Starting a business is never easy. Recent statistics suggest approximately one in ten startups fail in the first year, and by year 5 less than half have survived. It’s never too soon (or too late!) to ask an accountant for advice when starting a business, and before starting up is best. For example, it’s not always best to start off as a company, and you could be missing out on a potential tax refund by assuming it is.
Good advice early on can save tax, accountants fees, and quite a few headaches. Not to mention helping you survive the first year, then year two and so on. A couple of the main reasons cited for startup failures are overspending on advertising, and getting the pricing wrong. So it’s crucial that you have a good pricing strategy and that you have, and stick to, a realistic budget. Of course you will need accurate bookkeeping records from the start to help monitor the spending against the budget, and online accounting is ideal for that. As we help many different types of business, our experience can also help you check there are no flaws or missed opportunities in your plan.
Many of our clients received our free advice and free help to setup a self employed business or company, and register it with HMRC. We even setup and train our clients on online accounting for free. Our range of business startup helpsheets below are written in plain english to help you start a business successfully. If you have any questions please contact us. We are happy to advise anyone looking to start a business, or have already done so.
Business Startup Guides
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If you are thinking of becoming self employed, you’ll need to know what to do, so an accountant can be very useful even before becoming self employed. They could save you more in tax than it costs in fees if you take advice on tax and business from the start of becoming self employed.
Here’s our list of the top things to look out for when becoming self employed.
- Appreciate that setting up and running a self employed business takes a lot of time and commitment. The rewards can be great but you have to know why you are becoming self employed with your own business and what you are getting into.
- Identify your strengths and especially your weaknesses. Identify areas where you need to get advice.
- Decide on your business structure. You can trade as a sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited company. They all have different tax consequences and responsibilities and you should take advice on which one is best in your circumstances. We will help you with this.
- Produce a financial forecast so that you know what funding you are likely to need and be conservative. We can help you with this.
- Investigate the competition thoroughly, don’t take them for granted and look to take advantage of their weaknesses. You must also constantly be on the lookout for what they are doing.
- Research your market to ensure there is a demand for what you are offering.
- Decide on your marketing plan. Just because you have a good product or service doesn’t mean you will sell anything. Getting the marketing right can be the difference between success and failure.
- Decide on what staff you are likely to need and what skills they need to have. You will have to operate PAYE for any employees you have although your accountant can help with this. You’ll also have employment law and health and safety law that you must be up to scratch on.
- A business plan is an important document to put together even if you don’t need to raise finance. It will help you to properly focused. We can help you with this.
- Design your business stationery, ensuring it not only meets your legal obligations but conveys the image you want to get across.
- Decide on how you are going to keep your accounts and get advice from your accountant from day 1. We will help you with this.
- Make sure you register with all the relevant authorities including HM Revenue and Customs and decide if you need to register for VAT. We will help you with this.
- Consider all the necessary insurances you need including public liability, keyman, stock, business assets, business interruption, bad debts, motor insurance, employer’s liability (compulsory if you have employees), professional indemnity and permanent health insurance.
- Use trusted advisors such as accountants and solicitors to help guide you. Not getting the right advice can be costly.
How we can help you
Whilst there are many common issues to consider anyone becoming self employed, every business start up situation is different and expert advice at the beginning will pay for itself many times over. Assistance with business plans for funding, setting up your book-keeping system and tax planning at the beginning are all key areas that we regularly get involved with.