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If you have used your time in lockdown to re-evaluate some of your goals and ambitions, you may have decided that now is the right time to take the plunge and launch your own business.  If you have recently started-up a new venture or you are in the research phase, here are our tips to help you succeed…

1)  Choose an accountant that is a specialist in providing business start-up advice

If you are thinking of starting up a new business then you are going to need the dedicated services of a team of expert accountants as you take each of those steps towards financial freedom.  Your first steps will be to discuss with them whether you should set up as a sole trader, partnership, or limited company, and whether you will need to be VAT registered or whether you need a payroll scheme.

Starting a company can be a little daunting, so choosing an accountant that provides you with honest, proven advice tailored to your needs will ensure you don’t become swept away by your new venture without laying down the sound financial framework necessary to make your business a success.

2)  What will you name your business?

One of the best things about starting your own business is being able to choose a name for yourself.  But, finding the right one is not as simple as you may think!  It needs a little bit of thought in order to ensure you tick all the legality boxes and create the right impression.

If you have decided to register a limited company, you can search on Companies House to check your chosen name is available and your accountant will assist you with the forms if needed.  If you are a sole trader or a partnership you will only need to register with HMRC and again, your accountant can help you with this.

When choosing your company name, keep in mind that it will act as the first impression of your business.  Your name should convey the right tone and message – whether you want to portray professionalism or a fun, quirky personality, a well-chosen name will help you do this (particularly when supported with the same tone across your website, marketing etc.).  Consider if your name is easy to pronounce and spell after all, you will be giving out your details left, right and centre, and you want to make sure your name stands out and is easy for customers to remember.

3)  File paperwork

It is important to keep any letters that you are sent from the HMRC and Companies House as your accountant will need these to file your accounts.

4)  Set up a separate bank account in your business name

If you have a limited company, you are legally obliged to open a dedicated bank account for the company.  If you are a sole trader, we would highly recommend for you to set up a separate trading account as bank regulations will not allow you to use your personal bank account for business transactions.

Keeping your business and personal accounts separate, enables you to see all of the components involved for managing business throughout the year and makes it easy to separate business and personal expenses.

5)  Get your business insurances in order

Ensuring you have all the necessary business insurances that you require is very important.  Use an insurance broker to ensure you know exactly what you need.

6)  Keep your receipts!

Money’s tight when you first start-up. The last thing you want is to miss out on reclaiming expenses you incur as you start to build your business.  Make sure you keep the receipts for any money you spend on startup costs as they are all tax deductible.

7)  Decide on your bookkeeping method.

Software or spreadsheets? Ask your accountant for guidance.

8)  Register with the ICO if you are handling client data

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the independent regulatory office in charge of upholding information rights in the interest of the public.  If your business will involve handling client data (which inevitably it will), you should register with ICO to ensure the data is protected.

9)  Create and develop your brand

First impressions count!  Speak to a graphic designer about creating a business logo, business cards etc.  You may also benefit from working with a web developer to help build you a website that will generate traffic, and therefore leads for your products/services.  It is a good idea to check Google for customer reviews on any suppliers you decide to work with as the recommendation of others is always reassuring.  Our own website was created by a Bromley based web design agency called Make Me Local.

10)  Connect with your local community

Book into a local networking event to meet other business owners in your area. This will help you start building a support network and maybe even get some new customers!  Establishing great relationships with other like-minded businesspeople can provide a lifeline of support and business generation for a start-up or small business at any stage.   Business networking is a great way to share your successes and mistakes with others and will play an important part in growing a sustainable business.

If at any time you need some accountancy help, business or personal, don’t forget the team here at Bells are here for you to support in any way we can.  Just give us a call.