2018 is the year that you are going to start a business. You are finally going to turn your idea into a reality - this is the moment. Firstly, congratulations you're about to embark upon a potentially exciting adventure. There is nothing quite like the thrill of going it alone and making an impact.
Make no mistake, there are a lot of things you now need to be thinking about if you truly want to get your business off to a good start in 2018. But there is no need to feel overwhelmed or scared. This is all very achievable with a plan in place, and at Payzone, we are here to help you do just that. Take a look at some of our suggestions to help you in the initial phase of your business planning.
Planning requires thought so let's start by doing some...
Before you do anything, do your research to death. You might know what your idea is but how effective is it going to be? Your business concept is unlikely to be totally original, so how are other similar products or services faring in the marketplace? This is also a good opportunity to have a good look at what your potential competition are doing. Again, really take a look at what they are offering: what are their USPs? What is their marketing like? And what is their pricing strategy? You also need to identify your audience. Your product cannot be for everyone. You must be targeting a particular audience segment to have the most effect in what you are doing.
Organise a business plan
Still want to do this? We thought so. Now it’s time to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of business strategy. Time to get yourself a plan in place. Ask yourself how do you see the business growing over a set period of time. This is what is referred to as financial projections. It’s vital that you get this right as this really is the ‘bread and butter’ of what you will be doing. This is also a great place to showcase your marketing and demonstrate how this will contribute to the growth of your business. A business plan is also vital if you decide to look for external funding as it will illustrate how you intend to make money and how the investor will make a return, as a result.
Choose a name
Have you ever really wondered why when you meet someone you ask them their name? It sounds obvious but it is the way that you recognise and identify an individual. It is the reason why a couple will often spend time deciding what they should name their child. The same approach should be taken towards your business name. This needs a lot of thought and consideration because a name can say a lot about you. It also needs to be memorable and really ‘slip off the tongue’. Think of the brilliant simplicity of Sony, Apple, or Coke. Nothing complex but very memorable.
Get business ready
Now you're past the idea stage, it’s time to get the necessary things in place. You can start with getting a bookkeeping system or hiring an accountant as a way to keep track of all of your sales. It is also worth thinking about opening up a business bank account. This isn’t mandatory if you are set up as a sole trader. Take a look at the AXA Business Insurance Wizard as this will give you a good idea of what type of insurance you might need.
What kind of company do you want to be
You need to think about how you want to structure your company as a legal entity. There are a few basic type of company structures that you need to consider. This includes the following:
- Ltd Company - Your finances are separate but you have greater accounting responsibilities to consider.
- Sole trader - Where you are personally responsible for your business debts but have fewer accounting responsibilities.
- Partnerships - A very useful structure if two or more people are running a business. The partners will have shared responsibilities for debts and accounts.
For more detailed information, read the Gov.uk guide.
Where are you going to work?
There is no right or wrong answer. This is entirely about your preferences and understanding what works for you best. Do you prefer working from your own home or do you prefer some kind of office space? Some people like going to cafes with powerful WiFi and doing that? This is only something you can know.
But if you are somebody who gets distracted easily at home (particularly with all of those sky box sets), it is worth looking into local serviced office spaces. These are particularly good as you can often use a serviced office on a pay as you go basis. You also don’t usually have to sign complex leases either - so it's ideal for businesses who are just starting out.
Here at Payzone, we hope that 2018 can be the year for you to achieve the startup success that you crave. Find out more about us and how we support the growth of thousands of small businesses with our card payment solutions.