Start a small business today
More of us than ever are deciding to take control of our vocational and financial destiny by setting up our own business. Becoming your own boss is deeply satisfying and often lucrative too. However, you need to ensure you have everything in order before you launch.
Luckily, it’s entirely possible to get the basics in place in just one day! Presuming you’ve already thought about starting a business for a while, including knowing which products or services you’ll offer, there’s no need to put it off any longer.
Follow our tips for getting your business off the ground in just 24 hours!
Assuming that you don’t plan on taking on employees just yet, your best bet is to launch as a sole trader. This means registering as self-employed, which you can do with HMRC online. Registering as self-employed will make you liable for National Insurance payments and will commit you to an annual tax return.
Thankfully, self-assessment has never been easier; for the small business, this can be done online too and as long as your accounts are in order, you’ll find that it doesn’t take long.
You don’t want to become liable for damage, theft or injury when you’re a sole trader so, depending on the type of business you run, you’ll want to get yourself insured. If you’re not sure what insurance you’ll need, AXA helpfully offer a business insurance wizard. Just complete your details and they’ll tell you what kind you’ll need and offer quotes.
Always remember to shop around for the best deal; some traders will be able to find specialist brokers depending on their niche. It’s also worth looking online to see if you are eligible to join a Trade Association, as they can sometimes offer discounts for their members.
Get a name
Choosing a name for your business can be tricky, but as a sole trader, it’s easy to run under your own name for the time being. However, if you have a name in mind, do an online search and check Companies House to see if the name has already been taken. If it’s free, buy the domain name immediately – you’ll need it soon.
Get a business bank account
You’re not required to set up a separate business account as a sole trader, but it’s good practice. It will keep your business income separate from your personal income, which will come in very handy when it comes time to complete your accounts and tax return.
Every business is different and the legislation that applies to you (if any) will vary; just check on the Gov.uk website to see if any regulation such as health & safety, licensing or data protection, for example, apply to your business.
As a sole trader, you can either appoint an accountant or set up your own book-keeping system. Whichever you choose, it’s important that you keep a track of all your sales and expenses. These are usually, but not always, in the form of invoices and receipts.
There’s a lot of free book-keeping software available so check on the Gov.uk site for some tips.
Get your space sorted
Most small traders will work from home, at least to begin with, or rent a desk instead of opting for full leased premises. If you work from home, you can include a percentage of your household bills as business expenses; check online for details on this.
You might also need to check your lease to make sure that you are legally allowed to run a business from your home and if you expect to have visitors such as clients or customers, you’ll also need planning permission and appropriate insurances in place. Contact your local government office for more information on this.
Now that’s done, what’s next?
With a concerted effort, you could easily achieve all of the above in a day. Now that you’ve got your business set up and ready to run, the top items on your to-do list should be writing a business plan, starting a cash flow forecast so that you can see how your business is set to grow and keep your costs low until you are established.
You’ll also want to create a brand identity, stationery and get your website set up. None of this will take long to accomplish, so before you know it, you’ll be on the road to success!