A small business normally starts up for one of two reasons – by accident (a sole trader suddenly expands, takes on staff and becomes a small business) or is deliberate (someone sits down with a business plan and creates a business). How or why you intend to start a new business doesn’t matter – it’s about making sure you get all the “background” stuff sorted as soon as you start, so you don’t have any issues further down the line.
Here are some top tips …
- Open a bank account in your business name even before the money has started coming in. This will make it easier for accounting purposes;
- Take advantage of any free courses in start-ups – some of the banks offer online courses. See if your local governments offer any schemes. Even if you only pick up one bit of advice, it will be worth it;
- If you are setting up a home business, do have a separate telephone line for work calls. If you don’t, when the phone rings, you never know whether it is a business call or a parent or friend “ringing for a chat as I know you are at home”;
- Make sure you meet all legal requirements – for example, if you are employing people, then you’ll need employers’ liability insurance;
- Find a trusted accountant – ideally someone recommended to you. It is all very well trying to save costs and getting a friend or friend to do it “who knows about book keeping” – a qualified accountant will help you make the most of your business income, such as telling you about tax breaks or grants;
- Make sure you have adequate business insurance for your particular trade. In some cases, professional indemnity insurance may also be required if you are giving advice or certain services.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg of what you need to think about when starting up a new business. They are very important, however, and getting them right first time will enable you to concentrate on building your business – rather than dealing with irate tax officials / customers etc!