It’s easy to set up a start-up business in the UK. If it’s a small business, you can even do it in a day. So, if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business for ages, now would be a good time. Put all the knowledge you’ve learned from all the entrepreneurial books you’ve read and all the business courses you’ve taken to good use.

Before discussing all the different things that you’ll need to do to get it off the ground, let’s pause for some blue sky thinking:

Imagine that your business is a huge success. In fact, it’s so successful that your marketing meetings will include conversations about how to expand internationally.

You’ll discuss how to use a money transfer service like Ria Money Transfer UK to have a system in place to send and receive money while you’re building your base abroad, and you’ll discuss how to partner with local business people to get an insider’s perspective on how to rebrand your business to suit the local market.

After you’ve envisioned the future you’d like to build, think about what you’ll need to do to set up your business and build a firm foundation.

Simple Steps to Be Up and Running

First, let HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) know that you intend to be self-employed. You can start as a sole-trader or other chosen legal structure, like a limited company. You can get in touch with HRMC online or by phone. Next, complete the free online training HMRC offers online to get the advice you’ll need on how to hire people, keep records, and file tax returns.

Second, get insurance cover to protect your business. Every business is vulnerable to a variety of threats, like legal fees, thefts, and accidents, to name a few. Shop around for the insurance your business needs.

Third, choose your business name. Don’t spend money on printing business cards and brochures or buying a domain until you verify that your name is still available. A good place to start would be Companies House.

Fourth, create a business bank account. Although a business bank account isn’t necessary if you’re a sole trader, it’s a good idea not to commingle your personal and business funds. If you set up a company, your business bank account will be considered a separate entity from you.

Fifth, complete the rest of the set-up. The other things you’ll need to do are straightforward. First, check out Gov.uk to find out all the regulatory issues that you must comply with. These will include things like data protection, licensing, and health and safety issues. Next, hire an accountant–or buy accounting and bookkeeping software if you intend to do it yourself. Finally, decide on your workspace. You may choose to rent a commercial office space or work from home. If you work from home, talk to your Local Council to find out how to deduct a percent of your household bills as business costs. Also, ask if there are any Capital Gains tax issues you need to know about.

Theoretically, all this can be done in a day, although, of course, it’s not necessary to work that frenetically.

Build a Firm Foundation

Now that you’ve taken care of the legalities, how do you build a firm foundation?

Here is a checklist of four projects to get done:

  • Write a comprehensive business plan. Think of this as a blueprint you’ll need to raise finances, set up marketing systems, and follow up on sales strategies.
  • Learn the basics of finance. Even if you hire an accountant, it’s still a good idea to learn how to start cash flow forecasts. Also, create a budget to keep your costs as low as possible. You’ll want to avoid making expensive mistakes until you develop a business model that achieves good sales.
  • Setup your office. You’ll need office equipment and furniture so that you can stay organized as you build your business.  One of the most important aspects of setting up your office is communications—so work out issues like phone, email, and social networking profiles.
  • Build your brand. You’ll need some marketing collateral like business cards and stationery, and you’ll also need to build your online presence with a website, a blog, and a social media network.

One Step at a Time

Thinking about a business with all its complexities can be overwhelming, but by focusing on how to get things started, you’ll mature your business idea into a plan that you can act on.

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