How to get started in business
1. Write a simple, bite-size business plan
When you first start out, it’s tempting to try and put all of the micro details down on paper so you’re covering all bases. Many of these details will be new to you, as they’ll cover everything from finance to marketing, product development to sales forecasts. This can prove especially difficult when many of these details are unknown – you’re at the beginning of your journey after all.
The key action at this stage is to put all the details aside and create a 1-pager plan instead. All you need is a simple summary explaining what you are about to start – your vision and mission, high-level objectives, basic strategies and a simple list of actions – so you have something to refer to when communicating your idea. Keep it simple and don’t invest large sums of money until you are sure your idea is feasible. Although you will need the detail of a robust plan at some stage (especially if you require investment or financing), it’s better to get out there and test your idea first so you have a solid base to work from once you are up and running.
2. Register your business
There’s a lot of formal paperwork when you first start out and it’s difficult to know what the right options are for your business when you haven’t had the opportunity to fully test your idea. The simplest way to start is to register either as self-employed or a sole trader at first, while you work out the longer term structure of your business. This means that only you own the business and you can work alone or employ other people. Once you know that your start-up is viable, you can revisit this registration with the help of an accountant, to work out the most efficient way of achieving your business goals without too many risks to you personally.
3. Set a budget
Try and keep your costs down as much as possible at this stage. When working out what you need to get started, stay focused on what you require to survive and add 25% onto your workings so you are covered. This way, you can plan your monthly burn rate without too much pressure and you’ll be able to work out where your pressure points are during the leaner, starter months. With this knowledge behind you, you can soon work out how much profit you need to make each month in order for your business to survive.
4. Get a website and email domain
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you are going to need a website. This means securing your business name with a relevant and understandable URL. You can do this via multiple domain registrars, such as 123-reg.co.uk, namecheap.com or hostgator.com, using their search functionality to find a suitable name for your new website. Depending on what you need your site to do, you have several options in terms of how you set it up, either by building it yourself with drag-and-drop applications or paying an external provider. If you don’t want to go it alone, she.space does provide website services, so get in touch if you are interested in a free business assessment of your online needs.
Open a holding account that keeps your business spend separate from your personal accounts. At this stage, you do not necessarily need to spend money on opening expensive business accounts with credit attached. The important thing is to keep a very close eye on your money going in and out of your venture – if you let this paperwork slip, it can become very confusing when it comes to filling out your self-assessment form at the end of the tax year and you’ll be under pressure to detail all of your spend and earnings when you are against a deadline. Keeping a clear record of these finances will save you a lot of time and effort later on in the year and it will also allow you to claim for any business expenses you have incurred during this period.