Setting up a business is easy by using these step-by-step guides. The 10 steps below will teach you how to set up a business, taking you through each of the key stages of the start-up process from evaluating your business idea and choosing a company name through to designing your business cards, developing a website and, finally, getting ready to launch.
10-Step Guide For Setting Up A Business
1. Start-up business plan fundamentals: Testing your business idea
Market research should be an essential part of a start-up’s preparation and business planning; it helps to shape your marketing, resources and plan and can influence how and who you plan to target, what pricing point you choose and even change your business idea to become more profitable.
Fundamentally an effective research plan involves two elements: desk and field research.
2. Choose the right business structure
One of the earliest is company structure. Know the pros, cons, ongoing filing and tax associated with the four main start-up structures, to help you decide which is right for you.
Unless it’s part of the marketing plan to raise significant funds on the stock exchange within a defined period, you probably won’t want to start off as a public limited company (PLC), so it’s a four-way crossroad: become a sole trader, form a partnership, or incorporate a limited liability company or partnership (LLP) at Companies House.
There are other models, including Community Interest Companies and co-operatives, offshore companies and franchises, but focus on the most commonly chosen routes, Sole Trader, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership .
Having looked at all the options, it’s a good principle to start out with the simplest structure your business plan will allow. You can easily change to a more refined model as the business scales up.
3. Choose the perfect name for your business
Choosing a company name is one of the most important things to consider when forming a business.
· Avoid the personal touch.
- Bring a bit of local flavor.
- Inject a bit of humor.
- Don’t be boring, keep it snappy.
- Make it a name that counts.
4. Create a logo that properly represents your business
Your logo has the power to do so much more than simply make your business look professional. It can tell a customer about the industry you serve and the products you sell. A good logo can also convey the personality of your brand.
Five fundamentals your logo should convey in order to properly represent your business.
1. Your logo needs to tell a customer what you do.
2. Your logo should communicate the personality of your business.
3. Your logo should represent your name and tag line.
4. Your logo should represent the target audience of your business.
5. Your logo should promise a level of quality to the customer.
5. Applying for a Start Up Loan: What to expect
The government-backed Start Up Loans Company provides funding and free mentoring support to help start or grow your business.
- Check if you are eligible for funding.
- If you are eligible for a loan, the next step is completing an expression of interest form. This is a simple form which requires you to provide Start Up Loans with some basic information, such as your contact details.
- The Start Up Loans Company works with a network of Delivery Partner organizations that support Start Up Loans applicants in all regions and industries throughout the UK.
- They will be responsible for providing pre-loan support, making the loan decision and providing ongoing support and mentoring.
- Discuss your business idea with your Delivery Partner.
6. Choose an accountant
The first thing you need to consider when going through your list of potential accountants is whether or not any of them have some degree of familiarity with your business’ sector.
Also, look at the size of the firm. A small to medium-sized business accountant will specialize more in the kind of accounts issues common to smaller firms. They are also likely to charge less than a larger firm and give more direct access to more experienced partners.
7. Choose the right office space for your business
The kind of space you need, and will be comfortable in, depends entirely on the type of business you’re running. The same goes for the amount of space needed per worker. If all you require is a small desk and a phone connection, you don’t need masses of square footage.
8. How to save money on business software when starting out
There are alternatives to buying conventional software and some of them are completely free.
- Web apps – Instead of buying the software on a CD and running it on your PCs, Macs or server, you use applications that are delivered over the web.
- Open source software – Open source products are those developed by a community of programmers and then offered free to the world.
- Freemium products – Freemium products are systems that are offered for free by software vendors in the hope that you’ll upgrade to a premium product if you like their basic version. Unlike free time-limited trials, they are free to use forever.
9. Red tape checklist: What your small business needs to know
When setting up in business, an understanding of the red tape involved is a must, or you will be asking for trouble. It is essential that you understand the checklist below to ensure you have a good understanding of the relevant laws and regulations involved in starting a business:
1. Tax law
2. Intellectual property law
3. Employment regulations
4. Digital regulations
10. 3 key selling techniques that could help your start-up
You will use a whole range of types of selling techniques in your business. Here are just a few of them:
- Direct selling – This is when the business sells its products or services directly to the customer. Through this method you can build a good relationship with your clients, use your selling skills to communicate the benefits of your offering, and access valuable information through communicating with the customer, for example regarding their needs, their opinion of the product, experiences with the competition and so on.
- Selling wholesale – If you’re selling to businesses for example, some might prefer to buy only from a large supplier. This is more complicated than direct selling, since you have to think about the supply relationship, how you set prices, and choosing the right wholesaler.
- Telesales or online sales – This is a good way of selling to repeat customers, who you have already built a relationship with and who trust. Using the telephone means that you can still have contact with the customer to help the relationship develop.