Starting a Business

There are countless resources available to anyone interested in starting their own business. Whether it’s access to funding, support groups online, networking through social media, books, websites or YouTube videos, it is easier than ever before to start your own business.

You can make a business out of almost anything you do that makes money. You can start an online business from your own home doing anything from selling goods online, writing a blog or becoming a Network Marketer. Some YouTube stars make millions running their business from their parents bedrooms. If you have any type of skill that others will pay for you can work as a freelancer from anywhere with an internet connection.

That isn’t to say the traditional offline business models don’t still work but times are changing faster than ever with the traditional retail on the high street consistently loosing ground to online companies with fewer overheads.

There are of course risks. According to Bloomberg, 80% of new businesses fail in first two years. A lot of business owners will tell you how stressful and time consuming running your own business can be. However owning a business can be a great source of passive income if you set it up correctly and have the right people running it for you.

Depending what it is you are going to do in your business there are several steps involved in starting a business in the UK:

1. Decide what your business is going to do.

There are literally thousands of business ideas. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or innovative. Sometimes simply copying an idea that works is a lot less stressful and time consuming than trying to be a trail blazer. One thing that is important is to be passionate about whatever business you are going to run because there will ultimately be down times when you need to keep yourself and your staff motivated.

2. Research your business.

Now is the time to be asking the questions and making the business plan. Look at your target market. Is the audience big enough to sustain your business? What are the profit margins going? How are you going to compete against your competition? Who is your competition? etc etc.

3. Decide the business model and register your business.

You have three main options in the UK. They are Sole trader, Partnership or Limited company. Different models are suitable for different situations. There are also tax implications to think of. 

4. Get your finances sorted.

How are you going to raise the capital to get your business off the ground? A lot of businesses need money invested to get started and they may not be making a profit for a some time. The amount will vary drastically depending on what your business does. There are many ways to raise funds. You can use personal savings, take out a loan or credit card, bring an investor on board, use crowdfunding or simply reinvest profits.

Tax will need to be paid and is a highly complex subject with so unless you are going to do all your tax returns yourself it is advisable to hire an accountant.

Your company will need a bank account. Most high street banks offer business bank accounts.

5. Find your premises.

Whether you are going to be working online or offline you will need somewhere to work. If you are going to start up an online company originally this can be from your home or office. If you are going to run a shop or service you will need a business premises. Sort out your phone lines, internet access and payment for the bills.

6. Build your brand.

Once the initial stages of planning is sorted it’s now time to start to build your company. Get your company logo sorted, start up your social media platforms, start to order stock or perfect your service, produce content, use advertising to promote your business, build your website, hire staff.

6. Sales and Marketing strategy.

Whether your business is offering a service or it selling goods, you have to make sells to generate income. You will need a strategy for this. Whether it is online or offline no business can survive without income.

7. Fulfill your customer needs. 

Whatever you are doing in your business you want to make sure you satisfy your customers. Never underestimate the word of mouth and viral effect the internet can have. Even if you are an offline business, at the very least you will want to have a website and some sort of social media to contact your customers. There will more than likely be a way to review your company online so if you are offering poor customer service or inferior products it will be known to any who do their research. If you are offering a great service or product and satisfying customers you will find them loyal returning for repeat business and recommend you to other people. You can never please all the people all the time but resolve problems quickly and effectively.

8. Adapt.

Never become complacent. As a business owner you need to keep an eye on everything. Keep innovating and adapt to changing situations. Every business is vulnerable to a changing economic and political climate. Profit margins can get squeezed, staff can quit, peoples taste can change, recessions occur, businesses go bust.  You never know when the next storm is on the horizon but by thinking ahead and preparing as best you can now you can be ready for the tough times.

Top Tip 

A lot of people who end up with their own business are actually just self employed people doing a lot of the work themselves. The key is to hire the right people so that the business can be ran with little input from you. It’s the way Richard Branson has created 12 different billion dollar businesses.

Recommended Reading

Business Plan Template – How to write a business plan

Starting and Running a Business – 9 books all in one for Dummies

Sites to use

Gov.uk – UK government site for everything relating to setting your own business up

Businesses for sale – Buy an existing business in the UK