This is it. 2016, you’ve decided, is the year that you will go it alone and start your own business. You know what you want to do; you may even be doing what you were doing before, but for yourself now and not someone else. If you haven’t got your primary business idea sorted yet, this article by the Entrepeneur is worth reading BEFORE making any final decisions.
But if you’ve got the basics covered and you know you can meet the needs of the day to day principal business function, you need to consider the rest. Do you have a business plan and strategy? Do you have a marketing strategy? If not, how are you going to find customers or clients?
So, what do you need to consider when starting a business?
Your company or business name
This may seem basic, but when it comes to naming your business there’s more to it than you think. In addition to finding a name that reflects what you do, it needs to be a name that’s available to use. You don’t want to be legally challenged later by a much bigger company of the same name. Worse still, you don’t want your customers constantly being directed to the wrong business. In addition, consider your online presence. What of someone else already has the domain name you want online? You don’t want to be well on the way to getting your business established, only to find that you have to completely rebrand. There are a few places you can check:
- Companies House – you can search their register to see if the name you want has already been taken
- Who Is lookup – you can search and see if the domain name you want is taken
Your Legal Status
You will need to decide if you are going to be a sole trader, Private Limited Company, Limited Liability Partnership, Limited Partnership or Business Partnership. Each will have their own pros and cons, may have different reporting requirements and will impact the way in which you can pay your salary.
In addition, you will need to consider whether to be VAT registered. If you expect your taking to be more than £82,000 per year, you have no choice – you must register for VAT. But if not, you have the option of whether to register or not. Consider the work involved should your financial situation change.
This covers a whole host of things.
Salaries – How do you plan to pay yourself? This may well be driven by the legal structure you set up, but it’s something you need to consider. More importantly, can you survive if your new venture can’t afford to pay you a salary in the early months? Will you have other staff to pay too?
Funding – Do you need finance or funding to get your business off the ground and if so, how are you planning to raise the finance?
Bank Accounts – You will need to find the best business account for you. That may involve shopping around to find a bank that understands your business.
Accountants – You may well need someone to help you with the day to day bookkeeping and annual accounts. Good accountants are much more than number crunchers nowadays. They can be a great source of business advice too, seeing trends in your accounts that you may well miss in the day to running of the business.
Will you need premises? If so, what type of premises? Offices, workshops and retail are all options. You will need to shop around to find the right premises at the right price.
Write a Business Plan & Strategy
Many people see business plans as something that needs to be done the bank if you need to borrow money. This is not true. Whether you need finance or not having a business plan is critical to your success. This is your chance to get everything down so you (and anyone else you need to talk to) is clear about the business:
- What it is
- what your objectives are
- how you plan to achieve those objectives
- any licenses, permissions etc. that may be needed
- the suppliers you need and how you’re going to obtain them
Write a marketing plan & strategy
This is where you need to document how you intend to reach your target audience, so you will have to do a bit of research first. Who is your target audience? Don’t forget to do competitor research here – after all, you will be trying to take a share of their market so you need to know what they’re up to. Think about what channels you’ll use. What will your website need to say and do? What social media will you need?
Document filing and storage
Depending on the type of business you are running you may be able to cope with one drawer at home to start off with. If not, then you need to think about where you’ll keep your files and their back ups. Legal and accounting information needs to be safe, secure and easily accessible. Don’t forget to consider the longer term requirements. Your records will need to be kept for a set number of years to satisfy HMRC requirements. If your business space is small you may need to factor in a small self storage unit – this may well be a cheaper option than taking on or expanding premises.
If your new business involves holding stock, remember to factor in the storage space required. Also consider the amount of additional space should you need to increase your stock requirements. You may be trading online and operating from home but not have space to keep your stock. Remember, garages, sheds and lofts are susceptible to the elements. Overstacking or squashing things into small spaces can cause breakages. Don’t lose money on damaged stock because it hasn’t been stored properly. A self storage unit can help without the need for premises and the associated costs.
There are many places to get business advice whether you’re a start up or an established business. Some of this is free and other things will be paid for. You may have a provider like the Growth Hub in Gloucestershire .They have advisors and events that cover a whole range of business issues and can advise and direct you to more specialist areas if needed.
If you’re thinking of starting a business in 2016, we hope we’ve given you food for thought. And don’t forget, if you are in our area and find yourself needing that bit of extra storage space, get in touch. We’ll be happy to advise you about the size of unit you need and are happy for you to visit our sites and take a look at the units.
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