7 STEPS TO STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
According to a ‘scientific’ formula by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, Monday 16 January 2017, is the most depressing day of the year.
Blue Monday as it’s also known, is where Tt = travel time; D = delays; C = time spent on cultural activities; R = time spent relaxing; ZZ = time spent sleeping; St = time spent in a state of stress; P = time spent packing; Pr = time spent in preparation. So algebra was useful after all we hear you say?
In simpler terms, the M6 is being its usual stationary self, you’re in denial of your bank balance and the weight gain from that 5th mince pie you ate on Boxing Day has finally hit your hips.
As Blue Monday is yet to be declared as a national holiday, you decide there’s only one thing for it – to quit your job and book an around the world trip.
Unfortunately, as the credit card statements start to roll in and you realise this isn’t actually a viable option, it’s time to put plan B into action – tap into your inner entrepreneur and set up your own business. A more realistic solution but, where to start?
Here at Business Solutions Centres, we’ve put together seven easy to follow steps when starting a business in 2017:
Will it be a product or a service? Is there a demand for your business out in the market? What financial investment or resources (e.g. premises, equipment or staffing) do you require? Do you need specific qualifications, accreditations or insurances? What do you plan to call your business?
Each type of business has pros and cons which can have implications on things like tax or how financially liable you are as an individual.
If you’re looking to set up as a Private Limited company, you’ll need to register (or ‘incorporate’) your business with Companies House. It can take as little as 24 hours and costs just £12 (as at January 2017). You can do this yourself or if you’ve appointed an accountant, some may complete this step for you as part of your annual fee.
In regards to tax, a Private Limited company will also need to register for Corporation Tax within 3 months of starting to do business.
A simple 1-2 page, electronic document covering the following areas will give you enough of a structure for the first 6-12 months:
- Aims & objectives
- Market research
- Description of your product/service including features & benefits
- Target customer(s)
- Sales & marketing strategy
- Financials – initial investment and projected monthly in goings and outgoings (or Cash Flow forecast as you’ll see it referred to)
Longer term, if you need to produce a more in-depth Business Plan, you can download free templates on the gov.uk website, located here.
Sales & marketing are a really important part of setting up a new business, especially if your product or service is competing with established businesses already in your market. Where there’s lots of competition already, the temptation is to price your products and services too low to win new customers. Be careful with this as a pricing strategy. As well as the risk of running at a loss if you haven’t accurately calculated your costs (or your costs suddenly increase due to issues outside of your control), you may also build a customer base that isn’t loyal to you and will switch as soon as someone cheaper comes on the market.
New startups by region
Startups per 10000 people
Start Up Britain research 2015 : Centre For Entrepreneurs
Ali McKenna is a CIM-qualified marketer with over 9 years experience. She is currently contracted to the University of Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre Team as a Knowledge Transfer Development Officer.
With five physical Centres located in Wolverhampton, Hereford, Sandwell, Telford and Wyre Forest, the Business Solutions Centres team provide regional business support across a range of specialisms including finance & funding, business startup & growth, knowledge, skills & training and manufacturing, innovation & technology; all delivered through a series of regional programmes, topical seminars & workshops and one-to-one mentoring where appropriate.
This blog is accurate as of information available to the writer in January 2017 and are the views of the resident Business Solutions Centres (BSCs) blogger only. BSCs accepts no responsibility for any decisions you may make on the basis of the content in this blog and advise that you always consult a professional if you are unsure.