With Christmas and New Year beckoning, it’s that time of year where some people may consider starting their own business. Some of the important considerations include financials, equipment, staffing and business storage with its affordability and flexibility.
Starting a business is exciting but it can also be quite daunting if you don’t cross all your T’s and dot the I’s. If you are thinking about starting a business, this article will cover all the essentials to help you prepare better and set you up for success.
What You Need To Know About Starting A Business
Starting a new business can be challenging regardless of the type or style, whether you work from home or an office. Among the many considerations, choosing a business name, designing a website, legal documents, financials and business storage take the top spot.
Always start by having a sounds business plan covering the main concept or idea on how your business will generate income. Part of a successful business plan includes a marketing strategy, financing, premises, staffing and business storage for stock, equipment or tools. Let’s start with the legal requirements in terms of naming and registering your business.
Naming Your Business
Naming your business is first on the list and it should ideally reflect what you do. Before you get too excited, make sure the name you want is actually available. You should be able to find the information you need on Companies House listings or Who Is Lookup. Check domain name companies as well when starting the web design process as someone may already own the domain.
How To Register A New Business
The business structure you choose is essential as it determines how your company will grow. In addition, it also depends on whether it’s only you, other partners or directors and if you need staff.
A sole trader is an attractive option for many people especially if they don’t have a large amount of upfront capital. While there are many examples of sole traders, the most common are hairdressers, professional photographers, electricians, plumbers or construction companies.
Learn ‘How To Set Up A Sole Trader’
A partnership is when you offer products or services with people you know well. It can be two individuals working together or a husband and wife acting as partners to build the business. There has to be a partnership agreement which clearly indicates liabilities, ownership, profits and what happens when one partner leaves.
Learn ‘How To Register As A Partnership’
Limited Liability Company (Ltd)
One of the greatest advantages of a limited company is that you control your exposure to financial risk. A limited company is a separate legal entity which means the business is responsible for all financial liability if the business fails. It also has a more favourable tax structure compared to a sole trader as they pay corporation tax on their profits.
Learn ‘How To Set Up A Limited Company’
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
Limited Liability Partnershipsare Britain’s newest business structure which is ideal for professional services companies. Many consider this a hybrid between limited liability companies and traditional partnerships. This is because they offer limited liability to company shareholders combined with the tax structure and flexibility of partnerships.
There is no limit on the number of partners but at least two must be ‘designated members’ who must file annual accounts. Learn More About Setting Up Limited Liability Partnerships.
In addition to choosing a business structure, you also need to consider whether to be VAT registered. If you expect your takings to be in excess of £85,000 per year, you have to register for VAT. If it is less than that, you have the option to register voluntarily unless the products or services you sell are exempt.
When you register for VAT, you will receive a certificate confirming your VAT number, when to submit your first Return and payment along with your ‘effective date of registration’. This will depend on the date you went over the threshold or the date you registered if it was voluntary.
Premises And Business Storage
Regardless of your structure, you must think about premises in terms of size, location and purpose. If your company works with loads of paperwork or documentation, business storage should be your top priority. A self storage unit can provide you with secure, affordable, easily accessible offsite business storage for sensitive documents, equipment, tools or stock.
When starting a new business, finding the right location is one of the most important factors to consider. Same applies to your business storage needs as you aim to minimise cost and maximise profit. This is only possible by choosing the right storage solutions for your business type.
Benefits Of Business Storage
Whether you work from home or a corporate office, business storage can benefit everyone. Fact is, the use of business storage units has greatly increased over the last few years, especially among e-Commerce businesses and tradespeople.
Here are some of the major benefits of using a business storage unit:
- You remain mobile as you can essentially run your business from almost anywhere with a central, low-cost distribution or holding centre
- Reduced logistics cost and you can set up to collect goods on-demand only
- Substantial savings compared to renting bigger warehouse or office space
- Lower overheads mean you can spend money on marketing, staffing or training
- Decluttered office or home office space
- Flexible rates, terms & conditions and a short notice period
Recommended Article: ‘Can I Run A Business From A Self Storage Unit?’
In addition to registering your business, VAT, getting premises and business storage, other financing considerations include:
- Salaries and wages – How you plan on paying yourself or your staff may depend on the legal structure you have set up. More importantly, will you be able to draw a salary in the early months? If not, make sure you have enough saved up to cover rent and your own living costs.
- Funding – If you need funding to get your business started, how are you going to raise the money?
- Bank account – Sole traders or partnerships don’t necessarily need a business bank account. It is better in most cases to keep your business and personal finances separate
- Accountants – If your business is straightforward, you can try to do the books yourself, at least at the beginning. However, hiring a reputable accountant can help considerably as they will provide advice on tax planning and calculating expenses versus income
What About Running A Business From Home?
If you’re running a home business and you meet some of the requirements mentioned above, you still need to register for VAT. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay tax or forget the rules and regulations. While there are several benefits of working from home, it may not be ideal if it significantly changes the use of your home or affects your local area.
Working from home makes sense for many business owners, especially at the beginning but what about when your business grows? You have to think about the next steps and whether it’s worth running a business from home in the long-term. Some of the factors to consider include business storage, financial aid, additional staff and personal time management.
Benefits Of Running A Business From Home
- Better flexibility in terms of work and home life as you can set your own schedule
- No more cubicles, robot-like lifestyle clocking in and out or limited to a 1-hour lunch break
- Reduced carbon footprint as you no longer need to travel to and from the office
- You can work from almost anywhere – home, coffee shop or restaurant
- You can claim some of the costs back, either as part of your tax-deductible self-employed expenses or part of your capital allowance
- Personalised space and no more having to deal with difficult people in an office and all the rules and regulations
- Micromanagement is non-existent as there is no-one looking over your shoulder except you
Disadvantages Of Running A Business From Home
- Distractions are all around whether it’s the kids, pets or creature comforts of home
- You may become isolated with fewer social interactions
- It’s difficult to switch off from work even after ‘normal office hours’ as the lines are often blurred
- You can’t always properly accommodate clients and staff
- It’s easy to stagnate or become too comfortable
- If your business requires stock, working from home often lacks sufficient storage space
Where To Find Start-Up Advice
In the UK there are several networks, groups and organisations offering advice and support for all types of ventures. With everything you need to do when starting a business, the available resources can prove hugely beneficial. Below we’ve listed some useful resources you can tap into.
- Writing a business plan
- Business support helpline (finances, advice and support)
- Startup Britain
- ACAS (information, training, advice and other services for employers and employees
- HR Zone provides good blog posts, white papers and employment law features
- HMRC for British tax issues and financial information
- Mentorsme can help you find a business mentor
What You Need To Know When Renting A Business Storage Unit
Firstly, storage insurance is vitally important to make sure you are covered for anything. Make sure you find out if it is provided as a standard option or not. At Space Centre Self Storage, we offer FREE insurance up to £3000 and there is no upfront deposit.
If you have special items, you may need special insurance as some goods could require a specific cover. Be sure to check the facility’s terms and conditions as not everyone has the same rules. Remember to keep your business storage unit in the condition you found it so you can get your deposit back.
We have self storage facilities in Bristol, Stroud and Gloucester where each facility is conveniently located near major access roads, CCTV and smoke detectors. Get in touch with our friendly, experienced staff for more information and to reserve your storage unit.