Had an idea for a business? All businesses start with an idea, but you need to take the next step and transform that idea into something tangible.
It’s at this stage that you may start to feel overwhelmed and lost at sea. However, it’s not actually as challenging as you might think, especially if you break the overall task list into smaller, bite-size chunks that you find more manageable.
The following advice should help you segregate the process and get moving with your business idea.
Draft a Short Business Plan
Before you start groaning at the thought of putting a lengthy plan together, you needn’t worry because all you really need is a one or two page document with the aim of getting straight on what resources, time and budget you are going to need to get you up and running and trading safely for the first year.
The early stages are all about road testing your ideas, so it’s definitely not worth spending too much time on your business plan. Having said that however, you do need a structure to follow and defining your vision, mission and objectives is vital, as is putting together a basic action plan including outline strategies.
Set a Budget
No business should get off the ground without a budget set out for starting up, operating and marketing. You’ll need to be realistic and allow a contingency for unexpected costs.
You’ll need to work out how much you are spending each month so you can see how long you can continue to operate without turning a profit – that’s how long you’ll have to start making it work. Ideally you’ll want to start earning profit wise within one to three months, but do try to keep a contingency fund untouched so that you have a reserve should things not go quite to plan.
Work out a Legal Structure
Whether you start up as a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company must be given due consideration. Talk to a local bookkeeper or accountant for tailored advice, as the advantages and disadvantages of each option will vary. There will be administrative and financial accountability differences to think about, together with risk considerations, so be sure to consider all your alternatives carefully. If you are setting up with partners, then you must have a partnership agreement in place to protect all your interests, regardless of how sound you believe your relationships are.
Start Marketing Early
Even whilst you are still in the set-up phases, you can start getting organised with your marketing. You’ll need a website and online presence and this can take some time to pull together. At very least be sure to secure your domains both for your website and social platform, so you know you’ve got them. You can also start networking early on and spreading the word about what your new venture has to offer.
Take Professional Advice
It’s important to take professional advice when setting up a business. Financial advice, legal advice and, if you need it, business development advice. Listen to those who’ve done it before; ask for advice online on business forums; talk to people at networking events; read, read and read more. The more support and knowledge you have, the better chance you will have of success.
Good luck! And if you could use some guidance from a team of experienced bookkeepers, please get in touch!