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We’ve all had a thought about a business or brand at least once in our lives along the lines of: ‘I could do that’, ‘if this company did this, it would be so much better’ or started a sentence with, ‘you know what would be a good idea?’ In many cases it is more than a passing thought. Every business there has ever been started from a thought which manifested itself into an idea, which then developed into something tangible.

The good news for aspiring entrepreneurs, latest statistics show that Start-Up businesses are at an all time high in Britain, and more support for Start-Ups is available through schemes such as Start-Up Britain, it is now easier and cheaper than ever to start your own company thanks to developments and advancements in technology, communications and connectivity in the business world.

Here are 10 steps to setting up your own business:

  1. Company Structure

As you start-up and eventually (hopefully) expand, the structure of your business is integral to success. A good commercial solicitor can explain all your options and tailor advice to your distinctive circumstances. The most common options are to set up as either: a sole trader, a partnership, a limited company or limited liability partnership.  If you are going into business with other people, a wise decision would be to have a shareholders’ agreement (for a limited company) or a partnership agreement drafted. This ensures that your financial or non-financial investment is made crystal clear and that the co-partner(s)/co-shareholder(s) know exactly how the relationship is going to be governed from the word go; this makes things so much easier for all parties going forward.

  1. Registration

For each of the different company structures, the tax and legal requirements vary, so it is best to get the advice that’s going to help your own personal circumstances and future plans.  A limited company must be registered at Companies House.  After you’ve registered at Companies House, you’ll need to register for Corporation Tax with HMRC within 3 months of starting to ‘do business’ or you may get penalised if you register late.

  1. Funding

More often than not the bank remains the first port of call for most new startups looking for funding to get things off the ground.   This can often be the greatest cause of concern for many business owners.  However, having a strong business plan, creating and then presenting financial forecasts will help when working with your bank to secure those vital funds.

  1. Know Your Market

Your market consists of broadly of three main constituents: your customers, your competitors and your suppliers.  Get to know the people you’ll be selling to.  Understanding what your customer wants will enable you to translate your product or service into something sellable.  Look at your competitors, analyse their good and bad points and make your business better! 

  1. Desire and Belief

Although this sounds obvious, a desire to run your own business is integral.  Running your own company is going to be hard work.  It boils down to motivation. Also an unswerving faith and belief in your business is one thing that you will get through hard times (assuming the idea is a good one!)  However, be resilient and adapt to change.  If something goes wrong, learn from it and be ready to evolve. 

  1. Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) is all about protecting your ideas and the ‘property’ you rightfully own. Things such as your designs, artistic works, symbols, images and names can be protected from competitors and other businesses in general who may want to nab your clever ideas. If you own your designs and logos it not only stops other people using them, but also means you can sell them at a later date or make money by allowing people to use them with your permission.  A top tip is to make sure your contracts state that you and you alone own the IP for anything that any other agency or designer creates on your behalf.

  1. Terms of Business

Arranging your Terms of Business, sometimes known as T&Cs, is vital to get right from the beginning of your venture. With the introduction of the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015), sorting out your Terms of Business is especially important now if you trade to the consumer market.   Why? Trading to consumers can be a complex legal setting anyway, but the CRA 2015 has been slimmed down and reorganised which has made it easier for consumers not only to know their rights but to contest bad business practice too. As a business owner therefore, you need to be fully aware of all your obligations.

Even if you are a B2B trading firm your terms of business are a vital part of your business. Doing this correctly will limit potential exposure to regulations and protect your company’s position.

  1. Business Premises

Where will your business be operating from? Many businesses are run successfully from home.  If you are starting off as a home-run business you may want to think about the possible restrictions. Once it comes to choosing a premises there are a number of key questions that need to be answered to help your start-up on the way to success. Questions surrounding the terms of the lease such as: what are the service charges? Can they increase? Can the rent be increased, if so by how much and when? Will you need to obtain planning permission?

  1. Networking

This is absolutely key for the success of any SME. Building relationships with useful outside contacts can lead to all sorts of paths, but you have to be active. Speaking to other businesses, owners, people, potential customers and attending networking groups will greatly help to expand your reach and potentially bring the work in either immediately or further down the line. It’s also much better to forge relationships with people who can help you before you actually need them! Get to know a good and trustworthy professionals, such as an accountant, financial advisor and a solicitor.

  1. Communication

Communication also needs to utilised internally; this is imperative. It’s amazing how often business owners neglect to speak to their partner or other shareholders.  Having family and friends on-board will make all the difference in helping your business to succeed.

Starting up your own enterprise is extremely demanding and will take up most of your time. With the correct help and advice along the way, however, it can be made easier, more efficient and in the end more cost-effective. A little planned expenditure at the beginning of your start-up to help get your legal affairs in order can be a drop in the ocean compared to the costs of sorting a mess out.

At Gorvins we have a number of Corporate-Commercial solicitors who have provided expertise to many start-ups over the years which have put them in a great position for the future. To speak to a solicitor today, call 0343 507 5151 or email your enquiry across to enquiries@gorvins.com.