What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
Are you joining a local gym?
Perhaps you’re determined to give up alcohol on week days?
Or maybe you’re committed to enjoying more time with family and friends?
According to Angels Den – who match growing businesses and entrepreneurs with experienced angel investors – more than one in 10 Britons had ‘starting my own business’ on their New Year’s resolutions list for 2015.
If the idea of returning to your soul destroying job after Christmas fills you with dread, maybe you’re ready to launch your own business too.
Many people dream of it, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly and, as the Telegraph warns, half of UK start-ups fail within five years.
Having helped numerous people just like you with small business startup advice. Here are some hints and tips for getting started.
What’s your idea?
While many people dream of handing in their notice and being their own boss, not all people have a great idea for a business. You need to think about the things you’re good at, enjoy doing and believe there is a gap in the market for. Think about an issue YOU’RE facing; perhaps with trying to source something or understand something – this could be the start of a brilliant business idea because if you’re struggling with it; chances are someone else is too.
Test it out
Once you have your idea test it out with market research – is there a demand? What will people be willing to pay? Can you generate repeat custom? If you’re manufacturing a product you’ll need to develop, plan and test a cheap prototype until it’s ready for market.
Write a business plan
A business plan is a great way to consolidate everything you’ve learned in your market research. It will focus you on researching your competitors too to see if there is a gap in the market or a more ‘niche’ area you could branch into.
Find a great accountant
Here at Safehands, we’re more than people who understand numbers. We understand small businesses. We’ll provide support and suggestions in the early stages to help you avoid pitfalls. And when it comes to the day to day finances of your business, we’re ready to help there too – We can act as an agent to deal with your tax affairs, submit your VAT returns and deal with HMRC on your behalf.
We can help you work through the funding minefield. From bank loans, to venture angels to crowdfunding to government-backed schemes there are numerous ways to secure funding to launch your business. But remember, you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to start a business. With cheap access to computer and the internet many people set up businesses from home using only a credit card loan or a loan from the bank of Mum and Dad.
Set up your business
We’ve covered at length the pros and cons of setting yourself up as a sole trader or limited company. You need to work out which legal structure is right for you – again, we can help you reach a decision – and register your company with Companies House.
Register for tax
Once you’ve decided on the best legal structure for your business, we can help you register your new business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This is so you can make sure you pay the right amount of corporation tax or VAT.
Go for it!
You can read books, attend courses and gather advice for years without taking any action, but if you have these basic steps in place you’re ready to market your business. Be confident, put your energy and focus into the areas of your business that will help it grow and jump in to a new life of being your own boss!