Business Startup Checklist
Starting a business can be an exciting and daunting experience at the same time. So that no aspects are missed, having a business start-up checklist can come in handy. This ensures that no vital steps are overlooked, and everything is in order.
Partnering with CloudAccountant.co.uk can provide valuable support throughout the start-up process.
Step one: research the industry and competition
Before you start any business venture, researching the industry and competition will help you understand the market, identify potential challenges, and ensure that you are starting a business that has the potential to succeed in the long run.
Researching the industry will give you a better understanding of the current market trends, consumer preferences, and the potential demand for your product or service. This allows you to develop a better business plan that addresses the needs of your target audience.
Another important aspect of researching the industry is to identify potential competitors. By analysing your competition, you can identify their strengths and weaknesses and use this information to create a competitive advantage for your business.
Step two: write a business plan
A well-crafted business plan will help you stay on track to achieving your goals. Your business plan should outline your unique selling points (USPs), which differentiate you from your competitors. It should also clearly define your business goals and objectives.
When crafting your plan, it’s important to consider the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ and ‘why’ of your business. For example, who’s my target audience? What products or services will I offer? Where will I operate? And why am I starting this business? What problem am I solving?
The plan should also include a marketing strategy and financial projections: how you plan to promote the business and what’s the financial viability of your business.
Step three: name your business
Your business needs to stand out in a crowded market, create an impression on customers, and drive sales. Brand identity is important for:
- Differentiation: A unique brand name can help your business stand out from the competition.
- Memorability: A catchy brand name can help your business stay top of mind with customers.
- Credibility: A professional-sounding name can make your business appear more trustworthy.
- Flexibility: The brand name should be able to adapt to new products, services, and markets without losing its original identity.
Step four: register your business
Proper registration ensures that your business is recognised by the government and eligible for tax benefits, loans, and other incentives. When registering your business, several things should be considered. The first of these is choosing the right business structure.
Choosing the right business structure: You need to determine the type of business structure that best suits your needs. This can either be:
Sole Proprietorship: The simplest and most common form of business structure. It is owned and operated by one person, who is responsible for all the business’s liabilities and debts.
Partnership: In a partnership, two or more people share ownership of the business.
Corporation: A corporation is a separate legal entity that is owned by shareholders. It has its rights and liabilities, and its shareholders are not held personally liable for the business’s debts.
Once you’ve chosen your business structure, you need to register your business with the government. The requirements for registration vary depending on your location and the type of business you have.
To ensure that your business has been registered correctly, an accountant can help you navigate the registration process and ensure that you comply with all the legal and tax requirements. Get in touch to see how we can help.
A sole trader is a type of business structure where an individual runs and manages their own business. A straightforward way for people to start their own business without needing to go through complex legal procedures.
When someone decides to register as a sole trader, they become the sole owner and manager of their business. This means that they are responsible for all aspects of the business, including finances, management, and decision-making. One of the main advantages is that you have complete control over your business, without the need to consult with partners or shareholders.
Another advantage is that it is easy and inexpensive to set up. All that is required is to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and obtain any necessary licenses or permits, depending on the type of business being run.
A disadvantage of being a sole trader is that the owner is personally liable for any debts or losses incurred by the business.
This is an agreement between partners to combine their resources, skills, and knowledge to run a business. The partners share the profits, losses, and liabilities of the business.
In the UK, a partnership is registered with Companies House if it is a limited partnership (LP) or limited liability partnership (LLP). A limited partnership has one or more general partners who are personally liable for the business debts and obligations and one or more limited partners who are only liable up to the amount of their investment. On the other hand, an LLP is a hybrid between a partnership and a limited company, where the partners have limited liability for the debts and obligations of the business.
Partnerships are a good option for businesses run by family, friends, or colleagues with a shared goal or different skill sets. They offer flexibility in management and decision-making and are easy and affordable to establish.
The disadvantage of partnerships is that the partners are jointly liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
A limited company is a type of business structure that is registered with Companies House in the UK. It is a separate legal entity from its owners, which means that the business can enter contracts, own assets, and incur liabilities in its own name. The owners of a limited company are known as shareholders, and their liability is limited to the amount of money they have invested in the company.
Why would someone choose to register their business as a limited company in the UK?
- Limited liability: the liability of shareholders is limited to the amount they have invested in the company.
- Professional image: Having “Ltd” or “Limited” after the company name can give the impression of a professional and established business.
- Tax benefits: Limited companies are subject to corporation tax rather than income tax, which can result in lower tax rates.
- Access to funding: Limited companies can issue shares to raise capital, which can be an attractive option for investors.
- Continuity: A limited company will continue to exist even if one or more of the shareholders dies or leaves the company.
Step five: organise your business finances
Organising your business finances is a crucial step in running a successful business. Here are some tips to help you organise your business finances:
- Create a budget: This helps you manage your money by detailing your expected income and expenses and helps keep spending in check. You can use a spreadsheet or accounting software.
- Separate business and personal finances: Important for easier tracking of business expenses and income, as well as for less stressful tax time.
- Keep accurate records: Maintain precise records of income and expenses, supported by receipts, invoices, and other relevant documents. Accounting software is a helpful tool to keep track of these records.
Now, if you don’t have finances already, you may need to raise funds. Some common ways to raise funds are:
- Loans: Borrow from a bank or financial institution, a solid business plan and good credit are required.
- Investors: If you have a high-growth business idea, seeking investors who are willing to invest in your business in exchange for equity is a good option.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms can be used to raise funds from many people for your business by creating a compelling campaign and offering rewards to backers.
Setting up UK business bank accounts is crucial for organising business finances. First:
- Choose a bank: Research different banks and compare their business account offerings. Consider factors such as fees, interest rates, and customer service.
- Gather required documents: You will need to provide identification documents, proof of address, and proof of business registration.
- Open the account: Once you have chosen a bank and gathered the required documents, you can open your business bank account. You will need to make an initial deposit, and you may need to pay monthly fees.
Step six: physical location / website creation
If you plan on having a physical location for your business, it is important to take certain steps to make sure it is ready for launch day. You should consider:
- Leases: To ensure a smooth opening day, make sure all leases are signed and permits are obtained. Understand your lease agreements, including their length, rent payments, and maintenance responsibilities.
- Insurance: Get liability and property insurance coverage for your business to protect against accidents or damages that may happen on your premises.
- Fitting and kitting out: Ensure that your physical location is equipped with all necessary furniture, equipment, and supplies to operate smoothly.
If you plan to run an online business, it’s important to focus on creating a strong online presence. Here are some tips:
- Website creation: A visually appealing, easy-to-navigate, and mobile-friendly website is crucial for a strong online presence. Hire a professional web designer to create a site that represents your brand and attracts customers.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is the process of optimising your website to rank higher in search engine results pages. This can help customers find your website more easily. Some basic SEO strategies include using relevant keywords, creating quality content, and building backlinks.
- Social media: Create social media profiles for your business on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to build your online presence, engage with customers, promote your brand, and share business updates.
Step seven: launch your business
Launching can be a significant event or a gradual process, depending on the nature of the business. To launch your business successfully, you can:
- Create a buzz: Create excitement about your business before launching, use social media platforms by sharing teasers, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and other intriguing content.
- Plan a launch event: Organise it in advance, including location, time, and guest list. The event can serve as a chance to network and build relationships with potential customers, partners, and investors.
- Soft launch: Gradual approach where a business is quietly launched without much fanfare. This allows time to test the waters, make improvements, and prepare for a full launch.
- Monitor progress: Regularly monitor sales, customer feedback, and key performance indicators. Make necessary adjustments and improvements based on collected information.
Step eight: marketing
Marketing helps promote and advertise products or services to attract potential customers and retain existing ones. It is essential for gaining visibility and growth in the market.
- Attracting customers: Marketing informs your target audience about your products or services and attracts potential customers through advertising, promotions, and social media.
- Building brand identity: Sets your business apart from competitors, and builds a loyal customer base.
- Increasing sales: Promote your products or services, highlight benefits, and encourage existing customers to buy more by upselling and cross-selling.
- Building relationships: Through personal connection and trust established. This leads to customer loyalty and repeat business.
Hire an expert!
This is only a small business start-up checklist, and covers the major things when starting a business. To get more comprehensive guidance on how to set up a business, especially when it comes to the finances, hiring an experienced accountant can help!
CloudAccountant.co.uk offers reliable and experienced accounting services for businesses of all sizes and industries, including bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial reporting. Hiring an expert accountant saves you time, helps you make informed decisions, and ensures compliance with tax laws.
Why choose CloudAccountant.co.uk?
CloudAccountant.co.uk is a dependable and efficient accountancy service that, with over a decade of experience in the industry, has established itself as a platinum partner with award-winning software like Xero and FreeAgent. We also collaborate with transactional software systems like LinkMyBooks, A2X, and Dext to support different aspects of a business.
Our team has diverse industry experience and caters to specific company requests, providing high-quality service in a timely and effective manner.
Get in touch!
Need more information about starting your very own business? If you’d like some free, impartial advice on how we can help set up your company, you can contact us by emailing email@example.com, calling us on 01625 546 232, or simply fill in the enquiry form below.