If you are taking your business seriously, think carefully about where you will locate it. Will you be able to run the business from home in the longer term? Do you have a garage that could be converted or is there space for a garden office? If you plan to work from home, review after a few years or months, and see how having a business in your house is affecting family life. It can make it hard to close the door on work at the end of the day, and put a strain on relationships.
Running the business from home may not be for you, or you may have started at home and need more space. Research your options carefully. Where do you want your premises to be located? What sort of passing trade do you need? Think about the sort of advertising you will need to do to attract customers to your premises. You may want to pick somewhere that is handy for home, or within easy reach of your children’s school. Consider whether it is best to buy or rent. If you want to rent, are you looking for a long or short lease? You can negotiate on rent in the same way as you might negotiate the price on a house purchase. And, just like with a house purchase, make sure you get professional help before signing a lease. When costing your premises, work out how much you will need for a deposit, and factor in business rates and utilities.
Shop design and fitting
If you are taking on premises, think about the interior. Do you need desks, special equipment, or simply good display areas for customers? Include this in the finances when writing your business plan.
Stock and storage
One further element to choosing a location for your business is considering what you will do with stock. How much storage space will your business need? It can be expensive to find large premises, so many businesses have separate storage away from prime retail sites. Equally, if you are basing your business in the home, storage can be critical. Think about the volume of stock you will hold, and where it will go.
Will you need staff when as your business expands? It can seem daunting taking on employees. You may want to start with staff on a casual or freelance basis. Be clear, if you are doing this, what basis you are employing someone under, and who is responsible for their tax and national insurance. HM Revenue and Customs has a guide about working on a freelance basis which will help you establish whether someone is self employed.
Becoming an employer
At some point, as your business grows, you will need a permanent employee. HM Revenue and Customs has information on taking people on, and you will also need to contact HMRC to register as an employer.