Have you got a game-changing new business idea but are uncertain about how to start-up on your own? Are you tired of being just another employee and have ambitions to work for yourself? Self-employment is a brave step to take and one that has the potential to be incredibly rewarding. But, there are a few things to consider before taking the plunge. Below are Danbro’s ten top tips for setting up your own business. Click on each one for more information.
If you can identify, and utilise, what sets your business apart from its contemporaries, you stand a far greater chance of achieving success. The key to this is figuring out your unique sales proposition (USP) and communicating it effectively enough to encourage actions and conversions. It is important that you distinguish the features of your product or service that cannot be replicated by direct competitors. By expressing the benefits of your brand promise, you can gain trust from prospective customers and develop valuable relationships. Every new business is different, that’s what makes you unique. There are no hard and fast rules on the best way to exploit your USP, so take the time to analyse your competitors’ advertising and marketing campaigns and learn how other companies use their USP to their advantage. You can then ascertain what works for you and apply it to your own business model. For more information on how to develop your company’s USP, check out this free guide from small business portal, Bytestart
Your business plan should describe your company’s objectives and strategies, as well as covering things like sales estimates and financial forecasts. Writing a plan will help you clarify your business model, set your targets, measure your progress and flag up potential complications. It is essentially a written document which describes your business and you’ll need one if you want to secure investment or a bank loan. It can also help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to offer their support. Not to mention Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and their fire breathing friends. There’s plenty of guidance out there to help you and you can download business plan templates, such as this one from the Government recommended, ‘Start Up Loans’ website, for free advice on how to write your revolutionary business plan.
If you’re thinking of becoming a sole trader, you’ll need to register for self-assessment and file annual tax returns. You must also make sure you keep records of your sales and expenses. You’ll not need to register your business name but, remember, as a sole trader you are the business, the owner, the management and the staff. Alternatively, if you’re looking at setting up a business as a limited company, you’ll require a company name and address. You’ll also need a minimum of one director and one shareholder, and a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code – a four-digit code specifying the nature of your business. In addition, you will need the company’s shareholder/s to agree to create the company and its written rules. Once all of this is finalised, you can complete your company incorporation by registering online with Companies House. Of course, if none of this falls under your specific area of expertise, Danbro can take care of it. Click here for more information on the differences between sole traders and limited companies – as well as some dos and don’ts for selecting a business name – or give us a call today on 01253 600 150.
From social media and time management to web reporting and financial admin, there are countless tools and apps available. They can help reduce the day-to-day demands of running your own business. Here at Danbro, we practice what we preach. We’re willing to champion tools such as Toggl, MailChimp and FreeAgent because we know from experience just what value they can bring to your business. To see our list of ten top tools and apps for small businesses and the self-employed, click here
Once you’ve registered, you’ll need a business bank account. There are four steps to take when finding the best business account for you; so says Martin Lewis (that clever chap off the tele) anyway. STEPS 1: Use a personal bank account … if you can 2: Locate the business bank accounts with the lowest charges 3: List the fees that apply to your account and minimise the charges you pay 4: ‘Sweep’ cash into a business savings account and maximise the interest We’ve partnered with Cashplus to offer you their Business Account, designed exclusively for new and small businesses. With a UK based customer care team, as well as 24/7 access to mobile and online accounts, the Cashplus account is the ideal low-cost, low-hassle way to manage your business finances.
If your turnover exceeds the threshold for VAT, which is reviewed every year on April 1st (suffering no fools), you are legally obliged to register for VAT. Likewise, if you expect to top the respective threshold in a single 30-day period, you must also register for VAT. If you do not register within 30 days of going over the threshold, you may be penalised. Please be aware though that if your business only sells VAT-exempt products and services, you cannot register for VAT. Many businesses still opt to register for VAT voluntarily, even when their UK sales fall below the VAT threshold. This means that you’ll have to account for VAT on your sales but would be able to claim back the VAT on eligible purchases.
With a million and one things on your to-do-list as a new business owner, insurance policies might not be too high on your agenda. Well, they should be. Employers’ liability insurance provides your business with cover for legal fees and compensation costs should an employee or ex-employee choose to sue over things like illness or a work related injury. Along with motor insurance, this is the only policy you must have in place under UK law. However, it does not apply to businesses with fewer than two employees. Failure to comply can result in financial penalties of up to £2,500 per day. Professional indemnity insurance covers you for the cost of claims made by a customer or client for any financial losses suffered as a result of professional negligence. Whilst it is not yet a legal requirement, it is common practice nowadays for businesses to have professional indemnity insurance. Public liability insurance provides your business with cover for legal costs or compensation claims if a third party is injured – or if their property is damaged. Either at your company’s premises or whilst your company is working on their property. Again, whilst you are under no legal obligation to obtain this type of insurance, certain businesses may not allow you to operate on their premises without such cover. Another consideration should be property insurance. Whether you’re a tech company reliant on IT equipment or a tradesperson who’d be lost without their tools, property insurance serves to protect your business’ building and assets. Quick caveat though; when purchasing this kind of insurance, ‘ensure that the sum insured on your contents list is equal to or greater than the value of your equipment’.
In this, the age of the online consumer, digital marketing could prove pivotal to the success of your business. Get it wrong and it could have huge implications on your ability to engage with your target audience. Get it right and you could smash the competition, saving both time and money in the process. If you’re launching a new business, a strong online presence is becoming increasingly important. Ask yourself if you need a website or social media accounts. Consider how blogs and emails can be utilised to enhance conversions. Think about what your online assets are and how can you optimise them. Figure out who your customers are, where they’re coming from, and how you’re going to reach them. In business, what you’re selling is often only as important as how well you’re selling it. A solid marketing strategy is a must in the battlefield of modern commerce.
A survey published in the Telegraph earlier this year found that a third of freelance or self-employed workers were regularly skipping meals to keep on top of their workload, with around 25% taking no more than five days a year in annual leave. Becoming self-employed, or setting up your own business are courageous and potentially life-changing decisions to take. It’s an exciting opportunity for you and the ones you love. It’s one that you’ll no doubt strive to make the most of. But in today’s unpredictable and ever-changing landscape of business enterprise, it’s as important as ever to attain a work-life balance – one that serves the interests of your business, your family and yourself. Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this. Here are Danbro’s 10 golden rules for self-employed people.
Selecting the right accountant can be a crucial business decision. It’s one that can leave a long-lasting legacy – positive or negative – on your business’ future. Here at Danbro, we believe that accounting is about more than just number crunching. It’s about developing great relationships, overcoming obstacles, providing solutions and, ultimately, helping your business achieve its absolute potential. We’ve been helping new and small businesses with their finances for almost two decades. We appreciate that outsourcing the financial organisation of your new business requires a great deal of trust.