Guide to Starting a Business

unduhan-38Starting a new business is a very exciting time – however, it is also very challenging. Luckily there is plenty of help at hand for those who are clever enough to look for it. Did I say clever? Yes, I did, because many entrepreneurs charge headlong into their pet projects without giving due consideration to the resources available to them. While the energy levels for all entrepreneurs tend to be very high, it is important to step back, when appropriate, to ensure that the proper advice is being obtained. For many people, a new business is like a boat sailing in uncharted territory. One can reduce the inherent uncertainty and risk with good advice, appropriate planning and a dollop of experience. The following article contains some advice and recommendations for those starting up in the UK. While not a ‘bootstrappers’ guide per se, the assumed audience are UK-based entrepreneurs looking to set up with fewer than five employees and limited funding at their disposal.

Where to Start?

Given that one area of particular interest for us is business planning, it seems like a very good place to start. You must resist all temptation to skip writing a business plan. Preparing a business plan is a vital first step on the journey of all entrepreneurs. Sure, it may seem like a difficult proposition, especially if it’s the first time you have to write a business plan. However, the business planning process will really help you get a feel for the various elements that will determine your success, from cash flow, to sales forecasting to your personnel structure. You skip this critical process at your own peril.

Naturally, we recommend Business Plan Pro (RRP £79.99) as the best means available to write business plans. Business Plan Pro helps you to structure your business plan, is exhaustive (meaning you cover everything) and offers help at every step. Alternative methods include writing the plan yourself, using products such as Microsoft Word and Excel, or paying someone to write it for you. Unfortunately, these other methods either leave you staring at a blank screen, or simply help you avoid thinking through the conceptual and financial issues critical to your business. Whatever method you choose, you will find more information on writing a business plan at our business plan site.

If the industry is relatively new to you, I’d recommend you purchase a Business Information Factsheet or Business Opportunity Profile from Cobweb. These fact sheets will help you understand some of the live issues within your sector. These profiles include options such as ‘How to Start a Coffee Shop’ to ‘How to Start a Restaurant’ and cost about £5.

I cannot stress enough at this point the importance of getting advice. The great thing about starting a business is that there are lots of experts who may be blogging about their experiences or have written about the issues they faced and some of the hurdles they have overcome. Here are some of my personal tips for some key areas in getting started:

Accountant

Speak to an accountant early on in the process. They can help you decide the best legal structure for your business, explain VAT and also advise you on other financial obligations. Aims Accountants are a group of accountants that are scattered around the UK and are ideal for start-ups.