Starting a Business

Points to consider when starting a business

If you’re starting a new business, you’ll be only too aware of how much there is to do.  You’re likely to have lists of things to consider and action, but one thing you mightn’t have accounted for is how lonely things can seem when you start up.  Getting things right from the word “go” and making sure you have a good support system in place will help make your set up process more enjoyable and more successful.

Here are just some of the things we’d recommend you think about:

  1. Drill down to the detail.  Make sure you have drilled-down to the detail of your business before you take the plunge.  No matter how straightforward your business idea may seem, it’s worth investing time on getting the detail spot-on.
  2. Determine demand.  While guaranteeing demand for your product or service ahead of launch is far from an exact science, double-checking that your hunch has credibility is well worth the time and effort it takes.  On this subject, while it’s exciting to invent new ideas or try to establish new ground, satisfying a demand that already exists is always an easier passage to business success.  That said, if you truly feel as if you have the next “great concept” under wraps, don’t be put off.
  3. Check out the competition.  No matter what type of business you’re setting up, you’re likely to have competitors.  They may not be direct, but even indirect competition can reduce your chances of success.  Because of this it’s essential to know what you’re up against.  Test out your competitors and buy buying from them if necessary.
  4. Set the right price.  Although pricing is rarely an exact science, it’s important to establish what price the market will bear for the product or service you’re planning to provide.  Add into the melting pot, your costs and any unique benefits your offering boasts and you should be able to arrive at a good starting point.
  5. Get your offering spot on.  Before you go to the market, make sure that you’ve refined your offering until it’s as close to perfect as you can make it.
  6. Identify your USPs (Unique Selling Points).  These are the things that make your business different from the others.  USPs are hard to identify, but are really important when it comes to promoting your business.
  7. Plan your promotion.  Promotion of any business is crucial.  You can have the best idea in the world, but if no one knows about it, it’s worthless.  Make sure you test lots of different ways of promoting your business and measure your return on promotional investment on a regular basis.
  8. Write your business GPS.  Few businesses can succeed without a business plan, or your business GPS.  Business plans don’t necessarily need to be complicated, but will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your success (or otherwise) and will steer you back on track during difficult times.
  9. Choose a name for your business.  Choosing a name for your business isn’t as easy as it may seem, but again is well worth the effort involved.  You need to make sure that the name you choose is available both at Companies House (if you’re setting up a limited company) and as a domain name with your chosen extension (.com, co.uk etc).
  10. Determine whether or not you need to borrow.  Whenever possible, but particularly in the current economic climate, it’s important to be proactive about your borrowing requirements rather than relying on a reactive response.  Calculating ahead of time what funding you might need will allow you to put your best foot forward when it comes to securing the funding you need from your bank.  Forward planning will also allow you to avail of any start-up grants or loan schemes to which you might be entitled.
  11. Line up your experts.  Don’t try to go it alone in business.  More often than not, this ends up as false economy.  Make sure you have good legal and financial support in place for when you need it.  Making sure you have the right accountant on side, in particular makes great economic sense.
  12. Do a skills audit.  Before launching your business, make sure you have all the skills you’re going to need to make it a success.  In most start-ups you’ll need to play the role of marketer, bookkeeper, sales person and administrator, so make sure you have all your skills gaps closed before you get started.  If necessary, arrange to outsource things like bookkeeping so you can focus on the more important aspects of your business.
  13. Get registered.  If you’re setting up a limited company, this will involve a visit to Companies House.  If not, then you’ll only need to register with HMRC for tax and National Insurance.  Either way, you need to check to see if you should register for VAT and, or PAYE.
  14. Establish your online presence.  Having some sort of website is essential today.  Clients expect it and failing to deliver could mean you lose out on valuable business.  That said, a simple website needn’t cost much.  In fact there are even free templates you can develop yourself if you’re in any way technical.
  15. Open your business bank account.  Keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances is a good discipline to adopt right from day one.  Add to this the benefits of setting up a working relationship with a bank and you see why it’s important to invest the time necessary to open a business bank account.

If you’re in the process of starting up a new business and would welcome an objective and no obligation chat about the things you need to be thinking about, we’re here for you.