Step 1 – Structure and Name
Complete your business plan and satisfy yourself that you know what your business structure will be and what it will be called.
Step 2 – Timeline
Decide on your timeline for opening.
Step 3 – Kit
Make a list of the tools you need for your business.
Make a list of the office supplies and equipment you need.
Decide on your requirement for a business vehicle.
Identify premises for your business (like your home)
Make sure you have the right insurance policy to cover kit in your home/premises
Step 4 – Marketing
Decide on your marketing expenditure and review your plan;
- Surf the net and build your website in your mind,
- Get a logo for your web and business cards
- Develop the copy and photographs on your ‘home page’,
- Get your business cards, flyers and other marketing material produced.
Decide if you are going to offer initial discounts to get started and for how long. (make sure your business plan takes this into account)
Plan your Social Media awareness campaign for the business.
Step 5 – Website and Social Media
Identify your web URL, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter names/accounts – try to keep them the same address.
- You can check your URL availability on any decent hosting site – try FastHosts.
- Remember, many of the website design firms offer a hosting service as well, so don’t buy a hosting service now unless you want to build your own website.
- Building your own website is easy – just watch this video:
- Make sure your package is ‘cloud’ enabled, secure (SSL) and provides ecommerce and email services as well (IMAP for example and including calendar services etc),
- What can I expect to pay for hosting? – probably around £15 per month including email and with a free URL.
Register for your FaceBook, LinedIn and Twitter accounts – there is no need to design your site when you register, you can do that later to match the look and feel of your website.
Consider a social media management system like Hootsuite – this and other packages allow you to manage posts and things from a central application. They are free to use in a light format – they can also find and advertise to customer ‘sub-segments’.
We cover this in more depth in our downloadable set-up guide.
Step 6 – Accounting
Even for a very small sole-trader business you need to keep some accounts. You must do this to separate business and personal accounts on paper if not actually in different bank accounts.
Prepare for your accounting and business records by starting a shoebox or box file for receipts – finish this course as self-assessment and self-employed accounting follows.
Put all the receipts for these items and activities, actual mileage and other costs into your shoebox – you can sort it out later.
If you’re working from home, put the latest copies of your water, telephone, electricity, heating, broadband and other household bills in your shoebox.
Step 7 – Business Registration
Depending on your timeline (Step 2) then,
- Complete the registration process for the business.
- Tell the taxman if not done in the previous step.
Your customers won’t come to you unless you build a profile so – Get Selling!
Step 8 – Making money
As the money flows in, you’ll need to prepare for your first self-assessment submission by keeping records.
This course takes you through some business accounting methods and how to manage your accounts. After that, we have some guides and information on tax and allowances to help you get started. Also, there are inexpensive software packages (covered later in the course) and usually local bookkeepers that can help for a fee.