10 Essential Tips for Business Start-Ups

Posted by Martyn Shakespear

Starting a new business can be a scary and daunting experience when there are so many financial things to consider which is why we have put together this short guide.

1: Your Business Plan

We can provide objective assistance with writing your business plan, based on our experience in helping start-ups across the country. Assuming external funding is necessary, planning is essential in achieving success. A well-drawn up business plan not only crystallises in your own mind the nature of the project and the timing of any required funding, but is vital to any lending institution. They are unlikely to provide any assistance without a properly drawn up business plan. The plan will include details of:

  • objectives and aims of the business
  • purpose of the required funding
  • business ownership and history
  • management and responsibilities
  • products and market share
  • sales plan and strategy
  • financial position of the business with detailed forecasts

2: Business Structure

Having made the decision to be your own boss, it is important to decide the best legal and taxation structure for your enterprise. The structure for you will depend on your personal situation and your future plans. Consider the options available to you. There are many potential advantages and disadvantages as well as options when deciding whether to incorporate for example. We are often asked, ‘Should I form a Limited Company?’ The reality is that there is no easy answer. Each situation has to be judged individually. As well as the obvious issues of tax and national insurance contributions (NICs), there are many other potentially relevant factors.

3: Finance & Funding

Every business needs finance and starting up is often expensive. Baldwins are able to provide guidance on the types of finance available through our Banking and Finance, outline the planning required before approaching any lenders and help determine the type of finance best suited to your business and who to approach. Financing your business is the most fundamental aspect of its management. Get it right and you’ll have a healthy business and a positive cash flow.

Also crowdfunding is becoming a reality for many start-ups across the UK now, which involves raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.  We are able to provide advice on crowdfunding such as how to gather historical data to strengthen your chances of getting funding during the early stages of start-up.

4: People

Without good people your business cannot succeed, and for a new or growing business, making the right recruitment decisions can be the difference between long-term success or failure. Consequently, you need a structured process for recruitment.

5: Financial Records and Systems

We advise self-employed people across the country area on all aspects of managing financial records and systems. Our experts advise on financial accounting systems and train you in how to use the right packages like Sage and Xero.  We can chat to you about what best suits your needs as well as advise and train you on how to use the software.

6: Marketing & Growth

Most aspects of your business depend on successful marketing. The overall marketing umbrella covers advertising, public relations, promotions and sales. Marketing is a process by which a product or service is introduced and promoted to potential customers. Without planning your marketing, your business may offer the best products or services in your industry, but none of your potential customers would know about it. Without marketing, sales can crash and companies can close.

7: Franchising

Franchising is becoming increasingly popular. There are advantages and disadvantages to franchising and points to consider when considering operating as a franchise such as:

  • strengths and weaknesses are compatible with the franchise
  • you’ve investigated the business you plan to buy
  • you’ve researched local competition and are sure there is room for your business
  • you’ve given legal contracts careful consideration
  • you’ve seen a financial adviser about financial projections – cash flow, working capital needs and profit projections

8: Insurance

We can advise start-up businesses on a wide range of issues. Insuring your business is just one of the many key considerations when starting up. Although most business people understand the need for insurance, a surprising number of businesses are uninsured, under–insured, or insured with out–of date–policies. Experts usually advise that your planning should centre on insuring for a catastrophe. You should therefore check that your insurance for fire, loss of profits, employers’ liability, public liability, and product liability is correctly arranged with suitable sums insured or indemnity limits. Are you sufficiently covered?

9: Taxation

Running a business involves lots of taxation issues and we advise you seek financial advice for this to ensure you maximise on your profits and don’t pay too much tax or fail to pay the right tax;

  • Register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • Learn how HMRC tax your profits
  • Learn how HMRC allocate profit to tax years
  • Learn how tax is collected
  • Understand National Insurance
  • Learn how to save for your tax
  • Learn about cash basis options for small businesses
  • Our dedicated team of tax experts can help you with all areas of tax, you can get in touch for a no fee no obligation consultation to get you started.

10: Credit control

If you fail to check that the customer can support the amount of credit you are granting, your business will not survive for very long. What are the points to consider when taking on a new customer? Things to consider include knowing:

  • exact name of the customer and trading address (consider using Companies House Webcheck)
  • type of business structure, whether sole trader, partnership or limited company
  • names and personal addresses of proprietors if their structure is unincorporated (consider verifying letter headed paper to support this information)
  • contacting other suppliers to obtain references
  • considering their credit rating

 

Get in touch with our team of experts today who are expert business advisers and financial advisers who work with start-ups and can help on all of the above.

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