By Stacey McIntosh, editor-in-chief of Sage Advice UK
There’s never been a more challenging time to start a business. The global pandemic has seen young entrepreneurs embrace an ‘against all odds’ spirit and use the uncertainly to build the future as they envision it.
Startups.co.uk states that five online businesses were launched in the UK every single day (weekends included) during April 2020. That a massive 60 percent increase compared to April 2019.
And if you’re one of the 51 percent of young British people (aged 14-25) who have thought about or have just started your business, there are five key steps that will enable you to move in the right direction.
Whatever business model you have, these all-important early decisions will prove invaluable to helping your venture on its founding path:
Step 1 Speak to an accountant that suits your industry and your plan
Do your research when it comes to finding an accountant as, in many ways, they can act as a partner to your business. If an accountant has a client list with businesses similar to your own, and maybe even competitors, this will give you a great take on the sectors they work with and their particular expertise.
Always loaded with advice, they will look for the best money-saving solutions, as well as guide you towards the best funding options and help you forecast your finances going forward with realistic views. They can also deal with HMRC on your behalf and take care of the online paperwork so you don’t have to.
Nowadays, there are also many funding and grant options available to new businesses backed by the UK government’s pledge to help SMEs from start-up to growth. Bookmark this six-step small businesses guide and ask your accountant what would be suitable for your business, too.
Step 2 Get a business bank account
Another big step for a new business: where does your revenue go? Luckily, in today’s climate of ever-emerging new businesses, there are a great many more banking options to choose from just for start-ups, as well as the traditional banking giants.
Similar to finding an accountant, compare banking options. Who supports new businesses? What kind of businesses? What success stories do other new businesses share about their business banking and how do they feel supported?
It’s recommended that you open a separate business bank account to help you keep track of your business finances – which is useful when it comes time for tax returns.
Fees, overdrafts, and loan avenues are all something to take into account when choosing to open a business account, too. So do the research and go with the best add-ons and flexibly for start-ups.
Try this guide to setting up a business for more insight into your options.
Step 3 Choose smart accounting tools from day 1 and save valuable time
A simple-to-use system that covers your base accounting needs is an absolute must from the start. Using accounting software will take the headache out of invoicing, reduce the amount of admin time massively, and free you up to focus on chasing goals and pursuing your dreams.
There is no downside to having smart software on your side – especially when it can send and chase your invoices for you. Admin and invoicing don’t need to be overwhelming – far from it – and your accountant will be grateful, too.
Step 4 Where’s your workspace?
Work from home? Shared workspace? Or private premises? It all depends on your immediate needs and the best environment to nurture those. From having a desk space to setting up your dream office at home, there are so many great options available. And since the pandemic, many small-to-global businesses have adapted their processes and changed how they work.
As a new business in 2021 and beyond you have the luxury to either build your empire from your kitchen or find a space with great potential in a newly formed working world. What will suit your vision and budget the most? Will you need any specialist equipment? What expenses can you claim if you work from home? Once you start with a list of must-haves, you can drill down to the details of what you’ll truly need then go and create the space to suit.
Step 5 Set the date and make it happen
The most exciting day of your business may well be the day you officially start to trade. You’ll have an idea of when this day will become a reality once you have all your major players, plan and funding in place.
And deciding when the timing is right is a fine line between being overly cautious and throwing caution to the wind. Sometimes in business, either approach can be positive, but take a look at your individual deciding factors then name the day. It will give you and your team an end goal in sight and a timeline to get there.
For further reading, head to Sage’s Small Business Toolkit.