How do you do it? What are the costs and how difficult is it to do?
Most us have a pipedream of working for ourselves, or a side hustle, we dream will become our full-time job. Sometimes it just comes to us – “You know what? I’m actually really good that this” as you save your first t-shirt design or finish icing those professional looking cupcakes.
Of course, every business is different and comes with its own set of hurdles. A cupcake business for example, requires a courier that can deliver products the same day and a t-shirt design business would be nothing without a reliable printer who can print the designs.
But what are the steps that every new business goes through and in what order? How long do these things usually take?
1) Registering your New Business with the Government
This step often one of the most daunting (because it makes it official!) is actually surprisingly quick and easy.
Simply go to https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader and set up as a sole trader.
As part of the process, you’ll register with HMRC for tax, and for VAT if you’re going to be VAT registered. You can also find out more about being VAT registered on gov.uk
Step Two) Choosing a Name
Picking a name can be both equal parts exciting and frustrating. It can be fun to do as part of your dreams becoming a reality but also difficult because it needs to reflect what you do and who you are to some extent.
Sometimes you’ve already got a bit of name in mind, if this is the case, head over to Companies House and Google to check that no one is using it yet.
If you’re coming up a blank, try brainstorming or asking family and friends for ideas. You can also use name generators like this one – https://thestoryshack.com/tools/company-name-generator/
Or another really simple way of doing it is to pick an adjective combine it with what you do e.g. “happy cupcake” or “edgy tees”.
Step 3) Should I trademark a business name?
This step depends largely on a few things – how successful you think you will be and how much budget do you have to set your business up with.
This can be a useful step as you can legally protect your business name and logo.
It’s a fairly quick process costing around £500 which can be worth it, as you can lose customers should someone is mimicking you and you need to change your name.
However, it’s not crucial when setting up, you could get going and come back to this once things are taking off, just don’t forget about it!
Step 4) Set-up a sole trader bank account
This is a really good idea as it helps, you keep track of your spending and profit. We are big fans of Starling Bank as it offers lots of tools that help you keep track on these and the set-up is very simple and can all be done online in a matter of minutes though you do need a current account to set up a sole trader account: https://www.starlingbank.com/sole-trader-bank-account/
Step 5) Business Insurance
Depending on what kind of business you have, it might be wise to take out business insurance. We recommend you do if you have company premises or vehicles, or if you are investing in a lot in stock ahead of getting set-up. Hiscox is a good insurance business, very quick and easy to do.
I found that my imaginary cupcake business, I ran from home cost just £14.00 a month to insure.
Creating a logo
Having a professional branded logo is vital for any successful business. You don’t need to be a whizz at photoshop to make one. If you haven’t heard of Canva before check it out! www.canva.com
It offers lots of templates that you can add your business name to for free!
If you decide you want something more unique and professional, we offer 3 logo designs to pick from for £50.
You must set up a social media account for your business, it is essential to help you find new customers! You don’t need to set up an account for everything but have a think about which social media accounts are right for your business.
For example, if your work is very visual then Instagram & Pinterest is a good idea or if you are selling to other businesses LinkedIn is better. If you’re not sure, then feel free to ask us what we think, we can even give you some tips as to how to get going or what to post (completely free).
Try posting regularly on your account, this makes your business look authentic and trustworthy. You may find you want to start paying for advertising on your social media (you can have a chat with us about what social media would be best for you and how we could work together to ensure you meet your goals, consultation free).
How to get your business off the ground
You’ll realise it takes time and effort in order to get noticed and for customers to start buying your products or services. There are a few quick wins that may help with this, that are free!
These are just the basics for starting your own business. We can offer support and advice and help you along every step of the way if you need it! All you have to do is get in touch!
By Miranda Marshall & Sophie Dennett, 06/01/2021
We create websites, online shops, content and help with social media marketing.