If you’re planning on becoming an entrepreneur then this article is definitely for you! Here, I briefly outline some useful tips on successfully launching a business.
Being self-employed in the UK is fairly common, with around 15% of the workforce registered as self-employed.
How to start a business in the UK
So getting formally set up isn’t that difficult. But, you are much more likely to be successful if you start with firm foundations:
1. Decide on the best legal structure for your business
For most this is generally a choice between being a sole trader or a limited company. Although there are other forms. From the outset you need to decide what type of legal structure to adopt for your business, this in turn will determine what you need to prioritise.
There will of course be implications depending on your option, from finances, tax and even what to include on your website.
2. Write a business plan
This would likely include financials, marketing and sales strategy, and certainly reminder of what the business exists to achieve. It’s also vital if you need to raise funds. It’s important, and should be a “living” document, regularly reviewed and updated.
3. Manage your cash flow
Prepare a cashflow forecast and update it regularly. A simple spreadsheet is usually adequate. Even if you need an Accountant to do this, do make sure that you personally understand it, and keep reviewing it !!
4. Keep costs as low as possible
Until your business model is established, and you are making a reasonable level of sales, try and keep control of your spending as tightly as possible. There’s a lot you can do with very little money. Consider focusing on taking the profit, which in turn enables you to keep a tighter position on the essential costs.
If you do need a loan to get started, check-out the government-backed Start-up loans. These loans are unsecured, with very reasonable interest rates and you will be supported by an adviser and mentor.
5. Get your business image in order
Develop a brand identity that reflects your values and the way you want to be perceived by your target customers. Get a logo designed and use a consistent colour scheme and fonts across all your materials. Set-up a website and order business cards and stationery.
6. Organise communications
Make sure customers can find and contact you, whether by phone, email and of course on relevant social networks. Perhaps start with the social networks where your customers are likely to be. If you don’t know, then ask them!
Your brand identify should be consistent across all the social networks, with the same icon and strap line. You want to be instantly recognisable.
7. Get your support in order
Assess your own skills and identify how you’ll fill the gaps. Don’t employ others until you really must. Lots of small businesses start by sub-contracting or collaborating with other freelancers or small businesses.
Partner and SME expert.
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