Start Up

Questions, questions, questions…we love them and you’ll have lots of them if you’re starting your own business. The start up process can be scary, lonely, exciting, liberating…you’ll experience some or all of those feelings along the journey but that’s normal AND we’re here to listen and guide you along the journey as we have done for hundreds of businesses already.

We’ve assembled a ‘top 10’ questions list from the team of things that on start-up, you’ll need to know about or do at some stage, here goes:

Should I get help?

In a word, yep: It doesn’t matter who or where, when you’re gathering experience, speak to as many people as will listen to you, it helps hugely to have a sounding board for your thoughts so we recommend that you get advice and speak to other who have had similar challenges or who have ‘got the T-shirt.

What business structure should I take?

There are a few options to choose from, each are appropriate in different circumstances: Limited company and sole trader are the most popular followed by a traditional partnership and limited liability partnership. A limited company and partnership offer greater risk management but there are more considerations and it will depend on your individual circumstances which fits best…that may also not fit as you grow. In short this needs a little thought to determine what will work best for you.

What about my name and image?

The right name is critical. In recent times the first priority with a name has been to secure the domain name of choice for the important marketing and social media purposes. Additionally, if you choose a limited company to trade from, Companies House will show which ones have been taken. Finally, alongside the name you’ll need an effective logo and brand which will be used for a good while as you launch and grow the business so make sure you get the right creative inspiration which produces marketing materials that are effective and that will last and grow with you.

What wider planning work would you recommend to make sure I have the best chances of succeeding?

The right name, logo and marketing materials are of course important, but your first step is to establish your chosen market. Once you’ve done that you can try out your product or service and determine the market. Once you’ve set out your boundaries, you can start to get your planning work underway which is particularly important if you need finance to start up: The funder will need this information. Irrespective however, it’s important for you in steering the business to know where you are, where you want to be and finally, how you’re going to get there…

How do I finance it all?

Starting up a business costs money. You’ll need to decide at an early stage how much you’ll need and if you will use your own savings or offer your own assets as security for a loan. There are lots of funding options to choose from depending on what you plan to do. The most important thing is to consider what you need to get through the important first 6 – 12 months (when most new businesses fail) andthe best place to get that from. Once you’ve done that you can focus on the business and getting it through it’s critical first chapter.

How do I make sure I have enough cash once I’ve started trading?

There is an old banking cliché: Sales are vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king…never has there been a more true statement on the importance of cash, especially for a small business. Again there are lots of ways to preserve cash, getting good terms from suppliers, letting customers know clearly what your terms of trade are and limiting bad debt risk.

Do you have any tips about managing the finances?

We have a saying at Numbersmith, ‘What you can measure, you can manage’ and in a nutshell, as well as answering other business questions as they arise, that’s the solution we provide. You’ll need to make sure invoices are raised promptly to your customers, the cash is collected on time, bills are paid, margins measured, VAT provided for and paid and a whole host of other things…

This is what The Numbersmith do for our Happy Clients every day so we’d welcome a chat with you about this so your finances are safe, and you can get on with running the business…

Where do I work from?

Value for money balanced with the image and welfare of the business are the balancing factors here. Working from home may well be cheaper but it may be very limiting and short-sighted. If you’re larger and looking at premises, you’ll want to understand the merits of buying vs leasing. You’ll need to think not just about what works now, but what you will need as the business develops and grows. Lots to think about, lots to discuss…

What IT do you recommend?

Efficiently used, IT can transform your business and its processes. It may be self-evident depending on what your plans are, as to what software and hardware is best for you, if not, it may be better to engage the services of an IT professional who will be able to advise you on the best systems, set up and data security for you as you grow. Our experience though is you normally get what you pay for with IT…normally!

As far as accounting software is concerned, there’s only one choice: The Cloud. The best systems are either Xero or Quick Books. We’d be pleased to help you shape either system around your new business, so you have the best chance of doing all the other things you need to do and have the accounting work FOR you not AGAINST you…!

Any other tedious but critical stuff I need to know about?

There are lots of other considerations, here are just a few:

  • Employing staff, running a payroll
  • Pension considerations
  • Patent protection
  • GDPR
  • Export/import licence requirements

Whatever questions you have, contact the Numbersmith team to help or signpost you to a solution.

For more information call 01604 434722
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