If you are considering setting up a new business and striking out on your own, it is not as daunting as it may seem and these steps will help you through the process:
1. Decide the concept, you must have an idea or see a niche in the market.
2. Develop the concept.
3. Study competitor activity.
4. Decide your USP.
5. Talk to a lot of professional people.
6. Write a Business Plan - it helps to get your brain into gear and is essential if you need to borrow working capital to get started.
7. Decide on a business name.
8. Register an email address.
9. Decide how to approach the market.
10. Appoint a web designer and secure a domain name.
11. Take legal advice e.g. Terms & Conditions, Contracts of Employment etc.
12. Appoint an accountant who can help with points 6 and 13-24.
13. Work out a realistic income and expenditure budget.
14. Submit this budget to a sensitivity analysis; e.g. what if revenue is down 20% and expenditure up by 10%?
15. Decide on your pricing structure: stay competitive but make a margin.
16. Decide if you need a monthly income or if you can wait for a dividend which may be more tax efficient.
17. Consider the costs of National Insurance and pensions via Auto Enrolment.
18. Decide on funds required and how to access them.
19. Decide on Sole Trader versus Incorporation (HMRC or Companies House). NB: it costs only £15 to register a company at Companies House.
20. Think about VAT and its implications (has to apply when sales reach £81,000 in any 12 consecutive months).
21. Set up a business bank account.
22. Decide how you wish to be paid by customers e.g. Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, direct to your bank account, open invoice trading etc.
23. Look into invoice discounting.
24. Think about insurance needs such as Public Liability or Professional Indemnity.
25. Familiarise yourself with social media - they may be critical to generating sales.
26. Think about premises.
27. Think about staff recruitment.
28. Decide on Trade Mark Registration or not.
29. Decide on applying for a Patent or not.
30. Work out your administrative processes.
31. If you are operating alone make sure you have a minimum of one year's income put aside without the need to draw on the business.
Author: Michael Manners
Michael Manners is the founder and principal of Limelight Learning UK who rose to the highest levels of general management through the sales and marketing route in a number of companies.
His first major success in the field of selling was as a sales manager, leading a national team at the age of 26. He consistently ranked in the top 5 of some 50 sales staff, and frequently succeeding in achieving the top position for most sales. He can also justly claim to have taken a business from sales of £350,000 per annum to in excess of £5m.
Michael is also a qualified practitioner in specialised psychometric assessments. He is keen to share his extensive and proven knowledge of sales training and sales techniques.
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