How do I start my own business?
26th June, 2023
So, you’re thinking of starting your own business. You’ve come to the correct location, and we’re not just referring to Haggards Crowther. Since we formed in 2004, we have helped hundreds of people start their own businesses, each with a completely unique idea or reason for doing so. But one of the key reasons we have been able to help so many is that the UK has very few barriers to entry, which creates a very good entrepreneurial environment.
The good news is that there is not much regulatory red tape to get through; in essence, you need to get yourself a bank account and start trading. As long as you can clearly identify any income received for delivering your product or service, many of the trappings of an established business can come in due course, once you have a clearer idea as to where it is likely to go.
It may sound odd, but historic trends show us that economic downturns and recessions normally result in a spike in new businesses being created. The obvious reason behind this is redundancy and the resulting lack of alternative employment for those finding themselves without an income. It’s a natural instinct to provide, so the obvious answer is to make your own way.
There are plenty of statistics around that will tell you about the failure rate of new businesses. It is hard to get up and running, but our experience suggests that well-considered and carefully planned business ideas fare better than those executed on a whim or in pure desperation. So here are a few things to consider before you begin:
What is your business?
There are a few key questions that you should ask yourself at the very outset:
- What have I got to sell?
- Who is interested in purchasing ‘it’?
- How much are they willing to pay?
- Who are my competitors?
- How will I combine all of these things to ensure success?
Research is key and cannot be underestimated. Do some digging around, look at the competition, and if there are no obvious competitors, consider why not. Has it been tried, tested, and failed? Is the market ripe for this product or idea?
If you are in professional services and the concept is to contract back to a former employer, consider the ‘what next’ or ‘as well as’ scenarios. What else can you do after the contract or on top of that contract to spread risk and build experience?
Company structure and administration
Most people will know their area of expertise, product, and/or sector well but will not necessarily know or understand the finite details of how to structure a business or finances. So, speak to someone who can support you with this.
Things to consider regarding the structure include:
- Is it just you?
- Will you want to employ others?
- Are you going into business with a friend or colleague?
You will then be in a better position to speak to an accountant and decide what ‘wrapper’ to create, e.g., a partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), or Limited Company (LTD).
On that note, the next step is to find a good accountant. This doesn’t have to be immediate unless you need to register for VAT or set up a PAYE payroll scheme (i.e., employ others) from the get-go. So, time is on your side, and as long as you have someone appointed within 12 months, they will be ready to help you with your first set of accountants and to chat through year-end tax planning.
Coming up with a company name
Other than sending out your first invoice, this is the fun part. If you are going to give your business a name, in this day and age, that means securing the business name and the associated domain. So open Companies House, search for a domain name provider and go through your list of options to ensure you can register the name and get the domain you want.
Get something that either says what you do, is recognisable or is different and stands out. Avoid anything too complex, and definitely avoid anything where you have to spell it out for everyone you speak to!
The new business specialists at Haggards Crowther have put together a handy guide to answer more of the most commonly asked questions about starting a new business. You can download your copy here.