The key steps for starting your own business

There is quite a bit to consider when starting your own business.

Behind every project, there’s an idea. It could be the result of your experience or personal skills, the fruit of your imagination, or even originate from watching the world around you. It could be conservative or original, depending on the context and the market that you want to target. So, what sort of idea will you come up with? Here’s some food for thought:

  • You’re a seasoned businessperson who’s clocked up their fair share of expertise and technical skills over the years. You know the market like the back of your hand and you want to draw on these strengths to go it alone.
  • You’re keen on anything new and there’s no new trend you don’t know about. You’ve come across a ground-breaking concept or a new idea that’s hit the market abroad. Why not develop it in the UK?
  • You take in everything around you, analyse and look at the world with a critical mind. Perhaps you will be the brains behind this brand new concept!

Don't forget to protect your idea!

You may have come up with an invention, intellectual property or simply a brand. Whatever it is, don’t forget to protect your idea by registering it with the appropriate bodies. If a brand or company name is involved, don’t forget to check that the corresponding domain name is available and to register the name with a registrar.

Make sure that your project will work

Once you have settled on your idea, you’ve got to make sure that your project will work. This requires time to think things over and digest everything, taking all relevant factors into consideration: its features, its use, the manufacturing process (if a product), the market launch, etc. Also make sure you look into any legal constraints that may put a spanner in the spokes of your project. At this stage, you need to adopt a critical approach when assessing the strengths – and especially the weaknesses – of your idea, as well as current market potential. If you want to do this well, then you cannot do away with market research. Market research will let you assess the main trends, identify the competition and make sure that your idea is helped on its way by a clear competitive advantage. The research needs to help reduce all chances of your project failing, whilst allowing you to define your sales strategy and draw up a realistic sales forecast.

Think about the resources that you will need

As a next step, start to think about the resources that you will need. Whether these are financial, human or material, establish an accurate prediction of the resources required. The resulting figures will allow you to calculate the cost of your project. Meanwhile, you can use your market research findings to predict a minimum sales volume and check whether or not this covers the expenses incurred. This lets you see the exact amount of investment required and plan how to finance the project. Consider your own capital (personal contribution) and subventions that could help you: subventions from the state, local authorities and regional administrative bodies, for example. This will let you determine the exact amount that you need to borrow.

Don't forget to register a domain name!

Choose a legal form

Then you need to choose which legal form is best for you: sole proprietorship or company. Each form has its advantages, so make sure that you are properly informed and choose the solution that best suits your own needs. Done all that? All that you need to do now is to carry out the necessary administrative procedures by visiting Companies House at www.companieshouse.gov.uk and completing the documents either online or on paper, and posting them to the relevant address. These procedures comprise the registration of your company, including in the Company Register.

Your company is now a legal entity. All you need to do is bring it to life and find premises that are in keeping with your corporate image. Don’t forget to insure your company to reduce the risks to a minimum! You’re almost there! You still need to create your company’s image – logos, graphic identity, etc. – and to purchase the materials needed to sell your product(s): business cards, sales brochures, headed paper. You can now launch your marketing and PR initiatives to make yourself known and start hunting for potential customers.

Last but not least, don’t forget that a lot of potential customers are found on the Internet, which means that you quickly need to get your website up and running. If you have followed our advice, you should have already completed the first stage when you registered your domain names. If not, don’t waste another minute! It would be a shame if the domain name for your company is already being used by someone else. For the rest of your site, don’t worry – you don’t need to be an IT specialist to set up your own website. This site contains all the help you need to set it up and create your digital strategy. Now, it’s over to you. You now have all it takes to make your project happen!

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