Updated: Jan 18
With so many people losing their jobs due to COVID-19 it is becoming popular to start your own business with the brilliant new ideas thought up during the boredom of lockdown. To make that brilliant idea into a successful business is hard so I thought I would help by making a checklist for the initial set up.
That brilliant idea you have to start a business, now needs to be put into a business plan. Your business plan will include everything about your business, from the name to how you are planning on making a profit.
Be concise - it is really important potential investors can understand what your business is all about from a quick glance of your plan so make sure you include a summary of your business, and how it will make money right from the start and use simple language throughout.
Be Specific - Being specific is as important as being concise, explain how you will actually deliver your idea.
Know your market - Make sure your plan is clear about your target market. Who will you be selling to and show your research about how many other companies are already selling a similar product or providing a similar product. Why would the customer choose you?
Know your finances - This is an essential part of a business plan. You need to know your finances, can you make a profit? if you cannot then is the business worth starting! can you pay your rent/mortgage and your bills etc whilst building the business? You need to be very clear on how you will make a profit and survive the first few months when you are not making a living wage. Your business plan will be crucial when it comes to securing grant, loans and investment, if you require them. It is also a personal tool to help you understand your objectives.
Here is a Business Plan template to help you start your plan:
You will need to think of a name for your business, making sure the name is unique. Do a search on Companies House register to make ensure your chosen name is available, once you have found an available name; it is always best to make sure you can secure a domain name as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to have a business name you cannot get a website address or professional email address in so buying the domain name early on is important.
Logo - design a logo or contact someone who can design one for you. VA's like me can help with this.
Check out my previous blog on Limited Company v Sole Trader for advice on whether a limited company or sole trader would suit your needs the best, click here
Tell the HMRC that you have started a new business, you can do this online at gov.uk
Every business should have the correct insurance, this is extremely important to protect yourself and your clients. If you are planning on having any employees then you will need employers insurance too. Spend time making sure you have the correct insurance and never work until you have this in place.
Does your business require a special permit or a certain license to trade, this will need to be checked out , click here to find out.
Protect your idea
Once you have decided on your Business name, do you need to trademark it? Will you need to protect your product with a patent? all things you need to think about, click here to find out more info.
Open a business bank account, do search for the best deals and remember to check the charges and fees. Some banks do a special deal for new businesses where they will not add charges and fees for the first year of trading so do shop around.
Even if you are trading as a sole trader it is important to have a separate bank account so that the business money is held separately from your personal finances makes it easier to keep track.
Do you need any funding, there is lots of information available out there on funding, from grants to loans & investments. So do a google search and try your bank or your local council.
Invoicing & Payments
You need to think about how you are going to get paid. Are you going to invoice? if you are, you will need an invoicing system, template etc.
If you are selling a product, how are you going to do that? How will you take the payment? BACS, Debit card, Credit card, PayPal, Cash? This is a very important decision to make because if people cannot pay you, you have no business.
I offer a New Business Startup Package which includes setting up an accounting system for you, and I will customise your invoices and set up your payments for you, plus provided 'how to' guides so that you can do your accounting alone. I will even throw in some payment reminder templates for you to use. If you are interested in the package, visit here or just email me at email@example.com
Accounting & Bookkeeping
Do you need an accountant, I would say if you have very limited knowledge of the how you run a business and you have registered as a Limited Company then yes you need an accountant or at least a Bookkeeper. It is very easy to get in a mess financially when dealing with a limited company if you are not brilliantly organised and you do not have the time to record your accounts properly. Plus, an accountant or Bookkeeper can tell you where tax savings can be made. If you want to go it alone then check out this guide by clicking here
You do not need to register for VAT until your business turns over £85,000 so worry about this when you are turning over a good profit
Dividends & Salary
If you are a limited company this is how you will take money out of the business for you to live on. This is why some business owners prefer to have an accountant or bookkeeper to ensure this is done correctly but if you want to do it alone, click here to learn more about this.
Marketing your Business
Once your business if set up, shout it from the rooftops. Tell your friends and family to spread the word, use social media, set up a social media business page and use LinkedIn to your full advantage. Have a plan on how to market your business. My next blog will be all about this so keep your eye out for it or signup to receive a copy straight to your email inbox.
If you need any business support, social media management or bookkeeping assistance please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping your Books Ltd
Now that you have your new business set up, why not have a read of my 'How to chase overdue invoices the right way' for advice on your invoicing, plus there are some FREE email templates included