and secondary research.  Primary research involves testing your idea on potential customers by undertaking questionnaires, focus groups, interviews and product or service trials to understand: Who will buy your product or service How much people are willing to pay for your product or service What people think of your competitors What potential problems your business faces Secondary research involves looking at existing data, such as: Government data Recent surveys and studies Newspaper reports Recent company data For example, if your idea is to launch a project management software and you have tons of industry experience, your SWOT analysis may look like this: Strengths. Easy to understand, limited functions, does one or two things really well, making it better than the competition in those focused areas. Decades of industry experience meaning the expertise is most likely greater. The idea is to offer premium features for cheaper than our competitor’s charge for their premium plans. Weaknesses. There are already dozens of successful project management software platforms out there with huge followings. That’s why this product hones in on only a few features so that it’s better than the comprehensive offerings out there. But, this means our audience is more niche, which can be both good and bad.  Opportunities. Big opportunity to grab an audience who craves aesthetically simpler, but functionally more complex, project management software. Many existing PM software customers complain that the products are too clunky and try to do too much, therefore failing at doing one thing really well. I believe the market trends are shifting in favour of products that help fill specific needs that broad products can’t truly solve. Threats. We’ll come up against tons of competition that’s constantly enhancing their products. There’s not a big risk of the market changing, but there is a risk that our big competitors could update their products to match our offerings. Still, our industry experience is most likely greater. Regulation won’t change or cause any problems. Completing a comprehensive SWOT analysis will give you a clear picture of where you’re currently at and whether your idea is worth moving forward with.  Don’t be put off by the negative aspects of SWOT analysis. Instead, look at how your weaknesses can be turned into strengths and opportunities. Top Tip: To learn more about why market research is valuable and the various types of market research you can do, read our guide to how to conduct market research for your business idea 🌟 2. Create branding for your business. You’ll know from your market research how competitors are presenting themselves. Use this knowledge to create a brand that stands out.  At this early stage in the process, you need to focus on the two key identifiers: your business name and logo. Other aspects of branding, such as a website and marketing collateral, can come further down the line.  Your business name and logo are the things that bring your idea to life. They’re also the first impression people have of your business, so it’s important to get them right.  Top Tip: To take a deep dive into all aspects of your branding, including how to pick your focus and personality, write your slogan and mission statement and choose the look of your brand, read our 7-step guide to building a brand that customers love 😍 Coming up with a business name. Your business name should be memorable and related to your product or service and values.  When scribbling down ideas, ask yourself: Does the company name create a positive first impression? Is it easy to read and say? Is it easy to understand? Is it offensive in any way, including in other languages?  Is it memorable? Even though business names are short, coming up with the right one is far from trivial. It requires a comprehensive effort and may take some time. Think of it as the foundation of a building—if you rush it, the final structure won’t be stable.  Your business name should be: Original. You want your business to stand out from the crowd. You can certainly glean inspiration from other companies, but avoid coming up with a name that sounds too similar to anything else. Not only will this help your brand thrive, but it will save you from potential copyright or trademark infringement issues down the line.  Focused. Avoid putting tags like “Global” or “Enterprise” directly in your business name. Your customers want to know what makes you unique, niche and special and broad tags like that suggest a fully realised operation. You can always add to or change your name down the line, but for now, start small and stay relevant to your target audience. On the flip side, avoid using location-specific tags which could limit your growth potential. Energetic. Your name should embody your overall vibe. Choose a name that mirrors your industry’s energy levels. Going with the Product Management Software example from above, the industry energy may be viewed as “full of life”, “supportive”, “multi-faceted”, “driven” and “well rounded”. This is apparent in existing PM software tool names, such as Asana, which is a yoga term that represents a sitting meditation pose. And Trello, which was originally named Trellis, representing a tool that supports the growth of trees or plants. Both of those names represent well-grounded, supportive concepts and tie directly into what the product does.  Simple. Think outside of the box, but make sure your name is easily understood and exudes professionalism. You don’t want to create something so out there that customers struggle to spell it or pronounce it. Strive for simple, memorable and catchy.  Seven criteria for a good business name When you have a name in mind, make sure that it isn’t already taken by using our free company name checker🔍 Consider what top-level domain (TLD) you want to use as TLDs serve various purposes. For example, .com is the most popular and gives you a better foundation for global growth, while .co.uk is strictly UK specific. You can also choose .io for tech sites and even something highly specific like .pizza for online pizza stores. You might also want to run it through a domain registrar like GoDaddy or 123 Reg to check that it’s available for a website. If it’s available, snap it up before somebody else does.  Top Tip: To learn more about how to name your business, including the seven most common types of business names and tips on how to refine your list, read our guide to how to find the perfect name for your small business 💯 Creating a business logo. Like your business name, your logo should encompass the five principles of effective logo design and be memorable, simple, timeless, versatile and appropriate. Five Principles of Effective Logo Design Memorable: People should see your logo and instantly pair it with your brand, even if they’re not entirely sure what your brand does. Good examples of memorable logos are McDonald’s and the London Underground.  Simple: A simple logo like Nike’s swoosh or Apple’s apple are instantly recognisable and distinctive because of their simplicity. Follow the KISS Principle of design: Keep It Stupid Simple. Timeless: Your logo should steer clear of trends. As designer David Airey says, “Leave trends to the fashion industry. Trends come and go, and when you’re talking about changing a pair of jeans or buying a new dress, that’s fine, but where your brand identity is concerned, longevity is key. Don’t follow the pack. Stand out.” Versatile: Your logo should work anywhere and everywhere—online and in print—in a range of different sizes Appropriate: The design and colour of your logo should fit with your audience. For example, the LEGO logo works great for kids, but it wouldn’t give the right impression featured on the outside of a law firm office. Use a colour psychology chart to help find the appropriate colours for your logo. Meaning of colours in branding If possible, it’s worth working with a designer on the creation of your logo. There are tons of sites where you can source freelance designers to build your brand assets. The most popular sites are Fiverr, Dribbble, Upwork and LinkedIn Profinder, though there are many more to choose from. If you can’t find the right designer for the right price, sites such as LogoMakr and Canva are simple tools that let you design logos for free.  Any original artwork created by you is automatically copyright protected. However, to secure the rights to your brand name, logo and any slogan you’ve created, you should consider applying to register a trademark through GOV.UK. The benefits of trade mark registration 3. Write a business plan. A business plan is a road map that outlines what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. It serves two purposes: To help you focus on the path your business needs to take to achieve its goals To convince others that your business is a solid bet (this is important if you’re looking to position your business to gain investment). Your business plan should include the following key sections: Business summary. An overview of your business and what you plan to achieve Business idea. A brief description of what you plan to offer, why and who to, along with why your idea will be a success Marketing and sales strategy. Details on your customers, competitors, pricing, distribution and marketing tactics Management structure. Details on your professional credentials, those of your team and people you plan to employ Business operations. Details on business location and premises, production and IT systems Financial projections. Details on cash flow forecasts, accounts and balance sheets. This section should cover income and revenue sources, amount of capital needed, how you plan to repay borrowings and what security you can offer lenders.  Your business plan doesn’t need to be incredibly long but it does need to be comprehensive. The appropriate length will be dictated by how much space you need to prove that you truly understand the market, your execution and financial/funding strategy. It should also include both short- and long-term objectives so that potential stakeholders feel confident that your business will not only succeed in the short-term but thrive over time. Some great resources and templates to help you write your business plan are Start Up Donut, The Prince’s Trust and Start Up Loans. Always keep your business plan updated, adapting the facts and figures to match where you’re at on your business journey. Top Tip: To learn more about what makes up a winning business plan and how to write one that will help you achieve your goals, read our complete guide to writing your company roadmap and business plan 📌 4. Choose a structure for your business. For your business to be official, you need to register with HMRC or an approved formation agent of Companies House, like we are. You can easily register your business with Tide for free and benefit from opening a separate business current account at the same time. Register your company in 4 easy steps A business bank account is key because it separates your business and personal finances, an action that makes you look more professional and helps you keep organised. Registering your business means choosing a legal structure from one of the following options:  Sole trader. A self-employed person who owns and runs their own business individually. Registration is free and you keep all of the business profits after tax. Sole trader is the most common business structure for people who work solo, like hairdressers, photographers and freelancers). Limited Liability Company (LTD). A company with a legal identity, separate from owners and directors, where the company (rather than you), enters into contracts and acquires business debts. This means that money earned belongs to the company and must be withdrawn as a salary and/or dividends and you aren’t required to sell personal assets to pay off debt. Registration is more complicated than setting up as a sole trader and taxation is more in-depth. However, tax can be more efficient and there are greater opportunities for investment. Partnership. Similar to a sole-trader set up but the partnership, as well as the individuals, must be registered for self-assessment. A partnership must dissolve if one partner leaves.   Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Similar to a private limited company in terms of registration and accounting, but responsibility is shared between partners.  Each structure comes with its own set of legal requirements and tax and accounting obligations, and there are pros and cons to each. We’ve covered each structure in-depth, along with the registration process, fees and tax requirements in our guide on how to register a business in the UK. Ready to be your own boss? Register your business with Tide for FREERegistering your business with Tide is incredibly fast, easy and free. You not only get to officially start your company, but you get a free business current account at the same time, which is the best way to ensure you’re keeping your finances in order from day one. Be your own boss and register your company with Tide 🎉 5. Educate yourself on business laws and regulations. According to GOV.UK, 43% of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) cite red tape as a barrier to success.  But it doesn’t have to be.  While there is a lot of red tape to adhere to, the information you need to overcome these obstacles can all be found for free online. GOV.UK’s business section contains detailed information on everything you need to know. Not all of it will be relevant to your business, but a lot of it will be. For example, under the “Set up a business” section on the GOV.UK site, you immediately learn that: “There are also rules you must follow if you: sell goods online, buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad, store or use personal information.” Each point has a subsequent link where you can learn more. If we click on “sell goods online” we see a vast list of information that a seller must provide to a buyer before an order is placed. Understanding this information before you make a sale is crucial, not only to help you succeed but to avoid a fine or more serious punishment. Some of the potential roadblock areas worth educating yourself on include: Business tax. Tax returns, tax compliance, accounting periods, VAT, Corporation tax and reporting changes to your business model. Debt and insolvency. Liquidating a company, County Court Judgements (CCJs), recovering debt, making claims and restoring a dissolved company. Employee expenses and benefits. PAYE, calculating tax, Capital Gains tax, employee loans and reporting expenses. Employment regulations. Wage regulations, health and safety regulations, disciplinary procedures, parental and compassionate leave, and holiday leave. Imports and exports. UK Trade Tariff, classifying imports and exports, shipping goods, duty relief, export agents and the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). Copyright patents and trademarks. How to apply for a patent, defending your intellectual property (IP), using someone else’s IP, registering a trademark and licensing. Data protection. GDPR, responding to data protection requests and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act.  Waste and environmental impact. Environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes, dealing with commercial waste and vehicle fuel and emissions. If you’re unsure about any of the red tape surrounding your business, you can get further advice from government associated resources across the UK and independent business advisors such as the UKBA.  6. Work out costs and source funding. You’ll cover the costs associated with starting and running your business in your business plan. However, it’s worth going a step further and breaking down these costs into categories to see exactly how much you’ll need to spend where. Top Tip: To take a deeper dive into what business startup costs to expect, especially for your first year of business, read our guide to how much it costs to start a business in the UK 🚀 Initial costs and expenses to take into account include: Stock Premises and business rates Licenses and insurance  Marketing materials Stationary Legal and financial advice Tax and National Insurance There are many ways to fund your small business to help cover startup costs and maximise initial growth, including: Bank loan. Business loans from high street banks aren’t as easy to come by as they once were, but several of the major banks do offer unsecured loans of up to £250,000, over 1 to 15 years.  Start Up Loan. The government-backed Start Up Loan is an unsecured personal loan of £500 to £250,000, with a fixed interest rate of 6% per year. The loan can be repaid over 1 to 5 years and there is no application fee or early repayment fee. If your application is successful, you’ll also get up to 12 months of free mentoring.   Start-up grant. There are several government- and EU-backed initiatives offering business grants including British Small Business Grants, InnovateUK and Horizon2020. Grants are issued on a case-by-case basis and there’s no guarantee you’ll be eligible or get the full amount you need. But if you are successful, money doesn’t have to be paid back. Like the Start Up Loan, grants often come with business support.  Angel investment. Angel investors are investors who give new business owners capital in exchange for equity. They tend to be successful entrepreneurs who can lend their experience to help you get ahead in the market. However, their investment means they become a stakeholder and you’ll need to hand over some control to them. The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the best place to find information on angel investors and investments.  Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way of financing a new business. Around 5.5bn USD is raised globally from crowdfunding every year and by 2025, the global market is predicted to be worth 28.8bn USD. It involves a large number of people pooling small amounts of capital to finance a business venture. If you’re launching an innovative new product, platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are designed to help you capture public attention and secure investment. But there’s the traditional way of crowdfunding too—asking friends and family to invest in return for equity or a reward. The best part is, you don’t have to give up any of your equity, though you do still have to deliver rewards to your backers. As a word of caution, protect your business idea with a patent, copyright or trademark in case somebody tries to steal or copy it. Top Tip: If you haven’t got access to any funding or capital, read our guide on how to start a business without capital. Alternatively, if you’re seeking investment and want some advice on how to get started, read our guide to 7 ways to raise venture capital for your startup 🌟 7. Secure a licence or permit. To operate legally in the UK, you may need to obtain a licence or permit. This will certainly be the case if your business falls under any of the following categories: Alcohol or tobacco retail Food preparation Food retail Restaurants Taxiing Sports coaching Child care Farming Import and export Manufacturing Hairdressing Hospitality Waste management The first step is to find out what kind of licence you need. You can do this using GOV.UK’s Licence Finder. This tool will also help you find the correct point of contact within your local authority.  The cost of your licence will depend on the type you’re applying for and any additional fees. For example, a licence to sell alcohol is subject to an application fee based on the rateable value of your premises.The rateable value of your premises is decided by the Valuation Office Agency and is based on your annual market rent, size and usage. You may also need to show an accredited qualification to be granted a licence or permit. For example, an alcohol licensing qualification is required to sell alcohol in the UK. 8. Decide where you will work. Business premises are a big expense, so think about starting out by working from home if at all possible. This can help you save on commercial rent and business rates. You’ll also be able to include a percentage of household costs such as electricity, heating, lighting, broadband and council tax on your tax return.  Top Tip: Preparing for and filing taxes accurately is a big part of starting your own business. To learn more about how to ensure you’re doing everything above the board, read our complete guide to small business tax ✅ If you plan on using your property to advertise your business or are selling goods from home, you should contact your mortgage provider or landlord and local council to seek permission first. If you can’t work from home, you may be able to keep costs down by using a co-workspace or shared business hub. This involves renting a desk or small office space within a larger building at a reasonable price. Many local authorities offer dedicated low-cost space for start-up businesses, with low fees and short-term contracts.  Visit your local council’s website to see where space is available. Or, search a coworking marketplace like Coworker.com to find a coworking space near you. Choosing commercial premises. If you need to rent a commercial property, there are a few things to consider:  Cost. How will rent, business rates and utility bills impact your costs? Location. Is the premises easy to get to for customers and employees? Flexibility. Can the property grow with your business? Terms. Does the lease fit in with your plans? Are short-term and long-term leases offered? Is there an option to extend your lease? Can you bring your lease to an early end if you need to? Repairs. Is property maintenance the landlord’s responsibility or yours?  COVID-19 has halted work on physical premises for now, but it won’t last forever. It’s still worthwhile to do the research necessary to ensure you rent the best commercial property for your business. If you can, launch from home and move to your new property when possible.  Insuring your business. To ensure a safe and covered working environment, you’ll need business insurance. The type of insurance policy you’ll need depends on your business operations, but it’s likely you’ll require one or more of the following: Contents insurance. Covering all stock and materials in the event of damage, theft, fire or natural disaster. This is required even if you work from home and have home contents insurance.  Commercial property insurance. Covering your business premises in the event of damage, theft, fire or natural disaster. Professional indemnity insurance. Protecting you from claims made by unhappy clients. For example, if a client pays you for a service and they’re not happy with that service, they can be reimbursed through your insurance, rather than out of your own pocket.  Public liability insurance. Protecting you against claims from members of the public who have been injured or suffered property damage due to carelessness.  Employers’ liability insurance. The same as public liability insurance, but for employees. Vehicle insurance. Covering any vehicles used for business purposes. 9. Market your business. Everything to this point has involved putting the foundations in place to set yourself up for the highest chance of success. Now, it’s time to get your brand out there and draw customers to you. If you already have a following from generating pre-launch content, that’s great. It’s always a good idea to validate your UVP before you spend a dime on building or servicing it. That way, you know your target audience is interested in what you have to offer and will buy it once you launch. If you don’t have a following yet, that’s perfectly OK. Now is the time to build one.   There are all kinds of different ways to market your business: telling friends and family, attending networking events, advertising your product or service in the local press and/or online, and many more. The most likely place to see consistent results is through digital marketing. This is where marketing leaders will spend 75% of their total marketing budget by 2021. Get a website. A website is a must. Even if they plan to buy in-store, 87% of shoppers begin product searches on digital channels. Your website is your online shopfront and the place to send customers to find out more about you and your products or services.  A website doesn’t have to be big or flashy, but it does have to make a good first impression and provide visitors with the information they seek. It takes just 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion about your website, so a clean, fast-loading site is important. Especially as, according to a report by Forrester, a well-designed interface and smooth UX design can boost conversion rates by 200% and 400%, respectively.  There are eight guidelines that every website should follow: Simplicity. A website should make it easy for users to find and do what they want to do. Visual hierarchy. Website elements should be organised so that visitors see your most important messages first. Navigability. Moving from point A to point B should be pain-free. Consistency. The overall look of a website should be consistent across all pages. Accessibility. A website should work seamlessly on all devices and operating systems. Conventionality. The design should stick to what users are familiar with (e.g. navigation at the top or left side of the page, logo in the top left or centre of a page). Credibility. Information should be upfront and transparent. User-centricity. Feedback should be gathered from users to tweak and improve performance. If you can, it’s a good idea to work with a web designer to create a website that meets these guidelines. There are plenty of freelance sites where you can find and hire developers to help build your site. Sites like Toptal, Hired, GetACoder, StackOverflow are all developer-specific freelance sites. Alternatively, hire a family member or friend who has developer experience and is willing to help you out. If you struggle to find a budget-friendly developer, platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace and Wix let you use templates to build user-friendly websites from scratch without design experience and without breaking the bank. Develop a digital marketing strategy . A digital marketing strategy is a plan designed to win customers by taking into account business objectives, SWOT analysis, target audience and brand position.  Four steps to support your digital marketing plan This plan can then be used across the five main marketing channels—social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), paid media and email marketing—to take customers on a journey from noticing your brand to purchasing to recommending you to others.  You can learn how to create and implement your marketing plan in our beginners guide to digital marketing strategy.  Top Tip: To learn all about how to attract your target audience and boost engagement with your brand, read our guide to how to create a complete digital marketing strategy for small businesses 🔥 To help you get new customers and build your business without spending a penny, we’ve also developed a free small business guide to marketing on a budget. 10. Find the right business support. While running a business is exhilarating, the day-to-day can certainly be taxing.  According to a small business survey carried out by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 34% of business owners say they sought out advice and information related to the daily running of the business. And 40% of business owners seek strategic advice to help with growth.  Getting the right help can be vital in overcoming challenges and avoiding potentially costly mistakes. Fortunately, professional advice and business support is plentiful and, in most cases, free. Our small business tips resource contains a wealth of information on how to grow a successful business, covering everything from finance to HR to mental health.  GOV.UK has a Business Support Helpline providing free advice. Its website also gives details on government-backed schemes across the UK. Business Gateway is a publicly funded service providing free support to business owners in Scotland. Business Wales and Invest Northern Ireland provide similar services for businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland. Across England, there are 38 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) led local Growth Hubs offering business support and guidance. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) offers not-for-profit small business advice, financial expertise and support to all small business owners. Mentorsme puts business owners in touch with free and paid mentors who can help you grow by sharing their expertise, experience and contacts. And their influence can be huge. According to a study by Kabbage, 92% of small business owners say mentors have a major impact on growth.  If you’ve never handled business accounts before, you might also want to call on the services of an accountant.  An accountant can help with everything from tax returns to penalties to ensure you’re compliant with HMRC and Companies House. To help you find an accountant that meets your needs, check out our post on how to choose an accountant for your small business. Top Tip: To help you find an accountant that meets your needs, check out our post on how to choose an accountant for your small business 📌 Wrapping up. Let’s recap the steps you need to take to build a successful business from scratch: Business idea: Spend time analysing your idea to ensure it’s viable Branding: Come up with a name and logo that are memorable, appropriate and timeless Business plan: Create a detailed plan that covers your idea, finances and structure Structure: Choose a legal structure that suits your business set-up Red tape: Learn about the laws and regulations that are relevant to your business Funding: Calculate your start-up costs and decide whether you need a loan or investment Licence or permit: Find out if you require a licence or permit to operate Location: Decide on the best place to work for your business and its customers or clients Marketing: Get a website and create a digital marketing strategy to market your business online Support: Find advice and mentorship to help your business grow   Starting a business from scratch requires you to be methodical in your approach. With each step in this post, we’ve posed questions and provided links to additional resources. Take your time to study them. Do your research and use the support available to guide you on your journey.  Ready to get started? Register your business with Tide for FREERegistering your business with Tide is incredibly fast, easy and free. We’ll pay the £12 incorporation fee on your behalf. What’s more, you’ll get a free business current account at the same time, which is the best way to ensure you’re keeping your finances in order from day one. Be your own boss and start your company today 🚀 Read more from our business startup series:. Starting Up 1.1 How to start a business in the UK: 10 steps to build from scratch1.2 How to find the perfect name for your small business1.3 How to register a business? A simple guide1.4 How to start a business without capital1.5 10 ways to fund your business1.6 How to create a business plan: 9 things to consider when starting Business Ideas 2.1 15 business ideas you can get started with today2.2 How to start a business online Business Funding 3.1 How much does it cost to start a business in the UK?3.2 How to raise capital for your business: Everything you need to know Business Mindset 4.1 How to make your first year in business a success4.2 How to combat loneliness when becoming a solo-founder4.3 How to employ someone: hiring your first employees Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com, published on Unsplash Valentine Hutchings . Head of Community and small business enthusiast Tide Team Linkedin Join our community of entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners. Tide is here to help small business owners and sole traders save time and money. Take a look at our Business Bank Account and get time back to focus on your business. You might also be interested in:. Pros and cons: 10 ways to fund your small business. July 14, 2020 Read more > How much does it cost to start a business in the UK? June 19, 2020 Read more > 15 business ideas you can get started with today. November 4, 2020 Read more > A business bank account that's free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love. Tide is about doing what you love. That’s why we’re trusted by 350,000+ UK businesses. Open an account 4.7, 27k 4.6, 3.7k × Get useful stuff in your inbox.
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Result 10
TitleHow to start a business or become self-employed
Urlhttps://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/work/self-employment/thinking-of-starting-up-in-business
Description
Date
Organic Position8
H1How to start a business or become self-employed
H2What’s in this guide
What to think about when starting a business or becoming self-employed
What help is available if you become self-employed
Different kinds of self-employed businesses
Thinking of buying a franchise?
What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed
Find out more
H3Sole trader
Partnership
Private limited company (Ltd)
Limited partnership
Limited liability partnerships (LLP)
Make a budget
Business plan
Paying taxes
Budgeting for your Self Assessment Tax Bill
Registering for VAT
Recordkeeping
Traditional accounting vs cash basis
Do you need an accountant?
Do I need a business bank account?
Bookkeeping software
Personal and business insurance
Benefits and self-employment
H2WithAnchorsWhat’s in this guide
What to think about when starting a business or becoming self-employed
What help is available if you become self-employed
Different kinds of self-employed businesses
Thinking of buying a franchise?
What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed
Find out more
BodyHow to start a business or become self-employed More than 5 million people are self-employed in the UK. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, you need to think about your business structure, budgeting and paying your own tax.  What’s in this guide. What to think about when starting a business or becoming self-employed What help is available if you become self-employed Different kinds of self-employed businesses Thinking of buying a franchise? What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed Find out more What to think about when starting a business or becoming self-employed . Working for yourself can be very rewarding. It means you can: do something that interests you, or that you’re passionate about choose your own hours work around other commitments, such as your children have more control over your income. But there are also some downsides, including: working long hours and at weekends dealing with an irregular income having to do your own bookkeeping and tax return limited or no access to employment benefits, such as paid leave. For anyone looking to start a new business in the UK, HMRC have created an easy-to-use interactive guide Find out more about setting up your own business and becoming self-employed on the GOV.UK website Back to top What help is available if you become self-employed . Fortunately, when it comes to self-employment, there’s plenty of help and advice out there. Government-backed advice services around the UK will help you with everything from creating a business plan and researching the market, to finding finance and recruiting staff. So, depending on where you live, they should be your first port of call. England – GOV.UK Wales – Business Wales Scotland – Business Gateway Northern Ireland – Invest Northern Ireland Back to top Different kinds of self-employed businesses . Are you thinking about starting your own business or becoming self-employed? Then one of the first things you’ll need to think about is your business structure. Sole trader . This is the simplest business structure. You’ll run your own business as an individual and keep any after-tax profits. However, your personal and business assets aren’t considered separate. This means you’re personally responsible for debts associated with the business. You can reduce this problem through insurance, or by choosing one of the other business structures mentioned below. But don’t be put off by the idea of being a business. A sole trader is just that – one person, you, working for themselves. You don’t need to be a shop owner. You could be a taxi driver or hairdresser. Becoming a business is just the official term. To become a sole trader, all you need to do is register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Find out more about setting up as a sole trader on the GOV.UK website Partnership . A partnership is when you go into business with one or more other people and have shared responsibility for the business. It’s important you draw up a partnership agreement, so everyone involved knows how the profits are split up. Business debts are dealt with under what’s known as Joint and Several Liability. This means all members of the partnership are responsible for the debts. This is either in full, or individually, depending on how much they can afford to repay. All partners will need to submit a Self Assessment tax return for their own share of the profits. And a nominated partner will have to submit a partnership Self Assessment for the business. Find out more about setting up a partnership on the GOV.UK website Private limited company (Ltd) . A private limited company (Ltd, is its own legal entity and is completely separate from the people owning and running it. It will need to be registered (or incorporated) with Companies House, and must have a suitable name and address. The company will have a director (usually the person who started the business) who is legally responsible for running the company. And at least one shareholder (also known as a member). A Ltd company will have to pay Corporation Tax on any profits. And the after-tax profits are divided up among the shareholders. The company will need to submit its annual accounts to Companies House and a tax return to HMRC. The director will also need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return. But they’ll only pay tax on the money they earned by running the business, not the profits. Find out more about setting up a private limited company on the GOV.UK website While these are the easiest to set-up and understand, there are some other options. Limited partnership . A limited partnership must have at least one general partner and one limited partner. The general partner is responsible for running the business and the partnerships’ debts. The limited partner is only liable for the amount they originally invested in the business. Find out more about limited partnerships on the GOV.UK website Limited liability partnerships (LLP) . LLPs are a hybrid of a partnership and a limited company. Like a partnership, it can be set up by two or more people. But like a Ltd company it must: be incorporated with Companies House have a suitable name and address Be legally separate from the individuals running it. It must also have at least two shareholders (or members) – and each shareholder pays tax on their share of the profits. Partners’ liability for the business debts are limited to the amount of money they invested. Find out more about limited liability partnerships on the GOV.UK website Back to top Thinking of buying a franchise? . Are you interested in becoming self-employed or starting your own business, but don’t want to start from scratch? Then a franchise might be worth considering. A franchise is where you buy a licence from a business owner to use an existing business idea and brand name. Some well-known franchises include American fast food chains McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. But there are thousands of other franchise opportunities available, from global names to local organisations. The start-up costs can be quite high. But you will be buying into an established brand and the deal should include: training and guidance on setting-up, and running and growing your franchise. But be aware of scams. Check the brand is established, and that the franchiser is marketing the brand actively. To find out more about franchising visit the British Franchise Association’s website   In Northern Ireland, there’s more about buying a franchise on the NI Business Info website Back to top What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed . When you’re thinking about becoming self-employed or setting up a business, there are a lot of things you need to consider This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does cover some of the major areas you’ll need to think about. Find out more about setting-up your own business on the GOV.UK website Make a budget . First, and possibly most importantly, you need to make a budget. You need to think about all the costs involved to get your business off the ground and operational. These might include: renting business premises or shop front, and costs associated with it – including electricity and internet access buying or hiring vehicle(s), and the cost of fuel and maintenance equipment including tools, computers and phones setting up and hosting a website advertising and marketing materials staff. Obviously, you might not need all these: Many profitable businesses don’t need physical premises You might already have a lot of the equipment you need Staff might not be necessary until the business is more established. However, you’ll also need to think about your personal costs, such as rent, mortgage, utility bills, childcare and food. You’ll then need to think about how much of your own money you can afford to invest. This will help you find out if you will need to look for investment or a business loan. You might be able to apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan of £500 to £25,000 to start business. Find out more on the GOV.UK website See our guide How to budget for an irregular income Business plan . There are two main reasons for writing a business plan: For business reasons – so you can set out your objectives, develop ideas and plan for the short and medium term. To present to people outside your business – usually to banks or potential investors if you’re looking to raise money. Regardless of who you’re presenting it to, it’s important to be realistic and honest about your costs and earning potential. If it will be seen by people outside your business, so make sure: it looks professional         it’s well structured It contains all the information people would expect to see. Find out more about business planning, including how to write a business plan, on the GOV.UK website Paying taxes . Budgeting for your Self Assessment Tax Bill. If you’re thinking of setting up your own business, you’ll also need to register for Self Assessment to pay your own taxes. You pay tax and National Insurance on your self-employed earnings in arrears. This means any tax you owe on money earned in the 2020/21 tax year is not due until January 2022. This means you’ll need to plan how you’ll pay what could be a substantial bill. The good news is, you’ll have a good idea about how much tax you owe at the end of the previous tax year. This gives you nine months to prepare. Find out more in our guides: How to fill in a Self Assessment tax return Tax and National Insurance when you're self-employed If you’re setting up a private limited company (Ltd) or limited liability partnership, you’ll also need to pay Corporation Tax on your profits. Find out more about registering for, and paying, Corporation Tax on the GOV.UK website Registering for VAT . Did you know? If you have a turnover of more than £85,000, you’ll need to keep digital tax records and submit VAT returns using HMRC’s Making Tax Digital system.  Find out more on the GOV.UK website If your business has a taxable turnover of £85,000 or more, you will need to register for VAT. But some businesses might benefit from registering, even with a turnover below this. If you’re VAT registered, you’ll need to charge VAT on the goods and services you supply.  However, you can claim back VAT you pay for goods or services relating to your business. Find out more about VAT registration on the GOV.UK website Recordkeeping . Did you know? If your combined annual turnover is less than £150,000 a year, you can use a simplified version of expenses called cash basis. Cash basis is a way to work out your income and expenses for your Self Assessment tax return, if you’re a sole trader or partner. If you’ve never been self-employed before, you’ll need to get to grips with record keeping quickly. You’ll need to keep track of what you’re charging customers for your goods and services, as well as any business-related expenses. Acceptable records include receipts, bank statements, invoices and till rolls. You won’t need to send your records when you submit a tax return. But you will need to keep them for five years after the relevant tax return submission deadline. For example, for your 2018/19 tax return, you’ll need to keep your records until 31 January 2024. Find out more about keeping records when you’re self-employed on the GOV.UK website   Find out more about acceptable expenses when you’re self-employed on the GOV.UK website Traditional accounting vs cash basis . Do you have a combined annual turnover of less than £150,000 and are a sole trader or in a partnership? Then you can use cash basis accounting, rather than traditional accounting. With traditional accounting, you pay tax and claim expenses based on the invoice or billing date. If you choose to use cash basis accounting, you pay tax and claim expenses based on when the money leaves or enters your account. Why would this matter? Well, if you’re getting paid for work on a monthly basis, there’s probably very little difference. But, if you agree to and invoice someone for work several months before you get paid, it can change the year you pay tax on that income. For example, if you use traditional accounting and invoice someone in March 2020, but don’t get paid until July 2020. You have to declare this income on your 2019/20 tax return and pay the tax on it by January 2021. If you use cash basis, you would have to declare this income in the tax year you got paid, which is 2020/21. This means you wouldn’t pay tax on this until January 2022. However, there are some downsides to cash basis accounting. For example, you can’t offset losses against your taxable income, or claim for more than £500 in interest costs. So you might want to get advice about what’s best for you and your business. Find out more about cash basis accounting on the GOV.UK website Do you need an accountant? . This is a difficult question, and there is no definitive answer. If your business is new and you have a simple financial situation, you might want to see if you can manage by yourself, at least in the short term. However, hiring an accountant can be a good thing as most can provide advice on tax planning and offsetting expenses against income. It also doesn’t need to be expensive. If you’re looking at hiring an account, make sure they’re a member of a relevant trade body, such as: Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Accountants might also be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, some accountants are exempt and don’t need to be authorised by the FCA when engaged in some regulated activities. Find out more on the FCA website Do I need a business bank account? . If you’re a sole trader or in a partnership, you don’t need to have a business bank account. But, you might find it useful to keep your business and personal finances separate, particularly if you’re in a partnership. If you’re running a limited company, you do need to have a business bank account. Like personal accounts, business bank accounts have many different features. You can compare different business bank accounts at: MoneySuperMarket GoCompare Business Comparison Bookkeeping software . If you want some help with your record and bookkeeping, you might want to look at some of the commercial software suppliers. Some suppliers are able to submit parts of your tax return automatically. These are listed on the HMRC section of the GOV.UK website Personal and business insurance . If you’re running your own business, it’s important to make sure you’re insured. You’ll need some kind of business cover, such as public liability and equipment insurance. But there’s a wide range of products available. Find out in our guide Business insurance when you’re self employed As you no longer have an employer to rely on for sickness cover or health insurance, you might also want to consider a personal insurance policy. Find out in our guide Personal insurance when you’re self-employed Benefits and self-employment . If you’re self-employed and on a low income, you might be able to claim benefits, including Universal Credit. Find out more in our guides: Universal Credit explained Universal Credit if you’re self-employed Back to top Find out more . If you’ve been out of work and on benefits for at least six months, you might qualify for financial help and a business mentor. Find out more about the New Enterprise Allowance on the GOV.UK website   Find out about practical and financial support for young people (up to age 30) on the Prince’s Trust website Back to top Was this information useful? Yes No Thank you for your feedback. We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing. Share this article Email Facebook Twitter More options Share this with WhatsApp LinkedIn Copy this link Copy Close Copy this link Copy Close Explore this topic Close Self-employment Being self-employed How to start a business or become self-employed Business insurance when you’re self employed How to fill in a Self Assessment tax return Personal insurance when self-employed Tax and National Insurance when you’re self-employed Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. 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Result 11
TitleA Step by Step guide on how you can start a business in the UK
Urlhttps://chacc.co.uk/startup-blog/how-to-start-a-business-in-the-uk/
DescriptionLooking to start a business in the UK? Here’s a step by step guide that can help any business start, thrive, grow and expand in a competitive market
Date
Organic Position9
H1How to Start a Business in the UK?
H2Meaning of Business
Number of Businesses in the UK
Resources
What are the various types of Businesses?
How to set up a business in the UK: (Step by Step guide)
What’s the Quickest Way to Start Strong? – Use a Lean start-up Business Model
Five tips before you start a business
Conclusion
Generally Asked Questions
H3Business Plan Template
Startup Checklist
Marketing Plan Template
Service Business
Merchandising Business
Manufacturing Business
Assess yourself and your Business Idea
Conduct Market Research
Write a Business Plan
Pick Business location
Get Business Advice
How will you fund your business?
Register your Startup
Legal Documentation for a new Business
Opening Business Bank Accounts
Video: How to Open a Business Bank Account when starting a business in the UK?
You are Ready
Figure out which business works right for you
Make sure there are demand and the market for your product.
Plan for success
Procrastination is the enemy.
Don’t go down with your mistakes.
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H2WithAnchorsMeaning of Business
Number of Businesses in the UK
Resources
What are the various types of Businesses?
How to set up a business in the UK: (Step by Step guide)
What’s the Quickest Way to Start Strong? – Use a Lean start-up Business Model
Five tips before you start a business
Conclusion
Generally Asked Questions
BodyHow to Start a Business in the UK? By:   Jibran Qureshi Startup Blog Comments:   1 Comment We have collaboratively worked with expert start-up accountants, formation specialists, and our service partners to curate an exceptionally valuable guide, which provides secrets from industry experts to starting a successful business in the UK versus a business that will potentially fail. Before you jump to the part where we show you the tricks to selecting the most optimal business structure, the various types of business models you can use, and the strategy on how to start a company in the UK with the least risk, even when targeting risky and new trending start-up ideas, you should first understand what the term business actually means. Meaning of Business. In practical terms, a small business is an entity that deals in an exchange of goods or services in return for an economic benefit, mostly money. All Businesses in the world engage in trading activity for the sole purpose of earning a profit. To start a small business, one can either pursue a start-up home business or one can sell their products or services from office premises. A business can be classed into a small business, medium business, or a large business, which in its easiest form can be classed as per The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) approved new regulations. The ‘new regulations’ known as the Companies, Partnership, and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2015 revised the existing definition for companies, and now gov.uk defines companies into three classifications. These classifications are small, medium, and large size companies; the small one includes a subcategory called micro-entity. Each business start-up can be classified into one of three company sizes; micro, small, or medium that may later expand into a large size company. A majority of people still fail to understand the key difference between a start-up and a small business venture, which can create issues later on in the process, the differences might be more prominent than what you think. Number of Businesses in the UK. As per data released by the UK Parliament, there were 5.7 million private sector businesses in the UK in 2018. In 2017, there were 27,000 more private sector businesses than there were in 2018. The data showed that the UK  experienced its first year on year fall when it comes to the number of businesses since they began recording the current series of data in 2000. Some of these small businesses had unique and innovative start-up ideas   2018 had 2.2 million more businesses than in the year 2000, which is 63 per cent more. When you look at the data, you will notice that the proportion of businesses with employees has fallen from close to a third in 2000 to around a quarter. The rise of self-employment has led to a decline in the proportion of employers to employees. Resources. Business Plan Template. Startup Checklist. Marketing Plan Template. What are the various types of Businesses? When it comes to a small business, there are various kinds of businesses. Having an understanding of the types of businesses can make it much easier for a business owner to succeed in setting and growing their business idea successfully. Most business owners have no idea on how to start a small business because of insufficient knowledge about the types of businesses. Having a thorough understanding of the types can help in terms of choosing the most suitable structure for the business, designing a strong foundation which complements the nature of product or service being offered. This guide to starting a business in the UK is a step by step guide which will help you to start and grow your entity during your business journey as an entrepreneur or a newly self-employed individual. Let’s take a look at the three major types of businesses: service, merchandising, and manufacturing. Service Business. As the name suggests, the service business provides services to potential customers. Services are also known as intangible products or products which do not possess a physical form. The strategic processes of the services business are different from what other types of small businesses may observe. Examples of service businesses include salons, schools, banks, law firms, accountants, and so on. Merchandising Business . Merchandising business buys products from wholesalers at wholesale prices. They then resell these products at retail prices. Simply put, they profit by selling products at higher prices than the purchase costs. Examples of merchandising businesses include grocery stores, convenience stores, distributors, and so on.  Small businesses that have been a traditional brick and mortar business are adapting to selling online to remain relevant or to grow their business faster. Manufacturing Business . Manufacturing business buys products to use as materials to manufacture a new product. These new businesses deal with the transformation of purchased products. Raw material, labour, and factory overheads are combined with a manufacturing business to produce a new product. Goods manufactured in this way are then sold to customers. The fourth type of business exists, which is known as a Hybrid Business. Hybrid Businesses refer to the kind of business that can be classified into more than a single type of business. However, when push comes to shove, hybrid businesses are classified into one of the three kinds of businesses based on their main business interest. How to set up a business in the UK: (Step by Step guide). The trend to be self-employed is increasing day by day in the UK. Young individuals are opting to start selling their products or services by setting up a business in the global business markets. No matter what you are trying to sell a product or service, you must follow these steps for a great startup. Step by Step: how to start a business in the UK? Assess Business Idea Conduct Market Research Write a Business Plan Choose a Business Structure Marketing Strategy Choose A Business Name Choose a Business Location Budget Feasibility Study Consult an Advisor Identify sources of Finances Business continuity strategy Business Exit strategy Assess yourself and your Business Idea. If you are considering setting up a new business as your only income source, then you most likely have a business idea to work on. Your idea might be something that already has an existing business model around it, or you might be creating a business idea that is unique in nature. Regardless of its nature, the business idea you have must thoroughly be analysed and assessed to counter any unforeseen circumstances in future.  If your business idea is already something that others are doing, then you must analyse it based on the market of the industry and the competitors to learn their way of working and how you can make it better than them. If your assessment shows that your product or service is way better than the product or service being delivered in the market in terms of speed, quality, and X factor then you have got a solid idea to work on. Are you ready to start a business? In most cases, starting your own business in the UK can cost you more than you have budgeted for. It may require a lot of planning from your side to set up a business in the UK successfully. You’ll also need to consider where your major strengths and weaknesses are, as these areas might require some additional outlays for bought-in expertise. Our business idea validation checklist below can be a good starting point for anyone who is new to this. Beyond this basic understanding, if you are starting a business, you need to be passionate about the venture you are embarking upon if it is going to be successful. It seems trite to say, but passion is perhaps the key ingredient to enable a new business to succeed. It can drive you on through the energy-sapping process of taking something from inception and into fruition, growth, and flourishing. Once you have confirmed the reliability of the idea, you may now move on to the next step that is to conduct target market research for the product or service you want to provide. Conduct Market Research. Before you write your business plan, you must work on the potential customers for your product or service and for that you must conduct market research. It is imperative to analyse consumer behaviour and economic trends of the industry.  To analyse the consumer behaviour gives you an insight into what potential customers need to get by buying the products and services the industry is offering. You can rely on the existing information of the industry. However, it might not work in your favour as your products and services may be different from what others are offering in the industry. Therefore, you can conduct your own market research through talking to target customers, conducting a survey, or through interviewing focus groups. You must also do a competitive analysis to assess the space in the industry to get your business running smoothly. Thorough market research before you start a new business can reduce the risks and improve your business idea for you to move to the next step that is to create the business plan. Write a Business Plan. A great business plan is a strategic representation of what and how of your new business idea. It outlines the key objectives of what business owners want to achieve with the start of the new business. It covers financial, marketing, and operational aspects to keep your business stronger than anyone else in the industry. This plan is what you can use to onboard stakeholders, angel investors, and partners. It is crucial to create a business plan that can answer a few of the important questions like What your business structure would be? Who is going to finance your small business idea? Who are your potential customers, and how will you market your product or services to them? You will want to make a  plan that can guide you through each stage and phase of your business. You may want to read the guide on how to write a business plan curated by our expert Accountants in London. Choosing the right Business Structure. One of the most important factors in a business plan before starting a business is to decide on the most optimal legal structure of the company. Deciding on the right legal structure from the very beginning will determine how you pay your taxes and the digital reporting of these taxes, which is crucial if you do not want to face any legal penalties.  It is always suggested to take professional business advice. As these factors play an important role in how you make profits and how your business advances. It can also help you decide what kind of relief you can offer your investors to enable them to save money and to convince them to invest in your business. The four main types of business structures in the UK come with their own set of rules for taxation and liabilities. Sole Traders One of the simplest ways to start a business in the UK is to establish yourself as a sole trader. You will need guidance on how to register for Self-Assessment with HM Revenue & Customs. Along with that, you will need to file a tax return every year (after an initial grace period of one year). It would be better to seek professional tax help if you want to file your tax returns smoothly and hassle-free.  You will get a tax id when you register your business or yourself with HMRC self-assessment program to state tax returns,  annual accounts, and national insurance contributions. This legal structure may not need to register your business, but the business owner must have a tax id and must be registered with HMRC to be a sole trader. Liabilities of Sole Traders As a sole trader, you will take responsibility for any debts that your business may accrue. This business structure might not be the right option for riskier or larger scale ventures as it might not be the most tax-efficient structure. It might not limit your liability, but it can be the quickest and least demanding from a compliance perspective. Sole traders also need to make sure to keep detailed records of annual accounts to save yourself time when it comes to filing your tax return or national insurance contribution. Moreover, it’s crucial to know about income tax basics on your profits and to make national insurance contributions.  If your business has a turnover of £85,000 or over, you have to register for VAT and pay VAT. Generally, business owners who struggle to understand how to do this, hire a competitive personal tax accountant, because if not done correctly, it can cost you a fortune.  Partnerships Setting up as a ‘General Partnership’ is similar to being a sole trader. However, in a partnership, there are one or more people who share the responsibility for the business debts that may occur along the line. Similarly, business profits are shared as well, and the individual members of the partnership pay taxes on their profit share.  It is important to note that a partner doesn’t have to be a person. A partner can also be a limited company who has a share in the partnership. In the case of a shared partnership, all the shareholders will select a ‘nominated partner.’ The responsibility of this partner would be to register the partnership with HMRC and to make timely delivery of corporation tax returns. Limited Liability Partnership In some cases, it is also feasible to opt for a ‘Limited Partnership.’ A limited partnership is different from a General Partnership that one must understand before starting.  Instead, there are two roles: the ‘general partner’ and the ‘limited partner.’ The general partner is liable if the partnership runs into any debt. The contribution of a limited partner is financial. Hence they will not have the duty to pay any debts incurred by the other partner.  The third type of partnership is the Limited Liability Partnership or LLP, which has its own liabilities, and advantages. It is better to understand all these through our guide on how to run an LLP if you are trying to pursue limited liability partnership. To set up an LLP, you need an address, an LLP agreement, and, of course, need to register the partnership with Companies House.  Setting up a partnership can be as complicated as your situation; you can hire a competent partnership accounting firm whose online accountants are experts with partnership structures and can help you set up one.  Limited Company If you decide to proceed with a UK company formation, then setting up a limited company in the UK is your best option. Limited companies, as a company, offer you the greatest legal protection as your finances will be treated separately from the finances of the company. There are, however, differences in the tax and savings of a limited company as compared to a sole trader. Moreover, there are additional reporting responsibilities that, if not done, can result in severe consequences. You will probably want to get the support of an accountant in the UK company formation process and thereafter with Accounting Services. When you are opening a business as a limited company, you need to register as an incorporated company with Companies House. Moreover, you will have to file annual accounts and returns in the UK. A good UK formations agent or a good Accounting Firm in London can ease the process of starting a new company in the UK. Furthermore, they can help to fulfil the compliance requirements of a limited company structure. Requirements that need to be fulfilled by a limited company Every company has a unique name to stand out in the crowd. You must use a name that has not already been taken. The name could end with Ltd,‘ Limited’, or the Welsh equivalents);limited companies can register their unique business name to avoid future usages or similarities with other limited companies.Use a physical UK address as the registered address for the company (in the same country as your company is registered in);Issue a minimum of one share to a shareholder (there is no limit to the number of shareholders your limited company can have);Setup a ‘memorandum and articles of association’ listing the written rules of the company and; details of anyone with voting rights in your company or who owns more than 25% of shares; It is very important to know what business structure is best for setting up a business. It is crucial to know about the various types of small businesses to identify the most compatible structure with the business idea you want to set up. Marketing Strategy. The next plan you want to make is a marketing plan that includes the approaches you may take to attract your target audience. This is where your Market research and potential client base studies will help you curate a strategy that must evolve and change to fit the needs of business and its stages.  When you are starting a business, you not only need a product, but you also need the right kind of marketing and promotion to reach the maximum number of potential buyers. Choose a Business Name. Your first step before you create the plan is to choose a business name for your new business. The name must not include any offensive word or similarities to any other registered business name.  The business name you choose before starting a business should be according to the guidelines set by the government of the UK, specifically for a business name. As mentioned above, each business structure has different requirements for the name. Pick Business location. You must decide on the location for starting your business as it plays a vital role in overall success. Location with the best resources and maximum target audience will help you reach your maximum potential quickly. However, there would be few other things to consider if you are starting up a business in the UK. There would be few things to consider if you are deliberating on how to start your own business in the UK. Whether you decide to start a business from home or office space, it is important to comply with certain rules and regulations. Being in touch with a good London Accountant can ease the process of understanding complicated rules and processes. If you are living in rented accommodation and are planning on running your business from home, it is a good idea to notify your landlord. In case you own the house, you should share this information with your mortgage provider. You may need to pay business rates for the part of your home you are using for your business. This is worth checking out via the Valuation Office Agency. Home as a Business Location Another important factor to consider, if you are running your business from home, is the tax allowances you will be entitled to. These allowances include internet, lighting, and phone line. This can save you some money and will become part of your corporation tax return.  If you plan to run your business in an office space, there are separate factors that need to be considered. For example, if you are planning on running a business from a rented property, there are health and safety standards that you need to ensure for your employee’s well-being. These can be the smallest details, like making sure the working environment is comfortable, providing clean toilets, and access to drinking water. Other Marketing Elements More and more businesses in the UK now start their marketing way before the business launch to get the brand name out in the industry. This technique helps in creating a familiar image, presence, and authority of the company among the potential customers. You can now use low-cost tools for marketing your company or business. For instance, a website can be the best option to start. Choose a domain name for your business or company. The domain name can be regional or global depending on what product or services you are providing and the business location. Another one way adding to this strategy would be to use social media. Social Media is what most traders use to enhance their marketing game.  You may also need to set up a customer service to cater to queries related to your new venture. In the start, you can handle this customer service until you hire staff. Budgeting and Feasibility Study. Before you start a business, it is important that you know your startup costs. This will later help you in estimating the funds or business loan you need to incur for a successful start. Calculating the costs beforehand will help you estimate the profits, secure a business loan, and attract investors to invest in your company. Moreover, it will help you save finances with tax estimation. These costs may be different depending on the structure and type of the business. However, there are some common expenses that you will have no matter what.  What are the costs involved in starting a business? This brings us to the most important factor that needs to be considered; the business cost. We highlighted the importance of cost in the previous sections, especially when you need space to run your business.  Budgeting is an important aspect of running a business. We always recommend speaking to a startup Accountant to help you with the business plan. It is important to contact local accountants to achieve better results.  For instance, if you have chosen London as the prime location for your business, you must contact a recognised London based Accountant. The local accountants are technically capable and strategically located to help you prepare a better business plan. It is better to have a detailed budget plan to avoid any surprises in the future. Moreover, it is also best to be well prepared to attract investors or other stakeholders on board when required. Investors generally want to see a business that can survive their cash burn. Learning about the cash flow forecast will help you manage your cash burn in order to have sufficient funds to survive the initial few months. General Costs to be Considered While the costs for each business will be different, here are some general costs to be considered: Registering your company (also known as company incorporation) with Companies House: Insurance-related costStaff costsRental costs and council taxUtility bills such as heating, water, and phone billsInternet billsEquipment for your businessWebsite maintenance costAccountancy costsLegal feesBranding and social media advertising costCustomer services One of those expenses is office space. Office space whether you’re working from home or not, it has a set of requirements, like utility bills, internet, equipment, and maintenance.  In one way you are saving some costs also if you’re working from home as you are not paying bills for extra space. You should also estimate the costs for an insurance policy, licenses, permits, and other services you may want to avail through a business advisor or a lawyer. Some other common costs you must calculate is hiring, market research, company name registration, tax, marketing, and digital presence (website). Given this long list of costs to consider, make sure you have prepared a well-costed budget before getting started. You will need to make sure that you have the required capital. Moreover, make sure you keep some cash in reserve as it is inevitable that there will be unexpected expenses along the way.   How will you Insure your business? No matter what the size of your business is, there may be certain unexpected difficulties that you encounter over the course of time. As part of a contingency plan, it is a good idea to have a relevant insurance plan. Depending on the nature of your business, there may be certain types of insurance plans that you are required to implement.  Insurance procedures can get complicated at times. To start, you may adopt a liability insurance plan, along with the insurance your business is legally required to have. The liability insurance will provide you with sufficient coverage if you are faced with any legal costs.  Alternatively, speak to an insurance broker; they will be your middleman. The insurance broker should be able to guide you through the dos and don’ts of insurance planning. Get Business Advice. When you start trading in the UK, you can typically register as either a sole trader, a limited company, or as a partnership. Whichever option you choose, it’s a good idea to get the start-up business advice of an accountant. Before starting, having an expert on board will help to cover all bases of the target market, venture capital, and dealing with financial conduct authority. Starting a new business can be both exciting and daunting; it is important to keep a clear head from the outset so that the basic practical decisions you make; support your business’s development.  If you are in a hurry, why not hire expert startup accountants who will help you set up your business. Moreover, they will connect you with key industry contacts, and answer any questions that you may have. Is Hiring an Accountant Worth It? Having an expert who has solved similar problems for thousands of others can add immense value to your new business. The worst mistake is not to hire one if you do not know how to start-up a business and manage it later on. An expert can guide you through tough times and difficult decisions of the initial stages of a start-up business.  It would be highly advisable to hire an expert accounting firm if you have the funds. There are several reasons for needing an expert accountant to start on correct foundations while saving money and time.  To hire an accountant, you first have to know about the need and structure of your business. There are various job roles of a professional accountant and expertise in the different fields to help you out precisely. By understanding the structure and the need of your business, you would be able to identify when to hire an accountant and why. Business Continuity Plan. Since around 30% of new businesses fail during their first two years of operation, understanding yourself is vital if your business is going to be successful. The key cause of business failure is the lack of research at the early stages to make your business a niche area, along with the lack of marketing advice on compatible approaches and leadership failure. To prevent this, make sure you conduct in-depth research before starting so that you understand the market area you are getting into. Write a business plan and make sure your financing has wiggle room. A decent marketing strategy is a must for a successful business plan.  However, a decent marketing and ideal business model is not the only answer for a successful business start-up. The most important thing is to be prepared for the worst-case scenario as starting a business can be a risk. Therefore, a business continuity plan is a must before you start your own business in the UK. Accountants have access to a strong network of capable professionals that you can use to build a strong business foundation. Finding a good accountant could be the perfect way to begin your planning phase for starting a company. The Importance of a Business Exit Strategy. It may seem unnecessary to think of an exit strategy when starting a small business in the UK. However, having a business exit strategy in place is a crucial component of any business plan to help ensure long-term growth. This will enable a better objective setting, better conversations with investors and better planning to maximise the tax efficiency when selling your business rather than ending it on loss. Having a business exit plan will lay down options for you to analyse in case of failure. You must learn the art of buying and selling a business to be prepared for any negative impact on your business. It is better to sell out your business in exchange for a good amount rather than crying over a ruined business with nothing to gain.  How will you fund your business? Starting a business is the easy part; keeping it running is what’s hard. A business requires a constant source of funds to run. A business owner needs to be very clear from day one about where the business will get its funds.  You might have savings or pursuing a business loan, or there might be angel investors who want to help you with the finances. Nonetheless, a business will need a decent amount of cash flow to have a strong foundation. Now when you have estimated the initial costs you might need to run the business, you should start collecting the required funds. Make sure to collect extra as the estimation might show some differences.  For the initial startup costs, you can do bootstrapping that is to analyse your personal funds and how much you can invest in the company. You may ask your friends and families or use your assets for financing. However, there’s always a risk of losing, so make sure not to use all of your savings in the company you want to start.  One other way to get funds is to attract investors in exchange for company shares, or partnership with owners. However, there will be legal compliances different for each, whether you’re offering shares or partnership. You may need to look for top crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for a smooth startup. Register your Startup. Now when you have your company plan set up and your funds ready, you are ready to take the next step towards a successful startup that is to register your business or company with the UK government. Legal structures in the UK need different registration requirements that you must provide as a self-employed, partner, or a company.  Once you register the business with HMRC or Companies House, you will get the tax id for your business to file and report your tax returns. You need to prepare a few documentations, including the trade name, company information, and the corporate structure. Legal Documentation for a new Business . Each business requires different sets of legal documentation, including licenses and permits. If you are familiar with the Brexit than involved with the import and exports of goods will definitely have an impact in terms of legal requirements. Even if not, you must research for required permits and licenses to operate your business.  There are many businesses where you will need to obtain legal licenses. Child care ServicesFinancial and Credit servicesPet ServicesPiercing servicesGoods haulage (HGV)Import and exportSecurity ServicesSports services Taxi driver Opening Business Bank Accounts. If If you intend to open a business in the UK and get it registered, it is very important to keep your personal and business finances separate. You can do that by opening one or more bank accounts. This will not only reduce administrative and tax implications, but it will also make sure that you build a credit history for your business through the business bank profile. Down the line, this will help you to get the relevant funds and the financial support that you need. Learning about the best business bank accounts can help you to open the most suitable bank account. A separate business account can help you protect your business. It keeps the financial funds of your company separate from your personal finances. Not just that, but a separate account also gives off the professional image of your company to your clients. You can easily manage your business transactions with this account without mixing up important information. The clear transactions will help you later when you have to report your annual accounts to the concerned authorities. Video: How to Open a Business Bank Account when starting a business in the UK? Watch the video to find out everything about opening a business bank account in the UK. You are Ready. Now when you follow this guide, step by step, you are now ready to implement the business idea in reality. You will now have to start operating the manufacturing, or offering the services to the target audience. But How? Are you working on your own, or do you need staff to handle all the different roles in the company?  There is a misconception that freelancers or sole traders can not hire employees to work for them. Even if you are a sole trader, you might need one or two heads to manage the sales smoothly. Headcount hunting . Hiring staff has implications in relation to health and safety considerations along with other crucial factors. However, you will also have other requirements placed on you, whether your hiring agency workers, freelancers or full-time employees.  In addition, you’ll be required to check that anyone you employ is legally entitled to work in the UK. Make sure to purchase employment insurance as soon as you employ someone. You need to provide written terms and conditions along with job descriptions to any new employee.  Moreover, you must notify HMRC that you’ll be employing people by registering as an employer. In addition, there would be some compliance requirements to process payroll, if for the first time. Having a professional start-up accountant in London will help you avoid payroll penalties and will save time and money. Once the staff is hired, retaining them is also important for the growth of a new business. EMI schemes can be an amazing incentive you can offer employees to keep them interested and to reduce employee turnover.  Factors to Consider before Hiring There are few factors to consider before you start hiring staff that is to: Estimate the hiring budgetTotal headcounts you may need to hireTarget skills you needThe market rate of the skills you requireHow you will retain employees Bookkeeping . Now when you have hired staff and are ready to work, you are just one step away. And that is to keep your bookkeeping up to the standard of concerned authorities. Effective Bookkeeping Is what boosts new startups into successful enterprises.  Bookkeeping What’s the Quickest Way to Start Strong? – Use a Lean start-up Business Model. The lean start-up business model is all about finding new ideas in the quickest and most efficient way. Furthermore, it refers to bringing that service or product to market using techniques that get rid of redundant processes. The main principles of Lean Business Start-up are: Managed use of Resources. Try and use resources in the most efficient way to showcase the product in front of customers.Most Viable Product: The process involves trying out every possible iteration of an idea to produce the most viable product. This procedure is also known as the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It is all about learning from these failures and giving your start-up a chance to refine processes to develop the start-up as quickly as possible. Five tips before you start a business. If you’re keen on starting a business, have a look at these tips based on previous and further information. Figure out which business works right for you . There are tonnes of opportunities for successful businesses in the world. The thing that you should concern yourself with is finding a need which you can fulfil; something that you want to do. The next step would be to figure out the financial aspects of your business for it to be profitable. Hiring a good Business Accountant from the start can set a strong foundation for your business. Make sure there are demand and the market for your product. . Never assume that people will want to buy your product or service before doing your research. Research and ask people who are not close to you, about their eagerness to buy the product you want to sell. It is important to have as many opinions with several potential buyers also to have a clear vision. A good Accountant in London will be able to help you design a great business plan and also carry out a pricing strategy. Plan for success. You don’t need to figure out all the details of your project; however, you do need to set an end-goal. In addition to an end-goal, you also need to figure out what you’ll need to achieve to get there. Think of the things that you’ll need to accomplish as mini-goals; your plan can change as time flows. However, you need a plan so that you can stay focused and head in the right direction. Procrastination is the enemy. . Many people will advise you not to move ahead with your plans until you’re sure about every little detail about the business they’d like to start. The problem with this approach is that it results in procrastination.  There will never be a perfect time or situation for you to start your business. The best time was yesterday, or the next best time for a new start-up is now. The benefits of being self-employed cannot be enjoyed until tomorrow. You have to face the pain points as a self-employed today so that you can relax tomorrow.  Don’t go down with your mistakes. . Mistakes are all a part of being human, and you will make mistakes. No one has built a lucrative business without making massive mistakes. Do not dwell on failures but learn from these mistakes to further implement the changes. Don’t let your failures demoralise you as every great self-employed business person has got there by making a tonne of mistakes. Conclusion. Starting a business in the UK will be both an exciting and challenging experience. Being your own boss comes with countless rewards, but it also means taking on more responsibility. Deciding on what type of business you wish to set up is an essential starting point and should be undertaken with careful consideration. You also need to think about where you will be running your business. Whether you will be hiring staff, getting insurance, and think about a range of other start-up costs. In addition to practical considerations, make sure you take some time to ensure you are mentally prepared to start your business. A successful business has passion and hard work at its core. Therefore, make sure your idea is something you really believe in and are willing to dedicate your time to. With these key ingredients, some careful planning, and consideration, we’re sure you can make your business a success! Generally Asked Questions. What are the Key Business Structures when starting a Business in the UK? The most common business structures are Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, and Partnership. How to start up a business? The quickest method would be to get a product or service ready and start selling if you have a customer base available. Do I need a Business Plan? A business plan is a go-to document that explains your business plan in your absence or explains it in detail where you cannot due to time constraints. It is a must-have when you are looking to raise funds, bring on co-founders. Moreover, when you expect to pursue an aggressive growth plan, revisiting this document can help you get back perspective. What do you need to start a business before setting up a small business? The key questions you need to ask yourself are:– Do I have sufficient funds to survive for at least 6 to 8 months?– Do I have a go-to-market strategy or a customer acquisition strategy?– Does my business model actually work when tested?– How do I start a business with limited resources, and in how much time? Jibran Qureshi. Managing Director. +44 (0)207 117 2639 [email protected] chacc.co.uk Author Bio. Jibran Qureshi FCCA  is the Managing Director of Clear House Accountants, and has over 10 years of experience in practice and across multiple industries. Jibran’s educational background includes a Master’s in Financial Strategy from Oxford University and an Executive MBA from Hult International Business School. His experience in Financial Strategy, Tax Planning, Operational Consultancy and Performance Reporting guide his cognizant approach to leading Clear House and its clients to the future. It was this dexterity that led him to be Enterprise Nation’s Top 50 Advisors.   Jibran is fueled by his passion for helping businesses. He unequivocally believes that as business advisors and accountants for our clients, it is our responsibility to work with them as business partners. As specialists, it is our duty to help our clients navigate through the complexities of constant change and the implications that come with it.  Over the past decade, innovative disruptions have changed the way businesses work, everything from cloud software, innovative business models, to AI and machine learning, have impacted how businesses operate, grow, and expand.  Jibran recognized the need to manage these disruptions sustainably, early on and shaped Clear House Accountants to not just be compliance specialists, but advisors who help build complex ecosystems around cloud accounting software, provide advice on funding support, help manage innovative tax  schemes, set up and implement complex strategic plans, and much more.  So, his clients can thrive, not just survive.  Jibran developed his prime role as the Managing Director to build Clear House’s capabilities so it can add value for their clients. He is of firm belief that this can be done through consistent  high-level training, building the right tools, and creating roadmaps to help businesses cope with prospective disruptions.  He envisages that every client that comes on board, is provided maximum value through onboarding, ongoing services and the right mix of tools to help them become the best in the world. 1 Comment. Merri Mosmeyer . Great site to review. Worth the time February 3, 2021 Reply Leave a Comment Cancel reply. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Cookie settingsAcceptReject Privacy & Cookies Policy Close Privacy Overview. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. 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Result 12
TitleStarting a Business - How to Start a Business - Business Expert
Urlhttps://www.businessexpert.co.uk/starting-a-business/
DescriptionStarting a Business? This 8000 word + piece covers every aspect of starting a business in the UK from planning, location, tax and accounting right through to marketing and data protection. Get the full guide here..
Date
Organic Position10
H1A COMPLETE GUIDE TO STARTING A BUSINESS
H2Before You Start Your Business
Planning & Registration
Tax, Insurance & Employees
It & Marketing
H3Is Your Business Idea Viable?
Swot analysis on your business idea
Creating a Business Plan
Where to Get Business Start-Up Advice
Finding a Business Mentor
How to Set Up a Business
Limited Company, Partnership or Sole Trader
Registering Your Business
Business Licenses and Permits
Finding a Business Location
Choosing a Name for Your Business
What are a Company's Accounting Obligations?
Setting up a Business Tax Account
Business Insurance
Business Support
Hiring Employees
Apprentices & Trainees
What are the allowable costs for employers, including listing the items that can be tax deductible expenses
Tax Relief & Incentives for Business
Employee Payment
Funding your Business
Marketing
Setting up Your Business’s IT System
How to Make the Business Profitable
How to Set Up Google My Business
Building a Website
Paid Advertising and Social Network Accounts
Networking
Keep your data safe
H2WithAnchorsBefore You Start Your Business
Planning & Registration
Tax, Insurance & Employees
It & Marketing
BodyA COMPLETE GUIDE TO STARTING A BUSINESS Before You Start Your Business Is Your Business Idea Viable? Swot Analysis on Your Business Idea Creating a Business Plan Where to Get Business Start-Up Advice Finding a Business Mentor Planning & Registration How to Set Up a Business Limited Company, Partnership or Sole Trader Registering Your Business Business Licenses and Permits Finding a Business Location Choosing a Name for Your Business Tax, Insurance & Employees What are a Company's Accounting Obligations? Setting up a Business Tax Account Business Insurance Business Support Hiring Employees Apprentices & Trainees What are the allowable costs for employers, including listing the items that can be tax deductible expenses Tax Relief & Incentives for Business Employee Payment Funding your Business It & Marketing Marketing Setting up Your Business’s IT System How to Make the Business Profitable How to Set Up Google My Business Building a Website Paid Advertising and Social Network Accounts Networking Keep your data safe Before You Start Your Business. Is Your Business Idea Viable? Starting a Business? No matter how strong your gut feeling is, any potential business idea warrants a period of careful thought, research and planning. Is there an established market for the product? How big is this market? Who are your customers going to be and, perhaps most importantly, why are they going to choose you over anyone else? HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BUSINESS IDEA WILL WORK? Remember, having a great idea isn’t enough by itself. It doesn’t matter if it’s your passion, or if you’ve come up with a clever gap in a lucrative market, the company will fail if you don’t have the business acumen to make it work. This is the part of the process where you do your due diligence and research. Consider marketing, pricing and cost base, and calculate whether you have the money to bring the vision into reality.   You also need to ask yourself some tough questions about whether you have the attitude, as well as the aptitude, to succeed. Even if all the figures add up, and you are confident of your business skills, you need to be aware of how much energy, endurance and commitment it will take to run a profitable business. WHAT SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES HAVE IN COMMON. Success comes from an elusive combination of skill, drive, passion and persistence. Without any one of these, you could become one of the 40% of businesses which don’t survive beyond the 5 year mark. Swot analysis on your business idea. One useful process for establishing the viability of your business idea is to run a SWOT Analysis, which is a classic method of listing: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in a clear visual matrix. On a piece of paper list: Strength Attributes. Why is your business going to succeed over anyone else's? Will you compete on cost, or offer a superior product? Do you have particular marketing skills, exceptional staff, or better access to market? Weaknesses. What might prevent your business from succeeding? Which aspects will competitors do better? The more clearly you understand your weaknesses, the better your chances of shoring them up. Opportunities. What makes your business idea right for this moment in history? Are markets changing? Have regulations shifted? If there a pain point felt by your consumers which you can help with? This section of the SWAT is about better understanding the external environment into which your prospective business will launch. Threats to success. Along with opportunities, the good business person must always consider potential threats. No matter how much you plan, any business operates with a level of uncertainty because the world is always changing. In this section consider what those changes might be, and how they could affect you. The key thing to remember about SWOT Analysis is that each section is intimately connected. Strengths create opportunities, weaknesses can be converted into strengths, and threats can be neutralised. Conclude your analysis with the creation of an action plan outlining clear steps for moving forward. Creating a Business Plan. Just as no one would build a house without first drawing up architectural plans, the business plan represents an essential foundation for what you are about to create. HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN STEP BY STEP. These don’t have to be huge documents, but they should be clear, logical, precise and professional. Whether or not you need to show it to anyone, it is an idea to number it, put a cover on it, and include a contents page. Create the business plan with the care and professionalism it deserves as an exercise in preparation. When executed correctly, the business plan offers a road map to achieving your business goals and objectives. They should include: A summary of what you’re trying to achieve Market Analysis Business and management structure Sales and Marketing Strategy Funding and Costs Requirements Financial Projection over 5 years Appendix document It is not a one-off piece of work either, to be filed away upon completion. The best business plans are living documents, which you can use to monitor progress, and adapt as the business takes shape. USE A BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE. We recommend the excellent template found on the Princes Trust website here.   Where to Get Business Start-Up Advice. Whether you need practical advice about hiring, finance, employing staff or IT, or access to accelerator programs for hands-on coaching, there are a variety of organisations in place to support startups. Entrepreneurial Spark – Funded by private capital, this not-for-profit social enterprise is now the world’s largest free business accelerator. Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) – The FSB focuses on helping small businesses via advice, insurance, banking, networking and lobbying. Their Business Creation package offers a wealth of benefits for startups for £133. New Entrepreneurs Foundation – Combining training, mentoring and coaching, this competitive programme selects only 30 individuals per year to receive an intensive training for success. Unltd: This accelerator is aimed specifically at socially focussed entrepreneurs. Visit their site to learn about their funding, mentoring investment and support. Chambers of Commerce – Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. These organisations are well connected to local business communities and are ideal places for advice, networking and training support. Finding a Business Mentor. Mentors are an incredible resource for new business owners. The advice of a seasoned professional (and especially one with experience in running a company) can be the difference between turning a profit quickly, or closing within a year. For many people, the right mentor may be as close as combing through your existing network of contacts and resources, and emailing people. Many successful people remember the struggle they had to make it, and may be open to sharing their experience. It’s worth remembering, too, that the right mentor doesn’t have to be in your specific industry. Though that is the ideal, Here are the best ways to find a business mentor, both through traditional channels and via your own network. BUSINESS MENTOR ORGANISATIONS. Mentorsme – Operated by the Business Finance Taskforce, this website is designed as a portal to facilitate connection with mentors in your region. A valuable resource with over 27,000 listings from people who have all committed to giving one hour of their time once a month for 2 years. The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs – Set up in 2010, the IOEE was the first dedicated learning institute for entrepreneurial support. Their affiliate membership, at £5 per month, gives access to online mentoring. Planning & Registration. How to Set Up a Business. With the planning stage complete, the next step is to put the practical measures in place. That includes everything that’s necessary to turn your idea into a business that can trade legally in the UK and meet all of its tax and accounting obligations along the way. There are a number of important decisions that must be made, from the legal structure your business will take to the business’s name and finding a suitable place for it to be based. Depending on the type of work you’re planning to do, there may also be certain licenses or permits to apply for or insurance cover that’s a legal requirement in your industry. Limited Company, Partnership or Sole Trader. One of the first decisions that has to be made is to choose the legal structure of the business. There are a number of options open to you, all of which have their own legal, taxation and accounting requirements you must be aware of. Your four key options include: Sole trader Partnership Limited liability partnership (LLP) Limited liability company (LTD) Sole traders and partnerships are very similar business structures with one important difference. Sole traders are businesses with one owner, whereas partnerships can have anything from 2-50 co-owners. Both sole traders and partnerships are easy to set up and run. The business has to be VAT-compliant, you must pay PAYE and National Insurance to HMRC if you have any employees and you also have to file a self-assessment tax return every year – but that’s where your obligations end. There are also far fewer financial restrictions. You and the business are considered to be one and the same. That means you can take money out of the business’s bank account and pay it into your personal account (and vice versa) whenever you like. Limited liability partnerships (LLP) tend to be used by businesses that provide professional services such as accountants and legal firms. They have some of the characteristics of a conventional partnership, such as the distribution of profits and the tax liabilities, but also benefit from limited liability just like a private limited company. Limited liability ensures that the liability of the co-owners for financial losses or company debts is limited to the amount they originally invested in the firm. Private limited companies (LTD) are separate legal entities in their own right. That means your personal finances and the finances of the business must be kept apart. The company is owned and controlled by its shareholders and you can choose who to allocate the shares to when you incorporate (register) the business. A private limited company must be registered at Companies House and certain standard legal documents that govern how the business operates must be created. Annual accounts must also be filed and corporation tax has to be paid. This brings additionally complexity and cost. However, private limited companies are more tax efficient and you are not financially liable if things go wrong. Registering Your Business. Starting a business from scratch is hard work, so it’s essential you take the necessary steps to protect everything you create along the way. If you fail to register important details such as your business name, web domains and trademarks, it makes it much easier for your rivals to imitate everything you’ve done so far. DO YOU HAVE TO REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS WITH COMPANIES HOUSE? Registering your company is one of the first procedural steps you will need to take. Sole traders are not legally required to register with Companies House. However, if you fail to register your business, there’s nothing to stop someone else registering a business with your chosen trading name. Limited companies are legally required to register with Companies House. The process is relatively simple and can be completed yourself, although there are third-party registrars who will handle the registration process for a fee. To register, you will have to provide your company name, address and details of the company directors. You’ll also have to create and submit the memorandum and articles of association. These days, a website is an essential part of almost every business. The first step in creating your online presence is to register a domain name. A domain name is the [yourbusinessname].co.uk, .com or .net address that customers use to find you online. Purchasing a domain name is simple and relatively cheap in most cases, but it’s important you get one that’s memorable, short and easily identifiable. To buy a domain name, visit a registrar such as GoDaddy or 123-Reg, key in your domain and pay a fee. The domain has to be renewed every year. REGISTERING A TRADEMARK. You can also register a trademark to protect your business’s name, brand and products or services. You can trademark: Names Logos Slogans Domain names Shapes Colours Sounds Any combination of the above You should first search the trademarks database to see if anyone has registered a similar or identical trademark for similar goods or services. Once registered, you can take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without permission and display the ® symbol next to your brand. Business Licenses and Permits. Some types of business require a permit or licence in order to operate legally. That commonly includes businesses that engage in the sale of tobacco or alcohol products, but other forms of licence are necessary for businesses that include: Restaurants Taxi firms Driving instructors Security businesses Sports coaches Importers and exporters Child care providers Food preparation businesses Manufacturing firms Farms And many more… The business owner has to apply for the necessary licence or permit from the local authority that governs the area the business is located in or the trade body for the sector concerned. Serious responsibilities are associated with running a business that requires a permit or licence and breaches of the law can lead to fines and even the closing down of the business. For that reason, accredited qualifications are usually required before permits or licences are granted. You can use this licence finder to find out what licences you need for different trades and sectors. Finding a Business Location. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be able to save on the cost of renting a commercial property by running it from home. Even if you do choose to operate from your existing residential property, there are still some factors to take into account. For example, if you plan to run a business from home then you may need permission from your mortgage provider or landlord. If lots of customers will be visiting your home, you’ll be accepting regular deliveries or you want to advertise outside the property then you may also need permission from the local council. There’s also insurance to consider as your home insurance policy may not cover business equipment, stock, computers and any other items you use in the course of work. WORKING FROM HOME When running a sole trader or partnership from home, you should include a proportion of your household costs like council tax, electricity, heating and broadband in your allowable expenses on your self assessment tax return. CHOOSING A COMMERCIAL PREMISES FOR YOUR BUSINESS. If you do choose to rent a commercial property for your business then this is something you need to think about seriously. The location of your premises can help you attract customers and employees, while the suitability of the building itself can influence productivity. You should also consider how the decision to lease or buy your premises will impact your costs, and think about the level of flexibility the building will give you if your requirements were to change in the near future.   There are a number of legal responsibilities that come with renting or buying your own commercial premises. You will have to carry out a health and safety risk assessment and remove any hazards that pose a danger to you and your employees. You will also be responsible for fire and gas safety and the safety of electrical equipment.  This short guide from the Health and Safety Executive will help.   Choosing a Name for Your Business. Choosing the right name for your business can be surprisingly difficult. If you have a strong product or service and have identified a gap in the market, you might think that’s all you need, but your business name is still extremely important. When researching business name ideas, you need to think carefully about what will work for marketing and legal purposes. It should not be similar to any other businesses in your industry and also be easily identifiable so your customers can quickly work out what it is you do. If you intend to operate only in the local area, incorporating that area into your business name can add a friendly and reassuring element to the business. Ideally, your business name should also be short, snappy and instantly informative to draw customers to your business, while also being trustworthy and professional.   Sometimes, business owners try to be too clever and risk confusing their customers, so always keep it simple. While it might be tempting to include your own name in the business’s moniker, that can restrict your branding opportunities and give customers the impression that it’s a small, one man band rather than an established business. The law of ‘passing off’ prevents you from choosing a business name that is identical or similar to a business operating in your industry. You can search the Companies House name checker to make sure your name has not already been registered. You should also consider trademarking your business name to protect it from other firms that may try to use it in the future. Tax, Insurance & Employees. What are a Company's Accounting Obligations? The prospect of having to keep financial records and produce company accounts can be really daunting for some business owners, but this process doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Every business owner is legally required to keep financial records for six years, but the type of accounts you must produce depends on the legal structure of your business. If you run a sole trader or partnership then there are minimal bookkeeping, accounting and filing requirements. That means the costs associated with accounting are typically lower than a limited company as you may be able to meet your accounting obligations yourself using a spreadsheet or simple accounting software. It’s incredibly important that you keep a record of all your business’s income and expenditure from the outset so you can file and pay your taxes accurately and on time. You should also keep all your receipts and invoices to help you complete your annual self assessment tax return. If you employ people then you also have to keep a record of everything you have paid them, including wages expenses and benefits. The accounting requirements for limited companies are more demanding. You must produce statutory accounts at the end of the business’s financial year that includes: A balance sheet Profit and loss account Account notes Director’s report The accounts have to be filed at Companies House and sent to the company’s shareholders and HMRC. You must also complete a company tax return that must be filed with HMRC and paid every year. Limited companies are also legally required to have a separate business bank account. Due to the complexity and the time it takes to prepare these accounts, the vast majority of limited company directors hire a small business accountant to prepare and file their accounts on their behalf. That ensures they are of the required standard but does add to the business’s costs. Setting up a Business Tax Account. You’ll certainly have no shortage of things to do when starting your business, but one of the most important tasks you must remember to do is to register your business (sole trader or partnership) with HMRC for tax purposes. The simplest way to register your business is to visit the HMRC website. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a 10-digit unique taxpayer reference that you’ll need whenever you contact HMRC. If you are setting up a limited company then you have to register with Companies House instead. All business owners are responsible for submitting their own tax returns and ensuring all taxes are paid when they’re due. Sole traders and those in partnerships pay taxes on business profits by submitting a self assessment tax return. As the owner/director of a limited company, you have to register for and complete a self assessment tax return and register to pay corporation tax on business profits. You must register for corporation tax within 3 months of starting to do business. All businesses that have an annual turnover of more than £85,000 must also register to pay VAT. In some cases, you may decide to register for VAT even if your income doesn’t exceed the threshold. That’s because having a VAT number could add credibility to your business. If you operate as a sole trader or partnership then you’ll pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions through your self assessment tax return, but you are not affected by PAYE. You will only need to register for PAYE if you have employees. If you run a limited company then you are treated as an employee and have to file PAYE and National Insurance information in real time.        Business Insurance. When you set up a business, there are certain policies you are required by law to put in place. That will depend on the type of business you run and the industry you operate in. There are also a number of policies that although optional, could provide invaluable protection for all your hard work. If you employ any person other than an immediate family member then you are legally required to put employers’ liability insurance in place. That even includes workers you employ on a short-term or casual basis. Employers’ liability insurance provides cover against the cost of a compensation claim arising from an employee who becomes ill or suffers an injury through their work. Failure to put employers’ liability insurance in place could lead to a fine of £2,500 for every day you’re not covered. Many small business owners also choose to take out public liability insurance, particularly if customers regularly visit their premises. Public liability insurance will protect your business against the cost of a compensation claim from a third party who is injured or whose property is damaged by your business activities. Although public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, it could prevent the closure of your business if a claim is made.   Professional indemnity insurance is another policy many businesses decide to put in place. If your business provides a professional service or advice to clients, this policy would protect you against claims from clients who are dissatisfied with the service or advice you have provided. Although it’s not a legal requirement, professional indemnity insurance is mandatory for members of some professional bodies and is required by regulators in certain industries. If you are part of a recognised profession then you should check what policies they insist or recommend you hold. Other more general policies you may wish to consider include product liability cover, buildings insurance for your premises, goods in transit insurance and plant and business equipment cover. Business Support. When you start your own business, you’ll face a number of tough challenges and decisions, some of which you may not feel equipped to make. Using a professional adviser or even accessing some of the free support available could save you time and help to avoid a costly mistake. There are a number of national providers of free business support available online. The Companies House website provides guidance and all the forms you’ll need to set up and run a limited company. It also provides detailed information about your filing obligations and advice on maintaining company records. The HMRC website contains a wealth of information on all aspects of the filing and payment of tax for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. That includes everything from VAT and PAYE to corporation tax and self assessment tax returns. There are also a number of regional providers of free business support. Those starting a business in Scotland can seek assistance and advice from Business Gateway, those in Wales can turn to Business Wales, while business owners in Northern Ireland can access the Invest Northern Ireland website. Many business owners choose to access paid-for support services. One of the most common is a small business accountant. Although you don’t need an accountant to set up your business, filing end of year accounts is more complicated. Small business accountants can take care of the filing for you and handle your VAT and PAYE obligations. The time they save you could outweigh the costs. A number of entrepreneurs also access the support provided by a business mentor. They are usually successful entrepreneurs who may have specific experience in your industry. While some business mentors charge, others may provide their assistance for free. Hiring Employees. Hiring staff is an exciting time and a significant landmark for any start-up business. It’s a sign that things are going well and demand for your products or services exceeds what you can deliver alone. However, the process itself needs to be handled carefully. There are a number of legal and financial considerations you’ll have to take into account when hiring a new member of the team. Before you make the decision to hire, you must have a basic understanding of employment law and put the necessary statutory requirements in place. That includes a written contract, an itemised payslip, pay that is at least the national minimum wage and the right to at least 28 days paid holiday (including bank holidays). Employers must also automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they earn more than £10,000 per year. You’ll also need to register as an employer with HMRC when you start employing staff to get your employer PAYE reference number. That must be done before the first payday. You’ll also have to invest in an employers’ liability insurance policy. Apprentices & Trainees. Budgets for start-ups are inevitably tight and good employees do not come cheap, but there are some cost-effective recruitment options available to new businesses. Internships are one potential solution that can be a win-win for start-ups. You get an extra pair of hands to fulfil a short-term employment need and benefit from the enthusiasm, new ideas and range of skills an intern can bring. Internships can also be an effective way to identify candidates that could be perfect for a permanent role in the company as an apprentice or trainee. Interns can be recruited in the same way as you’d fill any other vacancy. You simply place an advertisement and invite applications, shortlist candidates and conduct interviews. The government-run Graduate Talent Pool is a great place to start your search. If you’re looking to recruit permanent staff then an apprentice or trainee is a cost-effective way to hire an individual who can develop into an important member of the team. Some start-up businesses are hesitant to take on apprentices and trainees because of the red tape they believe is involved, but it can be an excellent way to fill a skills gap. You can gear the training apprentices and trainees receive to your particular business needs. They can also help you stay up-to-date and relevant, particularly when it comes to digital skills. Financially, you can benefit from the reduced national minimum wage apprentices receive and employers you do not have to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25. There’s also an Apprenticeship Grant for Employers that’s worth £1,500 per apprentice. What are the allowable costs for employers, including listing the items that can be tax deductible expenses . One of the biggest costs for many small businesses are the expenses associated with being an employer. The good news is that many staff costs are deductible when calculating the profits of the business, which will reduce the amount of tax you have to pay. The following are examples of staff costs that can be deducted from your profit at the end of the year: Wages and salaries – The primary costs of employing staff are the wages and salaries they receive. Wages and salaries are deductible when calculating the profits of the business which can reduce the tax liability considerably. The National Insurance contributions you pay as an employer are also tax deductible. Pension contributions – As an employer, you must automatically enrol your staff onto a pension scheme and make contributions to the pension if the employee is eligible for automatic enrolment. The contributions you make to an employee’s pension are tax deductible as long as they are incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business. Pension contributions must be included in your profit and loss account and will lead to the profit being reduced. Benefits in kind – The pay packets of some of your staff may include non-cash benefits such as a company car or private health care. The costs you incur in providing these benefits can be deducted from the profits of the business. Class 1A National Insurance contributions must be paid on benefits provided to employees (unless the benefit is exempt). These can also be deducted from the business’s profits.Statutory payments – Statutory sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay will have to be paid at some point by most employers. These costs are deductible from the profits of the business. Depending on the size of the business, you may also be able to claim some of the costs of statutory payments back from HMRC. Tax Relief & Incentives for Business. As a new business owner, the better informed you are about the financial landscape you’re working in, the faster your can grow. Part of this is understanding the range of incentives and tax breaks in place for entrepreneurs. Here are some of the main ones: Business Rates Relief – For small businesses who own their own property, business rate relief is there to make life easier. Check the link provided to see the options or contact your local council for advice Capital Allowances – This is the most useful one for many small businesses, meaning you can claim 100% tax relief on machinery or equipment used in the running of your business. Enterprise Zones – These are designated areas around the UK where the government has introduced specific policies, including tax breaks, to facilitate business growth. They are particularly prevalent in areas in need of economic stimulus and could offer tremendous benefits to the right kind of business. Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme – This government backed scheme offers tax reliefs to individual investors who buy new shares in your company as a way of encouraging investment. Employment Allowance – Employees could get up to 3k off their National Insurance per year. Check the government website to establish your eligibility. Corporation Tax Relief for the Creative Industries – Those working in film, music, animation, gaming or art may be eligible for tax deductions. R & D Tax Credits – Money spent on innovation may be claimed back as tax credits via this government scheme to reward those advancing their field. Patents – For companies earning money via patented innovations, there are lower rates of corporation tax available. Employee Payment. Regardless of the sector you operate in or the size of your business, as an employer, it is essential you meet all of your legal obligations when paying your staff. You must pay every employee at least the minimum wage and produce a physical or digital payslip for every employee on or before their payday. You must also make all the necessary deductions from staff pay. That includes National Insurance, student loan repayments and pension contributions. Employee pay and the deductions must be reported to HMRC in a Full Payment Submission (FPS). The good news is that much of that process can be automated through the use of small business payroll software. That will help to make the payment of employees quick and efficient and ensure you remain compliant with all the regulations. Deciding how much to pay employees is another important consideration for business owners. You won’t have the budget to compete with larger organisations in your industry when it comes to salaries, but you do want to pay key employees enough so they stick around to fuel business growth. To establish a benchmark, you should consider some of the following factors: What do competitors pay for similar positions? What is the cost of living in the city you operate in? Is an experienced employee taking a risk by joining a start-up business? Will you be able to increase the salary over time? With the cost of recruitment high, it could be a false economy to pay below the going rate in your industry. Creating a flexible and equitable pay scale and establishing a clear path to promotion will help to prevent your top performers from joining the competition. Funding your Business. Finding a reliable source of external funding is a priority for many start-up business owners, but raising the money you need can be challenging. The banks used to be the first port of call for new businesses looking for funding, but bank finance is difficult to secure these days. Thankfully, there are a number of other options: Family and friends – Investment finance from family and friends in return for equity in your business is a good place to start. You’ll be able to access the funds quickly and negotiate a competitive deal, but as they are unlikely to be sophisticated investors, you may not benefit from any advice or support. Start-up loans – Although bank finance for start-ups is more difficult to come by these days, there are other organisations such as local authorities and small business associations that may provide funding in the form of a loan. The terms and conditions of the loan will be clearly defined so you will know exactly how much you have to repay. However, you may be limited as to how you can spend the money and it may take some time and effort to secure. Grants – Grants are an excellent source of start-up finance as it’s money that doesn’t have to be repaid. Start-up grants are available from government or EU-backed initiatives such as InnovateUK, Horizon2020 or British Small Business Grants. Securing a grant can help to raise the profile of your business with investors and prospective clients. The downside is that the process can take time and not all businesses will be eligible. Angel funding – Angel investors are experienced individuals who inject capital into start-ups in exchange for equity in the business. They may invest through crowdfunding platforms or through investor networks that pool capital form a number of angel investors. They tend to be experienced entrepreneurs who can add value to your business in the form of support and guidance. However, in return, you will relinquish some control of your business. The UK Business Angels Association is a good place to start your search. It & Marketing. Marketing. As a start-up business, the ability to attract and convert new customers is critical to your success. Unfortunately, regardless of your sector, there’s also a tremendous amount of competition out there, both from new businesses like you and larger, more established rivals. So how do you cut through all that noise and get your message across to consumers? That’s where marketing can help. The good news is there are now more marketing tools at your disposal than ever before. Gone are the days when you needed a colossal budget to compete. You can now use social media, pay-per-click advertising and email marketing to compete with much larger companies, even on a shoestring budget. But before all that, you need a plan. A marketing plan is a detailed document that sets out everything you need to know to market your business effectively. It should include: Market research – Conduct primary and secondary research to determine the market size, market growth or decline, current trends and buying habits in the industry. Target market – A well-defined target market will identify who you hope to sell your products and services to. Positioning – How will you position yourself in the market? Will your products and services be the best, the cheapest or the most innovative? Determining your market position will help you clearly communicate your offering to your customers. Competitive analysis – You need to know your competitors inside out. How are their products and services different? What price do they sell at? What segment of the market are they targeting? How do they market their products? Competitive analysis will provide valuable insights and help you stand out in the market. Marketing strategy – How will you find and attract your customers? This should break down the marketing techniques you’ll use to reach your sales goals. Budget – It’s essential you develop a monthly budget for your marketing spend and a return on investment (ROI) you expect to generate before you pull the plug on a particular campaign. Metrics – How will you measure the success of your marketing campaigns? Conversion rate, cost per lead and website traffic are just a few important metrics to consider. Setting up Your Business’s IT System. There are few very, if any, businesses these days that don’t need to consider IT as a fundamental part of their structure. Even if you’re technology averse, this is something you’re going to have to get your head around and of course there’s a lot of help available if you need it. For a small business, a good laptop and a cloud based server are excellent places to start. Google offers 15GB of free space in Google Drive which is an ideal place to store key documents, and organise your business. Google’s G-Suite offers best in class email also making it more than enough to manage digital communication and data storage for most businesses. A solid antivirus and firewall is a basic necessity these days, and you need to remain vigilant with your passwords, opting for complex strings rather than using one obvious word as the key to your entire kingdom. Online tools like Password Generator are a useful start, and you can use Last Pass to remember them all. Of course a good IT company can be a useful asset, offering hardware and software support, as well as security, backups and reporting. How to Make the Business Profitable. Generating profit consistently is the holy grail of any business, and it begins with understanding some basic accounting. Once you’re understand the meaning of profit margins, profit drivers, and the cash flow cycle, you will have the language with which to measure your growth. Even if you have a great accountant in place, getting your head around these is a worthwhile endeavour. Once you have a basic grasp of the financial concepts central to running a business, you can focus on strategies to make your business more successful. Productivity – This is a science in its own right but focussing on how to get the best performance out of both yourself and your team can make a huge difference. Tech companies like Apple and Google are good people to learn from in this regard, utilising cutting edge strategies to manage time, talent and energy. Customer Service – Companies like Zappos and Amazon have set incredibly high standards for customer service, positioning it at the heart of their company culture as well as their principle marketing tool. Zappos focus on ‘customer obsession’ eventually led to their acquisition by Amazon for $1.2bn. Cut Waste – This is the same as productivity, in some regards, since cutting waste means making what you have go further and hence increases profits. Putting the environment first is always a good marketing tool also. Increase Your Turnaround Time – How can you do what you do faster, without compromising on quality? Automation may be a strategy to investigate, and one with a direct impact on the bottom line. Analyse each variable for its impact on profit – While more difficult to measure, the indirect variables such as how you generate leads/sales, the conversion process, size and number of transactions, profit margin and cost of acquisition are all supporting elements beneath your company’s success. How to Set Up Google My Business. Google my Business (GMB) is a free business profile on Google which can help your online visibility. Once you register for this your business will have its own map listing, meaning it can be found when people search for either your business or the services you offer. Setting up your profile is a relatively straightforward affair and worth doing both for businesses whose customers visit them at their premises, and for brands with a registered office address. Here are the basic steps Sign into Google with the account you wish to use, or create one if you don’t already have one. Visit https://www.google.com/business/ and hit the ‘start now’ button Fill in your business details as fully and accurately as possible. Wait for verification postcard to arrive, then enter the four digit code within your GMB account. Once verified, your listing will be live. Optimise your listing (to receive more visitors) by adding photographs and video of your business, responding to Q & A’s, and encouraging your users to leave reviews. Building a Website. These days, a business really can’t survive without a website. It allows you to reach customers globally, 24-hours a day, and helps you win new and repeat business. Initially, the thought of creating a website might be daunting, but once it’s up and running, it requires very little maintenance and can be an incredibly powerful and cost-effective marketing tool for your business. The first thing to think about is the type of website your business needs. If you plan to sell products online then an e-commerce site is essential. That will allow customers to select and buy products from your website and make payments online. There are a number of e-commerce website builders like Shopify and freewebstore that you can use to create your own site. The process is relatively straightforward but it will take time. Alternatively, you could use the services of a web design agency. They will be able to create a more professional looking site, albeit for a price. You will also have to set up a merchant account with a provider such as PayPal or even your bank. Alternatively, a brochure website might be a better fit for your business. A brochure site allows you to advertise your products or services online and encourages customers to contact you to find out more and make a purchase. This type of website tends to be cheaper and simpler to build than an e-commerce site. Again, you can choose to create your own using a DIY builder like Site123 or WordPress, but you will achieve better results by contacting a web design agency or even a freelancer. When choosing a website designer, you should always seek recommendations from personal contacts, look at examples of their previous work and ask for a full breakdown of costs. Crucially, once the site is complete, make sure you know how to update and add content to the site yourself to avoid further costs. Paid Advertising and Social Network Accounts. Paid Advertising. Like it or not, the ease and efficacy of the web for generating business leads is unmatched. While won’t work for every business, a large proportion can benefit from Google’s powerfully targeted ad platform. Google have also invested heavily in making it easy to potential advertisers to dip their toes in the water, via £75 of free credit, and a useful helpline where specialists can talk you through the process of setting up your ads. Of course, Google isn’t the only player in town. Facebook, Instagram and Bing and LinkedIn are all worth considering. If any of these tools are used appropriately, they can bring customers to your door both quickly and easily. Just remember to keep a tight handle on the ROI to make sure your costs don’t spiral. Social Network Accounts. Social networks are useful for branding, customer communication, and content marketing, as well as direct sales. How deeply into this you should invest will depend on what niche your working in, and whether you have the staff and time to focus on social media. If you do, it’s an investment which can pay dividends but you should remember that, while these networks are largely free, they take a lot of time to make work. As part of your business plan, you should consider whether you actually need this and, if so, how much effort and skill will be needed to make them work for you. Think of the social world as a new country you’re expanding into. Just as with any geographical expansion you need to understand the lie of the land, the habits, attitudes and culture if you’re going to succeed. Spend time analysing the influencers in your business niche, then create a targeted plan for expanding your reach, creating content, building your audience and measuring results. Given how saturated these platforms now are, it’s also worth allocating some budget, if you can spare it, to boosting content to make it is seen Networking. While marketing campaigns, a website and social media is an excellent way to get your name out there, sometimes nothing beats the personal touch. Networking is an excellent way to build valuable business contacts and share ideas with other entrepreneurs in the local area. As well as making connections that generate sales for your business, you can also meet people who can provide you with the services you need to grow. That might include a local small business accountant or an online marketing consultant who can help you generate leads online. For start-ups and small businesses, networking can become a valuable source of support and advice in those early days. You can discuss common issues like hiring and firing, legal and regulatory challenges and customer services and benefit from the experiences of those in the group. Business networking has enjoyed a revival in recent years, and as such, there are a whole host of different networking groups and events you can attend all over the country. Some groups set specific joining criteria such as company size or professional background to make sure they host members who can be beneficial to one another. Some of the UK’s major event organisers include: British Chamber of Commerce The Federation of Small Businesses The Confederation of British Industry Business Networking International The Business Network If you don’t have the time to attend networking events in person, online networking has become incredibly popular over the last decade. LinkedIn, in particular, offers excellent networking opportunities across a huge range of sectors so you can engage with new and existing contacts. With all forms of networking, you can only expect to get out what you put in. If you are an active member of the group and participate freely in meetups and events then networking can work wonders for the reputation of you and your business. Keep your data safe. It’s worth ending this comprehensive guide to starting a business with a note of caution. Most small business owners still haven’t either acknowledged or reacted to the threat of cyber crime. A recent report from the National Cyber Security Centre noted the mounting threats from ransomware, data breaches and supply chain weakness. Just as any retailer security alarms and insurance for their premises, today’s businesses need to take a considered approach to protecting their activity on the web. Here’s how: Discuss the situation with your IT firm, if you employ one Be prudent about employee access to vital resources Use virus and malware scanning across all devices Backup data remotely on a daily basis Educate employees and train them to spot attacks Update your website and software regularly Business Expert uses cookies to provide necessary site functionality and improve your experience. By using our website, you agree to our privacy policy and our cookie policy.AgreeManage consent Close Privacy Overview. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. 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Result 13
TitleGo to guide to starting a business
Urlhttps://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/knowledge-base/go-to-guide-to-starting-a-business
DescriptionCompanies with fewer than 49 employees are classed as 'small to medium businesses or SMEs', they account for 99.3% of all businesses
Date18 Mar 2020
Organic Position11
H1Go to guide to starting a business
H2Table of Contents
Researching your business idea
Writing a business plan
How to structure your business
Raising finance for your start-up
Commercial and legal elements
People
Premises
Launching your venture
Recent articles
Sign up for updates
H3The marketplace
Your competition
How are you going to position yourself?
Templates from banks
Sole Trader
Partnership (unincorporated)
Private limited company (limited by shares)
Limited liability partnership (LLP)
Self-financing
Business loans
Crowdfunding
Venture capital
Grants
Legal overview
Trading terms
Other routes to market
Intellectual property
Outsourcing contracts
Data protection
Consumer rights
Finance
Insurance and licensing
Public liability
Product liability
Recruitment
Employment law
Employers’ liability
PAYE
Pensions
Incentives
Health and safety
Licensing or leasing
Outsourcing
Rates
Insurance
Website
Social Media
Marketing
Networking
About the author
H2WithAnchorsTable of Contents
Researching your business idea
Writing a business plan
How to structure your business
Raising finance for your start-up
Commercial and legal elements
People
Premises
Launching your venture
Recent articles
Sign up for updates
BodyGo to guide to starting a business Home / Knowledge base / Go to guide to starting a business Posted by Pete Maguire on 18 March 2020 Table of Contents. Research your idea > Business plan > Business structure > Raising finance > Legal elements > People > Premises > Launching > Pete Maguire Partner - Head of Commercial Related post. Setting up a limited liability partnership (LLP) Companies with fewer than 49 employees are classed as 'small to medium businesses or SMEs', they account for 99.3% of all businesses. These businesses are vital to the economy and provide good employment opportunities, they account for 60% of all private sector employment. However, as one in three small businesses fail within the first year, and 50% of business don't last beyond 5 years the importance of building secure foundations cannot be underestimated. Do your research and plan your business before you launch it to avoid adding to the statistics. It takes an awful lot of hard work, research, dedication and planning to make a success of your venture: there are no shortcuts. There’s no doubt that starting your first venture can be an exciting, albeit daunting, experience. Being your own boss has many advantages. However, it is easy to get carried away with ideas for your new product or service and forget about the basics. You must have the right processes and contracts in place to protect your idea and you must be able to finance your venture as it grows, particularly if you are going it alone. This guide is designed to give you the basic information to get you started. Depending on the type of business you are planning to launch, you may need to look at some areas in greater detail than others (for example, finding suitable business premises might not be relevant if you’re intending to operate from home). Researching your business idea. The first stage is to do your research. It may sound obvious but it’s a key point many people forget. There are many elements you should research in order to ascertain if you have a viable proposition for a new business and whether you have the skills, knowledge and finance to make it happen. The marketplace. The market you operate in will depend on the type of business you’re looking to launch. If you intend to operate from physical premises, then the location is important. If you will be operating online, you need to understand how people are operating across digital channels. Regardless of whether you are online or off line, you must undertake market research by identifying and analysing the needs, size and future potential of your chosen market and understand the competition already operating within it. Carrying out market research How to Research Your Market How to do market research to make a business idea a winner Your competition. Market research is also a key factor in maintaining your competitiveness once you are up and running. Regardless of the sector in which you’re hoping to operate, you will have competitors who are either offering the same, or a very similar, service to the same, potential customers you want to reach. It is, therefore, important that you research everything they do thoroughly and learn from their successes and mistakes. Research Your Competition With Social Media Competitor analysis in your marketplace Competitive Analysis for Entrepreneurs How are you going to position yourself? Now you know who your competitors are and the landscape of the marketplace, the next stage is to look at positioning. What are you going to do differently to make you stand out from the crowd? What will be your unique selling point (USP)? What Is the Difference Between Branding & Positioning?  Developing your USP: A step-by-step guide The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Unique Selling Points Small business encyclopaedia - Your USP Writing a business plan. Many people think a business plan is only needed for raising finance for a start-up. Although it is certainly a requirement if you’re looking for a business loan, it is also a really useful strategic tool to have in your armoury regardless of how you intend to fund your venture. It allows you to focus your efforts and helps you to consider all the possible pitfalls before going to market. Typically a business plan has a three-year forecast which acts as a roadmap for your future growth. It should be a living document which you continuously amend and update as your business develops. There are certain elements every business plan should contain such as your overall vision for the business, objectives, marketplace, funding, people and products; there will also be elements specific to your marketplace. You will need to research these carefully. Some of the large banks have their own templates for this purpose. Business Planning Guide   Business plans and templates from Princes Trust  Templates from banks. Barclays HSBC Lloyds How to structure your business. There are several ways to structure your new business; the route you choose depends on several factors including whether you have to employ other people, your growth plans and the type of business you are planning on launching. Choosing the right structure for your business Your business structure Sole Trader. There are many advantages to being a sole trader when you first set up. You are effectively a self-employed individual so are responsible for your own tax and NI contributions which makes accounting far easier. You do not have to register with Companies House and submit company accounts each year. However, it important to take into account the disadvantages of being a sole trader before you commit yourself. Advantages of being a sole trader  Disadvantages of being a sole trader  Ten tips to avoid overpaying tax if you're self-employed Key advantages: Easy to set up Less regulation Fewer start-up costs Key disadvantages: Might not look as professional Personally liable for debts of business May be harder to raise finance Partnership (unincorporated). If you’re looking to launch your new business with someone else you could set up as a partnership. This means that you will be setting up a legal entity which you co-own so you are jointly liable for any issues and debts. How to set up a business partnership  Running a business partnership Advantages and disadvantages of a partnership Key advantages: Easy to set up Less regulation when compared to LLP Work can be shared amongst partners Key disadvantages: Disputes could easily disrupt the business without a written agreement Partners are personally liable for debts of business Decision making can be more difficult Private limited company (limited by shares). Perhaps the most commonly envisaged way to start a business is by setting up a private limited company. This means registering your company at Companies House in Cardiff (for companies in England and/or Wales). On registration, the company must have at least one director (manager) and shareholder (owner) who can be the same person. Companies also have the option of appointing a company secretary (although this is not mandatory). Each year, companies must submit accounts and a statement of company information (called an annual return) to Companies House. A limited company can have many shareholders.  From a legal perspective the financial liability of the shareholders is limited to the original amount invested (subject to complying with the law of course!) Starting a company  Setting up a limited company  Guide to running a small private limited company  Key advantages: Limited liability for business owners More likely to be able to raise finance More credible than a sole trader (on the face of things) Key disadvantages: Submitting annual accounts and returns Main governing document of the company (Articles of Association) is publicly available More regulation than sole trader or unincorporated partnership Limited liability partnership (LLP). A limited liability partnership differs from a limited company in that the directors are not responsible for the actions of each other. There is also no corporation tax to pay; tax is paid by the individuals on their earnings, like an unincorporated partnership. LLPs are typically popular in the professional services sector (such as lawyers, accountants and surveyors). The main advantage of an LLP over a limited company that the former’s governing document (the partnership document) remains private. Set up and register a limited liability partnership Key characteristics of Limited Liability Partnerships Setting up an LLP Key advantages: Limited liability for business owners More likely to be able to raise finance Key disadvantages: Submitting annual accounts and returns More regulation than sole trader or unincorporated partnership Raising finance for your start-up. A major stumbling block for many new businesses is raising the initial capital to fund the start-up costs and then the ongoing, working capital to maintain and develop the business. Banks, the traditional route for raising money, have been much more conservative in their approach to risk since the 2008 economic crash and have been applying more stringent criteria when lending money.  However, all is not lost and there are other options available to budding entrepreneurs. However you choose to raise funds, you must make sure that the financial elements of your business plan are well researched, complete and achievable. A guide to raising money as a small business Finance your start up business  How can I get funding for my business? Funding your start-up - the ultimate guide Self-financing. Self-funding is a popular way to finance a new venture. It stands to reason that investors will be more open to helping you grow if you have stumped up the initial finance yourself, after all, why should they risk their money if you don’t have the self-belief to risk your own? There are many options for self-financing, for example you can rely on your savings, cash in investments or take out a personal loan to fund the capital you need to get started. Investing your own money into your business Six Tips on How to Self-Finance Your Start-up  Use your own money to start up Business loans. Business loans are another popular route for raising finance for a new venture. However, as noted above, banks tend to be cautious and so you will need a watertight business plan if your application is to succeed. Pros and cons of startup loans Crowdfunding. Launched in the late 1990’s, crowd funding is now a well established approach to raising finance. This has worked particularly well for technology start-ups where people are keen to be involved at the outset in the hope they have stumbled across the next Apple. Crowd funding involves many investors contributing (usually) small amounts to the project. As a reward for their investment, they are often given sample products pre-launch. Investors invest via a crowd funding platform (Kickstarter is one of the better known platforms) which takes a percentage of the investment fee. What is crowd funding? A step by step guide An Entrepreneur’s Top Crowdfunding Questions Answered, From A Legal Perspective Crowdfunding for Start-ups: 10 Kickstarter Alternatives Venture capital. Venture capital funding is usually associated with larger, more established businesses looking to expand using a large cash injection. Fortuitously for small businesses and start-ups, venture capital firms have recently shown a keen interest in backing entrepreneurs. They offer private investment in return for an equity share in the business – think Dragon’s Den! Bear in mind that with this approach, you will lose some control over your business as you will be giving away equity shares so will no longer be the sole owner. However, the upside is that you can benefit from the advice and input from someone with more experience than you who is willing to help you grow the business further. Venture Capital Funding explained A Guide to Private Equity (PDF)  Partnering with a venture capitalist: What young entrepreneurs need to know Grants. Business grants are there specifically to help people get their business ideas off the ground. However, many are put off because of the sometimes convoluted, complex application process to obtain the funding. There are a number of government grants available for start-ups and small businesses as well as enterprise grants from organisations such as the Prince’s Trust. The government’s ‘business finance support finder’ of direct grants agencies Small Business Grants in the UK  Grants for starting a business: What small business grants are available? Where to Find Small Business Grants Commercial and legal elements. There are a number of commercial and legal elements to consider when you’re setting up your business. Make a list of what you need to do at the beginning so you don’t fall at a hurdle further down the line. Unfortunately many start-ups wait until there is a problem before seeking professional advice, when it is often more expensive to fix or the damage to the business may be irreparable. It is surprising the number of clients who come to us with a problem who have no written agreements in place. This makes any disputes that arise all the more difficult to resolve. Legal overview. Many people worry about consulting a lawyer, with concerns over fees and fears that they may over complicate something you feel should be straightforward. However a well-drafted contract, governing the relationship between you and your customers, will help to resolve many issues and stop them escalating into a much more expensive dispute. There are also other areas you need to consider: if your business is successful, you may need to employ staff and so will need to consider employment legislation and contracts (see Chapter Six) although your brand will have automatic intellectual property rights, they will be limited in some circumstances so you should consider what more you can do to protect your brand and maximise its value if you trade with consumers, you will need to ensure you comply with current consumer legislation, including data protection The above is by no means exhaustive, but failure to take the above into account could have serious ramifications for your business – and your finances. Red tape checklist: What your small business needs to know Law Society – Setting up a business  Trading terms. Whether you sell goods, services or even digital content, you must have terms and conditions governing sales with your customers, regardless of whether they are other businesses or consumers (or a mixture of both). In any event, having a robust set of terms not only sets out your rights in respect of getting paid but it also defines and limits your obligations. You also need to consider your suppliers’ terms and conditions: make sure you understand what you are purchasing, the cost of purchase, when you are going to get it, and what will happen if something goes wrong. Other routes to market. Rather than selling directly to customers, you can appoint agents (an agency) or distributors to sell your product or set up a franchise. However, you will still need to have trading terms. Agency – the process of appointing agents to enter into contracts on your behalf, usually in return for a commission. Agents are particularly useful if trading abroad. you still contract with the end user but don’t have direct contact with them. an agent is useful if you are unfamiliar with the market and need additional expertise, disadvantages include still being directly liable to the end user and also having to pay a potentially hefty commission to agents when terminating their agency agreement. Distribution – the process of appointing distributors who will purchase stock directly from you and then sell into a set market/territory. you do not contract with the end user. you are paid by the distributor who purchases your stock. distributor retains the customer base (although could be contractually obliged to share it with you). See also: Agency and Distribution FAQs Franchising – the process of licencing your brand and business out to franchisees who operate your business (usually in a specific territory) for you. As franchisor, you receive royalties in return for letting the franchisee use your brand. Quick way to expand as the franchisee incurs the start-up costs for their operation. Problems with franchising include lack of control over the franchisee and the potential risk to your reputation/intellectual property. See also: Could franchising unlock your business dreams?  Intellectual property. Intellectual property (IP) Copyright, trademarks and patents are all things you should consider. It is wise to organise your intellectual property portfolio from the start. This has a number of advantages: it will help to maintain your brand integrity; your intellectual property rights are recognised by law; and it will help to protect your brand and avoid any infringements of third party intellectual property rights. A basic guide to copyright law  Register a trade mark  A basic guide to trade marks  A basic guide to patent law  Outsourcing contracts. A small business or start up is unlikely to consider outsourcing at the outset. However, as the business grows, it might prove to be more efficient and cost-effective to outsource certain functions to specialist operators. Sub-contracting is more likely, particularly if you have a small building business and need to sub-contract specialist services such as steelwork. If you’re planning on outsourcing or using sub-contractors to help with any part of your business you should have a legally enforceable contract in place to protect you and your business in the event of a dispute. Outsourcing is the process of contracting a specialist supplier take over a function of your business (such as cleaning services). Outsourcing is often a cheaper way of running a particular function although the downside is some loss of control. On the other hand, subcontracting involves you delegating your obligations to a customer under a contract to a third party. It is important to ensure there is no gap in obligations between your obligation to the customer and the subcontractor’s obligations to you. Data protection. The Data Protection Act 1998 applies to all businesses and organisations holding customer information, containing identifiable personal information, in either an electronic or paper based format. A brief guide to data protection for small businesses A Guide to Data protection for small businesses and start-ups  Consumer rights. Consumer rights have been strengthened by the enactment of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.  Therefore, it is important that you are aware of your legal responsibilities and your customers’ rights, as well as ensuring that your terms and conditions are compliant, before you start trading. Summary Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015  Finance. Aside from raising the initial finance for your start-up you’ll also need to think about how to manage your budget and cash flow. This will depend on how you decide to structure your business. Your financial structure needs to reflect the fact that you will be responsible for contributions to HMRC and for paying yourself, employees and your suppliers. An accountant can advise on an accounting system to suit your business. They can help with personal and business tax, HRMC and year end reports and submissions. Choosing an accountant  I'm starting up my first small business. Should I hire an accountant or do my own sums? How to avoid failure: managing your money  Insurance and licensing. Depending on your business there is a wide variety of insurances and licences you may need to meet legal requirements and protect yourself from any financial claims. You may need licences for your premises, food, alcohol and entertainment or a one-off licence for some events. A brief summary of the two most common types of business insurance are below: Public liability. Public liability simply protects you if your business causes injury or damage to any member of the public or their property. It offers financial insurance against any compensation claims brought against you. A Guide to Public Liability Insurance What is public liability insurance? – A 60-second guide for businesses  It’s worth shopping around and doing your research. Some specialist businesses need certain clauses in their insurance to offer additional protection. For example, if you are working with animals you may need specific public liability insurance to cover all eventualities whilst they are in your care. Product liability. If you are intending to invent, produce and manufacturer a product then you will need to consider product liability insurance. Your product may have passed all required statutory and non-statutory tests but if, for any reason, it causes damage or an injury to a third party then you may be held liable. Insurers offer a range of coverage to protect you and your products. Product liability and safety law  A Guide to Product Liability Insurance  People. People are one of the biggest assets to your business. It is important you recruit and retain the right employees from the outset. It’s also good to know your rights and legal redress should you encounter any issues along the way. Recruitment. There are many way to approach recruitment; as a start-up it is less expensive to recruit directly rather than use recruitment agencies. When crafting job adverts, you must avoid using words or descriptions that might imply discrimination, so only mention those attributes specifically required for the job. Match the media you use to the vacancy you have so that you tap into the largest pool of potential candidates and remember that the personality of the person and their fit with your culture and values is as important as their skills and experience. The guide to managing HR in a small business Hiring your first employee  Recruiting Strategies: A Guide For Small Businesses Employment law. Employing people is a big responsibility and should be treated accordingly. Employment law not only covers larger issues such redundancy or tribunals, it also covers day to day aspects such as employment contracts and employee handbooks which should include workplace policies. The latter are important; they ensure that employees know where they stand in relation to disciplinary matters and give guidelines as to appropriate conduct in the workplace. Contracts of employment - Key points How to Write an Employment Contract Keeping employment contracts up to date Employment law round-ups Employment tribunals - a detailed guide Redundancy consultations - your guide Employers’ liability. If you employ staff you need insurance against liability for disease or injuries arising from their employment with you. This insurance protects you against any compensation claims caused on or off site. It’s worth noting you can be fined up to £2500 a day if you do not have appropriate insurance. Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 (PDF)  What is employers liability insurance, and is my business legally required to have cover?  PAYE. ‘Pay As You Earn’ is the system used by HMRC to collect employees’ tax contributions directly from their salary rather having to complete a tax return at the end of each financial year. HMRC generate a tax code for your employees and you will need a system in place to deduct contributions from your employees. The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system  How to tackle PAYE Pensions. You will have no doubt seen the “we’re in” pension auto-enrolment adverts on mainstream TV. As an employer you have certain obligations under pension law. All employers will eventually have to provide their employees with a workplace pension scheme and the starting date will depend on their size. This is automatic enrolment. Employees will qualify to join the scheme if they: Are between the ages of 22 and state pension retirement age Work in the UK Earn over £10,000 per annum As an employer you must contribute to the pension scheme. If you don’t comply you will be issued with a penalty. Workplace pensions - employers' obligations  Employers Automatic Enrolment  What small businesses need to do to avoid pensions pain  Incentives. As a new employer you may want to incentivise your employees in both a tax efficient and cost effective manner. There are several options which allow you to motivate your key team members whilst maintaining the cash flow in your business. It is worth consulting your employees to find out what benefits they would value: it could be family friendly benefits such as flexible working, a bonus scheme or a company car. EMI options  Shareholder schemes -  Tax and Employee Share Schemes  Employee Benefits: A Simple Guide  There are also some unique and modern ways of incentivising a team using modern technology and apps. Kingfisher uses gaming app to engage staff with long-term saving Health and safety. The law states that all employees are entitled to work in a safe environment. Therefore you need to ensure that the building is properly maintained, that computers are set up correctly and proper guidance for undertaking certain tasks (such as working from height) is in place. Health and safety made simple - The basics for your business (PDF) A safe place of work Premises. You may be able to run your business from a home or you may need commercial office space, a retail or distribution unit. Regardless, you need to ensure that any arrangement you make is legally compliant and does not put you at a disadvantage: How to find the right premises for your start-up How to find the best start-up premises Licensing or leasing. There are usually two ways of leasing business property. In the short term, a licence is flexible, cheaper to organise and does not tie you in to a long financial contract. Alternatively, leasing gives you more legal rights, agreed rents and therefore more long term security. Choosing to Lease or License Your Commercial Property  Guide to renting commercial property RICS Small Business Property Guide Outsourcing. As discussed in the Commercial and Legal chapter, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to remove non-essential business tasks and allow you to focus your attention on your key business activities, for example you may choose to outsource your IT or payroll. It allows your business to utilise the skillsets of key professionals without incurring the expense and responsibility of employing someone directly. It’s important when you’re outsourcing to have a contract to govern the relationship between you and your supplier. This should include many points including but not limited to protecting your assets (including your IP), migration of services, and confidentiality. The Outsourcing Handbook – A guide to outsourcing (PDF)  Outsourcing IT - The Essential Guide Step by step guide to outsourcing for small businesses Rates. Business rates apply to business premises. The responsibility for paying the rates usually lies with the business which occupies the unit rather than the owner of the building. You need to check your lease carefully and account for rates payable in your business plan. Calculating your business rates Everything you need to know about business rates, but were afraid to ask  As a small business you may be entitled to rates relief: there is a Government scheme (Small Business Rates Relief scheme (SBRR) designed to help start-ups get off the ground and avoid some initial costs. There are other relief schemes available for charities, enterprises and retail. Small business rates relief Business rates relief Insurance. As discussed in previous chapters of this guide, it’s worth considering what insurance you need to cover particular aspects of your business; in some instances it is a legal requirement. For instance, you’ll need commercial property and content insurance for your premises. You may also want to consider things like business interruption cover. A complete guide to business insurance Small business insurance: What to look for in a policy What is business interruption insurance? A beginner’s guide to business insurance Launching your venture . Once your products and new services are in place and you’re ready to launch to the market, the next stage is promoting your product / services to your target audience. Website. Google currently processes over 40,000 searches per second so a website for your new product or service is essential to maintaining a presence in the digital world. There are a few key points to think about when approaching the design and development of your website, most importantly, design for your users, not you! You’ll need quality content, a website that is easy to navigate, high quality imagery and clear calls to action. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have a website designed; try using a freelancer rather than an agency but research their previous work and the position their websites have achieved on Google. 5 key principles of website usability A simple guide to best practice usability in 2021 For Google, make sure your website is responsive; this means it adjusts to the screen size it on which it is being viewed, such as a mobile phone or tablet. As more and more people use the internet on the move this is now more important than ever. Speed is also important:  both users and Google are impatient so don’t over load your pages with large images and documents or scripts that have a large file size. We could talk for hours on how to rank your website on Google but these guides should give you a good start.   The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  Beginner’s Guide to SEO Social Media. Do not underestimate the power of social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, the possibilities for your business are endless. It allows businesses to see who is following them, to target their marketing to a very specific audience and, most importantly, it allows you to communicate with customers (both actual and potential) very quickly and efficiently. If used properly it can make a huge difference. 10 Benefits of Social Media for Business Every Skeptic Should Know Small business tips: how to use social media to boost business Marketing. Your marketing plan will depend on the product or service you are supplying and your target audience. All businesses need to be mindful of their brand reputation, especially in the digital world. The Marketer's Guide to Developing a Strong Corporate and Brand Identity Marketing your new business Guide to Reputation Management Networking. Many consider business networking to be crucial when starting a small business. It can be a great way to raise awareness of your business among the local business community while making useful local contacts. How to work a room: 10 tips to networking success  How to network, influence people and win new business  The 59 Commandments of Business Networking all images adapted from freepik.com Tags: Commercial contracts Corporate About the author. Pete Maguire Partner - Head of Commercial Pete specialises in the drafting and negotiation of outsourcing and commercial contracts. Pete Maguire Pete specialises in the drafting and negotiation of outsourcing and commercial contracts. Recent articles. 06 January 2022 Repair, reuse, recycle: consumer law goes a pale shade of green The government’s promised ‘right to repair’ regulations finally entered the statute books in July 2021. The right to repair is about a consumer’s right to repair goods they purchase – either themselves or by using a third party. Read article 04 January 2022 Work Affairs; just how common are office romances? It might seem like a bit of a cliché, but workplaces are one of the most common environments where people can cheat on their partners, or perhaps even meet the love of their life in the first place. Read article 04 January 2022 How can I find out if Probate has been Granted? A grant of probate is a document which confirms that legal authority has been given to an executor of the deceased’s will. Read article Sign up for updates. FIND OUT MORE Contact How can we help? 01926 732512 CALL BACK
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Result 14
Titlea guide to starting and developing a new business - GOV.UK
Urlhttps://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/32246/12-828-make-business-your-business-guide-to-starting.pdf
DescriptionLow start-up costs – most businesses can now start on a bootstrap of a budget and for less than £100. With a smartphone and business card in hand, you can make ...
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Result 15
TitleHow to Start a Business: 8 Steps | Startups.co.uk
Urlhttps://startups.co.uk/guides/how-to-start-a-business-what-you-need-to-know/
DescriptionThinking of starting a business? Startups.co.uk walks through the steps how to start your own business: from writing a business plan to where to get finance
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Organic Position13
H1How to start a business
H2Evaluate yourself
Come up with a business idea
Market research
Assess your finances
Create a business plan
Choose a business structure
Brand your business
Protect your business
Find your premises
Choose your vendors or source your product
Start selling
Build your team
What’s next?
H3The steps to starting a business:
Test your idea
Compare finance options
Consider finance tools
Find customers
Build a website
Get equipment
Our Experts
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H2WithAnchorsEvaluate yourself
Come up with a business idea
Market research
Assess your finances
Create a business plan
Choose a business structure
Brand your business
Protect your business
Find your premises
Choose your vendors or source your product
Start selling
Build your team
What’s next?
BodyHow to start a business Follow these 8 steps to start a business idea The Startups Team November 30, 2021 25 min read Our experts . We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. This article was authored by: The Startups Team Do you have an idea for a business, but feel overwhelmed by the number of considerations to factor in before you could possibly commit to launching it? We're here to take the stress out of it all for you.In this article you can find the steps you need to take when you’re launching a new venture. Not happy with just providing those steps, though, we have also tracked down a number of exceptional entrepreneurs so that they can share their advice and tips with you too. Startups.co.uk can help your business succeed At Startups.co.uk, we're here to help small UK businesses to get started, grow and succeed. We have helpful resources for helping new businesses get off the ground – you can use the tool below to get started today. In 2019, we ran a poll to find out what our users considered to be the biggest barrier to starting a business. Over 6,000 people responded and we learned a huge amount about the problems faced by new business owners in the UK.We wanted to use this data to help you, so we decided to create this article: a one-stop-shop for everything you’ll need to know.Our poll highlighted a number of areas where new businesses struggle, so we’ve made sure to provide advice to tackle those obstacles – from raising finance to feeling confident in your abilities.So, without further ado, read on to find out how to start a business. The links below include the steps you need to take – if you only want to know about one or two, feel free to skip ahead to whichever one you’re interested in. The steps to starting a business: . Evaluate yourself Come up with a business idea Market research Assess your finances Create a business plan Choose a business structure Brand your business Protect your business Find your premises Choose your vendors or source your product Start selling Build your team What’s next? Our Experts Evaluate yourself. Self-evaluation is probably one of the steps completed least often by new founders, but it’s as important as any other on this page.In our poll, we found that confidence, knowledge and experience are all considered to be serious barriers:Knowledge: 18.4%Confidence: 9.8%Experience: 3.8%Just under a third of people consider one, or a combination, of these things to be a barrier, either because they’re worried about failing, or concerned that they don’t have the right experience.Evaluating yourself is a vital step in starting a business; lacking experience or confidence shouldn’t have to be a barrier. Identifying the areas where you might need support is the best way to overcome obstacles in the future.Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is also a good way to decide on the business you want to launch. If you know that cooking isn’t a skill of yours but that communication is, then you’ll likely be better suited to a front-of-house role if you plan to start a restaurant.Our poll also found that Time is the biggest barrier for 2.2% of people. Commitment is by far one of the most important soft-skills a founder needs; new businesses don’t launch overnight and you’ll need to put in time, and effort, especially in the beginning. Titus Sharpe – founder of customer generation company, MVF“Commit to starting a business. You will never have had enough experience or enough money or enough time. These are all excuses. Everyday there are people all over Britain and the globe starting businesses with less experience, less time and less money than you. These people are committed. Now is the time to commit. Don’t hesitate. Commit to doing it now!” As a simple task, consider running through this checklist to begin your self-evaluation:What skills do you have?What are you passionate about?What is/are your area of expertise?Are you committed to starting a business?As well as the questions above, you may also consider these practical points. These will also be touched on later:How much can you afford to spend?Do you need to raise or find extra capital?What sort of lifestyle do you want your business to provide for?You don’t need to formalise these questions – although it can’t hurt to share them and discuss with others; knowing the answers, though, can be a real help in the following steps. Come up with a business idea. Most people looking to start a business will already have an idea of what that business might be, even if that idea is a bit rough. In our poll, only around 3.3% of people felt that the idea was the biggest barrier.However, having a business idea is only half of this task. For example, you might know that you want to work in construction, but need to drill down a little more to find a specific enough venture to launch.If you haven’t got any tangible ideas at all, then our annual Business Ideas campaign is a great starting point for you – we research top industry trends to suggest the best new ideas for you to start.Whether you have a business idea already or not, there will be some questions for you to consider. Titus Sharpe“I would ask yourself what is different about your idea – How will it stand out from the crowd? Why will people want to use it? What benefit does it bring?“To create a business worth at least £1m, you need to find a business opportunity that you can see a path to making at least £100,000 profit per annum. At this profit level your business should be worth roughly £1m.” Taking a look back to the self-evaluation step above, you should think about the idea you have in relation to the questions we asked: do you know about this business? If not, what do you need to learn? What makes your business idea stand out?Market research is essential to pinning down your business idea – find out more about it in the next step. Sophie Fleming – founder of luxury bag brand, Sophie Fleming“For me I always knew I loved the idea of starting my own business but I knew I had to come up with something that was viable and logical for me. My Dad runs a trim shop as part of his business so would bring home scraps of leather for me and my sister to use and experiment with when we were children. This provided an early anchor for creating some sort of leather accessory but I didn’t have an idea for a long time for a product that solved a problem.“My idea to create leather backpacks that are both stylish and practical first came about when I was a student and would cycle to campus every day. I needed a functional backpack but really struggled with the aesthetics and materials on offer. It was essentially between choosing a school rucksack or a hiking bag so I didn’t end up purchasing one at all.”James Omisakin – co-founder of eco brand, CompareEthics“Most businesses are here to solve a problem. But not all problems will excite you. So solving a problem that you care about is a good way to come with something that may work, whilst also energizing you at the same time.“Abbie, my co-founder, has been working in the sustainability space for years and was wanting mainstream it. At the same time, we had been searching for sustainable clothes to wear but it took hours researching online. We thought this should not be so difficult and there should be a one stop shop we could go to. That’s when we decided to build Compare Ethics.” Market research. Market research is essential if you want to make sure that your business idea is going to work. Robin Knox – founder of smart home solutions company, Boundary Technologies“When starting a business, market research is absolutely critical. Spending time to research your market is the best way of knowing and understanding your target customers and audience.Key questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves when conducting market research include: how will you target your audience? What are the costs of acquiring your customer? What might your customers be willing to pay for your product?Proper market research enables startups to get as close to qualifying their product or service as they can by understanding purchase intent through this research.Furthermore, market research is a key indicator as to what other competing products are out there. It is vital that entrepreneurs target a market where they genuinely believe their product offering is 10 times better than what is currently already out there.” Research provides the perfect opportunity for new founders to understand their customers or audience; what methods should you use to target them? What costs are going to be associated? What products or services already exist that you’ll compete with? What makes your product or service worth the money?Comprehensive market research is one of the best ways for you to evaluate the strength of your new business; it is also important if you want to raise capital at any point. Investors and banks will want to see evidence that you understand your market, and that your business has a chance of success.Whether you want to start a local business or a global venture, market research is a must. Robin Knox“It is important to remember that not all businesses are equal. There’s a difference between a lifestyle business, like a hair salon, for example, and then a business that is scalable globally, such as a software business.Some of the best indictors that a business will ‘work’ include market potential, defensibility, scalability, capital efficiency, fast sales cycles, clear paths to profitability, and recurring revenues.” Test your idea. Market research comes in a number of stages; sometimes it will all be based on research and data, but those things are never a perfect substitute for a real-life test. Whatever it is that you’re looking to launch, trialing it before a full launch is a definite bonus. Titus Sharpe“Very often people don’t realise how cheap and easy it is to test a business concept. You can launch a free website with £50 of Google marketing (see www.shopify.com and https://ads.google.com) to test to see if people will buy the product, without having to build a product itself. You can always refund people and apologise for not having the product ready, but at least you have tested it.”“So you have tested your initial idea or product, and people don’t seem to like it. Speak to your customers – How do you need to change it? Is there a different market for your product? Is the price point wrong? Use what you have learnt to come up with a plan B. Every business I have launched has had a plan B, plan C, plan D, plan …. You get the point. Learn fast and adapt.” Just like traditional market research, testing your idea is important whether you want to go local or international – small or large scale.By the time you’ve completed your market research and any testing, you should have a much better notion of what your business idea is. Initially you may have been keen to start a retail business, by now you should have a clearer picture of what that retail store will stock, who the customers will be, and what sort of price your products will be. Assess your finances. Now that you’ve evaluated yourself and completed market research, you will hopefully have a clear understanding of what sort of capital you will need to start. If that is the case, then you will also know whether you have enough already, or if you need to try and raise more.Unsurprisingly, finance was the biggest barrier to a huge number of people in our poll; 54% of people identified money, in some form, as the reason they would struggle to launch their business.The reasons for this vary: obviously a key problem in is having enough in the first place to actually invest in your idea, but there’s also the longer-term issue of having enough to support yourself, or your family, while your business is in the early stages.Of course, the finance you need will depend entirely on the business you are launching. Some will be relatively cheap, whereas others may require thousands of pounds to even consider starting. Robin Knox“Do you need savings? How much do you need? How long is a piece of string?! The amount of capital you will need to start a business depends on the type of business you want to create.“I started a software business called Intelligent Point of Sale (IPOS) with my co-founder at my kitchen table. We started with a £5,000 loan and successfully grew that business over a period of four years. IPOS was then acquired by a Swedish payments firm called iZettle, which was subsequently sold to PayPal for £1.bn.In my latest business venture with Boundary, a smart home alarm start up, we are estimating to have spent around £3m before even selling our first product. Hardware can often require a lot more capital and expertise early on.” One way to assess your finances is to break your needs up into categories so that you can see exactly what you need to spend:Essential investment: the things you definitely need, your business cannot operate without. These should be at the top of the list.Helpful investment: the things that will help you operate, they might improve efficiency or success. These should be second in the list.Nice to have investment: these things aren’t essential, and might not improve efficiency, but may provide smaller benefits. These should be last in the list.To put the idea into practice, consider the categories that a high-street retail store may need.Premises, stock and a till system – a shop cannot operate without each of theseWebsite – though not essential for a high-street store, it might drive awareness and salesCoffee machine – definitely nice to have for customers and staff, but not essentialCompare finance options. There are a number of options available, whatever your situation, and whatever your business, though some will require more work than others. For more comprehensive information, we have a few pages that you may want to look at.Sources of business finance: this page covers the more well-known finance options, including bank or startup loans and investment. These options are more suitable for larger business ideas, or for founders who need to raise a large sum.10 ways to fund your business: this page covers alternative forms of finance that don’t require traditional bank loans or investment. These options are more suitable for smaller, cheaper businesses, or for founders who only need to raise a little extra capital.There are a number of common finance options to consider. We work with several experts who can help you.Startup loans – the Startup Loan company is a government backed scheme where you can borrow up to £25,000 with a fixed interest rate of 6% p.a.Business loans – business loans are similar to a startup loan, except that they are not just for new businesses and don’t have the same caps. Select this option to compare business loans with KnowYourMoney.Bridging loans – select this option to compare bridging loans with KnowYourMoney. Bridging loans are a type of short-term loan, taken between two weeks or three years.We do get paid a commission if you follow these links and choose an option, but we only work with people we trust, so you can feel confident in whatever choice you make.As well as the options above, you may also consider investment and funding from other sources. For example, The Startup Series is the UK’s only funding EIS and SEIS funding competition, offering early-stage businesses the opportunity to win up to £250,000 in investor backing. Robin KnoxIt’s always worth doing your homework to see what options for funding support are available.The obvious route is equity investment from business angels, so look up your local syndicate. Or you can look to online versions and crowdfunding platforms like Angel List, Kickstarter, Crowdcube and Seedrs.Startup loans provide up to £25,000 in unsecured debt to high-risk businesses. Debt is generally difficult to come by so this route is tough otherwise.If your business relies on the purchase of tangible assets, for example lorries, then sometimes it is possible to secure lease finance with little trading history. Consider finance tools. With finance, there are other considerations too. Although having enough capital in the first place is vitally important, it is also essential that you are able to effectively track and manage your money.One of the first steps for a business founder should be to make sure that they are tracking their business’s finances effectively. In the list below, we have included a number of tools that you might need to consider. As above, we may be paid if you sign up for some of these products, but we only work with suppliers that we trust.Business banks – a business bank account is one of the first, and most simple steps, toward properly handling your business finance. An ordinary bank account may be sufficient for a minority of people who are self-employed, but a business account is almost always needed, especially when you’re planning to build a business.Having a business bank account is a requirement if you're a limited liability company; you're legally required to have a business bank account so that your business finances are separate from your personal finances.Visit our page on how to open a business bank account now for a more comprehensive overview or, if you want to take a look at options today, you can compare business bank accounts with KnowYourMoney to see which providers may suit you best.Accounting tools – as well as business bank accounts, which are a legal requirement for some forms of business, there are also other tools and services that exist to support small business owners in their money management.Accounting tools like FreshBooks are created to help businesses spend less time filing receipts and formatting invoices. The purpose of these tools is to simplify and organise tasks that traditionally may have taken hours of work just to understand.Freshbooks, and other tools like it, are geared specifically to small businesses and may not be suitable for larger scale ventures. At that stage, you may want to consider building a finance team, or outsourcing your accounts to a provider to help, but it is unlikely that you would do so in the early stages.Take a look at our top recommendations for accounting tools below:  Create a business plan. Completing the above steps will provide you with solid foundations for a comprehensive business plan, which will act as the blueprint for your business going forward.If you have evaluated yourself, done market research, and worked out your financial situation then you’ll be in a strong place to tailor your plan entirely to your situation. Erica Wolfe-Murray – founder of innovation studio, Lola Media“Yes you do need a plan, but probably not the 40+ pager that most companies write, unless of course you are looking for investment.What you do need is to understand your hopes and dreams – both personal and business – because these provide your horizon point, determining your pathway, your direction of travel.Then you need to list several things: your background, your client list, what you’ve been paid to do as well as your passions, skills and talent. A detailed and wide ranging market analysis comes next. The first lead to your strengths and weaknesses, the final to your opportunities and threats. Once you have these nailed, this should lead you to your vision/s – what you want your business to be/do/offer/mean. And then all of these can contribute to your USP – what you will be famous for.It isn’t anywhere as difficult as many people make it out to be. And is much better mapped out large on the wall – rather than in a dull Word document you will never revisit. Use colours, have fun, make it look fantastic, be proud of it.” You can see that, in Erica Wolfe-Murray’s experience, creating a business plan actually encompasses almost every step that’s been listed above. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind Erica's point around investment – if you are applying for it, then your business plan and market research will need to be more thorough than if you’re starting your business without external support.For a step-by-step guide, visit our business plan template page to create your own. Choose a business structure. You’ll need to decide if you’re going to start a business as a sole trader, a partnership or as a limited company. All of these have different tax issues to consider, as well as different liability considerations: take a look at our article on choosing the right business structure, which discusses the merits of each.Many businesses will set up as a sole trader to start with as it involves minimal red tape, but it's worth assessing whether a limited company might offer more benefits. It’s possible to change your business structure once you've started, but it makes sense to think about it now.The difference between the main structures are included below:Sole trader – exclusive ownership of a business, entitlement to all profits, but also liable for losses.Partnership – similar to the option above, but profit and liability split between all founders.Limited company – a private company where your liability is only tied to the amount you have invested.Limited liability partnership – as above, but with multiple partners tied to the amount they have invested. Titus Sharpe“Think about some of the great businesses of recent years and their founders – Brin & Page at Google, Jobs, Woznaik & Wayne at Apple and Gates & Allen at Microsoft.I would always recommend founding with people you really, really trust and rate. Having multiple trustworthy founders helps in many ways – depth of management expertise, more varied view points and greater operational capacity. My most successful business to date started with 5 founders.”Erica Wolfe-Murray“A company structure has benefits which a self-employed venture does not. And charities and CICs have other benefits but lots of rules too. So you need to unpack what is right for you. But ensure you don’t register your business url until you have both checked your planned name at Companies House, and that you are not infringing someone else’s trademark through the Intellectual Property Office website.”There are lots of helpful websites so really do your due diligence. Brand your business. A strong brand is integral to the success of any business; think about the brands you know and what makes them stand out. The chances are that you will choose certain products based entirely on the brand that creates them – whether you choose iPhone or Android is a perfect example of this principle in action.Branding comes in a number of forms, and how you choose to brand will depend on various factors. A lot of these factors will depend on your market research but there are several core considerations that you will need to bear in mind:Who is your target audience?What is your product?What is your unique selling point (USP)?What platforms should you use to advertise?This is by no means an exhaustive list; for more information, take a look at our marketing category.Depending on your business type, there are various elements of branding to consider:Logo – do you need one? Where will it be used?Premises – if you’re running a restaurant or opening a shop, how will your brand inform layout and decor?Marketing – what kind of branded marketing material will you use? This could be anything from flyers or posters to online ads or social media.As above, this is not an exhaustive list, and you may need more (or less) depending on your type of business. Erica Wolfe-Murray“Branding is about differentiating you and your offer from anyone else. It needs to be both memorable and original. Those two factors matter more than anything else.There are lots of companies called ‘Lola’ in some shape or form, but no-one does what I do, no-one has the logo I have (which is trademarked) and all my collateral, behaviour and subsequent products and services reinforce my brand.” One of the core themes that you will need to consider in your branding is your USP – what makes you stand out, and why should people choose you. If this isn’t present in your branding or marketing, then you will struggle to gain customers from other businesses.Find customers. Marketing and finding customers are, largely, one and the same thing. Today, there are so many ways to approach this that providing direct advice might be tough. Instead, you should think about your market research and about the businesses you admire in your space.How do other people find customers? What channels do they use? How do you get the best return on the money you put in?It’s also important to remember that, sometimes, this will be a process of trial and error. You might have a target audience in mind, but if you’ve never marketed to them before then you may need to test a number of methods and approaches before seeing results. Sophie Fleming“When I launched Sophie Fleming I didn’t have a lot of money to invest in marketing or outreach so I put my time into developing press that would only cost the gifting or the loan of a backpack.“The most effective method was through bloggers, and whilst influencers are now a huge business, I had started out during a much earlier stage which meant it never cost me anything for the placements I received. This resulted in my backpacks being worn to the likes of London Fashion Week and London Collections for Men, which led to features on individual blog sites, and shots taken of them for publications like Glamour and Cosmopolitan.“This was lucky timing for me as the influencer industry is now a far more competitive and expensive place to be, also challenged by the fact that you could be gifting or paying for a placement for someone who doesn’t have genuine followers.” As Sophie has said, sometimes luck will play a huge part in your business’s success. Try a variety of methods, and then over time you’ll get a clearer picture of where you should continue to invest your time and money to get the best results.Build a website. The importance of your website will depend entirely on the form your business takes. It might be that your entire business is web-based, meaning that you will likely be investing a lot of time, and a lot of your finance, into a functioning, state-of-the-art domain. For other businesses, a website may just be a nice addition – a form of marketing to let people know that you’re around. Erica Wolfe-Murray“Many companies can now operate across social media without the need of a website. But for others a website will underpin who they are, what they do. So the question as to whether you need a website is really dependent on what you will be doing.” There are two or three basic approaches to building a websiteBuild it yourself – this requires experience and knowledge that is quite specialist; if you’re not experienced in this area, then it may be best to avoid.Pay someone to create one for you – this allows you to build a bespoke site, without the drawbacks in the option above. This is often an expensive option though, and the more complex the site, the more it’s likely to cost.Use an off the shelf web builder – people like Wix and Squarespace are well-known now as simple and efficient tools for web creation. As these builders have progressed, they have fast become more than sufficient to suit the needs of even the most complex online business.Take a look at the web builders below if they seem like they could be a good fit for your business. Sophie Fleming“The ability to sell purely online is a massive advantage to anyone who wants to start a business as you don’t need a huge amount of capital to get started, and that’s exactly what it enabled me to do.“When I built my site back in 2012 there were a few options out there for template sites but I decided to go with Squarespace as it ticked all the boxes for how I wanted my business to run, from the product and branding to the ecommerce functionality and integration with Stripe which made online payments fairly seamless.” If you want more information on this section, visit our how to build a business website page. Protect your business. Protecting your business can come in several forms; from physical alarm systems and online virus software, to legal protection and copyrighting, depending on the form of your business, you should consider what exactly you need. Erica Wolfe-MurrayRegister it properlyInsure yourself for all the activities you intend to offerMake sure your website is legal… trading name, address, company number, T&Cs, privacy policy, GDPR compliance, no image copyright infringementTrademark your name and/or logo, protect your assets through understanding what IP is and how it can benefit you (see my book for a clear explanation of how to do this)Ensure you are not tied to one revenue model, market or client – having a mono-culture is dangerous Depending on how much you’re looking to spend, and what your business is, there are several forms of protection to consider:Intellectual property protection – does your idea need to be protected? This can cover your business, brand and products.Trademarking – a trademark is a legally registered symbol, meaning your business legally owns it, protecting you from having it used elsewhere.Insurance – business insurance is essential for any venture, protecting you from financial  or legal problems in the event of unforeseen issues.There are several forms of insurance that you might want to consider, so it’s worth taking a look at our other articles to get the right policies.Some businesses may also want to consider hiring consultants to help in the early stages; having a legal advisor outside of the company can help you to navigate any legal set-up in the beginning. HR advisors and health & safety consultants may also be useful if you want to make sure staff are being treated correctly.As Erica mentions in the comment above, protecting your business is also a strategic decision; a one-sided, non-adaptive business may struggle. Thinking ahead and protecting your business through robust marketing and operation is as vital as insurance or legal support. Find your premises. As with other stages in the starting a business process, the premises you choose will depend on the business you’re launching.If you’re launching a retail store, then you’ll need a space for it. Bear in mind that it’s not always vital to have a premises for every business, particularly when you’re just starting out. A huge number of entrepreneurs start their businesses from home, in a spare bedroom or in the kitchen It might not be a permanent solution, but it is a great way to save money.If you reach a point where you have a team and require space, coworking spaces and managed offices can be a good option, providing the added benefit of networking potential with the companies – big and small – that you might be sharing the space with.Get equipment. You should know from either your market research or your own experience what equipment you need. It could be as simple as a laptop or a mobile phone, but if you don’t have the right equipment you could be starting at a disadvantage.Of course, you need to stay on budget, so you might have to be savvy. Take a look around and do your research to make sure that you’re getting the most suitable products at the best prices. In the early stages you may not have all of the best equipment you could possibly get, but if it gets the job done then it’s sufficient.Remember, you can upgrade to a nicer office with better equipment once you’ve made your business successful! Choose your vendors or source your product. Not all businesses will need vendors. If you are providing services or manufacturing your own product, then this step may not be necessary.If you do need to choose vendors though, then there will be considerations. Sophie Fleming“This was actually one of the most challenging aspects of starting the business. Whilst you can Google most things in life, it turns out that finding a really high-quality manufacturer or material supplier would come down to contacts and references.The business was almost a non-starter because of this but once I had found my manufacturer, off the back of a suggestion from my Dad since they had a unit on the same industrial estate as his trim shop, and had a history of producing premium leather accessories for high end stores. Backpacks were a bit of an experiment for them and also for me, so I was fortunate to find a business that was also eager to test creating a new product.“From there I was put in touch with one of their leather suppliers who I proceeded to meet at a trade fair in Italy. I knew I wanted to produce my backpacks as locally as possible and also get the best materials without needing vast amounts of shipping so this all aligned with that ethos, all my backpacks are handmade in England from vegetable tanned leather and fittings imported from Italy.“My products are the brand. I launched my site with only one design but in multiple colours, back them I was playing on them being ‘made in England’ and produced the first run in bright red, blue, white and black. Since then I’ve gone for more natural tones with the likes of tan, oxblood, navy and ( ever the favourite) black. It’s a strong design,with aboxy shape and shiny chrome push lock buckles. So, when I expanded with the smaller sidebag, I wanted to keep this recognisable aesthetic.” What did you find in your market research? What is your business’s USP? These questions, and others, will dictate which vendors you work with and the products you get from them. Start selling. Selling comes in a number of forms and depends on the form of business you are operating. If you’re starting a market stall, for example, the process is simple – not to say easy! – you will purchase goods, likely at wholesale, and sell these from your stall.In this sort of business, the steps to selling are relatively transparent:You’ll need to actually be the salesperson working in the stallYou’ll need to take cash from customers – it’s simple enough to take cash, but for more success, ensure that you can take card paymentsThese steps are similar enough in retail stores and restaurants, though the marketing and branding will deliver customers in very different ways.Some businesses may take a different approach; if your model relies on staff travelling around and visiting prospective clients, then you will need a sales process. It may be that you yourself will be doing the selling – if not though, you will need to think about what sort of team you’ll need to build; this will be covered a little more in the next section.Yet another form of selling may be required for online businesses; if your entire venture is based around a website then your selling will probably happen through digital marketing. Digital marketing comes in a number of forms; you should decide which form to use based on your business plan and market research, it’s likely that some will be more appropriate based on the audience you are targeting. For more information, visit our page on the types of digital marketing. Sophie Fleming“I’ve sold my backpacks through a few different models over the years. The majority has always been on my website but I also sold some wholesale to a retail outlet in Asia when I first started, which helped for both press coverage and also for cashflow, having just bulk ordered 4 different colourways and no idea how if they would sell!“What also worked well in the early years was working with a boutique in London where they sell independent designer’s products on a commission basis. They had a beautiful selection of products but as they got bigger their business model became less feasible so I now sell solely on my own website sophiefleming.co.uk.” Build your team. Building your team is another part of starting a business that may not be relevant to everyone; it also may be a step that needs to happen earlier in some industries. For example, if you’re business is around manufacturing or software development, and you don’t have these skills yourself, then you may have built a team very early on to help deliver.Thinking back to the first step in this process, building a team should be based on factors that support you and help your business to thrive. Titus Sharpe“Hiring your first employee is critically important. Early employees need to be fast thinking problem solvers. Don’t just think about their experience, but think about their personality traits. Are they trustworthy? Are they hardworking? Are they able to think fast and act quickly?” In the early stages of a business, as Titus comments above, hiring ist critically important. If you are investing in people, you need to make sure you’re investing in the right people. They need to bring skills that your business needs, and they need to fit your business culture; on paper you might find the most well qualified candidate you could ask for, but if you don’t think they’ll mesh well with you or any business partners, then they may not be the right fit.Building a team can be a challenge, and it might not ever be perfect. One of the most important things though, is to know in advance what you want.Think of your business like a football team, what positions are filled already, and which positions need to be filled? What characteristics are going to be most suitable for those roles, and how can you find candidates that fit all the boxes?In the early stages, you may want to use a recruitment consultant to help fill roles; this can be expensive, but you are paying a premium for experience and connections which may be difficult to replicate. Of course, if you have experience in people management or hiring already, then you may be more than comfortable completing the entire hiring process independently. James Omisakin – co-founder of CompareEthics“I would suggest hiring once you have a real need for it. At an early stage, it is best to stay lean with an agile team, so only hire once you starting to see a bottleneck in relation to your teams size. If possible, improve your processes as much as you can to improve efficiencies before hiring a team. Hiring allows you to free up your time as a business owner to focus on some of the more strategic issues at hand.” What’s next?The next steps are difficult to define. For most businesses, it’s obvious: grow! At this point though, you’ll know your business better than anyone and you’ll be best placed to choose what is going to be coming up. It is always good to set objectives though. What do you want to achieve in the next five years, and how will you know that you’re on the right track? What milestones should you be aiming for?Setting these objectives is not only good for you, but it’s good for your teams too, and can be good for your customers. Knowing where you’re heading is the first step in getting there. Sophie Fleming“I currently run this business as a side hustle along my full time role in digital marketing but it’s exciting to know that it has so much more potential if and when I have more time to dedicate to it.“I’m currently working on a new canvas and leather design to fit a slightly different audience and expand the range with something more durable and for the outdoors, and also with a lower price point whilst keeping quality and style central to the design.”Titus SharpeTitus: “Running a business is a bit like parenting. You have no idea what you are doing when your first baby arrives. The learning curve is very steep. Within 12 months you have learnt all about babies and as the baby grows you adapt to their needs. The learning experience is exactly the same with business. You have to throw yourself into it and learn fast.The entrepreneurs I know who are lucky enough to have sold their businesses have experienced both happiness and sadness when they finally come to sell. The reason why they are happy, is because of the financial freedom it gives them. The reason why they are sad, is they miss the amazing journey that working with a team you love and building a business gives you. Most important thing is to enjoy the ride!” Our Experts. The tips we’ve provided are a good base, but without expert advice starting a business can feel incredibly tough. The experts that have contributed to this piece are…Titus Sharpe – founder of several businesses over the years, Titus’s biggest company is MVF Global, an international lead-generation business operating over a range of regions and sectors.Robin Knox – founder of IPOS, sold to iZettle in 2016, Robin is a serial entrepreneur who most recently founded Boundary Technologies, a smart home solutions company.James Omisakin – founder of CompareEthics, James and his partner launched the company in 2018 as a comparison site for conscious consumerism, including products ranging from vegan to cruelty-free.Sophie Fleming – founder of a luxury bag brand, Sophie Fleming, Sophie launched a brand that combines style and practicality while working full time.Erica Wolfe-Murray – founder of Lola Media and director of TAXO’D, Erica is a serial entrepreneur  and business author with decades of experience. Named a leading UK business expert by Forbes, Erica is passionate about new and small businesses. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin The Startups Team Related Articles . Start-up guides How to start a day nursery February 26, 2021 Start-up guides How to start a call centre September 8, 2020 Ecommerce How to start an ecommerce business May 7, 2020 Start-up guides How to start a takeaway business from home March 31, 2020 Load more articles Back to Top
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TitleStep-by-step guide to starting a business | nibusinessinfo.co.uk
Urlhttps://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/step-step-guide-starting-business
DescriptionWhat to do when starting a business, including advice on business plans, financial and legal requirements
Date
Organic Position14
H1Step-by-step guide to starting a business
H2Latest advice and support straight to your inbox Sign Up
Introduction
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Introduction
BodyStep-by-step guide to starting a business Introduction. Guide If you are considering starting up a new business, you need to consider a number of factors to ensure the best chance of success.As well as your product or service, you will need to think about:what you will name your business what business structure you will use   how you are going to run your business how you are going to attract customers and market your business how you will finance your business ventureThis guide outlines important considerations when planning and setting up your new business, including finding and keeping customers, finance for start-ups, business plans for start-ups and tax and legal considerations for new businesses.Free business start-up support. Access free start-up business support from your local council. They will organise one-to-one mentoring sessions with your local business adviser and provide tailored guidance to develop your business plan.Complete a short enquiry form or call 0800 027 0639 to register for this free advice and guidance. Printer-friendly version Guides Find guides by sector Creative industries Food and drink Manufacturing Property management Retail Construction Tourism Transport Find guides by theme Starting a business Before you start your business Considering starting a business Start-up business ideas Start your business Local support for start-ups Choose your business structure Name your business Find money to start your business Business planning Choose and set up your workplace Family business Mentoring and business networks Running your start-up business Manage business finances Understand Tax and VAT when self-employed Hire staff Hire professional services Sales and marketing for start-ups IT for start-ups Protect your business ideas Grow your start-up business Trade with other countries Take steps to grow your business Finance Find local finance Northern Ireland business support finder Raising finance Choose the right finance options Borrowing finance for your business Shares and equity finance Grants and government support How to attract investment Managing finance Expert financial advice Financial planning and accounts Manage your cashflow Improve your cashflow and business performance Managing suppliers and payments Debt recovery Business banking Insurance Financial difficulty Managing financial difficulty Taxes Business tax Self Assessment VAT National Insurance Corporation Tax Construction Industry Scheme Capital Gains Tax Stamp and property taxes Tax reliefs and allowances Tax help Self-employed and tax Setting up as self-employed and tax Help and support for the self-employed PAYE and payroll PAYE and payroll for employers Keeping records for business Record-keeping Excise duties Alcohol duties Fuel Duty Tobacco Products Duty Gambling duties Industry-specific taxes Air Passenger Duty Aggregates Levy Climate Change levy Insurance Premium Tax Landfill Tax Complying with European law Contact or deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Paying HMRC HMRC complaints and appeals Dealing with HMRC Companies House returns, accounts and other responsibilities Starting a company or partnership Running a company or partnership Company registration for overseas and European companies Companies House annual returns and accounts Filing company information using Companies House WebFiling Companies House forms Find company information using Companies House WebCHeck Companies House complaints and appeals Business changes Making changes to your business Selling, closing or restarting your business Selling or closing your business Closing a company or partnership Restarting a company Accountants and tax advisers Accountants and tax advisers - HMRC services and content Tax agent authorisation Online tax services for accountants and tax advisers Help and support for accountants and tax advisers News and communications for accountants and tax advisers Compliance checks for accountants and tax advisers Appeals and penalties for accountants and tax advisers Tax agents and advisers forms, manuals and reference material Working with HMRC - joint initiatives Money Laundering Regulations Employment and skills HR documents and templates Recruitment Advertise a job Taking on staff Contract types and employer responsibilities Employment checks Employment agencies Employment documents and policies Staff documents and employment policies Pay, pensions and minimum wage Staff pay Workplace pensions National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Manage people Working time Engaging with staff Staff health and wellbeing Staff motivation Equality and diversity Redundancy, restructures and change Trade unions Holidays, statutory leave and time off Holiday, other leave and sickness Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave Performance, training and development Staff performance Staff training and development Employer support programmes Resolve conflict and staff leaving Problems at work Dismissals and staff leaving Health and safety Health and safety basics Protecting your business Health and safety made simple Make your business safer Managing the welfare of people Safer ways of working Efficiency and environment Environmental action to improve your business Environmental obligations and support Environmental performance of your business Environmental business tax benefits Reduce, reuse, recycle your business waste Reducing business waste Reuse and recycle business waste Preventing pollution Hazardous substances and waste Resource efficiency Saving energy and cutting costs Saving water and cutting costs Process and resource efficiency Packaging and the environment Reducing your environmental impact Generating energy for your business Carbon emissions and climate change Business transport and the environment Environmental guidance by business sector Chemical industry Construction and building trades Electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing Engineering and metalworking Food and drink production Furniture manufacturing Metal production and processing Offices, retail and hospitality Paper and cardboard manufacturing Printing industry Waste and recycling industry Business premises and rates Choosing the right business property Choosing business property Buy business property Commercial property finder Rent business property Use your home as a workplace Rates for non-domestic properties Business rates Property management and costs Security, fire and flood protection for business property Insurance for business property Tax breaks and finance for business property Adapting and improving your property Make your property more efficient Disabled access and facilities in business premises Innovation and R&D Product and service development Developing products and services Research and development Design and business innovation Use innovation in your business Design for business success Intellectual property Intellectual property for business Patents, trade marks, copyright and design Sales and marketing Marketing your business Market strategy and planning Traditional marketing Digital marketing Social media Branding and design Know your customers Market research Understanding the local market Keeping your customers Maximise your sales Selling Selling online Selling and the law Selling overseas Pricing Tender for contracts IT IT basics Introduction to IT Choosing suppliers Software and technology solutions Software and business applications Communications Getting online Create and manage a website E-commerce Security and data protection Data protection and legal issues IT security and risks Exporting and importing Basics of importing and exporting Importing and exporting basics Tax and international trade Starting out in international trade Choosing a market Doing business in the EU Trading with countries outside the EU Procedures and licences Export Control Organisation Classifying your goods Importing controlled goods Import and export procedures Customs IT systems Sector overviews and regulations Service industries Manufactured goods Food and agriculture Natural resources and chemicals Moving your goods Transport options for moving your goods Taking lorries abroad Transporting dangerous goods Freight forwarding Customs declarations National Clearance Hub Grow your business Prepare for growth Assessing current performance Planning business growth Strategies for growth Growth through product and service development Growth through sales Growth through technology Growth through strategic sourcing Growth through strategic partnering Growth through international trade Tendering for contracts Finance and logistics How to grow your business Financing growth Managing growth Leading staff through growth Manage business risks Buy or sell a business Acquiring a business Considering buying a business Buying a business Franchising Business acquisitions and mergers Selling your business Considering selling a business Selling your business Floating on the stock market Capital Gains Tax when selling your business Exiting and transferring your business Businesses in difficulty Transferring your business Resources My New Business Northern Ireland business support finder Sample templates, forms, letters, policies and checklists Licence finder Find a case study Do it online News Events
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Result 17
TitleStarting a Business Checklist | Xero UK
Urlhttps://www.xero.com/uk/guides/starting-a-business-checklist/
DescriptionIt's not easy building a business, but these 17 steps will help. Use our starting a business checklist to help get your business off the ground
Date
Organic Position15
H117 essentials to do before starting a business
H217-point checklist for starting a business
Keep challenging yourself
Get the ultimate guide to starting a business
Start using Xero for free
H31. Define your unique selling point
2. Find a business mentor
3. Create a business plan
4. Register web domains and trademarks
5. Set up your business structure
6. Ensure that your business will eventually be profitable
7. Set up a business bank account
8. Arrange business insurance
9. Register for taxes
10. List the items that can be tax deductible expenses
11. Create your website
12. Create social network accounts
13. Ask people to promote you online
14. Find the right employees
15. Think about how you'll use technology
16. Choose your business applications
17. Keep your data safe
H2WithAnchors17-point checklist for starting a business
Keep challenging yourself
Get the ultimate guide to starting a business
Start using Xero for free
Body17 essentials to do before starting a businessStarting a business can be overwhelming. Our starting a business checklist includes all the tasks you need to get going. 17-point checklist for starting a business. All businesses start with an idea. But you'll need more than an idea to make your business dream a reality. Planning, skills, resources, time – and a little luck – are all important.This list will guide you through the early stages of your business. Use it as a roadmap for building and running your new business.Get your new business up and running with our 17-step checklist.1. Define your unique selling point. You need a unique selling point (USP). It’s important that you define what makes your business different from the competition. Try to sum it up in two sentences – and memorise it. You'll use it every time you pitch to investors and potential customers.2. Find a business mentor. Whether it's a business advisor or a financial guru, find someone who will give you honest feedback about your business. Contact small business associations or small business development centres.3. Create a business plan. When you create a business plan, you’ll need to summarise your business as it is now, and map your vision for how it will be in the future.4. Register web domains and trademarks. You'll need a website, so check for suitable domain names and register them. Think about trademarks too – talk to your lawyer about this.5. Set up your business structure. Choose a legal structure that works best for you. An accountant can help you here.6. Ensure that your business will eventually be profitable. Can you make a profit from your business? Use accounting software to run profit and loss forecasts. Ask an accountant or financial advisor for their opinion.7. Set up a business bank account. Don't use your personal account, even if you're just starting out. It’s always wise to keep your business finances separate. A credit card and PayPal account could be useful too.8. Arrange business insurance. Even the smallest companies need insurance. Talk to a broker to find the best package for you.9. Register for taxes. Organise tax IDs and register with the tax office. It’s best to get this paperwork done right at the start.10. List the items that can be tax deductible expenses. Office rent, equipment costs, internet costs – all of these may be offset against tax so make sure you talk to your accountant.11. Create your website. Use the website domain name you've already registered if possible. Services like Squarespace, Wordpress, Moonfruit and Onepager will get you online quickly. You can always refresh and improve your site at a later date.12. Create social network accounts. Different businesses have different social media needs. You might need a Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile – or you may only need a Twitter account. Do some research on competitors or ask your mentor to see what will work for your business. Look at companies that you aspire to be like for inspiration.13. Ask people to promote you online. Contact members of your social networks. Tell them about your new business and ask them to share the link to your website with the people in their networks.14. Find the right employees. Hiring the right employees is important. While you may only be able to hire one or two employees to start with, it’s still vital that you hire well and choose the right ones.15. Think about how you'll use technology. Nearly all companies use technology. Think about whether you need laptops, tablets, smartphones – or all of these. Talk to local IT firms if you're not sure.16. Choose your business applications. Software is getting more powerful and intuitive. If possible, choose online applications for your work. These include Google Docs and Microsoft 365. That way you can access your valuable data online from anywhere at any time.17. Keep your data safe. Companies that lose data also lose business. Use cloud-based software for peace of mind.Keep challenging yourself. Successful entrepreneurs keep going when other people would give up. That inner drive is what defines a successful business owner. Your attitude will help determine whether your business succeeds or fails. So keep going and the hard work will pay off.The steps in this starting a business checklist are all important. But they don't guarantee success. Only you can do that, with hard work, intelligent decisions and great employees. Stay nimble, be prepared for challenges – and go for it!Get the ultimate guide to starting a business. Accountants, bookkeepers and business advisors have helped us put together a complete guide on starting a business. It includes beginner’s tips on things like testing ideas, writing business plans, doing forecasts and budgets, setting prices and more. Check out How to start a business.Disclaimer: Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content. Start using Xero for free. Access all Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.IncludedSafe and secureIncludedCancel any timeIncluded24/7 online supportOr compare plans from £12 per month
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Result 18
TitleStarting a Business Archives - Small Business Start Up Advice
Urlhttps://smallbusiness.co.uk/starting/
DescriptionAdvice on how to start your own business, with guides to help you plan, develop and finance a start-up or sole trader company
Date
Organic Position16
H1Starting a Business
H2
H3Recommended Content
H2WithAnchors
BodyStarting a Business Advice on how to start your own business, with guides to help you plan, develop and finance a start-up company, plus recommendations on registering the business, its legal structure and finding financial backing for growth. Whether you are just beginning or have already taken the first steps and want to keep everything on track, our expert articles will give you the knowledge to help lead you to success, whilst maintaining a good work-life balance. Starting a business can initially seem daunting, but with good support and a strong idea you can quickly pass through the key stages of the setting-up process and be able to launch your company with a solid foundation. Topics covered include: regulations and requirements for company owners, finding and selecting the professional services you may need (such as banking, insurance, accountancy etc.), legal structure options (self-employed person, sole trader, a partnership or a limited company), business planning, UK start up funding sources and finding your first customers. Expand Hide Five business ideas that are bound to click To help you make the right decision on what type of company to start, here are five business ideas to consider. Business Ideas & Planning Advice Should you register as a sole trader or a limited company? Mart Abramov, CEO of TaxScouts, shares the positives and negatives of being a sole trader or a limited company, so you can make the best choice for your growing business. Business Ideas & Planning What emerging business ideas could boom in the future? UK entrepreneurs are looking to take advantage of the next emerging business trends which could boom in the near future and beyond. Business Ideas & Planning Why market research is so important for a start-up business We look at why market research is so important for start-ups and the different types of research you can do. Business Ideas & Planning Planuary: How to create a business plan in four weeks In this piece, Tim Sawyer presents a four-week business plan to help your small business get started. Business Ideas & Planning Top tips for writing the perfect business plan In this piece, we provide essential pointers on how to write the perfect business plan to help your company succeed. Starting a Business Touker Suleyman 7 tips for starting your own business Touker Suleyman, star of TV’s Dragons' Den, shares his top tips for starting your own business Business Ideas & Planning Five low-cost business ideas for your consideration Here, we look at five of the most useful low-cost business ideas you can consider in any country Business Ideas & Planning Opening a restaurant: The key ingredients to start-up success In this piece, we discuss the most important steps to making your food business dream a reality. Sole trader Becoming self-employed  Becoming self-employed could mean less income, more responsibility and working longer hours. But freedom and independence cannot be underestimated, says Margaret Wood Partner content 5 types of business funding for UK tech companies Funding Options explain five types of business funding that can help your UK tech company expand and reach its goals Business Ideas & Planning How to jump start your food truck business If you've got a flair for cooking, opening your own food truck business can be a very rewarding and profitable experience, as we reveal in this piece. Advice Overcoming obstacles to start-up success How can you avoid your new business being one of the 60% that fail within three years? Mark Wright, winner of The Apprentice, shares his experience Sole trader Ceasing trading if you’re a sole trader – what to do What do you need to do as a sole trader if you decide to wind up your business? Emma Twynholm of Hillier Hopkins offers a step-by-step guide Recommended Content. Partner content 5 tools to help monetise your content in 2022 We explore five online tools that you can use to help you monetise your content in 2022 Partner content Tooling up for hybrid Equipping your people with the best technologies for the hybrid workplace Partner content Securing your business in the hybrid workplace Ensure your business is prepared for the increasing threat of cybercrime Partner content Futureproofing your business for Hybrid How Microsoft Teams is empowering SMBs to communicate, collaborate and grow in the new world of work
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Result 19
TitleGuide to starting a business - Times Money Mentor
Urlhttps://www.thetimes.co.uk/money-mentor/guide/start-business/
DescriptionOur step-by-step guide tells you everything you need to know about starting a business. Find out how to raise funding, hire staff and market yourself
Date15 Jul 2021
Organic Position17
H1How to start a business
H2In this guide:
1Weigh up the pros and cons Top
2Come up with a business plan Top
3The legal considerations when setting up a business Top
4Come up with a budget Top
5Create a brand Top
6Find the staff Top
How to start a business
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H2WithAnchorsIn this guide:
1Weigh up the pros and cons Top
2Come up with a business plan Top
3The legal considerations when setting up a business Top
4Come up with a budget Top
5Create a brand Top
6Find the staff Top
How to start a business
BodyHow to start a business Updated July 15, 2021 Share:. TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmail Starting a business Education & work Setting up your own business can be an exciting time: you get to be your own boss and watch your dream become a reality. We will run through the key things you need to consider before setting up a business in the UK, including the legal stuff, hiring staff, and marketing yourself. In this guide:. 1 Weigh up the pros and cons 2 Come up with a business plan3 The legal considerations when setting up a business4 Come up with a budget5 Create a brand6 Find the staff 1 Weigh up the pros and cons Top 1Weigh up the pros and cons Top . Around 600,000 new companies are registered in the UK every year, according to government figures. However, after one year, 20% will have failed, rising to 60% after three years. That doesn’t seem to be putting people off and neither should it.While nothing can guarantee success, solid foundations and careful business planning will give your new type of business the best chance to survive and thrive. But the first thing to do is to get out a pen and notepad and write down: Your personal financesYour business ideas All the pros and cons you can think of. Then talk to your friends, family and trustworthy colleagues in your industry and get their honest views. Do your research before you take the plunge and launch your own business 2 Come up with a business plan Top 2Come up with a business plan Top . Now that you have come to the conclusion that the rewards outweigh the risks, it’s time to get more serious. OK, so writing a business plan may feel like all the joy and romance is being sucked out of your grand scheme. But it will give you a better idea of what you want to create and how to do it. It is also necessary if you are hoping to attract external investment or get certain types of funding, such as start-up loans. Remember, it doesn’t have to be set in stone, but should be something that you regularly return to, review and update. You can download a free template from the Prince’s Trust website.  You need to do your homework. Do a market research of your industry, your competition, other business owners, and your potential customers/clients. Market research will help identify where those potential customers are, and which social networks they use. Free apps like Survey Monkey allow you to talk directly to them. What a business plan should contain: Business outline: aims, objectives, brand, business ideas, vision, targets and practical considerations such as location, management structure, staffFinancial analysis: your personal finances, how you intend to raise finance, make and spend money, grow and develop your businessMarket overview: what is the state and size of your industry; current and future trends; where will you fit in the market; what product and serviceCompetition analysis: what will set you apart; what are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses; how will you improve on what is out thereCustomer insights: who are you aiming your business at; where can they be found; what do they want. Be specificMarketing strategy: how you plan to attract potential customers/clients; what your business brand will look like; budget 3 The legal considerations when setting up a business Top 3The legal considerations when setting up a business Top . Next, there are legal considerations. You can’t just say that you have started a new business and off you go. First you need to pick the type of business you will become. There are a number to choose from, although the vast majority opt to register as a: Sole traderLimited company Partnership Check out our Guide on becoming a freelancer for more on this. How, when, what and where you register, depends on the type of business you want to start. For example, sole traders do not need to register with Companies House. Which business structure you choose impacts: When and how much tax and national insurance you payThe type of rules and responsibilities that must be adhered to  If you plan to open a coffee shop with music and food, check the licences or permits needed. There are also rules around: Selling goods onlineBuying from or selling abroad How you store or use personal information. Make sure you thoroughly research all of these and regularly check that you are still compliant. The government has an online checker tool.  There are rules to consider around the name you give your business too. For example you can’t choose one that has already been registered to another company, nor can it be offensive. We’re not being prudish, that is the law. The law also demands you get certain types of business insurance: Employers’ liability insurance: to compensate employees who become ill or injured through workCommercial motor insurance: for any vehicles your business hasProfessional indemnity insurance: if required by certain industries, professional bodies or regulators Other types of insurance may not be required by law but would be useful to have. This will need to be factored into your business planning and budgeting. There are also responsibilities with regards to where you work. If you rent or buy a property you may have to pay business rates although small businesses could be entitled to a discount. Check what can be claimed as business expenses, as even if you’re working from home, you may be able to claim a proportion of your bills for things like heating and internet use. If you rent your home, though, you will need to check the lease to ensure you are allowed to work there.  Co-working spaces, where you can rent a desk for a few hours, days or monthly, have been cropping up in greater numbers in recent years, thanks to providers like WeWork. They come at a cost but offer greater flexibility and help to combat loneliness, build up networks and instil routine and discipline into your working life – something that’s especially useful when starting out. 4 Come up with a budget Top 4Come up with a budget Top . The area that consistently trips up small businesses is money management. But careful business planning at the start can help avoid disappointment, unnecessary borrowing or expensive panic buying: Budgeting: be realistic about what you need to start your business. Shop around for IT equipment and office furniture. Does it need to be first hand? Prioritise your spending and keep it as tight as possible until you are making good money.Setting and maintaining targets: regularly review your cashflow forecast and use it to stay on budgetMonitoring income and expenses: you need to be organised so as to avoid a tax deadline headache, and to be comfortable chasing up invoicesInvestment: how do you plan to get money to grow your business You may choose to employ a professional to do your accountancy and bookkeeping work, although there are a number of software alternatives that will cost a lot less. Whatever you decide, it is important that you are on top of and fully understand all the finances.  You’ll probably need to set up a business bank account to separate your personal and business spending as much as possible. Most business accounts come with a monthly fee, so make sure you shop around to find one that best suits your needs. There are also a number of online offerings that sometimes don’t charge monthly fees, like Coconut and Tide. For those on a really tight budget, we have lots of tips in How can I start a business with no money? 5 Create a brand Top 5Create a brand Top . Now comes the fun part.  You have your: Business planBudget And you’ve finally chosen your (inoffensive) nameYou know the type of business you want and may have even registered it Now you need to think about how to get your brand out there, so choose: A logo design A business strapline Business cards An email address signatureStationary Your logo needs to be instantly recognisable on your website and social media and reflect what you do. But again, don’t blow your budget on the Saatchi-designed, gold-embossed, lavender-scented, bells and whistles version. Simple can be just as effective, and will be a lot cheaper. You can build your website yourself free of charge using sites such as Wix or Godaddy. If you’re planning to trade online, your website costs will probably be higher. Don’t forget to include contact details and your relevant social networks. And make sure your logo, brand identity and “tone” are consistent so you come across as professional.  Social media can be overwhelming and time consuming, so if you do need to do a lot of marketing this way, use a tool like Crowdfire or Hootsuite to schedule and manage your accounts. 6 Find the staff Top 6Find the staff Top . Setting up a new business doesn’t only mean becoming your own boss, but potentially other people’s too. If you are planning to take on staff, whether as full-time employees or freelance contractors, there are strict rules and regulations to follow: Building a team: once you have decided who you want to hire, you need to send job details to them in writing, including terms and conditions, as well as a written statement of employment if the role will last for more than a month. Insurance: you will need to buy employers’ liability insurance in case any of your staff become injured or ill because of the work that they do for you  Pay: the national minimum wage applies to anyone of school leaving age, while those over 25 must be paid the national living wage. Legal checks: it is your responsibility to ensure any staff can legally work in the UK. They also need to have a background DBS check if they will be working in security or with children or other vulnerable people. Pensions: it is compulsory for employers to automatically enrol eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme to which you, the employer, must contribute. There is lots of information on the Pensions Advisory Service website.Payroll: angry staff do not make a happy workplace. Nothing makes people more upset than not getting paid correctly and on time. You need to set up a payroll that complies with HMRC regulations. You can employ someone to do it or contract it out to an external company. If you are keeping costs down, do it yourself using software like Sage or Xero. Launching a business will involve good days – and seriously demotivating ones. Make sure you have a support network in place, whether friends, family, a good mentor or business adviser, to celebrate your successes and help you overcome the obstacles, so you and your business can have a happy ever after. We’d love to hear what you think about Times Money Mentor. Please contact us with any thoughts or suggestions. You've completed. How to start a business. Read next . Guide to small business tax Guide to small business tax . Small business tax Money SOS: “How do I ensure my comedy career has me laughing all the way to the bank?” Money SOS: “How do I ensure my comedy career has me laughing all the way to the bank?” . Starting a business Coronavirus Q&A: we answer your questions Coronavirus Q&A: we answer your questions . Starting a business For the latest money tips, tricks and deals, sign up to our weekly newsletter today. By entering your details, you agree that these will be used according to our privacy policy. When you subscribe, you will also receive our six week 'Couch to £5K' newsletter too. You can unsubscribe, although if you do you will stop receiving both newsletters. You’re now subscribed to our newsletter, you’ll receive the first one within the next week. Success By entering your details, you agree that these will be used according to our privacy policy. When you subscribe, you will also receive our six week 'Couch to £5K' newsletter too. You can unsubscribe, although if you do you will stop receiving both newsletters. For the latest money tips, tricks and deals, sign up to our weekly newsletter today. By entering your details, you agree that these will be used according to our privacy policy. When you subscribe, you will also receive our six week 'Couch to £5K' newsletter too. You can unsubscribe, although if you do you will stop receiving both newsletters. You’re now subscribed to our newsletter, you’ll receive the first one within the next week. Success
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Result 20
TitleStarting a Business in the UK | 1st Formations
Urlhttps://www.1stformations.co.uk/blog/want-to-start-a-business-here-are-the-first-steps/
DescriptionRead our guide on the first steps you should take to start a business in the UK, including why you need to do market research and write a business plan
Date
Organic Position18
H1How to start a business in the UK
H2
H3How do I come up with a business idea?
What is market research – and why is it important when starting a business?
What is a business plan and why do I need one?
The bottom line
Related posts
H2WithAnchors
BodyHow to start a business in the UK Business Startup 7 Min Read Table of Contents Starting a business can often seem quite daunting. Many people dream of quitting their day job to become their own boss, but it can be challenging trying to figure out how to transform that dream into a reality. Thanks to the UK’s thriving start-up scene and business-friendly regulatory environment, more and more entrepreneurs are realising that starting a business can be a fairly simple process. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the number of self-employed workers in the UK has shot up to 4.8m. According to the Office for National Statistics, the self-employed now account for around 15% of the UK’s total workforce. Those people collectively own almost 3.9m companies all across the country. Our All-Inclusive Package - the perfect way to set up a company What is company formation? How to write a business plan as a start-up Our Full Company Secretary Service - taking care of your business So, how did they do it? It all starts with a fantastic business idea. To help you get started, we’ve come up with a guide outlining how to get on the road to self-employment. How do I come up with a business idea? Oftentimes, one of the hardest parts of starting a business is figuring out where to begin. Some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to stumble upon a brilliant idea unintentionally. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for most people. The majority of self-employed workers need to think long and hard about what they way to do and how to turn into a viable business. If you’re starting from scratch and haven’t got any ideas for a new business, one way to set the cogs in motion is to ask yourself ‘what’s the next big thing?’ The most successful start-ups are typically businesses that are ahead of the curve. So, you should sit down and think about the industries that interest you. Then, do a bit of research and brainstorm up-and-coming trends that you could capitalise on within that industry. Find a niche. You should also try to look for some sort of niche. Have a think about big industry players and what it is they’re offering customers. From there, try to figure out what they’re not offering customers. Sometimes, great businesses don’t try to reinvent the wheel – they simply look to fill an existing gap in the market. Another way to come up with an idea for your new business is to write down a list of your skills, then brainstorm how those skills could be useful in a different sector or field. For example, how could you apply computer skills to the catering industry? Or what could your engineering experience bring to the agricultural sector? It might not be obvious at first, but these sorts of comparisons and exercises can lead to fantastic ideas for starting a business. Finally, if you really can’t come up with a new business idea, just take a look at all of the products and services you use on a daily basis. Are there any products that you think you could improve? More importantly, think about whether you might be able to offer a particular item or service at a cheaper price. This is often a brilliant way to set the wheels in motion, and it can lead to proper innovation further down the line. What is market research – and why is it important when starting a business? Once you’ve come up with a great idea for your new business, you will need to figure out how it will fit into the wider business ecosystem. The best way to do that is to conduct market research. Market research is simply the process of gathering information about the viability and feasibility of a business idea. By conducting market research, you’ll be able to develop a firm idea of how your target customers will react to your business and products. Market research will also help you to develop the foundations of your new business plan. Why should you conduct market research before starting a business? Without external feedback on your business idea, you won’t be able to make informed decisions about how to make your business a success. Your initial market research should be able to answer for these four Ps: Product – You might think you’ve come up with an incredible idea, but you need to ask your target customers what they think of your idea Price  – Once you’re satisfied that there is existing demand for your product or service, you must establish a price point. The best way to do this is by taking a look at potential competitors and how much they’re selling their products for. You also need to ask potential customers what they would be willing to pay Placement – You need to determine the best place to set up your new business, as well as where and how to distribute your products. A good place to start is by comparing the characteristics and value of various locations Promotion – Research the best ways to reach your target audience. Figure out who your customers are, and think about what types of marketing, publicity, and branding will speak to those individuals That’s what your initial market research should be able to tell you. But how do you get started? One of the easiest ways to gather information is to create a survey for prospective customers. Surveys can be time-consuming, but they are cheap. You could even start with your own friends and family. Surveys can be conducted in-person, by phone, email, or online. If you need help, there are lots of free survey generators on the internet. If you’re planning to create a survey, try to keep it short and easy to read. Avoid asking general questions – get as specific as you can. For example, rather than asking people what they like about going to the cinema, ask them what they don’t like about their local cinema. Don’t ask leading questions, don’t be ambiguous, and always pre-test your survey to find out if any of your questions are confusing or irrelevant. Don’t forget to analyse your competition. It’s also important to analyse your competition. You need to figure out everything you can about the businesses that are already providing goods or services similar to the ones you want to offer. This research often starts online. Take a look at how many locations your competitors have, where they’re based, and what they sell. Figure out where and how your competitors are promoting their business, what prices they charge, and how those products are received. Above all else, pay your competitors a visit to develop first-hand knowledge of their customer experience. These sorts of research methods are called primary research. Secondary research methods can be equally useful, and there’s a lot of it out there. Secondary research uses information gathered by other people or organisations to firm up your business idea. Start by having a look at reputable statistics relating to your industry or target market. Trade bodies and government agencies often provide extensive online reports that are freely available to the general public. These reports will provide you with a bigger picture of your industry. You can learn more about the economic conditions your business will be operating in, what sort of trends are influencing your chosen industry, and the consumer behaviour that is prevalent amongst your target demographics. It’s often tempting to rush through the market research stage because it is time-consuming and rather tedious. But this research is fundamental to the success of your business. You need to arm yourself with all the facts about your new industry in order to make informed business decisions, even if it means putting your dreams on hold for a couple more months. What is a business plan and why do I need one? After you’ve learned about the industry you want to enter, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to write your business plan. A business plan is essentially a written document that describes everything there is to know about your new business. It should cover everything from your business objectives and strategy to your products, sales, marketing plan, and a financial forecast. That might sound like pointless administrative work, but developing a business plan is essential when starting a business. Get it down on paper. First and foremost, writing down everything you know about your proposed business is incredibly beneficial. By putting it all on paper, you’ll be able to hone in on your idea, set benchmark goals, and come up with ways to measure your progress and success. More important still, reviewing your plan will enable you to spot potential oversights or mistakes you’ve made during your initial planning stages. Business plans aren’t just for your benefit, though. If you’d like to secure a business loan from a bank, the government, or other types of investors, they’re going to want to see your business plan to ensure you won’t be wasting their time and money. That’s why you need to think long and hard about your business plan. You may even need to revise it multiple times before it’s ready to be shared. So, how do you write a business plan? There are lots of business plan templates online that can help you to structure and format your plan, but they all tend to address certain points. You need to start by explaining what your business is, what goals you’d like to achieve, and how you plan to achieve them. Most business plans do this by including a strategy with action items spanning between one and five years into trading. Your business plan should also include detailed outlines of your products or services. Avoid jargon where possible, and spell out to potential investors what makes those products stand out. Include the market research you’ve gathered about your competitors, market trends, and the industry as a whole. You should also think about a marketing plan, sales policies, and how you will structure and manage your new business. Finally, you’ll be expected to include some form of financial forecasts indicating how you expect your business to perform. Many banks also like to see the inclusion of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. The bottom line. Starting a business is often a long and winding road, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be difficult. Think carefully about what you’d like to do, research how your idea could operate as a viable business, and then sit down and write a detailed plan that will clearly prove to others why your business is destined for success. That’s certainly not the end of the journey. There’s plenty more to do before your dream of starting a business turns into a reality. For one, you’ll need to decide whether to set up a limited company or operate as sole trader. But the steps we’ve outlined above are where it all starts, and they will inevitably go on to form the solid foundations of your new, thriving business venture. Share this postShare with FacebookShare with TwitterShare with LinkedIn Author: John Carpenter. John Carpenter is Chief Operating Officer at 1st Formations. He is in charge of ensuring all departments meet their targets to allow us to provide all of our customers with an exceptional level of service. Outside of work, John spends time with his wife, young son and cat. He enjoys reading history books and going to rock gigs. LinkedIn Related posts. Working from home vs coworking – what’s best for startups?October 7, 2021Cybersecurity basics for startupsOctober 2, 2021Guide to starting a side business while employedJune 12, 2021Invoice finance: how to use it to fund your startupMay 17, 2021 Go to Top
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Result 21
TitleHow to Start a Business: A Guide for New Business Owners in 2021
Urlhttps://squareup.com/gb/en/townsquare/how-to-start-a-business
DescriptionLearn how to start your business with this guide—covering everything from business plan creation to licences and legal obligations
Date7 Dec 2021
Organic Position19
H1How to Start a Business: A Guide for New Business Owners
H2Table of contents
Intro
Setting up a Business: Getting Started
Find your business niche
Research your business idea
Five Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Business
Write a business plan
H3How do you start a business?
How do you write a business plan?
How do you finance your business?
How do you decide on a business structure?
What paperwork do you need to do to start a business?
An executive summary
Business description
Market analysis
Competitive analysis
Service and product line
Operations and management plan
Financial considerations
Seek additional training and resources
Find a location
Seek financing (if necessary)
Decide on your business structure
Choose a name and do all the required legal paperwork
Get a payments processor
Marketing and promoting your new business
Excelling in your industry
H2WithAnchorsTable of contents
Intro
Setting up a Business: Getting Started
Find your business niche
Research your business idea
Five Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Business
Write a business plan
BodyHow to Start a Business: A Guide for New Business OwnersGuidesStarting Your BusinessLearn how to start your business with this guide—covering everything from business plan creation to permits and legal obligations.07/12/2021Table of contents. Find your Business Niche Research your Business Idea Five Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Business Find a Location Seek Financing Decide on your Business Structure Choose a Name and do the Required Legal Paperwork Get a Payments Processor Marketing and Promoting your New Business Intro. Setting up a Business: Getting Started. Starting a business is incredibly exciting. There’s loads to do, loads to learn and loads of opportunity. The monetary rewards can be huge, but the personal rewards are usually even greater. There’s autonomy and the sense of achievement in knowing that every milestone is the result of your effort. If you have a great idea for a start-up and are ready to take the next step, you’re in the right place. This guide will get you thinking about all the things you need to cover when setting up a business, from honing your idea to making your first sale. Find your business niche. Starting a business is about finding an open area of a market and filling it. That is really what a niche is. You can discover yours by considering: What problem will your small business solve for customers? What are you trying to do that no-one else does? What can you do better than anyone else? Your own specialised skills may help you to define what your niche is. Your desire to start a business may be fuelled by your wish to use those skills more or better. Many business leaders advise focusing on what you are passionate about to succeed. You’ll also have a significant head start if you already have a lot of knowledge and experience in the field you wish to run a small business in. It’s crucial to think about the market too when settling on a niche. You need to know there are customers who want what your start-up will provide. You also need to understand who else is catering to those customers or may decide to in the future – who are your competitors? Finding your niche is often the key to begin building your business. It can help create the ‘elevator pitch’ of your business – the one sentence that encapsulates what your business ideas really are, what your business will do and how. This is a crucial element of a business plan especially when trying to appeal to investors. Research will help you to settle on a niche for your small business. Research your business idea. Even if you are launching a side hustle, research is a great idea. You’ll want to do your research around the process of starting a business and ensuring you meet any legal obligations (including reading this article). As well as that, there’s a lot of early research into your business ideas. Research will help you to make decisions about what will sell and what won’t and where opportunities lie. It can help you to really identify and understand your target market and set a pricing strategy. It’s wise to research: If there is a market/need/desire for your small business Who your customers might be and how best to engage with them Who your competitors are and what they are doing in the areas your start-up wants to target Industry trends How much people might be prepared to pay for the goods or services your business intends to provide Upcoming events or legislation that might impact on your business idea – whether creating challenges or opportunities What you need to get your business off the ground. Consider a website, business premises, legal or accounting advice – and the costs involved. Online is a great place to start research. There you can find a wealth of information about the market, customers, competitors and the industry. It’s also a point of inspiration for developing and adding to your business ideas. Visit competitor websites, Facebook and social media pages. Review sites where customers are talking about goods and services similar to those you will provide, such as Trustpilot. You can also use tools to see how many people are searching for keywords and phrases relevant to what your business will provide, helping you understand the size of the market. Google Ads Manager is one free option. If your business will provide face-to-face services or sales, via a café or shop for instance, visiting competitor outlets is another great idea. See what they do well and what opportunities they are missing. Speaking to people who are already working in the industry is a great research tool too. Providing your business is not setting up in direct competition with theirs, people are often really forthcoming with advice on what to do and what not to do when starting out. Five Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Business. How do you start a business? There are several crucial steps involved in starting a business, including writing a business plan, securing financing, researching and choosing a location, registering your business, complying with tax requirements and acquiring the required licences and permits. How do you write a business plan? A business plan is like a blueprint for how you’re going to start, run and grow your business. Key components include an executive summary, business description, market and competitive analysis, your service or product line, an operations plan and any financial considerations. You can find more advice via our dedicated piece: How to create a business plan. How do you finance your business? There are a variety of ways you can finance your business: traditional bank loans, asking your friends and family, or other sources. Getting to grips with the finances and investments early on is a great idea. Put things in place to ensure you are financially ready to start a successful business and then stay on top of what is coming in and what is going out to remain profitable. How do you decide on a business structure? When setting up a business, it’s a good idea to consult with an accountant or lawyer to decide on a business structure. Types of business structures include sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and nonprofits. It’s a good idea to consult with an accountant or lawyer to decide on a business structure that fits the needs of your business. What paperwork do you need to do to start a business? The requirements for starting a business depends on the type of business you want to be. For some small businesses, there is very little paperwork required and you can begin trading straight away. For others, you will need to go through several stages before your company is up and running, including registering a name and handing over details of your key players to Companies House. You can read more on how to get started on our handy guide to registering a business. Here are a few common licences and permissions you may need to consider for your start-up. If you’re planning to: sell or serve food you must register with your local authority sell or supply alcohol you must gain a licence play music to the public, including background radio music, you’ll need a licence change the use of a building, such as from residential to commercial (a home to a shop), you may need planning permission. employ people, you’ll need employers’ liability insurance. You may also wish to consider other specific insurance policies including buildings insurance for any premises, public liability insurance if interacting with the public and other business specific insurance to protect you against claims. Start selling with Square Reader for contactless and chip.Accept chip cards and contactless payments for one low rate per tap or insert.Learn More Write a business plan. A stellar idea is great, but you can only see it through to its full potential if you lay the groundwork. That’s where the first crucial step of starting a business comes in—writing a business plan. A business plan is a blueprint for how you’re going to start, run and then grow your business—something you can look back on for reference and measure yourself against. If you’re seeking outside funding for your venture, you often need a business plan to show that you’ve thought things through carefully-and have a path to growth and profit. A solid blueprint is critical for your prolonged success. When it comes to writing a business plan, there’s no one size fits all but they all typically contain a few key components. The below sections can be used as a template—including visuals like graphs and projections where appropriate. Length can also fluctuate depending on what you’re trying to do, but typically, business plans are between 15 and 20 pages long. Here’s what they should include: An executive summary. As the first section of a business plan, an executive summary should be a top-line synopsis of your business and how you plan to accomplish your goals. Because it’s often people’s first impression of your business, it’s the most important section. You might consider writing your executive summary after you’ve completed all the other sections of the business plan—so you know the key points to stress. Business description. Think of this section like your elevator pitch, i.e., how would you concisely answer the question “What’s your business all about?” This part should also include where you see the most potential and opportunity for your business, and why. Market analysis. Here’s where you dive deeper into the specific market you’re entering. What relevant data points would help people get an idea of your business segment? Where are the weaknesses in the market, and how will you fill that void? Competitive analysis. Walk through your competition—what are other businesses in the space doing well, and where are they falling short? If you don’t currently have competitors, walk the reader through how you’ll continue to stay ahead of the game should another business choose to enter the market. Read our in-depth guide on market analysis for more. Service and product line. This section details exactly what type of service or product you’re offering. Be sure to include any intellectual property, as well as research and any associated development that might be required to offer your product or service. Operations and management plan. Present a clear picture of how you’ll actually run day-to-day operations. Will you need employees? A space for shipping or inventory? Describe all that here. Financial considerations. Here’s where you talk money. First off, how much do you need to start? And then to grow? Detail any capital you already have. And if you need more, describe your strategies for procuring it. Seek additional training and resources. It’s rare that you have all the skills you need to start and run a business—especially if you’re doing this for the first time. You may have the skill set and certifications necessary to do facials, for example, but might fall short when it comes to running the day-to-day financials of your business. Write a list of all the areas where you could use a little business coaching. Then seek out training or education to fill those gaps. Higher education colleges, evening university courses or online training sessions are a great way to get these additional skills and training affordably. Here’s where you may also seek out mentors, or even ask fellow small business owners how they got up to speed. There may be areas, however, that have too steep of a learning curve to tackle on your own—legal or tax considerations, for example. In these cases, it’s best to seek out professionals who already have years of training and degrees in those disciplines. When hiring these people, be sure to do extensive research and call references to make sure you’re bringing on someone reputable. Start selling with Square.Create your free account in minutes.Get Started Find a location. Where will you be conducting business? For obvious reasons, this can vary widely based on the type of business you’re running. If you’re a home contractor, for example, you may not even need to rent or buy a physical office - though you may need to consider planning permission or changes to your home insurance (find out more in our guide to starting a home business) Choosing a physical space is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. But it’s also one of the most important and requires lots of research and planning. For help with this, talk with your city or borough councils, or consider bringing on a professional agent to help. Aside from laws, fees and regulations, you should also consider your brand image, the safety and accessibility of the neighbourhood, your proximity to any suppliers you might need to work with, and any plans for expansion. Talk to fellow business owners in the area and consult free government-provided data by the Office of National Statistics to help inform your decision. Seek financing (if necessary). If you don’t have the capital required to start your business, you may need to seek financing. (Here’s where that business plan you wrote comes in handy.) Luckily, there are a number of avenues for securing small business financing including traditional bank loans and asking your friends and family. But before accepting money from any of these sources, there are some questions you need to think through. For example, evaluate how you’d like to structure ownership of the company. If you don’t want to give up a stake, bringing on investors may not be the right option for you. If you’re accepting a loan or financing from an institution, be sure to read all the details. You should be careful about how much money you really need—and do meticulous calculations on how long it will take to pay it back. Understand the tax and legal implications of your selected business structure. Decide on your business structure. There are a number of different ways you can set yourself up as a business. Each type of business structure has a variety of tax and legal implications. Your business structure determines which types of income tax forms you have to file, for example. Because of this, it’s smart to consult a reputable accountant and lawyer before officially deciding on what form of business entity you want to establish. To give you a cursory lay of the land, the main types of business structures are sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, partnerships and nonprofits. Check the government’s guide to starting a business for more detailed explanations of each of these business structures. Choose a name and do all the required legal paperwork. It’s time to make things real. First thing’s first: decide on your business name and, if necessary, register it with the government. Registering a company name isn’t legally required unless you are a limited company and requires business owners to submit key information about their company, including a business plan and details of the key stakeholders to Companies House. Once Companies House registers your business, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) which allows you to register for corporation tax.  You will need to provide your company registration number, as provided by Companies House, the date you started to trade and the date your annual accounts go up to. HMRC will then set you a deadline to pay your corporation tax. You may also need to complete a Company Tax Return as a limited company, or a Self-Assessment if you are a partner or sole trader. Starting a business requires that your legal paperwork is in order. If you’re planning on hiring employees, now is the time to familiarise yourself with all your legal obligations as an employer. You’ll want to cross your T’s and dot your I’s before you hire your first new team member. Get a payments processor. Now comes the fun part—making your first sale. To do this, you’re (obviously) going to need a way to accept payments. Do your research, but any solution you go with should be affordable and easy to set up. It should also accept credit cards and debit cards and have no complicated fees. A huge amount of sales are now done online, either entirely or via click-and-collect. Ensure you have a solution that allows your customers to buy and order from you whenever the mood takes them. A solution that allows sales not just via your website but your social media channels too will ensure you don’t miss out. Square Online is a simple, low cost option that is quick and easy to launch. In person, people are increasingly ditching notes and coins and opting for card payments, and the rise of contactless shows no sign of stopping. If you don’t accept cards, you’re likely to miss out on some sales. The Square Reader, which accepts all major credit cards and contactless methods like Apple Pay, lets you securely accept card payments everywhere. The card reader is just £16 + VAT, and you pay just 1.75% per card present transaction. Marketing and promoting your new business. All businesses need to know how to market and promote themselves well. You can have the best small business idea in the world but if your customers don’t know about you, you won’t get very far. The great news is that, due to social media and the internet, there have never been so many low-cost marketing options for start-up businesses. All small businesses need to be on social media and can use it to their advantage to grow. When you are a small business with limited resources you have to decide where to focus your efforts for maximum return. A Facebook page may be an alternative to a full-blown website. If your products are very visual, an Instagram page may be the ideal solution. You may not have time to be on all platforms and to run them all well so choose the right platforms for you. You can set up a simple online shop in a few clicks and ensure you can make sales via your social media pages too. Keeping in touch with customers via email campaigns is a highly effective way to build a loyal customer base and make repeat sales. Excelling in your industry. You should follow these general steps when starting a business, but applying a cookie-cutter formula is easier said than done. Each industry has a unique set of requirements and steps that you need to be aware of. The steps can seem overwhelming—but they’re worth it. The steps to starting a business can seem overwhelming—but they’re all worth it. No matter how stellar your business idea is, laying the groundwork is a crucial component of your success. Follow these steps, and you’ll be off to the races. Start selling with Square.Create your free account in minutes.Get StartedBack to top Facebook Twitter LinkedInShareGet Started
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Result 22
TitleGuide to starting a new business online in the UK | Fusion Accountants
Urlhttps://www.fusionaccountants.co.uk/blogs/start-online-business/
DescriptionOur step-by-step guide covers everything you need to get your online business off the ground from your initial ideas, marketing and registering your start up
Date
Organic Position20
H1A step by step guide to starting a new online business
H2Starting a business online
Your business idea
Doing your research
Different types of online businesses
How to choose a business name
Find your niche
Find your suppliers
Choose your channels
Finance your business
Build your website
Decide on pricing
Start your marketing plan
Register your business
Online business regulations
Cost of starting an online business
If you need further assistance
H3
H2WithAnchorsStarting a business online
Your business idea
Doing your research
Different types of online businesses
How to choose a business name
Find your niche
Find your suppliers
Choose your channels
Finance your business
Build your website
Decide on pricing
Start your marketing plan
Register your business
Online business regulations
Cost of starting an online business
If you need further assistance
BodyA step by step guide to starting a new online businessReading Time: 11 minutesStarting a business online. With minimal start-up costs and the potential to reach millions of customers, there has never been a better time to setting up an online business – and what a great way to begin life as an entrepreneur!In this article, we will be looking at some of the most important things you need to do to start an online business from having that fantastic business idea, choosing a name and business structure, building your website and registering with HMRC.Many of the things we are talking about here should form part of a rounded business plan and we would always suggest writing out a formal document, even if it is only for your own use as it will encourage you to think about what you are doing and how you will go about it. In addition, if you are applying for funding or looking to get investors on board then you will need to show them a well-produced and thought-out plan for your new enterprise.There is no definitive list of what you should do or what order you should do it in. If you read about how well-known entrepreneurs started their own online business, you will notice they will have all approached it a little differently. But from our experience working with many start-up online businesses, we have pulled together a comprehensive list to get you up and running!Your business idea. As with any business, the first step in starting an online company is to decide on a business idea and create a business plan. If you believe you have a great product there is a great demand for, or a niche service which will fill a gap in the market then there are a number of factors that you need to consider. As a business, you will either offer a product or service, and you need to carry out extensive market research to decide if your business is viable. Having a target audience and clear objectives firmly in your sights will help get your online business up and running quickly.Market research can help you plan and map out how to set up your online business, give you an idea into the start-up costs and  the type of funding that could be available to you.Doing your research. You have chosen your niche, so the next question to consider is one around research as this makes up a great deal of your business plan.Doing market research will help you establish:Who your competitors are?How they do businessWho are their customers?What is their pricing structure?How you can provide something different or be able to do it better.If, whilst doing your research, you find you do not seem to have any competitors, you need to ask yourself why this could be? Does it mean that you are the only person who has ever come up with this bright idea, or does it mean there is no market for it?All of these questions (and more) form a vital part of your offer and if you do not get your research right then you could end up making a costly mistake.Hubspot has a great guide and template you can download for free to help you research your online market.If you have a very limited budget to put towards your research, there are a few ways of achieving it on little to no budget:Use social media to engage with interested parties or ask trusted followers for advice/feedback on the idea. Responses  will generally be refreshingly honest – so be prepared for some eye-opening honesty!Attend industry related events to see what is trending and use it as an opportunity to sound out other similar entrepreneurs/start-ups to get invaluable tips and advice.Different types of online businesses. There are a number of popular business models’ entrepreneurs can use for a successful online business to make money instantly.Online store – This is probably the most popular ‘go to’ option. Instead of buying or renting a physical premise, you sell your products or services direct to customers via an ecommerce website. Physical goods can be delivered to customers. An online store puts you in direct contact with potentially millions of customers and has fewer overheads compared to a traditional shop. You can take payments via credit cards or use banking systems such as PayPal to handle transactions.Advertising – Advertisers will pay to place their advertisements on your website. You will need to be receiving large traffic visitor numbers for this to be profitable. This model works best if your website is either an online magazine that has popular blogs or help and advice sites. The aim is to attract as many visitors as possible in order to make money from advertising.Subscription – This business model is used by websites offering information, entertainment, or a specific service but you charge a subscription fee. Current popular trends include beauty; books & magazines; arts and crafts and health and fitness. Great examples of this include Dollar Shave Club, Hello Fresh, Netflix, Able & Cole and Britbox.How to choose a business name. When it comes to naming your business, make sure that both your business name and the domain for your business website are available. It is easier for customers to find your website when the website domain name is the same as the business name. If they are not, it will lead to confusion and it could even lead to a loss of business as many potential customers may click elsewhere instead.You also need to choose a name for your business. You may want to do this in conjunction with registering a domain name for your website, as the best solution is for the two to match exactly. The right name needs to be short and easy for customers to remember, the domain address for your website be available, and not be too similar to the name of another company.If you are starting an online business from scratch, spend some time brainstorming a list of potential names and then whittle this down to just three or four. One approach is to register a domain name – or web address – that contains the keywords that people will use to find a business such as yours.Find your niche. This is the starting point for any business and many people already have a general area that they would like to trade in. It also forms the backbone for your business plan that everything else hangs off.We often find that people tend to start with too wide an area and instead of being great at one thing their business starts being just ‘OK’ at lots of things.Understand that the internet marketplace is full of companies that are really great in their field and so the trick is to really find that one niche where you can excel.Instead of being an OK shoe retailer why not be the best on the web at selling ladies formal shoes? Or instead of being an OK graphic designer why not be the very best at designing science fiction book covers?Being a specialist gives you a much smaller market to aim for (which makes your marketing more focused) and means that when you come up against general graphic designers or so-so shoe stores then you should win every time.Take time over this stage and be prepared to have a couple of false starts because choosing and understanding your niche is really important to everything that follows.Find your suppliers. Firstly, consider is what you are offering actually available as goods you can import, or do you need to do some manufacturing yourself? In some cases, it does not make sense to reinvent the wheel so you can simply buy in what you need and maybe even re-label it with your own branding.In other situations, the fact that you manufacture it yourself is all part of your unique selling point but whichever way you go,  finding reliable reasonably priced suppliers is going to be important.It is a good idea to start looking around and engaging with people early on, because in many industries suppliers will actually help new businesses get going. They may give you help and advice about marketing, provide assets for you to use or give you links through from their site. Building a strong relationship with quality suppliers right from the early days of your business is vital if you are to get off to the best possible start.For service providers, you may become a preferred partner or a specialist consultant for their brand.Choose your channels. How will you communicate with your customers? Some channels are more suitable than others, depending upon the type of product or service that you are providing.Entrepreneur magazine wrote that start-ups actually have a distinct advantage in the social media marketing realm, since users love what is new – and start-ups are new by default.If you are selling craft tools then you are likely to find your buyers on the more ‘visual’ social media platforms like Instagram, Youtube or Pinterest but for a cleaning service specialising in corporate offices, you may be better off targeting certain Facebook groups, Twitter or Linkedin.The important point here is to make sure you match your channel to your customers and then make sure you are really good at it. You will be able to engage far more quickly with customers, build instant relationships, answer their questions; promote any new stock or offers to them and deal with any complaints.Investors and funders will want to see that you have really thought about how you connect with your customers so make sure this is clearly featured in any business plan that you do.Finance your business. So far, most of the things you have done will have been free or very low-cost but as you approach your start date you are going to need to think about money. Start by deciding how your business will grow and what it needs to do to survive.If you are providing services, then you will probably not need much in the way of stock or equipment and so your financing needs are really only going to be down to advertising and marketing.But if you are manufacturing to sell, then you may need to buy in machinery, packaging and even a van to transport your goods.If you are an online retailer then you may need money for stock and as working capital the finance section of your business plan must be as detailed as possible. It should have an analysis of your start-up costs, a profit and loss and a cash flow forecast for the first couple of years and clearly show your funding requirements.Build your website. Following on from the marketing designs (we discussed above) regarding  finalising the look and feel of your logo, colours, fonts and tone of voice, you can now create an attractive, functional website yourself, with no need to spend money on web developers or hosting, by buying an off-the-shelf solution from reasonably priced platforms such as WordPress, WIX, 123-reg, or Shopify without having to have any knowledge or design or coding.You could use a free theme or pay for a premium theme that may offer more features such as SEO add-ons which will help you to be found. Do worry about getting all of your functionality in place from day one though. You may decide that to start with you only what you need to have a basic site where you can showcase your ideas and include some blog content. When you get nearer to launch day then you can start to switch on the extra functionality.Alternatively, if you do not have the time, hire a website designer to create one for you. If you choose to outsource this,  make sure you still have some money set aside for marketing your business.Decide on pricing. A really important part of launching your new business is to decide what you are going to charge. Essentially the main methods of setting the prices for your business are:Market pricing – This is particularly relevant if you sell products online on platforms like eBay or Amazon as it essentially sets your price at what the market as a whole is charging. If everyone is charging £10 for a phone charger then you can choose to sell for £10 to maximise your profit or £7.99 to maximise your sales but you are unlikely to sell many if you price them at £11. The problem is that if the market is buying at a price that is lower than you then you are going to find it difficult to make a profit.Value pricing – This is particularly important if you are selling services online and what value you are adding for the client? If a customer is facing a business-critical issue that you can solve, then your price goes up and if you have limited time to provide the solution then your service becomes even more valuable. Some companies even go so far as to set their price at a percentage of what they make or save their customers. This can be a very attractive offer for customers but as a service provider you do need to be confident in what you do, otherwise, you could be doing a lot of work for no money.Start your marketing plan. Once you have successfully set up your business website, got your pricing in order, it is time to invest in some social media activity. If you already have an existing ‘personal’ social media account, you may want to create new ones that promote your business services separately.Your marketing plan should have some pre-launch ‘teaser’ activities (EG: coming soon …etc) set competitions and incentives to get followers to visit your website to generate early interest in your product or service so that your business gets off to the best possible start.Register your business. Once you are ready to go then you should register your business. Are you going to be a .co.uk or .com?Firstly, check if the name has been registered at Companies House – just type into the box at the top, and click the link below. If you believe you have a trademark you can search at the Intellectual Property Office website. If you would like to talk through your options and processes, please do contact us for assistance.Online business regulations. Overall, the act lays down conditions that goods sold must meet. For example, they must be as described, of satisfactory quality, to an agreed price, and be fit for purpose. If the goods do not meet these conditions, the buyer should have the right to a refund. This applies to both online and offline purchases, ensuring that work must be carried out to a standard or price agreed beforehand and that the professional has a duty of care towards you and your property.The Consumer Contracts Regulations: Amongst other things, sets out:Information a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale.The right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises.Delivery costs and arrangements, and exchange detailsWhere goods are faulty or not fit for purpose, consumers have different rights depending on where and how they purchased the goods.An accurate description of goods and services including description of your goods or services and prices including VAT.Payment detailsCancellation rights and relevant time limitsCosts of returning an item.The Data Protection Act 1998: Designed to protect personal data stored on computers and laptops etc, into an organised system where it is safe. You can find more information on the Government website about the types of regulations that affect starting an online businesses in the UK.For example, you will need an official company address that needs to be the same as your registration location, where communication will be sent. Some people choose their accountant’s address or sign up for a ‘virtual office’ that will deal with post for you and looks more professional. Speak to us if you would like to us to set up a registered office address and mail forwarding service.Cost of starting an online business. The costs you need to consider for your online business will vary depending on the type of business you are starting and the scale of it. Here are some of the costs you will need to consider when starting your online business in the UK:Company formation costs – if you decide to go with a limited company structure.The costs of the actual products or services you will be selling.Cost of building the website, whether you hire a web designer or use a website building tool.The cost of the domain, which will likely be an annual fee.The equipment you would use, for example, you would need a laptop, an internet connection, camera (if needed).Marketing costs – will you by doing the marketing yourself or outsourcing it?If you need further assistance. Being in business is a great learning experience and opening up your online store can be a vibrant and exciting time so above all make sure you enjoy yourself! We are experts in helping ecommerce start-up businesses and can help you with all aspects including setting up your systems, registering your company and outsourcing your bookkeeping and payroll.  Having the opportunity to play our part in helping your business grow is something we would really enjoy doing so please give us a call and let us see how we can help with you start your new online businessJahan AslamI trained as an auditor with top 20 accounting practices in the UK and worked in numerous roles before joining Fusion in 2013.With over 15 years of experience, my specialisms include assisting SME businesses with business advice and to provide support to achieve growth goals, process standardisation and model their business plans. We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to the use of ALL the cookies.Cookie settingsACCEPTManage consent Close Privacy Overview. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Necessary Necessary Always Enabled Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information. 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Result 23
TitleHow to start a business | Prospects.ac.uk
Urlhttps://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/self-employment/how-to-start-a-business
DescriptionResearch the market · Create your brand · Protect your copyright · Work out your profits · Register as self-employed · Apply for start-up funding · Sort out premises ...
Date
Organic Position21
H1
H2
H3
H2WithAnchors
Body
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Result 24
TitleThe Complete Guide to Starting a Business
Urlhttps://www.axa.co.uk/business-insurance/startup-insurance/the-complete-guide-to-starting-a-business/
DescriptionSo you' ve got a great idea for a new small business venture. But what next? AXA takes you through the entire process of starting a new business
Date
Organic Position22
H1The Complete Guide To Starting A Business
H2The first steps to starting your own business
How to set up a business
What business support will I need?
Finding the right business funding for your venture
Spreading the word through small business marketing
Putting it all together – Launching a successful business
H3Check for originality
Research the market
Be a SWOT
How to make a business plan
Find a business mentor
How to apply for a patent in the UK
Business licences and permits
Business ethics and laws
Limited company, partnership or sole trader?
Business name registration
Setting up a business tax account
Business insurance
Hiring your first business lawyer and accountant
Hiring employees
Becoming an employer
Invoice management
Allowable costs for employers
Financing your business
Perfecting your elevator pitch
Pitch a start-up business with a longer presentation
Business networking events
Business funding ideas
Building a business website
Paid social media advertising
How to set up Google My Business
Business speaking opportunitiess
Pitching your business to clients
All businesses start with a story. Protect yours
H2WithAnchorsThe first steps to starting your own business
How to set up a business
What business support will I need?
Finding the right business funding for your venture
Spreading the word through small business marketing
Putting it all together – Launching a successful business
BodyThe Complete Guide To Starting A Business So you’ve got a great idea for a new small business venture. But what next? AXA takes you through the process of starting a business, start to finish. You’ve had an idea for a business. It feels right, you’re excited to make it a reality, and everyone you’ve mentioned it to has been really supportive… but now what?   How do you turn this exciting idea into a viable start-up small business? Last year, small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses, with SMEs accounting for 99.9% of the total. There were an astonishing 5.7 million private sector businesses at the beginning of 2017, an increase of 197,000 since the previous year. But how do you get ready to join this growing sector? At AXA, we’ve helped thousands of British businesses get off to a good start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you turn your idea into a real, living business. Ready to turn your idea into a reality? X Get startedGet set up Get helpGet fundingGet the word outGet growing Get started Get set up Get help Get funding Get the word out Get growing   Get started: The first steps to starting your own business . If you’re feeling ready to take the business plunge, let’s test the water first. Before taking your proposal forward, have a look at how you can test and refine your idea to make sure it’s financially viable. Check for originality . So your new business venture seems perfect. However, if it's a really good idea, there could be a chance that someone else has already had it. It's usually a good idea to ensure that your concept is original; you also need to ensure you're not treading on anyone's toes in a legal sense. If your business plan involves an invention, consider getting a patent. This is not always easy (or cheap) and can require expert legal support. Have a look at the government's guidelines before embarking on this route, and make sure you search patent databases to see if your idea truly is original (you can search for patents by number or type, or carry out a patent search on Google). You should also check that your new business name and logo aren't infringing on any existing trademarks. In the UK, the Intellectual Property Office oversees trademarking, copyright and patents, so have a look at their website before naming your business or products. Again, an internet search can help establish whether your business name is already taken. Research the market . Your friends and family all think your idea is marvellous - of course they do, they support you. But how do you conduct market research to get objective feedback on your idea? Market research involves taking a close look at your location, area and the type of customers you want to attract. There are various types of market research, divided up into "primary" and "secondary". Primary market research for new business ideas involves finding out about the market first-hand, usually through questionnaires or focus groups. A social media survey is an easy way of getting quick answers. For example: "If there was a bakery in Smalltown, would you use it?" From this simple beginning, you can start to delve deeper. Time for a coffee? You can put a shout-out on social media local pages for people who are willing to spend half an hour discussing your ideas. Work out in advance what you want to know, book a table in a local café, be generous with the biscuits, and simply listen. Secondary research is more desk-based. A lot of DIY market research for small businesses starts off on Google, where you can easily find out about the competition. LinkedIn and Glassdoor can provide useful information as well. For demographic information, the Office for National Statistics website has every stat you could possibly need. If your new venture involves a substantial investment, it can be worth paying a market research company to help you. Have a look at the Market Research Society's website to find approved researchers. Be a SWOT.   What is a SWOT analysis? This time-honoured business tool lets you identify your business' Strengths, Weaknesses (internal influences), Opportunities and Threats (external influences). One of the real benefits of a SWOT analysis in business is that it really makes you think about things - and if you can get others to brainstorm it with you, even better. You can find a SWOT analysis template online which will help you to order your thoughts. In brief, here are some areas that a new business SWOT analysis can cover: Strengths . Your unique, specialist knowledge and how this sets you apart from the competition. Don't be bashful: if you are the most qualified electrician in a ten-mile radius, say so. Weaknesses . Are you lacking resources, certification or experience in any area? How can you mitigate these weaknesses? If your location isn't ideal, can you make up for poor footfall with excellent marketing? Opportunities . That holy grail of "a gap in the market": you could be the only shop in the village. Other local business developments may help, such as a new office park that needs sandwiches or window cleaners. Are there new IT developments that you can seize upon, for example platform-based technology? Threats . Is your business dependent upon another organisation (think about the small businesses that struggled after the Carillion collapse)? Can the economy impact, for example, rising costs of food imports? What external forces is your business reliant on, that you can't control? How to make a business plan.   Your new venture needs a business plan for two main reasons: to secure funding, and to keep your business on track. Here are the main contents of a business plan - and remember to keep it concise and simple. Executive summary . The one-page summary gives a snapshot of your business to potential investors, staff or advisers. This covers your business offers, a brief background, the target customers, the competition, the team and resources, and a financial outline. The business . Explain the problem you have identified and how your business provides the solution. Identify and describe the target market. For example: there are a lot of time-poor dog owners in your town, and you can offer a professional walking service for busy professional dog owners (but add more detail). Marketing and sales . How you plan to promote your business and reach your target market (for example social media advertising). What will you charge for your product or service? The team . Who is already on board, and any other positions you plan to fill. If it's just you, include a paragraph about your background and skills. If you are hiring sub-contractors, put them on this page too. Operations . The daily nitty-gritty. What do you need to run your business? Include details on the premises, vehicles, IT, tools and so on, with associated costs, maintenance and lifespans. Finances . As a new business, this will be mainly forecasting for your first three years. Your bank's small business adviser can help you put together a realistic forecast. Put a more detailed summary (profits, credit, debtors, interest, contingency) in an appendix. Appendix . This is where you can out any more detailed documents: a fuller financial summary, your SWOT analysis, an operations plan (how you will reach your objectives), job descriptions. Find a business mentor . Striking out on your own can be lonely, especially if you’ve come straight from a busy workplace. Self-employed people sometimes struggle initially from a lack of people to share their thoughts with – you may even discover that you miss having a boss for advice! One solution is to find a business mentor. A mentor is an experienced professional who is there to guide, advise and encourage you on your new venture. Why have a business mentor instead of engaging a business consultant? Mentoring provides a more genuine relationship, and apart from coffee, needn’t cost you anything. In return, the mentor has the satisfaction of helping others, while developing coaching and interpersonal skills. So how do you find a business mentor? Usually, mentors and mentees already know each other: your mentor may be someone from a similar business who inspired you to take the plunge. Look out for networking events, or search on LinkedIn for someone with the right background. Try the mentorsme website, where you can search for a willing mentor based on your location and business life stage. Read more about the value of mentoring here. Get set up: How to set up a business . The background research looks good - now there's no excuse. It's time to get serious about starting your business. You've refined your thoughts, looked deeper into what's involved and have a beautiful business plan ready to go. Now let's look at some of the practical details you should get in place next. How to apply for a patent in the UK. As discussed earlier, if your business involves designing or manufacturing a new product, you'll need to apply for a patent. A word of warning: the patent application process can literally take years, so think about the implication this has on your timeframe and launch plans. You've checked patent databases and created a business plan, which hopefully includes financial planning. At this point, many inventors approach a legal expert to help them with the application process. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys has a database of recommended attorneys. If this sounds drawn-out and beyond your budget, you could go down the registered trademark route instead, and focus on building a strong brand this way. You can also register a design rather than patent your invention, if its appearance is important. Have a look at the Intellectual Property Office's website to work out your options. Business licences and permits. Many small businesses require licences and permits to operate. The best starting place is the government's online licence finder. Simply complete the online form, and you'll be told what you need to apply for. Some licences are obvious, such as one for selling alcohol. If you're setting up any business that involves selling food and drinks, start by looking at the Food Standards Agency website, then contact your local council for advice. It's worth establishing a good working relationship with your local authority from the outset, and they'll be there to advise you throughout your business's life. Watch out for hidden licences too. Did you know, for example, that if you want background music in your shop, you'll need a PRS licence? The government's website will help you to make sure that you don't miss anything. Professional bodies, such as the Nationwide Caterers' Association, can also give you advice on the specific licences and permits you must have to trade legally. Business ethics and laws. There are numerous business laws in place to protect both you and the customer. From distance selling to data protection, many of your daily operations are covered by the law. Happily, there are also several very helpful websites and organisations to steer you through these rules and regulations. The Food Standards Agency can guide you on everything from production to packaging, as naturally there's a lot of legislation around food safety. If you work in retail, you'll need to know the Consumer Rights Act (2015) inside out, and be up to speed with online sales regulations if you offer that service. If you're storing personal details, make sure you understand data protection regulations. The workplace advisory service Acas can give you free help with regards to employment law: have a look at their helpful website. For the trades, add complex health and safety regulations to the list. The Health and Safety Executive is a great starting place. Limited company, partnership or sole trader? What form is your business going to take? Will you be a sole trader or partnership, and what are the benefits of a PLC approach? Here are the various forms of business ownership: Sole trader . Setting up as a sole trader is the quickest and easiest. Yes, you're personally responsible for any debts, but you can also maintain control of your accounts. You must keep meticulous financial records and complete a self-assessment tax return every year. You'll pay income tax on your profits and class 2 and 4 National Insurance. Business partnership . A business partner is a good way for two or more of you to share the business' profits and responsibilities. You each pay tax on your share, but the "nominated partner" takes charge of the accounting and reporting. Limited company . If you form a limited company, you're not personally liable for any debts; however, there are increased management responsibilities. You'll need to register your business name and address with Companies House ("incorporation") and appoint one or more directors and shareholders. Many Business name registration . Once you have made sure your business name doesn't infringe on any trademarks, it's time to check that it's an acceptable name. This means it can't be misleading (suggest you have a qualification or status that you don't have) or contain a "sensitive" word. Have a look at the government's guide to naming your business . At this stage, it's worth making sure that you can also secure the website address for your chosen name - it's a real business advantage to have a URL that's as close as possible to your business name. Run your name through a domain checker such as 123-Reg. When you're happy, you can make it official and register your name. The process varies slightly depending on whether you are a sole trader, partnership or PLC - you can find out more here. Setting up a business tax account . Nobody likes talking about tax, but managing your own taxes is simply a fact of life if you're self-employed. Register as self-employed with HMRC as soon as you can. You'll also be enrolled for online self-assessment at the same time. Accounts . If you've set up as a limited company, register for corporation tax within three months of starting up (and in HMRC terms, "starting up" can mean acquiring your premises rather than your first sale, so make sure you register as soon as possible to avoid a fine). You will need to file an annual company tax return (or your accountant will on your behalf). Expenses . 'Allowable expenses' are essential costs to keep your business running, and as such, they are tax deductible. You can use business expense tracking software such as Wave's free financial software to help manage this. The rent on business premises is an allowable expense; and if you work from home, you can claim a proportion of your household running costs. What proportion of your mortgage and utility bills go on work time and on "home" time can be quite tricky to work out: have a look at the government's simplified expenses calculator. Some financial costs also count as allowable, such as professional indemnity insurance, and some bank and card charges. What can't you claim? Travel is one to keep an eye on: you can't claim for your daily commute, but you can for the journey to visit a client. Use a flat rate for mileage unless you've already claimed your van or car as a capital allowance (a business asset). If you've previously been employed in a job with an expense account, forget about those halcyon days: you're picking up the whole tab yourself now. You can't claim back any fines, even if that parking ticket was due to a meeting over-running. To find out more, have a look at our guide to allowable expenses. Business insurance . Getting the right business insurance is essential for your new venture, and different company types will have different insurance requirements. A product like AXA's start-up insurance works with most new businesses, and gives you a supportive insurance package for those early days, helping you develop and change as your business grows. Most businesses need public liability insurance, which protects you from claims from customers. If you have employees, or work with freelancers or volunteers, you must get employers' liability insurance cover for at least £5 million. It's worth looking into specific insurance such as shop insurance to cover your contents and have a look at our business insurance by occupation options, which are tailored especially for your trade. Never wait for things to go wrong before getting insured - it really does need to be one of the first practical things you get in place. Get help: What business support will I need? . There's no such thing as a "sole" trader. All businesses are built on collaboration and advice. Even if you're setting up by yourself, it's unlikely that you're truly solo. So, who is going to take this business journey with you? Hiring your first business lawyer and accountant. From applying for a patent to working out expenses, these helpful professionals are key in the early stages. Don't feel daunted by their professional status: they're here to help you navigate the more specialist areas of running your own business. One of the best ways to identify a suitable lawyer or a business start-up accountant is via word-of-mouth. Ask other local businesses who they've used, and whether they'd recommend them. However, unless you prefer a face-to-face meeting, don't feel that your accountant must be local. Accounts can easily be managed over email and the phone, and you can use cloud-based software. You may want to look for an accountant who's registered with a body such as ACCA. While your accountant will soon become a regular presence in your life, a solicitor is usually there for more one-off projects, such as checking contracts, property issues or employment problems. There are benefits to having a local lawyer, as legal issues can be easier to discuss in person. Look for firms with experience in businesses like yours (both in terms of size and trade). Hiring employees. What should you consider before taking on your first employee? Firstly, do you need to employ staff? If you're a mobile hairdresser or freelance writer, maybe not. However, for many small start-ups, it's simply not possible to go solo. Yes, you may be able to run a small shop on your own (with a strong bladder and a kettle to hand), but what about holidays, or trips to the cash-and-carry or accountant? Plus, an assistant frees you up for the more strategic planning and financial sides of your business. So, you need an extra pair of hands. You have a few options. You can hire employees, bring sub-contractors or freelancers on board when you need them, or employ family members. It's a case of looking at the tasks that your business requires and establishing how much time needs to be devoted to each one. Some jobs, like gardening, are seasonal, so taking on sub-contractors when you need them may be an appropriate option. You could also bring in expertise when you need it, such as hiring a freelance marketer to launch a new product, or a virtual PA when admin get busy. Of course, you can always learn new skills yourself, rather than pay someone else to do straightforward tasks for you. Ask any small business owner, and they'll tell you how they became a jack-of-all-trades in their first few months. Becoming an employer. If you've decided that you need to hire staff, great - you're building a team and helping the local economy. However, this means you'll find yourself with a new raft of legal responsibilities as an employer. There is health and safety to take into consideration, and by law, you need to have employers' liability insurance. If you're not up to speed on employment law, contact Acas or look at their very helpful guides and templates. There's a lot to consider, including working time, equal and fair treatment and making sure recruits have the right to work in the UK. Consider getting a lawyer to help draw up that first contract. You'll need to manage payroll (although you can outsource this to a specialist payroll service) and sort out employers' National Insurance. For enrolling your staff into a pension scheme, seek advice from the Pensions Advisory Service. Don't forget all the other practical measures you need in place. You may need the right uniforms, equipment, IT and desk space for your staff. Do you have a space where they can take a break? What are your contingency plans for sick leave and holiday? This will all seem business-as-usual soon. Invoice management. This is a real business essential - invoice management best practice ensures you get paid. As ever, there are different options based on your time, budgets and experience. To be honest, learning how to write an invoice is one of the most straightforward skills a rookie business owner picks up, so you can do this yourself with a template and an Excel spreadsheet. In brief, your invoice needs your business name, address and (if applicable) VAT number. If you're a PLC, you'll also need your company number. Also include the name and address of the person or company you're billing. Itemise the products or services, give a final total, and then, if applicable, add the VAT. Don't forget to include bank transfer details. Date the invoice, so you know if you need to chase it. If you don't employ an accountant, whoever keeps track of the books - whether it's you, a member of your staff or a family member with a head for figures - they need to keep clear records of who owes you, the amount they owe you, when the invoice went out, when it was paid and if it needs chasing. Take advantage of invoice-producing software such as Wave's free online package. This will automatically generate invoices (which you can customise with your brand) as well as flagging late-payers. If you're going for DIY invoicing, this can really help. Allowable costs for employers . As we discussed earlier, self-employed people can claim tax deductible allowable expenses for those essential costs that keep our businesses going. Common expenses include tools, stationery, IT, uniforms and rent. But does this include paying for staff? Yes, in some cases it does. Have a look at the gov.uk website for further details, but to summarise, you can claim for salaries, pensions, benefits, NI and bonuses. Agency fees and subcontractors are also included. You can also claim allowable expenses for professional fees (including accountants, lawyers, architects and surveyors). If you're working with a web developer and designer, this also counts as allowable business expense. However, bear in mind that you can only claim staff costs for those who work directly for the business: a secretary is covered, a cleaner for your home isn't. Childcare is not an allowable expense (although many would argue that this is an essential cost!). Get funded: Finding the right business funding for your venture . Crowdfunding, grants or business angels - how are you going to fund your venture? By now, you're well on the way to launch day. You've got a name, a team behind you, HMRC knows your company exists (well, life's not perfect) and you're up to speed on your legal obligations. It's time to think about potential investors for your new business. Financing your business. How are you going to fund your business? You may have savings, or the profits from selling a previous business, or money to invest in a new venture. Or you may have very little except a business plan and a good idea. If you fall into the last group, how are you going to attract investors? That business plan we wrote earlier becomes your essential document. This is the evidence that shows your bank that you're worthy of a loan, or a possible investor that you know what you're doing. Writing your plan gave you an idea of how much investment you need to get started. If you're a private piano teacher, your new business costs won't be much more than your current keyboard and public liability insurance. However, if you're planning on opening a garage, you'll need a lot more in place. As well as coming up with a start-up figure, you need to bear in mind how many shares in your company you're willing to give up. We've all seen Dragon's Den and are familiar with the negotiation over percentage shares. How much control are you willing to give up? If the answer is "none", you are better off speaking with your bank about business set-up costs. Perfecting your elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch? It's a concise and compelling description of your business idea, intended to grab a potential investor literally in seconds. The logic behind this comes from the hypothetical scenario of the enthusiastic entrepreneur sharing an elevator with the CEO or other potential investor. The entrepreneur has the time it takes the lift to reach the CEO's floor to deliver a persuasive sales pitch. You never know when you will find yourself in a lift with a possible investor, so have that elevator pitch ready to go. But your idea is massive! How can you possibly do it justice in a thirty-second speech? Stick to these key points: introduce yourself and your business, say what you hope to do and how your business idea solves a problem. Finish with an open-ended question to engage their interest and encourage dialogue. Time your pitch until you've whittled it down to half a minute and practise it. Have your business card ready to hand out. There are plenty of elevator pitch templates online, and some great elevator pitch examples and tips in this article. Pitch a start-up business with a longer presentation. Your elevator pitch was a success, and you've been invited into the boardroom. Or, a potential investor has been in touch and wants to find out more. If you're pursuing a bank loan, you need to impress the branch business manager. You're going to need a bigger pitch. The typical structure is the same as the elevator pitch: introduce yourself, explain the problem, introduce your idea and describe why it solves the problem. Use storytelling to help potential investors see how your product or service can be practically applied. Think about writing a pitch where your business is the hero who saves the day (and is the only one who can). The wedding dress that tears the night before the big day? Call the 24-hour mobile emergency wardrobe repairing service! Keep your story visual, with photos or product prototypes. This breaks it up and helps to hold attention. Always back up your ideas with figures: prepare a handout so you don't have to remember all the numbers (and keep a copy for reference during your pitch). Never lose the skill of how to pitch for business. In many trades, this will become an everyday part of your work. Business networking events. We're all used to jumping straight to Google when we want to know about another business. However, good old-fashioned networking events are an effective and far more personable way of meeting potential investors, partners and clients (although hunting for staff is definitely frowned upon). What are these gatherings, and how do I find networking events near me? Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start researching networking events in the UK, and LinkedIn is extremely useful for researching events and contacts (a LinkedIn account is pretty much an essential for a rookie business person). Meetup.com can link you up with like-minded professional events, and you should also look out for retail fairs and expos. If you have found a mentor, they should be able to help you discover relevant events, and perhaps can help with those all-important introductions. Don't forget to practise your elevator pitch and pack your business cards. Business funding ideas . These days, you don't have to head straight for the bank or the conventional business investor to get your start-up off the blocks. Online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter are innovative ways to secure funding. As well as raising money, you'll also engage with enthusiastic people who are behind your idea. It does require work on your part - you'll need to create an engaging pitch, manage your campaign page and keep communicating with your community. But for some start-ups, this effort has paid off. An "angel investor" is a successful business person or affluent individual who wants to help a fledgling company. You can connect with an angel online (on platforms such as this one) or strike it lucky and meet one at a networking event. This can go hand-in-hand with mentoring and is often purely altruistic. To find out other possible funding routes, have a look at the helpful Better Business Finance website. The government's website also has some very helpful suggestions for local funding, as there are specific grants available for new businesses in certain areas. Get the word out: Spreading the word through small business marketing . If you tell them, they will come… Marketing your business effectively will let customers know you're out there. We're ticking so much off the list… Your business has everything in place and is ready to be launched into the world. But does the world know that you're open and ready for business? Thanks to social media and online advertising, letting your market know about your new service or product has never been easier. Here are a few tips for spreading the word. Building a business website. A website forms the basis of many modern marketing methods. For a start, with most of your customers using search engines to look for businesses, a website is pretty much an essential. As well as informing your customers about your business, it's a powerful marketing tool. Send traffic to your website from your social media accounts and create shareable blogs that establish you as an expert in the field. It also gives you the opportunity to develop a remote sales side to your business. Designing a business website is easy. You don't need advanced tech skills to create your own free website with WordPress or Wix, which both have a great range of templates to suit your business and brand. You've already chosen a domain name to match your brand, but you'll also need to set up website hosting. Alternatively, you can get a business website professionally designed and built (and remember, this is tax deductible). Outsourcing to an expert helps if you're short of time, really don't like the idea of a DIY site or have more complex needs (for example, you're running an online store). Speak to a few agencies or freelancers, and choose one based on their previous work, their prices and whether they really listen to you when you explain the brief. Paid social media advertising. Some 78% of British adults have a Facebook account: that's probably a large chunk of your target market. Having a strong Facebook presence just makes sense - have a look at our guide to paid social advertising on Facebook to find out how this can help you. You can set up a specific campaign (for example, Valentine's Day offers), a targeted market (single people in their twenties), a daily budget and a campaign end date (very important on a time-sensitive campaign like a Valentine's promotion). It's flexible and easy, and cost-effective if you set your budget wisely. Depending on your market, you may feel a Twitter advertising campaign is more suitable, and for designers, restaurants, artists, florists and tourism businesses, photos and videos on Instagram will speak the right language for your customers. Flexibility is one of the real advantages of social media advertising, as you can regularly review and change your ads based on their performance. How to set up Google My Business. Google My Business is a great way of building an online presence for even the smallest business. It's essentially a free listing that displays all your business's details, right down to your opening hours. Your listing shows up on Google's pages and maps when people search for you, making it simple for customers to discover you. It's super-easy to register with Google My Business, and even easier to use - and you can change your details at any point. To find out more, we've set up a step-by-step guide to getting on Google on our Business Guardian Angel pages. Business speaking opportunitiess. Never miss a chance to publicise your business. We mentioned network events earlier: if you can speak or have a stall at one of these, you'll have a great opportunity to showcase your offer. Build relationships with your local Chamber of Commerce and find speaking events in your field via Meetup.com. As well as professional events, keep an eye out for expos and fairs that suit your brand, product or services. Careers fairs and speaking events at colleges also expand your profile with the local market (while also helping your business engage with the community). Pitching your business to clients. The idea of "cold calling" brings many of us out in a sweat. It shouldn't. For a start, you can cold pitch to clients on email these days, which makes it far less daunting. If there's a company you'd really like to sell to or have a contract with, do your research before you email them, and identify the right person to address your email to. Put some thought into a compelling subject line that doesn't sound like spam. In the body of the email, address a problem that company may have, and explain how you - and only you - can solve this. If you don't hear back, follow up after a week. You can also build a customer database, and send out e-newsletters, which is a broader way of pitching to a lot of clients. Try a service like Mailchimp for e-marketing. Make sure you harvest and keep customer data in line with regulations for data protection, and add an unsubscribe link to every email. Get growing: Putting it all together – Launching a successful business. As you can see, it is possible to take that great idea and turn it into a viable business. By looking at a series of business must-haves one at a time, you can break down all the components into do-able tasks. If it seems daunting to turn your idea into a real-life business, simply take it one step at a time. Like any building, a business needs strong foundations. By having a solid financial and legal base, with marketing, staffing and advisers all in place, your business stands a good chance of success. We'll be with you as you build on this foundation. As well as our tailored insurance for start-ups, there's also our Business Guardian Angel, a series of guides and blogs that talk about the issues that matter to small businesses. AXA has your back - and we can't wait to see how your idea develops. All businesses start with a story. Protect yours. Starting a business isn’t easy, but protecting it is. 47% of the small businesses we protect are start ups*. So protect your business’ first steps with AXA. Find out more about insurance for startups *Based on AXA business and shop insurance policies as of June 2017. 'Start up business' defined as being less than three years old.
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Result 25
TitleHow To Start A Business - what do you need to know? | Crunch
Urlhttps://www.crunch.co.uk/knowledge-becoming-self-employed/how-to-start-a-business
DescriptionIf you're looking to start a business here are all the I’s you'll have to dot, and all the T’s you'll have to cross to give you the best chance of success
Date5 Dec 2020
Organic Position23
H1How to start a business - what do you need to know?
H2Table of contents
Get started with Crunch
H3Get a plan in place
Do what you do best
Choose a name for your business
Choose your legal structure
Register your business
Think about insurance
Create a website
Connect with peers
Build a presence
Boost your rankings
Enhance your reputation
Get the ball rolling
Stop reading this and get on with it!
Webinar: Becoming Self Employed - how to start a business
H2WithAnchorsTable of contents
Get started with Crunch
BodyHow to start a business - what do you need to know?By Ross BrambleDecember 5, 2020Table of contents. Despite the best efforts of programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, starting a business remains a dream for many. So, what do you need to know to start a business? Although not totally without its drawbacks, starting your own business can bring great satisfaction and a new-found sense of freedom.‍If you’re looking to join 4.77 million people in the UK by taking the leap into self-employment, you’re probably wondering how to get started. With that in mind, here are all the i’s you’ll have to dot, and all the t’s you’ll have to cross to get that business going.We'll assume that you've already weighed up the pros and cons of working for yourself and made the decision that it's right for you, but if you haven't or your still not sure then our article "13 things to consider before going freelance" is a good place to start.Alternatively, you might prefer to watch this jargon-free video on the things you need to think about before you take the leap.Get a plan in place. Ever heard the saying “by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail”?Putting a solid business plan together can help you work out whether your idea is a sensible one.Once you’re confident you’ve answered all the questions that need answering, you can use your business plan to convince investors, partners, and employees that you’re likely to become profitable.Our jargon-free guide to writing a business plan will give you a better idea of how to get the ball rolling.Do what you do best. You want to go self-employed so you can make a living doing what you love, right? Well, now it’s time to do it. Show people what you can do, get creative, and enjoy the new-found freedom that comes with running your own business.It can be a tough life, and it won’t always be easy, but if you love what you’re doing, you’ll never be without a spring in your step. Our article on how to turn your hobby into a career could help you find a more enjoyable way to make a living.Choose a name for your business. This is a big step and one that can be fun, you don’t have to be boring and simply use your name - your business name can be anything, within reason!There are a few rules you need to be aware of and your chosen business name may already be taken, so our article ‘How to come up with a great company name’ is a good place to start.Choose your legal structure. We’re constantly asked to explain the differences between sole traders and limited companies, and as an aspiring startup business or freelancer - these are among the choices available to you as a legal structure.There can be a number of advantages in forming a limited company, but it does come with more responsibilities.Generally, sole trader or limited company business structures are the most popular amongst freelancers and contractors, but there’s also the possibility of operating as a Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership, should these structures suit you better.Each of these structures come with their respective pros and cons, so explore our article ‘sole trader vs limited company - what’s best?’ thoroughly before making your choice.Register your business. Your choice of how to structure your business will have an impact here since each legal structure requires a slightly different registration process.‍Registering as a sole trader is the simplest route, which only requires you to choose a business name and register with HMRC as self-employed for your annual Self Assessment (which is how you’ll pay your tax). Once this is done, you’re all set. Registering and setting up as a limited company is a little more complex, as there are a few more hoops to jump through.That said, it can still be done quickly and easily – you can form a company online at Companies House, or save yourself some money by using our Crunch Formations service to see if your company name is available and then getting your new company set up in just a matter of hours (for less than the price of doing it through Companies House).Think about insurance. While not necessarily a legal requirement (although it is in some industries – something else you’ll need to check out!), it’s probably worthwhile exploring the different business insurance options available as - despite involving an initial outlay - some investment here can save you considerable cash.‍Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers’ Liability insurance are the options you’ll most likely need, so consider your options and see which insurance policies will fit you best.You might also want to consider lIfe cover to protect yourself or your loved ones should the worst happen.Create a website. Now that you’re officially a business, you need to think about creating a website. Even if it’s just one or two free WordPress pages, it’s vital to have an online presence, somewhere you can send potential customers and a way for them to find out about your business and do a bit of research on you. You need to ensure your website sells your products or services perfectly and converts site visitors into customers.We have an article with some handy tips for setting up a small business website.Connect with peers. The next step is to connect with businesses that complement your products or services but aren’t in direct competition. You can build up connections on social media websites or through local networking events. The more people you meet the more chance you’ll have of gaining those all-important leads in the first few weeks.Our Crunch Chorus self-employed community has a popular Facebook group with over 2,000 members and is a friendly helpful place to find people to connect with.Build a presence. Building a presence online is a little different to offline since you have so many more channels to focus your energies on. You also need to be mindful of keeping your private and professional life separate online - friends might be interested in knowing you’re starting your own business, but your clients won’t be interested in the parties you’ve attended or how much you enjoyed that movie over the weekend.That’s why it’s a good idea to start from scratch; use the ‘pages’ facility to get a business page on Facebook and create business Twitter and LinkedIn account - just remember to keep the personal stuff personal, and the public stuff public.It costs you nothing to tell your friends, family, and ex-colleagues to spread the word that you’re in business, either. Just make some calls, share your Facebook page and send a few emails – whatever you have to do to get the word out. If your business appeals to them, they may, in turn, use their personal and professional circles to refer it to a much bigger audience.Boost your rankings. You probably know that appearing at the top of search engines for certain terms can be extremely lucrative in terms of traffic and sales since you’re what people see when they’ve already made the decision to hire or buy.To get there you need to ensure your content is rich, engaging and informative while connecting with peers to ensure you have links on other websites too. You can regularly update your blog, add your business to Google Places, or invest a little more money and enlist a freelance SEO expert to help.Enhance your reputation. When people search for a product or service online, they utilise the wealth of information at their fingertips and delve a little deeper than if they were shopping on the high street. They’ll research you and your brand, see if you deliver what you promise and have knowledge on the area you’re trading in.This is why it’s not only important to blog on your website (or guest blog on other websites) with informative articles and advice, but also to encourage feedback and reviews online to confirm your position as a leader in your industry.Get the ball rolling. Once you have a website, a social media presence and a presence online you can start making waves to bring visitors and customers to your business. There are many ways to encourage a flurry of interest such as competitions, press releases, guest blogs, and targeted email campaigns.If you need help managing your business finances, Crunch can help - we’re experts in supporting freelancers, contractors, and small business owners..Stop reading this and get on with it!In terms of the initial paperwork that’s about it – at this point, the only thing left to do is to get out there, generate some leads to drum up some clients and start building your business.Belief and hard work will go a long way in this endeavour. Just remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day - starting a business from scratch is a tricky old task, but completely worthwhile when you start to build up some steam.If you need some support from like-minded people who took the self-employed plunge, you can find them in our free-to-join self-employed community, Crunch Chorus. You can also read some testimonies from those who took the leap in our Crunch Chorus Stories articles.Webinar: Becoming Self Employed - how to start a business. If you’re looking to begin your self-employed journey, this webinar is a great place to start.Jake Smith and Michael Awuye from Crunch are joined by business coach, mentor and author of the popular from “From Crew to Captain” books, David Mellor!ou can download the slides here.Get started with Crunch. Get startedBook a callbackDynamicGet a callbackDynamic Text
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Result 26
TitleThe Really Practical Guide to Starting Up Your Own Business
Urlhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Really-Practical-Guide-Starting-Business/dp/1452061564
DescriptionThis item: The Really Practical Guide to Starting Up Your Own Business. by Kim Hills Spedding Paperback · Starting a Business For Dummies, 4th Edition, UK ...
Date
Organic Position24
H1
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H2WithAnchors
Body
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Result 27
TitleHow to Start a Business in the UK - Expert Market
Urlhttps://www.expertmarket.co.uk/how-to-start-a-business-in-the-uk
DescriptionStarting a business? Unsure where to start? We walk you through step by step how to start a business in the UK in 2021
Date
Organic Position25
H1Expert Market’s beginner’s guide on
H2HOW TO START A BUSINESS IN THE UK
Starting a business in the UK: is it right for you?
The challenges of starting a business
Why should you start a business?
11 STEPS TO SUCCESS
Chapter 1: Do your research
Chapter 2: Make a plan
Chapter 3: Choose a legal status for your business
Chapter 4: Register your business’ name and premises
5. Understand tax obligations
6.Obtain the licences
7. Open your accounts
8. Secure your financing
9. Design your website
10. Build your network
11. Drive sales and marketing
Good luck!
H3Everything you need to know about building a business from scratch in 2020 and beyond, in just 11 simple steps
The four pillars of success
COURAGE
MONEY
COMMITMENT
LUCK
How to start a business in the UK
WHO
WHY
WHERE
WHEN
Sole trader
Limited company
Partnership
Name to fame
Location, location, location
Share-ing is caring
VAT (Value Added Tax)
Corporation tax
Business rates
Keeping accurate records
Submitting annual accounts
Registering for self- assessment
Business bank account
Merchant account
Bootstrapping
Start Up Loan
Bank loan
Alternative finance providers
Use a website builder
Code it yourself
Hire an expert
Use LinkedIn!
Participate in online forums
1) Digitise your marketing
2) Get to grips with CRM software
3) Supercharge your social media
1) Do your research
2) Make a plan
3) Choose a legal status
4) Register name and premises
5) Understand tax obligations
6) Obtain the licences
7) Open your accounts
8) Secure your financing
9) Design your website
10) Build your network
11) Drive sales and marketing
H2WithAnchorsHOW TO START A BUSINESS IN THE UK
Starting a business in the UK: is it right for you?
The challenges of starting a business
Why should you start a business?
11 STEPS TO SUCCESS
Chapter 1: Do your research
Chapter 2: Make a plan
Chapter 3: Choose a legal status for your business
Chapter 4: Register your business’ name and premises
5. Understand tax obligations
6.Obtain the licences
7. Open your accounts
8. Secure your financing
9. Design your website
10. Build your network
11. Drive sales and marketing
Good luck!
BodyExpert Market’s beginner’s guide onHOW TO START A BUSINESS IN THE UK. Everything you need to know about building a business from scratch in 2020 and beyond, in just 11 simple steps. by Rob BinnsSenior WriterSo you want to start a business, eh? You’re in good company – there are currently around 5.9 million SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the UK. That number is continuing to balloon, too – as we enter an exciting new decade for our country’s commerce, about 70 new businesses are being formed here every hour.Britain has always been a fertile land for budding, busi-ness-minded brains – we’ve produced Branson, Bannatyne, and the Beckhams, and lay claim to BP, Burberry, and the brilliant Brompton Bicycle.You or I may not harbour ambitions of owning the next big multinational oil corporation (and it’s unlikely we’ll ever be trading on the same scale as Virgin Media) but most of us have, at some stage or other, considered the question:What if I started my own business?Starting a business is an exciting idea, filled with possibili-ties, potential, and (hopefully) profits. But the road towards setting up your business won’t be an easy one. It’ll be paved with late nights, peppered with pitfalls, and lined throughout with the red tape of government bureaucracy.Our goal is to help you navigate that road. In just 11 steps, we’ll take you through everything you need to build your business from the ground up – from the delicate seed of a long-cherished idea to the sweet, blossoming fruits of your hard work and dedication.So, just how do you start a business? Let’s find out. 1. Starting a business 2. 11 steps to success 3. Key takeaways Starting a business in the UK: is it right for you?The four pillars of success. Have you got what it takes?Sadly, six out of ten businesses in the UK go bust within three years of establishment. So, if you’re entertaining the notion that entrepreneurship will be easy, abandon it now.To start a business (and make it successful), you’ll need to grit your teeth, dig deep, and ride the wave – even if, at times, that same current is threatening to pull you under.You can have the best idea in the world, and be the cleverest, most forward-thinking entrepreneur – but without a healthy mixture of the following four elements, you won’t succeed.So, we’ll ask again – have you got what it takes to start your own business?COURAGE. Starting a business can be a lonely journey, and has the potential to severely test your personal relationships. You’re putting not only your career on the line, but your money, your livelihood, and your reputation, too. You’ll need courage to persevere, even when you don’t feel like it – even when mustering that courage feels harder than it ever has before.MONEY. Starting a business without a bit of capital behind you is like trying to climb a tree with one arm tied behind your back – difficult, if not impossible. Like most people, you’ll need to spend some money before you can start making it. Jump to Chapter 8 of this guide to discover the right funding option for you.COMMITMENT. Unless you’ve already received big investment (or have friends in high places), then let’s face it – your business is unlikely to be an instant success. You’ll need to develop a strong plan and execute it professionally. And, above all, you’ll need to stay committed to your idea, and remain steadfast in its ability to change the world.LUCK. It’s a harsh, but true, fact of life – some businesses fail not because of a lack of drive, cash, or ingenuity, but simply because they were unlucky. Ride your luck when it comes, and have the courage, commitment, and frugality to weather the storm of the inevitable patches of bad luck you’ll encounter along the way.The challenges of starting a business. Regardless of whether you were born here or lured from overseas by the bright lights of London, the UK remains an excellent place to do business. Even away from the black cabs and beefeaters of the capital, cities such as Bristol, Leeds, and Oxford are emerging as other strong contenders in which to begin your business. That said, the last couple of years have seen a couple of nota-ble spanners thrown into the works of the normally resolute British economy. We’ll start with the obvious…Brexit. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union continues to make it’s slow, laboured process into actuality – and while it does, the only certainty for UK businesses is, well… uncertainty.What we do know, though, is that Brexit is likely to bring with it a few challenges for those looking to start a busi-ness in the UK.Cost of preparation. So far, UK-based businesses have spent an average of around £2,000 preparing for Brexit. For small businesses that import and export, this has risen to sit closer to £3,000. Steep!Recruitment. Though employees that have been UK residents for five or more years can apply for ‘settled status’, Brexit means that young companies may struggle to attract top European talent from abroad.Tariffs. It comes as no surprise that those in the import/export business stand to suffer most in the event of a bad Brexit deal. Such companies could face delays at the border, additional customs paperwork, increased trade tariffs, and the need to prove that their products are locally sourced.Access to finance. Decreased investor confidence, cash flow issues, and a yoyoing exchange rate have all combined to stymie British businesses’ access to finance since the 2016 referendum.So, if you’re going to be heavily reliant on finance – or if the business you have a burning desire to start is an import/ export one – then the current British climate may not be the most forgiving for you right now……but don’t write it off just yet.Why should you start a business?Aside from PG Tips, Yorkie Bars, and good old-fashioned patriotism, there are plenty of excellent reasons to set up shop in the UK:1. It’s easy to do business. The first? It’s just very easy to do business in the UK. The World Bank currently rates it as the 8th best country in the world to do business in overall, and the 18th best to start a company in.2. Optimism is (mostly) still in the air. Though the shadow of a no-deal Brexit looms large over our entrepreneurial landscape, it’s actually not all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s the opposite – in a recent survey, 57% of respondents indicated that they’re remaining optimistic about the UK’s economic performance in the coming year.3. Access to a skilled workforce. At 30 million people, the UK’s pool of skilled employees is the second largest workforce in the European Union (for now). On top of this, the UK’s overall cost of labour is lower than many of our neighbours’, including Ireland, France, and the Netherlands.4. A forgiving taxation system. The UK has a relatively low corporate tax rate, and a taxation system that is, largely, quite straightforward. Better still, VAT is payable on the majority of goods and services supplied in the UK, adding another layer of incentive for businesses to hunker down, set out their stall, and ride out the uncertain-ty of Brexit.11 STEPS TO SUCCESS. How to start a business in the UK. So, you’ve vowed to be courageous. You’re committed to seeing your idea through into a fully-fledged business, you’ve got some money to do it with, and you’re ready to embrace each opportunity to innovate that comes your way.Furthermore, you’ve thrown your lot in with the challenges posed by starting a business in the UK, as well as the unique plethora of possibilities it presents. In other words, you’re ready to start your business. 1. Do your research 2. Make a plan 3. Choose a legal status 4. Register name and premises 5. Understand tax obligations 6. Obtain the licences 7. Open your accounts 8. Secure your financing 9. Design your website 10. Build your network 11. Drive sales and marketing Chapter 1: Do your research. Look before you leap – because first, you’ll need to plot out……the who, why, where, and when of your business. What do we mean? Read on…WHO. So, you’ve got an idea for a business, you’ve shared it with your friends and family, and they’re full of vehement praise for it. That’s great… but are they really an impartial audience? Do they love your idea, or just you?More importantly, do they constitute the demographic you’re planning to sell to?Before you start, don’t just listen out for what you want to hear – seek a wide range of opinions. Gather feedback from the age range you’re planning to target, and those who share interests with your ideal ‘lead’, or customer.You can do this by running focus group sessions, or conducting surveys online. You can set one up cheaply with Survey Monkey, and then place an ad online or in the paper askingfor participants. You may have to incentivise people to take part, sure – but the data you’ll get will outweigh any initial monetary costs.You’ll also want to take a look at other companies that are already in the space you’re keen to enter. Who’s doing it well, and who could be doing it far better? Where are the gaps in the market for a healthy dollop of innovation? Once you’re in business, these companies will be your competitors – so it pays to know them inside out, even before you begin.WHY. Studying your competitors also gives you a chance to think about the ‘why’ of your business. What consumer needs will it satisfy that other businesses don’t? And if they do, how will yours do it better? In other words, why does the world need the business you want to bring into it?You’ll also need to look within – what do you want your company to stand for? A company’s core values are crucial to how its audience perceives, relates to, and engages with the brand.75% of customers will start shopping with a company they believe shares their values – so it’s important that the ethos you wish to embody is one that will resonate with your customers.Millennials, for instance, currently account for around 27% of the world’s population, and have already proven to be particularly discerning value-based buyers. To sell to them, first sell them your why – but you’ll need to know what that ‘why’ is first.WHERE. Are you a one-(wo)man band working from home or a cafe, or will you need something more permanent? If so, are you happy to rely on a coworking space, or would you prefer your own office? And do you have the funds (and the desire) to buy that space, or will renting suffice?Skip to Chapter 4 for our advice on selecting a location. Starting your own business (if it’s a limited company) will also require you to register a business address with the government.WHEN. When it comes to starting a business, timing is everything. The untimely entrance of Brexit, for example, has already disrupted the best-laid plans of many a budding business. Conversely, though, launching a business at the right time can make all the difference.To do this, try to capitalise on the contemporary. Are there any topical gripes or trends floating around on social media that your business can tap into? Any big stories you could use in your advertising to grow awareness of your business’ purpose and brand?On the other hand, are there any recent events that might have reduced the need for (or popularity of) your product or service? Sometimes it’s better to cool your heels and wait a few months, to ensure you’re launching your business at just the right time.Case studyTo demonstrate the importance of timing, we chatted to Tom Dewhurst, founder of Ordoo, a popular food mobile ordering app:“If you’re launching a new business with a vaguely innovative approach, then timing is everything. At Ordoo we arguably launched too early in 2016. Mobile ordering was still a very novel concept in the restaurant industry and customers weren’t looking for a solution.”Since then, big corporates like Wetherspoons, Starbucks, and McDonald’s all released similar apps, meaning that the customer demand changed – and Ordoo is best placed to take advantage of this. When it comes to timing, you need to research what’s going on in the industry thoroughly, and don’t forget to speak with potential customers to see if they want your solution. At the end of the day, it comes down to a gut feeling.”To kickstart your market research, fill in our form with a few details about your business. We’ll ask a couple of questions about the methods and type of market research you want to conduct, and then provide you with tailored quotes from leading UK-based agencies. It takes less than a minute, and is completely free.Chapter 2: Make a plan. Where good ideas become great plansYou’ve done the research, and you’re confident that your idea has the niche, the legs, and the timing to succeed. Now it’s time to make a business plan.A business plan is where you take that idea that’s been gestating in your head, and turn it into something concrete. It’s a document that lays out what you plan to achieve, and how you’re going to do it. So how do you make one?Well, simply download a free business plan template, and… start filling it in! Here are some of the things your business plan should include:1. Executive summary: this should go at the top of your business plan, and sometimes is all a potential investor will read before deciding to take another look, or toss it in the bin.2. Your background (qualifications and work experience)3. A description of the products and/or services you intend to sell4. Your typical customer: who are they?5. Findings from any market research you conducted6. Your marketing strategy: what are you going to do, and how much will it cost?7. An analysis of your competitors8. Operations and logistics: payment methods, deliveries, transport, equipment, and suppliers9. Costs, pricing strategy, and financial forecasts10. Your exit strategy: when it’s time to sell up and ship out, how will you do it? How will you eventually reduce your stake in the business, and make a profit while doing so?It might take weeks to months to complete, but getting your plan done is crucial. Not only can it serve as a simple, shareable summary of your business with which you can wow investors, but it acts as your business’ central doctrine – your rock, your lighthouse, your go-to in times of wavering willpower or stuttering self-doubt.All finished? Excellent. Now, it’s time to get registered.WHAT IS AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY?This is an introduction to your business plan. It needs to include what your business is, what problem it solves, and what market you’re planning to target. It’s also a place for your ‘elevator’ pitch – a super quick introduction to what makes your business special.As well as this, your executive summary should contain key financial details. Here’s your chance to crunch the numbers, outlining your expected sales forecast goals and margins for the future (usually the next three years).You’ll also need to provide other critical details – do you or your co-founders boast USPs (unique selling points) that might lure in investors? Have you secured a prestigious scholarship or government grant?Your executive summary should also state its purpose. Are you using it to try and get a bank loan, or a round of investment?Chapter 3: Choose a legal status for your business. When a great plan turns into a legally recognised entityHere’s where you make things official, formally registering your business with the UK government. You have three options – registering as a sole trader, as a limited company, or as a partnership. What’s it going to be?Sole trader status is a legal requirement if you earned more than £1,000 from self-employment in the last financial year.Sole trader. Registering as a sole trader means you’ll be legally self-employed – you’ll work for yourself, and keep all profits your business makes (after tax, of course). It’s also a popular choice – 60% of UK small businesses are sole traders. However, you’ll also be personally responsible for any losses your business incurs.Limited company. Registering as a limited company is a bit more complicated – there are a few more management and reporting requirements. Importantly, though, your limited company’s finances will remain separate from your own, and will be a different legal entity.If you go down this route, you’ll need to register with Companies House, providing details about your business’ name, address, activity, key people, and share structure. Jump to Chapter 4 for more info.Partnership. If your business is less of a sole venture and more of a double act, you have the option to register your business as a partnership. The British government describes it as “the simplest way for two or more people to run a business together”. You and your partner will personally share the responsibilities of the business, including its losses and any equipment costs incurred.Chapter 4: Register your business’ name and premises. Limited company? Unlimited paperwork…If you’ve decided to start your business as a limited company, you’ll need to register with a name and address, while also providing details about your company’s share structure and persons of significant interest.Name to fame. If you’ve decided to start your business as a limited company, you’ll need a name. It’s a legal requirement, but common sense quickly tells us that the importance of a name goes far beyond the law – businesses without names tend not to survive.So what’s in a name?Well, it’s your customer’s first touchpoint with your services. It’s an integral part of your brand, your shop front. It’s how you communicate with your audience in that split-second window of opportunity in which they discover you.There’s no set formula for picking the perfect business name, but we do have a couple of quick do’s and don’ts:DO:Make your name catchy (fun to say, easy to remember, and simple to pronounce)Use a name that conveys some meaning – you don’t want people to have to work too hard to figure out what you doDON’TInclude unusual spelling or strange punctuationGive your business a name that could limit it as it grows (names of cities or specific products are out!)But above all, what you name your company is entirely up to you. The only thing the government asks is that it’s original – if it’s too close to the name of a business that already exists, you will be legally obliged to change it.Check if your name is taken with Companies House’s free name eligibility checker.Location, location, location. When registering a limited company, you’ll also need to record an official address. This is where any communications addressed to your business go. The only rules are that it has to be located in the same country your business is registered in, and be… well, a real address!That said, if you’re an ecommerce business, you may not have a business premises. And, since your registered address will display publicly online, you probably don’t want to use your home address. In this case, you can register the address of the company that handles your tax and accounts, or hire a company to forward your mail from a desirable location.It’s here where you’ll also need to start thinking about where you’re going to be working from. Your front room might be fine when you’re just starting out, but is it really the headquarters of an ambitious business looking to scale?Probably not. So, sooner rather than later, you’re going to want to look at renting a space to work in. Here’s a broad overview of your office space options:RENTING AN OFFICE SPACECoworking/flexible working space: Perfect for freelancers or sole traders, a desk in a flexible space, surrounded by like-minded individuals, could be exactly what you need to get inspired.Virtual office space: A digital nomad’s dream, a virtual office space gives you access to meeting rooms, post collection, and call answering services. Oh, and it counts as your registered address, too!Serviced office space: Great for small, multi-person businesses, these spaces come with everything you need to start working straight away, and can be rented for as little as a month at a time.Managed office space: An ideal long-term solution for more established businesses, a managed office space provider works with you to build a place that feels your own.Right now it’s likely you’ll just want a flexible or virtual office space. But, as you grow your business, you’ll want to explore what a managed office space can bring to the culture and aesthetics of your workplace. Here’s where we can help.Simply provide a bit of information telling us what you want from your office space. We’ll do the rest, putting you in touch with the best office space management companies in your area. They’ll be able to provide you with bespoke quotes, and help you design your perfect flexible working experience.Share-ing is caring. You’re nearly all done registering as a limited company – nice! There are just a few more details you’ll need to provide to the UK government:An SIC (standard industrial classification) code: a series of dropdown lists, where you’ll declare what your business doesThe name(s) of the director(s): the people legally responsible for the businessYour company share structure: a statement of capital – a detailed description of the number and value of the shares making up your company’s total worthThe name(s) of the shareholder(s): details about who owns shares in your businessAll this will cost you a nominal fee – it’s £12 to register a limited company online with Companies House5. Understand tax obligations. As the old Benjamin Franklin quote goes……there are two certainties in life – taxes and, well… more taxes! And, now you’re a registered business owner, it’s your responsibility to understand them. Let’s take a look at some of the business taxes applicable to UK enterprises:VAT (Value Added Tax). VAT is a charge of 20% that you’re required to apply to any goods or services that you’re selling. It’s applicable to businesses that have a VAT taxable turnover of more than £85,000 per year. You can register for VAT via the government’s website.Corporation tax. If you’ve chosen to become a limited company, you’ll need to register for corporation tax within three months of beginning trading. It’s a flatrate tax, and what you’ll pay will depend on the value of your profits.Ready? Register for corporation tax here.Business rates. Despite its slightly dubious-sounding moniker, ‘business rates’ is essentially a government tax levied on your business’ premises. It’s charged annually, and applies to offices, shops, bars, factories, and warehouses – basically, anywhere business is done. You won’t pay business rates if you’re running your business from home.Along with understanding, registering for (and, sadly, paying) these taxes, you’ll also have a few other responsibilities to take care of in the eyes of the law:Keeping accurate records. It’s good practice to document all your business’ financial transactions. Outgoings, incomings, statements… by keeping up to date records, you’ll make things easier foryourself (and your accountant) when the end of the financial year rolls around.Submitting annual accounts. Every year, you’ll need to submit an official record of your business’s financial state of affairs. This includes a summary of your revenue, expenses, and all other financial transactions you’ve made in the year. If you’re registered as a limited company, this is a mandatory requirement.On top of this, you’ll need to file an annual confirmation assessment. This is the government's way of confirming that the details they have on file about you and your business are all correct. You can do it here – it’ll cost £13 to do online, or £40 via the post.Registering for self- assessment. Self-assessment is a set of basic accounts you’ll need to file every year, telling the government how much money you made. It’s how they’llcalculate your tax going forward, so set aside the time to get it just right.Self-assessment is compulsory for profit-based enterprises, no matter whether you’re running a limited company or are registered as a sole trader. Not-for-profits are excused.6.Obtain the licences. In other words, it’s more paperwork……but when you’re done, you’ll be a fully edged business. So, what do we mean by licences?From driving a car to watching TV, licences are one of the bare, boring necessities of life. And, a little irritatingly, those looking to start a business aren’t excused.If the business you’re starting is a pub, you’ll need a liquor licence, and permission to sell food. And if you rely on outside software to drive sales and marketing, you’ll need a licence for that, too. Oh, and if you thought you could carry a few bags of rubbish around without a licence, well, then… think again!Whatever your business does, you’ll probably need a licence for it. And it makes sense to get it sorted sooner, rather than risking fines further down the line.Here is a list of the licences you might come across doing business in the UK.Or, if you’re short on time, just head straight to the government’s licence finder and answer a few questions about what you do – it’ll tell you exactly which licences you need, and provide instructions for acquiring them, too.7. Open your accounts. It’s almost time to start selling!In the next chapter, we’ll take a look at a few ways your business can go about securing funding. But before obtaining the money you need to start your business, you’ll need somewhere to put it all. First, you’ll need to open a:Business bank account. When it comes to receiving funding, making deposits, and paying suppliers, a business bank account is an absolute necessity. Much like your personal bank account, you can make withdrawals and deposits, use a debit card, and benefit from an overdraft to help maintain cash flow.Unlike with your personal account, though, most banks will charge you for business transactions, such as setting up direct debits, depositing cash, and making a transfer. It’s likely you’ll also have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to maintain the account.You can set up a business account with a traditional high street bank, or with a challenger bank, such as Tide or Revolut. Fees will vary based on the provider you choose, so do your research first. Many banks tend to waive account fees for new businesses for as long as the first 24 months, so ask carefully about what deal your chosen provider is offering.Merchant account. If you plan to take card payments from customers – whether online, over the phone, or face-to-face – you’ll need to open a merchant account.Merchant accounts enable you to accept credit, debit, and contactless cards, plus mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. A merchant account acts as a kind of holding pen, where your customer’s funds go to be authenticated and settled by the bank, before being deposited into your business bank account (see above).Merchant accounts also come with the hardware and software you’ll need for takingpayments from your customers. If you’re a retailer planning to take payments at the point of sale (i.e. from a physical store), your merchant account provider will supply you with a card machine. If you want to take payments over the phone, you’ll receive a virtual terminal, while ecommerce businesses will need a payment gateway.Merchant accounts are provided either by banks (such as Barclays or Santander), or by a range of third party companies (such as takepayments or Handepay). It’s easy to apply for one, and there are multiple options for those with bad credit.To begin comparing merchant accounts and receive tailored quotes for your new business, complete our form with some information about the solution you’re looking for. We’ll get you started with everything you need to take card payments, and put you in touch with providers handpicked for your business.8. Secure your financing. Time to meet your guardian angel… or find your X factorPhew! You’ve done your research, nailed your business plan, registered your company, chosen your name, opened your accounts, and have all the licences you need to start trading. Congratulations – you’re an official business owner.Guess you’re all done, right?Wrong! There’s no rest for the wicked, and you’re just getting started. Plus, whether it comes from your own savings, the government, or a halo-topped investor, you’re not getting anywhere without a little cash in your pocket.So, where’s it going to come from? Let’s take a look.Bootstrapping. First and foremost, you could consider bootstrapping your business. This approach involvesno finance whatsoever – just your hard-earned personal savings, and probably a hefty dose of luck, too.Bootstrapping has its obvious bene ts: you won’t have to pay anything back, don’t have to risk your credit score applying for loans, and get to keep your company’s future where it belongs – in your own hands.Yet bootstrapping doesn’t work quite as well as a long-term solution. You’ll have to re-invest all of your pro ts back into your business to help it grow, meaning payouts for you, initially at least, will be few and far between. Relying solely on your own savings may also mean you’re not able to scale as quickly as a business with financial backing.Bootstrapping is tough, sure. But remember – it’s eminently possible.Start Up Loan. As a first port of call, we recommend taking a look at what a government-backed Start Up Loan might offer. As well as a loan of between£500 and £25,000, you’ll also receive assistance with writing your business plan, and up to a year’s worth of free mentoring.You can apply for it here.Bank loan. When it comes to securing affordable, transparent, and understandable business loans, high street banks are still king. With predictable monthly payments, fixed interest rates, and the chance to build up good business credit, bank loans are a wise option for UK businesses.However, getting accepted isn’t a given – you’ll need a strong credit score, and will potentially have to put some of your assets on the line to get accepted. You may also have to provide a personal guarantee accepting responsibility for the loan if you’re unable to pay. For that reason, bank loans are not always the best choice for those starting a business.If you are set on a loan from a bank, we have you covered. We’ve reviewed a wide range of the UK’s biggest high street bank loans, to help your business decide.Click into the list below to find out more.BarclaysNatWestSantanderTSBBusiness grants are most commonly offered within specific local authorities, for certain sectors, or for particular business types and functions (for instance supporting the environment, or creating jobs). These schemes are also generally available only to businesses with fewer than 250 employees, or with a turnover of less than £45,000.Grants are the jackpot of small business finance – in many cases, you won’t be charged interest, be required to give away equity, or even have to pay it back at all. But, like most jackpots, business grants are highly competitive, and can be very difficult to attain.That said, you have to be ‘in it to win it’, so why not give it a go? Head to the government’s business finance support page to browse a range of official grant schemes. Simply select ‘Grant’ in the ‘Type of support’ field at the left-hand side of the page to begin hunting for your business’ ideal grant scheme.When there, you’ll also be able to filter results by your business’ stage (not yet trading, startup,or established), industry, number of employees, and region.Alternative finance providers. Banks, grants, and government-backed loans aren’t the only way to secure funding for the business you’re starting, though – far from it.Actually, it’s an increasingly large and diverse plethora of alternative finance providers that look set to define how businesses borrow money in 2020. Here are a few examples of alternative finance:Peer-to-peer (P2P) lendingPeer-to-peer lending is the largest alternative finance model in the UK – and the fastest-growing, too.P2P lending platforms aim to connect investors with small businesses that are seeking finance. If you choose this route, your funding won’t come from a single person or company, but rather a collection of individual investors, each of whom will provide a portion of the amount your business needs.P2P lending’s benefits include low interest rates and flexibility. As P2P platforms go, we recommend Funding Circle – it’s globally- recognised, trusted by more than 52,000 UK businesses, and comes with lengthy repayment terms, too.Angel investorsIf you’ve ever tuned into an episode of Dragons’ Den, you’ll have seen first-hand the electrifying effect one or two wealthy individuals can have on the growth of a small business. And, though high-profile angel investors like James Caan and Deborah Meaden can be intimidating characters, there are plenty of benefits to this approach.Firstly, it’s lucrative – £1.5 billion is invested by angels every year. Secondly, the money you’ll receive isn’t a loan – an angel investor provides you with the lump sum your business needs to grow, but in exchange for a part of your company. If things don’t work out for your business, you won’t be expected to pay back the investment.While not having to pay back the funds you receive is handy, you’ll still need to be careful – you’re signing away partial ownership of your company, after all. Accepting a relatively small amount of investment now might mean you won’t be able to claim much larger amounts of your net profits in the future.Plus, angel investors can be demanding, and may expect up to ten times their initial investment back after a certain time period.All that said, angel investors can be an excellent finance lifeline if you’re starting a business from scratch. They usually come with experience and unparalleled business acumen, and can help you steer your business in the direction of success.To register to seek angel investment online, head to the UK’s Angel Investment Network.Invoice factoringWhen you’re starting out in business, there’s arguably no bigger obstacle to staying a oat than a lack of cash ow. In fact, cash ow woesare responsible for 90% of business failures in the UK alone. So, how do you keep the cash flow, ah… flowing?With invoice factoring, that’s how. This form of alternative, asset-based finance essentially involves selling your unpaid invoices to a third-party company, commonly known as the ‘factor’. They’ll release around 85 to 90% of your invoice’s value upfront, usually straight away. The factor then assumes responsibility for chasing your customer for payment.When the invoice is paid, you’ll receive the remaining value of it, minus the factor’s fees. Simple!Invoice factoring is a highly effective way of mitigating the damaging effects of those long waits for payment. Using an invoice factoring company can also fuel your business’ growth, while improving that all-important cash flow.For more information about what an invoice factoring facility can do for you, complete our brief webform with some details about yourplans. We’ll then put you in touch with a range of UK invoice finance providers, who’ll be able to offer you bespoke quotes.CrowdfundingCrowdfunding is another great way of securing nance for your new business. You’ll post details of how much you’re looking to raise – along with some information about you and your business – on a crowdfunding website, like Kickstarter, or the aptly-named Crowdfunder.People can view your business, cause, or project on the site, and then choose to invest in it. In return, you can offer them shares in the company, or a reward based on the goods or services you provide. You could also just ask for a donation, but this might be a tough sell for potential investors – particularly if you’re not a charitable cause.Crowdfunding is typically most effective for financing creative projects or businesses. For example, a budding filmmaker might crowdfund to raise cash for their next big picture.Without any shares on o er, investors might be promised a small role in the film as an extra, a mention in the credits, or some memorabilia from the film’s set.For more information about which funding option is right for your small business, visit our comprehensive guide to UK business loans. We put the best traditional and alternative finance providers under the microscope, along with interest rates, repayment terms, and a jargon buster to boot.And, if you’re ready to receive business loan quotes from the UK’s leading finance providers, look no further. Simply provide us with a few details about your business, and we’ll match you with the loan providers that best suit your needs. They’ll provide you with tailored quotes, and you can take it from there.9. Design your website. It’s your virtual shop window……so don’t skimp on making it look beautiful! It’s 2020, and that means that your business needs a website. But if coding and programming isn’t your language, don’t fret – there are plenty of easier ways to craft a simple, good-looking website, in the time it takes to cook a meal.Let’s find out how.Use a website builder. Website builders such as Wix and Squarespace are the quickest, simplest, and most effective ways to create your own website. With mouth-watering templates and an intuitive drag-and-drop builder, you can (quite literally) create an amazing website in just a few clicks.Better still, a website builder puts everything in one place. From a single dashboard, you can connect a domain name, optimise for the best rankings in search engines, and link a Google Analytics account to measure site performance.And, for a few extra pounds, you can establish an email address linked to your site’s domain name, for that added layer of professionalism.Website builders usually include web hosting as well – so that’s one less thing to worry about when starting a business. Oh, and if we haven’t mentioned costs yet, that’s because there doesn’t have to be any – website builders are completely free.There is, however, a catch.Creating a website on a free plan will leave it branded with ugly advertising, which marrs your site’s aesthetics, and looks unprofessional. You’ll also be left with a domain name tarnished with that of the website builder. It’s… not good.That’s why paid plans are your friend.Paid plans are available for between £3 and £18 per month, and many also include a custom domain name connected to your site. You’ll also be eligible for help with your website’s SEO (search engine optimisation), and unlock more functionality.All told, website builders represent the easiest, most direct way to create a beautiful website in moments – but you’ll need a paid plan to get the get the most out of them.Code it yourself. Your other option for creating a website is more of a DIY job – you can code it all yourself.Coding your own website affords you ultimate creative control over the whole process and end result. You can cut some costs by choosing the cheapest web hosting provider, and selecting a shopping cart integration that best serves the needs of your ecommerce site. Put simply, it’s the most customisable, dynamic, unique, and functional website you could build – and it’s all yours.The only thing is, you’ll need to know how to do it. At the very least, you’ll require knowledge of HTML and CSS to give your website its structure and design, and probably a decent dose of patience, too – not to mention time, precious time.Hire an expert. If you don’t have that time and just want your website done quickly and expertly, you can bring in a professional to do it for you. Hiring a web development agency is the quickest, most direct route to getting your website made for you.Employing web design experts will also make sure you’re covered when it comes to the acronyms. They’ll ensure your web pages are all SEO-friendly, and that the site’s UX (user experience) is on point. They’ll also help you implement stunning visual CTAs (calls to action), which will coax your website’s users into wanting to know more about your services, or making a purchase.A web design agency can also assist you in developing your brand, and hammering out a killer content and advertising strategy going forward.Oh, and the best part? It’s probably more affordable than you’d think.To compare quotes, and explore which web design agencies are the best fit for your business, take a moment to complete our 30-second webform. We’ll ask about your website’s goals, and the timeframe you need it completed in. Then, you’ll receive bespoke offers for web design services, from leading UK web design agencies.10. Build your network. It’s not about what you know……it is, of course, about who you know. Forgive us the use of an old cliché, but it’s true – if you don’t put in the work to build up a wide network of contacts and clients, you’re missing out on a whole world of opportunities. So, what can you do about it?Attend networking eventsGoing to a relevant networking event is the most important thing you can do for your business this year. A simple Google search should turn up a few results for events suitable for your industry.It could be some kind of expo, where you can learn about new products or services your business could benefit from. It could also be something like an awards ceremony, or a meal where people who are looking to start a business can sit down together and share their experiences.Whether you’re just starting out in business or have been in the game for a while, The Business Show in London is a great place to start. It’s free to attend, and happens every November at the ExCel building.Use LinkedIn!If you don’t already know about LinkedIn, you need to. And, if you haven’t already done so, register for an account and start making connections! You’ll be in good company – the popular business-oriented social media platform already has 575 million users, with 40% of these using it on a daily basis.On LinkedIn, you can find the most influential people in your industry, and reach out to start up a conversation. If you’ve been to a networking event, but didn’t get a chance to chat with the person that inspires you, LinkedIn provides a second bite at the cherry:LinkedIn is also an excellent place for viewing and sharing relevant business-related content. Do you have a win you’d like to share with your connections, or an update on a recent project you’re proud of? LinkedIn is the perfect platform for it.And, like most social media content, LinkedIn posts have the opportunity to go viral. Through shares, likes, and comments, your update could attain a reach further than you’d ever dreamt of, and attract the eyes of potential partners, customers, and investors.Participate in online forums. While LinkedIn is ideal for content and connections, it’s also excellent in that it facilitates a number of ‘groups’. These are essentially communities of people with shared business interests or endeavours, where you can post comments and discuss topics relevant to you with like-minded people.London Startups, for instance, is a LinkedIn group for those starting a business in the big city, and has well over 6,000 members. On Startups – The Community for Entrepreneurs has more than 630,000 participants to network with and learn from.That doesn’t mean you just need to observe from the sidelines, though – get involved! Start a conversation by posting a link to an interesting article, or bring up a topic that’s been on your mind recently. It can be a great way to get your name out there, without having to resort to too much shameless self-promotion.Start your LinkedIn odyssey today by joining a group that excites you. You’ll have to request to join, but the group administrators are usually quick to accept.11. Drive sales and marketing. Also known as: promote, promote, promote!So, you’ve made it to the final stage. You constructed a plan and executed it to the letter, all while navigating the red tape of registration and licencing. You’ve secured finance, assembled an incredible website, found yourself some space to work in, and are already exing your networking muscles online.Now what?Well, now it’s time to get some customers. Sadly, new business doesn’t just fall out of the sky – you’ve got to work to build up a client base you can depend on, and keep working to ensure they remain satisfied. But… how? What do you need to do to boss your sales and marketing efforts, and hit the startup scene with a bang?Here are our top three tips.1) Digitise your marketing. These days, marketing has got to be digital. Postpone any grandiose dreams of your brand on big, inner-city billboards, or gracing the front page of the newspaper. Print is basically dead – plus, you’re just starting out, so you’ve got to work with the budget you’ve got. And that’s where digital marketing comes in.PPC advertisingPPC (pay-per-click) is NTK (need-to-know) information. It’s a form of marketing where you ‘bid’ on keywords your potential customers are searching for on Google. You place an ad, and every time someone searches for your target keywords, that ad will appear at the top (or near the top) of the Google search results.You’ll then pay an agreed amount for every ‘click’ – essentially, every time someone clicks through to your ad. The amount you’ll pay per click varies, and will depend on how much competition there is for the keywords you’reinterested in. PPC is expensive, but it’s an excellent, direct way of reaching customers who are already searching for your services.DisplayAlso known as banner advertising, this marketing strategy involves placing ads online (popular websites and content such as articles, how-to guides, and blogs all work well) that encourage users to visit your website and make a purchase. It’s a passable way of getting your brand name out there, but be warned – if you don’t have expert help in the form of a digital marketing agency, your clickthrough rate will be low (as in, lower than 1%).Know your SEOSEO (search engine optimisation) refers to the tactics and techniques involved in making sure your website ranks highly in Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages). SEO is the process of ensuring your website is accessible, informative, and easy to understand for Google’s algorithms (and, by proxy, your users).A big part of SEO is researching keywords you’d like your business to be ‘ranking’ for in Google’s search results. By cleverly incorporating these keywords into your website and content, you’re helping Google elevate your business to the apex of its results pages – for the exact terms your audience is searching for.Why is it important? Well, think back to the last time you searched for something on Google. We’re guessing that you didn’t scroll any further down than the top three search results… right?Right. And the data backs it up, too. The top spot in Google’s search results gets a click- through rate of almost 30%; the third position gets about 10%. Oh, and the ninth and tenth? Just 2%. Huh.Get wise, localiseNow, think back to the last time you were out walking the streets of an area you weren’t overly familiar with. Feeling peckish. You took out your phone, and Googled ‘restaurants nearme’… right? Maybe you were just at a loose end in West London, so you typed in ‘things to do in Notting Hill’. Remember?If not, you’re in the minority. Because, according to Google, a huge 46% of searches have a ‘local intent’, meaning the customer is searching for a particular product or service in the area they’re currently in. These searches are invariably backed by some kind of ‘commer- cial intent’. Whether it’s a haircut or a Chinesetakeaway, that means that the person making the search is looking to buy, buy, buy – usually immediately, too!Local SEO, then, is making sure your business is one of those appearing in the SERPS when a relevant enquiry comes along. Consider the following, probably pretty familiar, sight from a basic Google search:Let’s say you’re a restaurant owner in Camden, London. Google’s just provided me, your poten- tial customer, with the names, type of cuisine, and basic price range for several of the restaurants I could be spending my hard-earned pocket money at, right now.There’s also a featured picture to help lure me in, and a menu to set my taste buds tingling. Best of all? It’s easy to click through to each and every one of these eateries’ websites, in an instant.In other words, you want your business to be here. So, what’s the trick?Well, first you need to register for Google My Business. It’s free, and lets you display your business’ name, type, and location online, while showcasing a few photos of your beautiful products, services, or building’s exterior. If a listing already exists for your business, you can claim it, and begin personalising it to your liking.There are a whole bunch of other cool features available from your Google My Business dashboard, too. You can message potential customers in real time, manage appointments and take bookings, and post regular updates relevant to your business and industry.Then, you’ll need to work at it. One of the ways in which Google will prioritise your business over your competitors’ is in the strength of your reviews. See above – none of the restaurants that made the cut registered any less than a solid four stars out of five.So, you’ll need not only to make sure you’re dishing out four-star plus service, but also that you’re incentivising your customers to leavea glowing review when they walk out of your door. Because it’ll be crucial in ensuring that they walk back through that door the next time they’re in your neck of the woods.Plus, what’s great about SEO is that it’s largely completely free to do. Why not start now? To get the ball rolling, check out our top 8 tips for promoting your business online, and start growing your business on the web.However, we understand that not all business owners are going to have the time to do all this themselves (especially when, hopefully, they’re busy with the other ten steps in this list). That’s why we recommend hiring a digital marketing agency to do it all for you. These agencies, such as Yell, can help you expand your online reach, while managing your business’ online reputation through gathering good reviews… and dealing tactfully with the bad ones.And for the easiest way to begin learning about what an agency like Yell could do for you, simply complete our 30-second webform. We’ll ask about five questions, and use the infoyou give us to put you in touch with world-class, UK-based digital marketing agencies, who’ll send you tailored quotes.2) Get to grips with CRM software. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a type of software that does exactly what it says on the tin – it helps you manage your relationships with your customers. But it also does so much more, and can provide a huge boost to how you manage deals, engage leads, and construct targeted email marketing campaigns.Build your customer databaseCRM software acts as a central hub for all your client information. Name, company, contact details… the lot. It also stores information about your communication with those prospects or leads, collating any details of telephone calls, emails, or their engagement with you on social media.All this data is stored in the cloud, so there’s no need to waste time downloading information from a server, or juggling details of complex customer interactions from a spreadsheet or notebook. You (along with any staff you employ) will have access to everything you need, wherever there’s an internet connection – all from your phone, laptop, or tablet.That’s great, we hear you say – buy how will all this help you with your sales and marketing efforts?Boss your email marketingWell, you can use all that customer data to inform targeted, more cost-effective marketing campaigns. CRM software comes with clever lead segmentation features, allowing you to separate out customers with an active interest in your product. That way, you won’t spend precious time and money marketing to the wrong people.On top of this, a CRM system can store the purchase histories of your customers, giving you a better idea of what they like. Through this, you can market to them with deals anddiscounts tailored to their specific interests. The result? A customer that stays engaged with your brand and services, and who keeps coming back for more.3) Supercharge your social media. 87% of respondents to a recent survey said that social media has increased their exposure to businesses. It stands to reason, then, that the effectiveness of your social media strategy will go a long way in determining your business’ overall success.Curate and create contentContent is king. What better way to invite your online audience to connect with your brand than publishing informative, interesting, and engaging content on social media?Writing articles relevant to your business’ audience is a great way to build trust, while developing your brand’s viewpoints on important issues. By establishing a consistent tone of voice through your communications with the public, you’re capitalising on a valuable chance to align yourself with the thoughts, feelings, and values of your customers.Facebook is still an excellent platform for sharing original or curated social content, while LinkedIn is the best emerging option for business-related articles and ideas. If you’re a creative enterprise, Instagram should be your rst port of call, while Twitter is the go-to for publishing short, staccato snippets of content.Spread the word on social mediaSocial media is the perfect platform for posting content that can be seen and read by a wide audience, all for free. But to expand that audience, you’ll want to have a think about splashing the cash on a social media advertising campaign.Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all provide tools for targeting specific demographics of its users, allowing you to reach your products and services out to the groups you’re most interested in. Each social media site offers unique features to help you smash your marketing goals:Facebook has a live chat feature (‘Messenger’), allowing you to start a dialogue with customers as soon as theyinquire about your services.Instagram is the perfect place to engage ‘influencers’ – well-known bloggers and models with lots of followers, who can plug your brand and services for cash.Twitter allows you to solve any customer issues in the public eye, as soon as they arise – helping you build trust, and develop your brand’s personality while you’re at it.For a complete rundown of the do’s and don’ts of social media advertising, check out our cracking guide to using social media for business, with top tips and tricks for using the big platforms.Get your ear to the groundYou’ve set up an advertising campaign, and have got to grips with how to talk to your audience on social media. Now, it’s time to start listening.Social listening (also known as social media monitoring) is a way of tapping into conversations on social media to glean insights into what people are saying about your business. With the right social listening tool, you can set up alerts for any mentions of your industry and brand, or simply for any keywords that mean something to you.Social listening is about more than just understanding your customers and industry – it’s about leveraging these insights to stay on top of the competition, and identifying the emerging trends your business can capitalise on. Knowing what your audience is saying about your business also allows you to instantly respond to customer complaints, and defuse potential customer service crises in real-time.KEY TAKEAWAYS2020 and beyond:Recapping our 11 steps to successCongratulations – you made it! 9,000 words and eleven steps later, you’re entering a new decade with all the knowledge you need to start a successful business. Let’s recap the journey we’ve been on together.1) Do your research. Nail the who, why, where, and when of your business. Ask yourself the tough questions – is now the right time, do I have access to the right resources, and am I the person to make this idea a success? Conduct market research, and gather a wide range of opinions to shape your approach.Return to Chapter 12) Make a plan. Write a detailed business plan demonstrating to yourself (and to any potential investors) just how you’re going to make your idea a reality. Include expected financial returns and forecasts, competitor analysis, and a breakdown of your marketing strategy.Return to Chapter 23) Choose a legal status. Register your fledgling business with the government; either as a limited company, a partnership, or (if it’s just you) as a sole trader.Return to Chapter 34) Register name and premises. If you need to, rent or purchase an office space as your base of operations. You’ll then have to choose and register your business’ name (and location), and provide key details, such as stakeholders, company share structure, and industrial classification (what your business does).Return to Chapter 45) Understand tax obligations. Register for VAT and corporation tax, and brush up on what business rates mean for your premises. You’ll also need to register for self-assessment, keep accurate records, and submit annual reports about your business’ dealings.Return to Chapter 56) Obtain the licences. Find out if you’re required to have any licences to operate, and take steps to acquire them if so.Return to Chapter 67) Open your accounts. Select the right business bank account for you, and – if you’re planning to take payments online, or from your physical store – obtain a merchant account, too.Return to Chapter 78) Secure your financing. Here’s where you can begin to consider which funding option is best for your new business.Return to Chapter 89) Design your website. Use a website builder to quickly create a professional and visually compelling website, or engage a web development agency to do it for you.Return to Chapter 910) Build your network. Use LinkedIn to make connections in your industry, and make your voice heard via participation in online groups and forums related to your field. Attend networking events to put faces to names, and to learn from idols and competitors alike.Return to Chapter 1011) Drive sales and marketing. Use a combination of social media, CRM software, and digital marketing to turbo-boost sales, and scale quickly.Return to Chapter 11That’s it from us, then – the rest is up to you. It’s time to finally take that idea you’ve nursed for so long and turn it into a business. It’s time to defy Brexit, to prove the doubters wrong, and to brush aside the competition. And, most importantly, it’s time to start making some money.Good luck!
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TitleInteractive six-step guide to starting a business - Sage Advice United Kingdom
Urlhttps://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/six-steps-to-start-a-small-business/
DescriptionBudding entrepreneur? Stop searching Google. This interactive six-step guide to starting a business is all you need
Date
Organic Position26
H1
H2More on this topic
H3Josh Wintersgill: ‘Don't let a disability stop you from running your own business’
Self Assessment: Can I pay my 2020/21 tax return bill late?
Is Self Assessment ending? What Making Tax Digital for Income Tax means for sole traders
Missed payroll? Here’s how your business can get back on track
Multi-currency business bank account: Here’s what small business owners need to know
Business bank account: Why small businesses should use one rather than a personal account
See advice specific to your business
H2WithAnchorsMore on this topic
Bodyntent Playing now Interactive six-step guide to starting a business Back to search results Toggle Searchbar [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/themes/sage/dist/images/nav-search.svg] 6 STEPS TO START A SMALL BUSINESS 30% is the increase in incorporated businesses registered with Companies House in 2020, compared to 2019 Did you know excluding London, the South East was home to the highest number of SMEs in the UK in 2020 Did you know 1 in 5 Britons started a business in 2020, or plan to start one in 2021 STEP 1: YOU HAVE YOUR IDEA, TIME TO MAKE IT REAL You know how there’s a weird British myth that if a bird poops on your head, then you may receive good luck and riches? Well, that logic works for global pandemics, too. If history has taught us anything, it’s that from crises emerge extremely resilient small businesses. Just Eat, Uber, Airbnb, and Pinterest were all founded in the midst of global downturns, and so it’s not a good time—but the perfect time—for you to start yours. Trust us, you’re in good company. Did you know the types of start-up most searched for by would-be-entrepreneurs are ‘online’ and ‘home business’ ideas 47% increase of new UK small businesses started in 2020 GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED If starting a business was a Monopoly board, you can’t pass ‘GO’ and start collecting those pay days until you’ve landed on these squares. DECIDE, ARE YOU A SOLE TRADER OR A LIMITED COMPANY It depends on personal preference and your scaling ambitions: * A sole trader and their business are the same – any business actions and debts are the responsibility of the owner. * A limited company and it’s owner, however are two different entities. You have unlimited liability for your business. REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME Congratutions! It’s a…Ltd company! Know what kind of company you are gestating? Now you need a name. Get creative, but don’t forget that the best names clearly communicate a USP to the market. Once you’re decided, you can register as a limited company, sole trader or partnership on gov.co.uk. OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT If you are a sole trader, you could use your personal account but having a separate business bank account will help distinguish between personal and business income/expenditure. Shop around for the best deals. There are plenty of online-only providers which have super competitive deals and no fees. SEEK GOVERNMENT FUNDING, GRANTS AND SUPPORT Don’t go it alone when it comes to your finances. With the UK government pledging to help SMEs through the stages of start-up and growth, there is a range of funding for small business to take advantage of, and many networking opportunitiess, too. Bookmark this page for a comprehensive list. [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/government-grants-for-small-businesses/] STEP 2: NOW IT’S TIME TO WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN Did you know 65% of SMEs don’t have a business plan Not to be dramatic, but this is the blueprint for everything. EVERYTHING. It will make you think, and hard, about exactly what your business is, where you want it to go and crucially how you’re going to get there. Your business plan isn’t a static document. Update it regularly as your company evolves and ensure you are progressions, pivoting and learning Imagine you’re in Dragon’s Den, or that famous elevator people always talk about – what is your USP, who are your competitors and how will you go to market? Then think about the numbers; what are yoru overheads, your projected sales, cash flow, profit and loss? A business plan will reduce speedbumps – and be something you’d be proud to show Deborah Meaden. GET ORGANISED You’ll use your business plan to work towards a series of milestones that will help you you to grow your company. A good template will include: An overview of the business Think hard about what your company does, and what makes it different (its USP). The best businesses solve a problem or have a key makret differentiator. Now make this fit into a paragraph. This is your core, what you always return to for an identity check. Goals What do you want to achieve? Set some SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attaintable, Relevant, Time-bound). Don’t forget, your business plan isn’t a static document. You will update it regularly as your company evolves, and ensure you are progressing, pivoting and learning from the results. Your audience and the market It’s all theoretical until…your start to add in your customers. Who will your business supply and how will it reach them? How big is the market and who are your key competitors? It might be niche, or mass market, and you will amass customer data as you grow, but you need an idea of who you’re targeting. Products and pricing Pricing is often where start-ups come unstuck. Too high, too low? Do your research, are there comparable products or services on the market? Can you afford to undercut them, or are you offering something more expensive for a better service? Think what are your overheads and running costs and work back from there.   STEP 3: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS Did you know 90% of SMEs fa due to cash flow issues Repeat after me. You do not have to be a maths genius. Seriously. If there’s one way you should approach writing your business plan, it’s to accept that it will be an exercise in exposing what you don’t know—and that’s OK. In fact, it’s crucial. Of course, you might be blessed with a numbers brain, but not everyone is a finance expert. However, you can’t learn—said no entrepreneur ever.   Improve performance It’s time to write the financial part of your business plan. It will tell you, in black and white, or multi-colour if you’re a hip Airbnb style start-up, if your business is viable. No raw data? Look for information in the public domain such as competitors’ accounts to give you examples of sales/costs/ratios that are relevant to your market-and use these as a benchmark. Sales forecast * List your products or services and their price point * How many sales will you achieve each month? In % or units * Allow time to get sales established, or quiet periods * Consider seasonal effects on each type of sale or service * New product? Look at sales figures for similar products Cost * Work out what costs you will have, from materials to staff to mobile phone bills * Do some research into what prices you may need to pay as the business matures and your customer base grows * Remember! Buying in bulk can lower costs, but you need the cash to be able to do this and it ties up your money in stock Cash flow, and profit and loss (P&L) The profit and loss statement (P&L) is a snapshot of your business and shows worst, expected, and best-case scenarios * Work out what costs you will have, from materials to staff to mobile phone bills * Do some research into what prices you may need to pay as the business matures and your customer base grows * Remember! Buying in bulk can lower costs, but you need the cash to be able to do this and it ties up your money in stock Available funds and finance If you are looking for investment it’s important that you know what your numbers are – not only what injection you’re looking for but also how the money will be used and when investors can see a return. You should know your figures inside out as this will show an understanding of your business.     STEP 4: AHH… WE’VE COME TO THE ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’ PART Honestly, you just want to get paid. The entrepreneurial maxim is passion, sweat, tears—but what about the reason you started the business in the first place, to make money? Efficient invoicing is important for healthy cash flow. SMEs in the UK are paid on average 21 days late (and the rest, we hear you cry), so make sure you have a plan in place to circumvent this. 78% of UK SMEs that are owed money are being forced to wait at least one month beyond their agreement terms before being paid 40% of UK SMEs that are owed money claim that large businesses are the worst late-paying offenders 34% of SME business owners experiencing late payments say they have to rely on overdrafts to help them meet their monthly obligations 43% of SME’s collectively spend roughly £4.4bn in admin costs alone chasing late payments 11% of SMEs struggling with overdue invoices are forced to employ someone to chase up payments   GET PAID This is when, theoretically, you start to win, and see some progress. You have started to monetise your business idea and found some customers. Now you need to keep cash flow going with regular, automated invoicing. Here’s what you need to know: Invoicing Offer flexible payment options to get paid more quickly…have fewer forgotten invoices, and spend less time following up on missed payments from customers. For example, ‘pay now’ buttons on invoices or phone payments reduce the average time it takes to pay an invoice from 35 to 20 days. Did you know that companies spend 14.2% of the work week invoicing?   Automation Set up a system that automatically alerts you…when invoices are received and paid; you’ll know exactly which clients you need to chase and avoid wasting time combing through bank statements. Data on how and when customers pay you is automatically transferred and trackable within good accounting software. Set the rules Getting paid faster is really important for your cash flow, so set your terms up at the outset and stick to them. If your terms are 30 days, stick to 30 days, or if your terms suit your business at seven days stick to seven days, don’t give extended credit. Consistency is key and will save you headaches. Get paid – fast Also look at ways you can get paid quicker where you are in control, so use technology such as Stripe for credit card payments, or GoCardless for direct debit. These are all big and efficient simple tools you can use that are very cheap to use and will definitely increase your cash flow.     STEP 5: KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR TAXES Did you know 1572 was the birth of the business rates tax. Even Shakespeare had to pay tax. Tax fear is curable, we promise. And the doctor is an accountant. We all grasp the basic idea of personal tax but owning a business means there are several other taxes to consider. What type of business taxes you will need to pay, and when, depend on the structure of your business. You are obliged to know and understand your tax obligations—ignorance is no excuse. But don’t worry, an accountant can help with that. Need to know: Making Tax Digital for Income Tax What is it: A HMRC service that requires businesses to keep digital records and file VAT returns using compatible software. Who? All VAT—registered companies—regardless of size—will need to move to the digital system. Leverage technology Making Tax Digital for Income Tax is an HMRC service that requires businesses to keep digital records and file VAT returns using compatible software. So, get your head in the cloud. Businesses that digitalise their accounting means they have more timely and accurate information, enabling better business decisions to be made, thus saving time and money, anyway. Know your tax dates Start a diary as soon as possible with your key tax dates highlighted. You can find a handy calendar and resources at https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/.  [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/]After starting your business, you need to register for Self Assessment as soon as possible, but definitely by 5 October in your business’ second tax year. Talk to the experts If your business is one in which you incur expenses (that is, you buy materials or consumables), then an accountant is likely to pay for itself. They will know what you can claim to offset your total tax bill, and it will save you much time and effort – not to mention stress – in submitting your tax return. Find an entrepreneurial accountant It might be tempting in the early days to go it alone with your business finances to save on accountant fees, but it’s a false economy. Modern accountants will not only advise you on taxes, they can also help you create business plans and cash flow forecasts that might be vital for loans or grants. STEP 6: YOU’RE BOSSING IT You’re in the zone. It’s not easy, but you’re taking control of your business plan, your finances, and your tax. Be proud! Think of us as your own personal search engine for your small business questions. Bossing it in your business, our excellent guide, is your next step. Keep bossing it throughout 2021, click here to learn more about how Sage Accounting [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/sage-business-cloud/accounting/] can help you start your small business today! Josh Wintersgill: ‘Don't let a disability stop you from running your own business’ [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/04/man-791049_1920-988x440.jpg]Recommended Next ReadJosh Wintersgill: ‘Don't let a disability stop you from running your own business’. Read more about Josh Wintersgill: ‘Don't let a disability stop you from running your own business’ More on this topic. Self Assessment: Can I pay my 2020/21 tax return bill late? [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/07/GAP-PERSONNEL_2017_X3_BB_241017_0427.30988-530x220.jpg] Recommended Next Read Self Assessment: Can I pay my 2020/21 tax return bill late? 6 January, 2022 Learn More about Self Assessment: Can I pay my 2020/21 tax return bill late? Is Self Assessment ending? What Making Tax Digital for Income Tax means for sole traders [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/04/GettyImages-511317032-740x550.jpg] Is Self Assessment ending? What Making Tax Digital for Income Tax means for sole traders. 6 January, 2022 Missed payroll? Here’s how your business can get back on track [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/11/Afianza-02_ES_BB_2018_33553-740x550.jpg] Missed payroll? Here’s how your business can get back on track. 4 January, 2022 Multi-currency business bank account: Here’s what small business owners need to know [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/04/GettyImages-503278812-740x550.jpg] Multi-currency business bank account: Here’s what small business owners need to know. 13 December, 2021 Business bank account: Why small businesses should use one rather than a personal account [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2021/08/Bright-Path-Consulting_FY20_SBC-Accounting-Payroll_78-1-740x550.jpg] Business bank account: Why small businesses should use one rather than a personal account. 9 December, 2021 See advice specific to your business . Small businesses [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/themes/sage/dist/images/business-types/icon-small_building.svg]Small businessesMedium businesses [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/themes/sage/dist/images/business-types/icon-medium_building.svg]Medium businessesAccountants [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/themes/sage/dist/images/business-types/icon-calculator.svg]AccountantsAll of the above Sage Modal Close [https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/wp-content/themes/sage/dist/images/close.svg] Open Modal
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