Turning a vague idea for a profitable business into a reality requires skill, dedication, intelligence – and a certain sort of mindset. To succeed as a startup, you’ll need to put a little bit of time into learning some of the legal and financial hoops you’ll need to jump through, and to broaden your skillset to cover any gaps, especially if you’re starting by yourself.
So what steps do you need to take if you’re starting from scratch? Let’s consider a few of the more important startup launch steps.
Create a Business Plan
An idea isn’t the same thing as a plan. If you proceed with just an idea, then you might find out the hard way that it isn’t viable. Coming up with a robust business plan will allow you to check that your idea makes financial sense, and what problems might arise along the way. It’ll also persuade potential collaborators and investors that you’re worth placing trust in.
Understanding Finance and Taxes
Depending on your costs, you’ll need a little bit of cash to get the wheels turning. You might apply for finance, using your business plan to give lenders the reassurance they need to stump up the cash. On the other hand, you might have come into the money through family members. If your parents decide to make a lifetime gift, then they’ll be able to offset it against their inheritance tax liabilities, meaning that it often makes financial sense for them to invest while they’re still around.
Establishing the Legal Structures
Once you’ve got your startup business off the ground, you’ll want a firm understanding of where you stand legally. Who owns the business and the products it produces? If you’re providing creative works, or selling via an online platform like amazon, then who actually owns those works? It’s important to understand where your legal risks are ahead of time, rather than waiting for trouble to arrive and then dealing with it.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Marketing will play a critical role in getting your business off the ground, as in the early stages you won’t be able to rely on word of mouth or referrals or reviews. As part of your business plan, you should have determined which marketing strategy suits your circumstance. If you’re selling niche products to customers across the country, you’ll want to focus on the internet. If you’re opening a takeaway, then posting menus through every door in the vicinity is essential.
Register your Business
Sole traders will need to submit self-assessment tax returns through HMRC. You’ll be limited in what you can call your startup as a sole trader: you can’t include ‘ltd’ or ‘plc’ in the name of the company. You should also trademark your brand name in order to stop other companies from using it.