We've casually put together ten steps to help inspiring entrepreneurs set up a successful business in the UK today.
If you’re journeying out on an exciting new venture, use the startup checklist to start building a rounded approach to getting set up without forgetting anything important.
1. Start with a great idea!
Every business begins with a great idea. It’s the reason why you can buy peanut butter and strawberry jam in the same pot. It just works! Some clever guy or girl saw an opportunity and made it happen. What’s your idea? Marmite and marmalade doesn’t work – tried that one.
2. Name it carefully
Business name, domain and social names (AKA: handles) are best addressed together for maximum consistency across all touchpoints (points of the customer journey where people interact with your business). Use the Government name availability checker to see if your legal name is available first, then use a free service like namecheckr.com to see whether the social names are available to match. These two websites will save a lot of time and make the process simpler for you.
3. Structure & formalities
There are two options to set up your business; Sole Trader or Limited Company. There are a few perks to both, but when it comes to tax Sole Traders pay 20-45% income tax, and Limited Companies pay 19% corporation tax. The government offers a help service for setting up new businesses here. It’s also worth finding a good accountant if you don’t already have one and boring stuff like looking into business insurance.
By this point you may already feel confident that your business will solve real problems and help others. The only people who know this better than you right now are your competitors, so take the time to check them out and learn from them. Look at the colours they use to present to their audience. What do you like about their approach? What can you do better?
This one is our favourite. Branding listens to your great idea and makes it look like one. We’re talking the whole kaboodle: strategy (USPs, vision, mission, values), visual identity (logo, brandmark, colours, typefaces), website (modern, responsive, user-friendly, optimised for search engines and your audience), and all the juicy stuff to get you out there and marketing as quickly as possible (presentations, business cards, uniforms, bamboo pen – why not?!).
Many business owners never consider selling their services in a different way. Our approach looks at things differently to maximise the potential for your business. Think about what works best for your customers and for you. If you can think of a reason why making your services more accessible to your ideal audience might be a bad thing, we’ll buy you a coffee and talk through it together. Free this weekend?
7. Set goals & optimise
You may already be thinking about CRM systems (customer relationship management) which help you provide a more streamlined service through workflow automation. They also help your business grow and encourage you to delegate tasks more easily. Beyond profit, when considering optimising your business, freeing up your own time to work on building your company tends to be the number one goal.
8. Shout about it!
Marketing is all about raising awareness, and the good news is that a great brand will already be doing this for you. We think of a website as the first employee. It works tirelessly, never sleeps, has a global reach and takes less than £300 a year to run. Thankfully AI hasn’t yet established a charity for website welfare, so make the most of it while you can.
9. Get inspired
At some point along your business building journey it might be worth looking for support from a mentor. These people are often quite niche in their subject areas, so you could find one that’s right up your street. They will help you look for new opportunities and usually adjust your mindset to think bigger.
10. Rebrand & expand
Eventually your business might have outgrown your brand. You could be offering far more than you originally intended to, or your demographic has changed so that what your customers are seeing is no longer winning their attention. If this is the case, it’s time to rebrand. Our advice is to work with a specialist who can make it happen. Ahem.
If you're thinking of starting your own business, congratulations! We admire you.
Setting up on your own is inspiring, rewarding, scary, new and exciting all at the same time. We’ve done it and we’re still very much onboard for the journey. Congratulations for taking the next step on yours, and for making each step your own. If you found anything useful in this article, please let us know.
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If you have any ideas, recommendations for new time-saving tools and tops from your own experiences, please let us know! We want to build a simple to understand online resource to help young businesses get started. Thanks for reading!
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If you’re already setting up a new business and you want to look better than your competitors, let’s see if we can help you.