Starting a business checklist

A cluttered desk with a start-up plan on display.
Posted on 31st October 2016 Posted in Blog

Use this checklist as a guideline to starting up your first business!

Starting a new business can be pretty overwhelming. If you’re a complete novice, there are lots of elements of getting going that can seem a little daunting. With our handy checklist, you’ll gain some valuable tips and insight into starting up and managing your first business.

What’s your vision?
A clear vision should define your business goals. Every step you take from here on in should be working towards these goals — and, moreover, they should be realistic and achievable.

Do you have a long-term business plan?
A business plan should include everything from funding to branding and marketing ideas. It’s a good idea to scope out the internet in search of a business plan template. As a starting point, you could use the Prince’s Trust business plan template.

Where will you run your business?
Have you got a space from which you can manage your business? For a lot of start ups, a decent home office with enough room for the basics will suffice. However, it entirely depends on the kind of service you’re providing. Either way, home or office, rent or buy, you’ll need to check the legal, insurance and safety requirements of each location.

Check which kinds of licences and permits you’ll need
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a licence. Popular licences include a temporary events notice, an occasional license (if you want to sell alcohol from unlicensed premises), or food business registration. To check if your business needs a licence, click here.

Protect your intellectual property; your brand name, logo or product
You should consider protecting your intellectual property so that no other business can copy your product, brand name or logo. Seek qualified legal advice on this.

Get insurance
Your business faces the risk of financial disaster from causes out of your control, whether it’s theft, flood or vandalism. Consider how your insurance covers everything from employers’ liability insurance and international payments to business interruption insurance.

Business bank account
Do your research and shop around for the best bank account for your situation. You might also need to set up a deposit account.

Explore your funding options
A lot of start ups depend on loans or grants to get up and running. To find out what kind of start up loan you could be eligible for, check out GOV.uk.

Hiring employees
If you’re employing staff for the first time, there are a few things you need to do, for example, decide how much you can afford to pay them, and check if they have the legal right to work in the UK. See a full list of points to consider as an employer here.

If your VAT taxable turnover is over £83,000, you’ll need to register for VAT
You must register for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your business’s VAT taxable turnover is more than £83,000.

Taking dividends and paying yourself a salary
GOV.uk has a great guide to taking money out of a limited company as a director and describes three ways in which you can do this.

Build a website
Build a helpful, informative website which is SEO optimised. Try a simple platform, such as WordPress, where there’s lots of online support, or speak to a digital agency to help with your web build.

E-commerce options
Will you be selling products or services online? Ensure you have the correct shopping cart software and payment gateway services in place so that you can receive payment quickly and efficiently. Payzone, for instance, integrates with a number of e-commerce shopping cart systems.

Set up website analytics
A website analytics solution like Google Analytics will help you to see which areas of your website are performing best, who your audience are and how they’re finding your business.

Business cards
Create business cards and get networking! Attend events in your industry and hand out your business cards to help make a name for yourself.

Spread the word!
Organise a launch event or social media campaign and get promoting! Ask your friends and family to help spread the word, too.


This guide covers just some of the basics to consider when setting up a business and, of course, there are plenty of other intricacies to consider.

Have you recently started a business? Let us know your tips in the comments below!

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