A record-breaking 80 new companies were born every hour in the UK in 2016, and the number is on the rise, according to recent reports. Unfortunately, 50% of these companies are believed to fail.
With the country becoming more entrepreneurial than ever, it’s important for budding business owners to ensure they do not become part of the failure statistic. Get off to the best possible start, and continue enjoying success, by reading the 14-point checklist for your new start-up.
- Choose a Legal Structure
The legal structure you choose can determine your company’s tax obligations and liability requirements. You will need to choose between five legal structures when starting your new business, which are:
- Sole trader
- Private limited company (LTD)
- Public limited company (PLC)
- Limited liability partnership (LLP)
- Guarantee company (Non-profit)
It is imperative you choose the right legal business structure, as this will determine the paperwork you need to file, tax requirements, and operating costs. Make an informed decision at the very start of developing your business.
- Establish a Brand
The brand you choose will either engage or alienate your core demographic. That’s why you must have a thorough understanding of who you are, what you do, and the right customer for your new venture. It’s vital to develop a logo, tone of voice, and company culture that connects with your customers, which will help you turn a profit and ensure your industry longevity.
- A Professional Business Plan
A business plan will provide your new business with a direction. It will set goals for the company to achieve within the next one, three, and five years. In addition to providing a company with direction, a business plan will also prove to potential investors that you are a viable candidate for an investment, which can help your company get off to the best possible start.
- Open a Company Business Account
Once you have chosen a business structure and written a detailed business plan, your next step should be to start your business. You must begin by opening a company bank account, which will separate your business and personal finances. It will also make it easier to monitor your outgoings and revenue.
- Secure an Office, Warehouse or Retail Space
Your next step should be to find and secure the best office, warehouse, or retail space for your new venture. Rather than buying a space outright, it might be a more intelligent idea to lease a space, so you can easily downsize, grow, or close the company in the future with no financial commitments. You’ll also need to arrange for utilities, office furniture and an internet connection to get started.
- Obtain the Appropriate Licences
Depending on your business, you might need to obtain various licences to provide a legal and safe environment for your employees and customers. For example, you will need a permit to start a drug manufacturing company, food premises, broadcasting company, or if you plan to sell alcohol and tobacco.
- Hire Your First Employees
If you have the capital to do so, you can start hiring your first employees; however, the staff you select can determine your start-up’s initial success, so choose wisely. While extensive experience and qualifications can benefit your business, you should also hire employees with a positive, can-do attitude who are passionate about your industry and embody the company culture.
- Launch a New Website
It doesn’t matter if you sell products or services on or offline, you will need a website to run a modern, forward-thinking start-up. The design and user experience must also reflect the quality of your brand, so you work alongside a talented web developer who can help you engage with your target audience.
- Digital Marketing Campaigns
In addition to focusing your time and attention on developing an impressive website, you must launch effective digital marketing campaigns that can drive traffic to your website and revenue to your new business. Of course, you will have a million and one tasks to complete to ensure the success of your new company, which is why you should leave it to the professionals to connect with customers online. Visit this website to launch successful organic and paid search optimisation and social media campaigns.
- Set-up a Record Keeping System
Every business, regardless of its industry or size, is responsible for securely storing all sensitive documents, such as customers’ financial details and employees’ personal details. UK businesses are legally required to keep financial details for six years, and employees’ financial information must be stored for three years.
- Start Networking
The more individuals and businesses you form a connection with on and offline, the more opportunities that will come your start-up’s way. There are many ways you can start networking. For example, you can attend industry conferences or exhibition, you can cold-call likeminded individuals, or you can reach out to professionals on social media sites like LinkedIn. Remember, it’s not what you know but who you know when it comes to business.
- Constantly Review Your Budget
Never allow your finances to run away from you. Keep a firm grip on your business by constantly reviewing your income and outgoings, which should also be weighed against the company’s monthly budget. While you can hire an internal or external accountant, you also have a responsibility to review the numbers yourself, so you have peace of mind that your finances are in order.
- Be Flexible
While your business plan will determine your company goals and budget, you should not stick to it too rigidly. For example, you might need to adjust your goals to meet changing consumer demand, an evolving industry, or necessary budget adjustments. A little flexibility can, therefore, be key to your success in the market.
- Keep Learning
As stated, consumer demand can change, and industry will evolve, which is why you must keep learning to increase your brand visibility, customer base, and profitability. So, read industry books and articles, attend conferences and trade shows, and connect with your customers on an individual level.