So you’ve got a great idea for a business – where do you go next? Starting a company may seem like a daunting prospect, but it’s actually easier than you might think. If you’ve researched your business idea and you’re confident it can be a success, follow these steps and you’ll soon be on your way to being a fully-fledged entrepreneur
1. Write a business plan. This essential step will make you think thoroughly about exactly how you intend to operate your business, what pitfalls you should watch out for and what you will do if something unexpected happens. It’s not just for your own benefit: investors may want to see your business plan before they commit to your company too. This guide outlines how to write a business plan.
2. Choose a location. Many businesses start from home, which is a great choice if you’re low on start-up capital and just need a base of operations. However, if the nature of your business means you need your own premises, ensure they’re suitable for what you’re doing, located in a customer-friendly spot and preferably offer room to expand in the future.
3. Decide what kind of company to form. Once you’re ready to get your business rolling, it’s time to decide what legal structure is best for you: sole proprietor, public limited company, private limited company or partnership. Registering a company is simple, especially if you take advantage of dedicated services to help guide you through the process.
4. Secure finance. You may already have the capital to start up your company, or you may not need much – for example, if you’re selling goods you hand-make in your home you just need the materials to do so (though it’s still a good idea to find reliable suppliers who will cut you a good deal!) If you do need an initial investment, there are several options: banks, angel investors or friends and family. Ensure your business plan is comprehensive, watertight and realistic if you want to attract funding.
5. Ensure compliance. The last thing you want is for your business to fail because you didn’t complete the right paperwork. Ensure you’re keeping thorough and accurate accounts, that you have an insurance policy for your place of business (if you’re working from home, you should tell your insurer) and that you’re paying the right amount of tax. With these steps completed, your business has every chance of succeeding!