Starting a business of your very own involves a lot of set-up, you will deal with many issues including the legality, finances, sales, marketing and much more. But there are many reasons why setting up your own company is appealing; being your own boss, the freedom to do things your way, create jobs and follow your true passion.
Starting a business can seem like an intimidating task; it will take dedication, a supply of cash and hard work to get it off the ground, but the rewards could be extraordinary. So, here’s a checklist of the steps to go through to get your company set-up.
Generate Your Business Idea
Chances are you already know what kind of business you want to start. This might have a lot to do with the type of person you are and what you’re naturally suited to. For example, if you are a programmer, you might want to start your own web development agency. You will also need your motivation, whether it’s to make money, develop influence or even save the world. Once you have this established, it’s time to generate that killer business idea.
It can be a time-consuming process to come up with that idea. Start by considering problems that you could solve and create a methodology. Many successful businesses are born of a need that people have, and they provide a solution through their products and services. Look for gaps in the market where you feel you could provide a better solution in regards to efficiency, innovation or cost.
Think about the future, what the world will look like in the next decade. Perhaps you could identify a new market or niche that will open up in the future and prepare to take advantage of it. Or you could even take an existing business and do it better; plenty of the big players in the business world did not come up with their original idea, but did it the best and dominated the market.
Pick more than one idea and get exploring, research the idea and consider who your competitors will be. Identify their strengths and weaknesses and understand your potential customers.
This leads us on to market research, a crucial step to determining whether your idea is valid. You need to know if there is a demand for your goods and services, or whether will you need to educate your potential customers about what you will be offering. Do you think you can do this successfully to generate enough business to get it off the ground?
Gather information about your target market to determine what direction your business should go in. Research will help you identify and analyse the needs of the market, its size and your competition.
Create a Business Plan
Once you have your idea and you’ve tested it out with your market research, you need to put together that business plan to outline your business objectives and how you’re going to achieve them.
Some of the elements your business plan could include are:
- Business model
- Market and competition
- Finances and projections
You will need to outline your business model, including what your products and services are. Have a clear understanding of your ideal client and the competitive landscape. Demonstrate your objectives and how you intend to achieve them, but be realistic with your financial projections.
Keep your plan concise, relevant and well thought out. Create a mission statement to outline the overall purpose of the business and state how you’re going to get there with a realistic timeline.
Register Your Business
You will need to register your business officially, and how you do this will depend on what kind of business you are running. You might be a sole trader or a limited company. Limited companies need to be registered through the GOV.UK website, where you will need a company name and official address. As a sole trader you will need to register through HMRC to register as self-employed.
This process can be time-consuming, which is why we offer company formation services to ensure your limited company is correctly established, making the whole process much more manageable.
Review Your Financial Obligations
Once you’ve set up your business, you need to review your tax responsibilities. Open a business account to send and receive your business capital – take a look at the different options for business accounts with various banks to pick the right one for you.
You will become responsible for filing paperwork and paying business taxes to HMRC. Understanding your tax obligations is essential to running your business so you can avoid hefty fines.
Record all your financial transactions like expenditure, income and any other transactions, so all the data is ready and available for your accountant. Register for self-assessment, VAT and corporation tax. Always update HMRC of any changes, such as a change of address.
Protect Your Business
Protect your business with insurance to provide financial and legal support when the unexpected happens. Protect your intellectual property by trademarking your name and brand to prevent anyone from misusing it. If you have a unique technology or process, you should patent it for the exclusive rights to prevent it from being copied by others.
Build a Brand
You need to create your company’s identity, how you present your business to the world. This includes things like a website and your business email address.
It’s crucial to have a professional brand. You can have a logo designed for you by a designer or design agency. You will also need a colour scheme for your promotional and company assets, as well as a slogan. Do your research to make sure your branding is unique and compelling.
Look into Funding Options
Most new businesses need funding to get started. This could include your own savings, investment from friends or family or business grants. To get a business grant, check out your local council website for details of local grants, as well as national ones.
You could consider a more traditional business loan as a flexible way to raise capital. You could also take advantage of the Start Up Loans Scheme, which provides a low-interest loan of up to £25,000. Or you could consider crowdfunding, a relatively new form of investment that allows you to raise capital from many people. This is done online and typically includes offering investors a reward or product in a pre-sale. It does, however, require a massive level of marketing to be successful.
Devise Marketing Strategies
Now is time to generate those sales with some killer marketing. You need to think about what channels and systems you will use to reach your customers and encourage them to buy.
Once your product or service is ready, you need to consider its packaging, its unique selling point, pricing and positioning. Choose the best route for marketing, such as online, wholesale or selling through a third party. Email marketing, online advertising and social media marketing are all great ways to get the word out about your business and engage customers.
Once all this is done, all that remains is to build your incredible team with a top-notch recruitment process and get to work. Markets are continually changing, so make sure you’re constantly researching and staying on top of fluctuating changes. At CRO, we want to wish you the best of luck with your new company, and don’t forget to contact us for help with company formation; we have made guides and resources available.