Starting a new business can be a minefield! From coming up with a niche idea, getting funding, incorporating the business, attracting customers and hiring staff, there is a never ending list of things that need to be done. It’s no wonder they say an entrepreneur’s day is 24 hours!
As an entrepreneur, your business is your baby, you’ve grown and developed it and naturally want it to succeed long term. That’s why we have prepared a list of some essentials for setting up your business, to help provide you with the tools you need for long term success.
Firstly, incorporating your business is what allows your business to operate correctly. It ensures you have the rights to use your company’s registered office, your Articles of Association are suited to your business mission and ensures all company documents have been issued. Without incorporating your business, you may find that your contracts can be void, investments cancelled and any registered Intellectual Property (IP) can be deregistered- so make sure you have the basics in place before jumping in to the fun stuff!
Once you have incorporated your company, Companies House requires Directors to complete certain documents and disclose relevant information throughout the year to ensure you are meeting your obligations. This can be a difficult role to stay on top of alongside your already demanding role as a Director so hiring a Company Secretary to handle these administrative tasks may be a good option to ensure it does not get neglected.
Protecting your business with insurance is also important. Some company insurances are mandatory whilst others are optional but it is wise to have it in place as a safety net for anything unexpected. A £5 million coverage limit for liability insurance is the best place to start but you may wish to choose other forms of insurance such as professional indemnity or public liability depending on your line of work. For example, whether you are an advisor or working in the public sector.
You may need certain licences or permits to conduct your business and this can be easily checked with a Google search of your competitors to see if they have received any particular authorisation. If you are unsure, it may be worth speaking to your business advisor or lawyer.
Being up to date and registered for all applicable taxes is a must to avoid an investigation or costly fines and penalties from HMRC. These include Corporation Tax and VAT (if you meet the requirements) and your accountant can support you with these if you are unsure.
Protecting your intellectual property is also key, without protection of your brand, you will risk another person or company stealing your name, content, ideas and so on and may have a costly court process trying to get it back. Ensuring your business is registered with the right trademarks or patents will prevent others from taking what is legally yours.
Setting up your website can help drive traffic from your desired target market to sell your product or service online. Your website is likely to be the first thing your customers see so it’s crucial to get your message across to them about who you are, what you do and what you can do for them. With the website being a large driver of your business (especially if your product/service is strictly online) you need to ensure your website is set up correctly with any legal documentation you may need to cover your business. These documents include Terms and Conditions, Dispute Policies, Cookie Policies, NDA’s etc. These ensure that your customer has access to any relevant information that includes them such as any data retention.
There are a vast amount of steps to take when setting up your business, but we have listed some of the key ones to help you have the best start to your new business venture. Whether it’s ready to go or if you are still thinking of an idea, these steps can help you put your best foot forward.