Top Tips when Starting your own Business

starting your own business cliff edgeWhen starting your own business there are many things you will need to consider. There are the nice creative things like name and brand, colours and images, but there are also the legal and practical things to think about; legal entities, VAT, employment law and if selling products, then throw storage into the mix too.  It can seem daunting and feel like you’re throwing yourself off a cliff edge into the unknown, but if you give your plans enough thought up front, you will improve your chances of success.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself when considering starting your own business.

What will my business do?
This is the first question you’ll need an answer to. Without an answer, you’re going nowhere. You’d be surprised at how many people decide they’ve had enough of working for someone else and want to go it alone without knowing exactly what it is they want to do. You need a realistic idea you can turn into a product or service. It doesn’t have to fit nicely into a box and may even be a little off the wall, but you have to know how you can get it to work. If you have an idea you’re not sure about, this is the time to ask for help with developing it. There’s plenty of help out there. If you’re worried about someone copying your idea, look into how to register your intellectual property.

What legal status should I have?
There are a few options when starting your own business and choosing the right business structure is essential. It will depend on your set up and whether it’s just you, other partners or directors and also whether you employ staff . Self employed, Partnership, Limited company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP); they are all options. In addition, consider whether to register for VAT from the outset. All options will have their pros and cons. What may seem easier at the start, could create problems further down the line when your business grows.

Do I need staff?
Is this business something you can start and run by yourself in the short term? It could be that you don’t need to employ staff directly but may need to use freelancers to help get you off the ground. Each have their own pros and cons and cost will be a major consideration. Whichever way you go, make sure you know your legal obligations and requirements for employing staff. 

Do I need financial support?
In the short-term, you are likely to experience a period during when you’re investing lots of time, effort and money for only a small financial return. How long is it ikely to be before you need additional funding? Look at what funding is available. Depending on where you are in the country, there are various government schemes to help business start ups. You may prefer to approach your bank or choose some of the other options available lile venture capital or crowd funding. Whatever route you take, you will need a business plan and strategy to show potential investors.

Where will I run my business from?
Do you need an office or premises or can you operate from home initially to keep costs down? The answer to this question will depend on your business. Having to hold stock will mean that you need proper storage facilities that will keep your stock in good condition, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend large amounts on hiring premises. Sometimes, a home based office and a good self storage facility will be more cost effective than renting warehouse space. With short leases and the ability to upsize and downsize units easily, self storage can give you the flexibility you need in those early months or years.

Should I invest in a website and social media?
Yes, and contrary to belief, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. The complexity and cost of your website will depend on the type of business you are running and when it comes to social media, most of those platforms are free. However, what you do have to factor in are the Marketing costs. There is no point in having a great looking site and social media if you do no marketing to drive traffic to them and then convert that traffic to paying customers or clients. You need a marketing and social media strategy to make sure that you can achieve your business objectives.

If you’ve started your own business and have any tips to share use the comments box below. Did you decide to rent premises to hold your products or stock or take the self storage route?

Image courtesy of Tyssul Patel