Starting a business? Here is a guide of things you need to do before you start trading.

Business Food for Thought Info Bank Reading Time: 2 minutes

You’ve thought of a great idea, congratulations, you’re one step closer to people buying it. You need to turn an idea in your head into a business, it’s so easy and the majority of the time it doesn’t have to cost you thousands of pounds.

Here are the 7 basic things you need to do before you start trading:

1. Name

Think of a great name for your company, this is how everyone will recognise you so it’s vital that you get it right. Have a think about your long term goals and ambitions. Shorter names are usually better, they stick in people’s heads.

2. Trademark

Have you got such a good idea that someone might want to steal the name? Think about registering the name as a trademark. It costs about £170 to register one class and lasts 10 years. Don’t use a third party to register it, they will charge you up to £500 and its so simple you CAN do it yourself.

3. Ltd, Partnership or Sole Trader

If you’re intending to trade over £40,000 a year it’ll probably more more tax efficient to register as a Ltd company, and there is less personal risk to you. Get advice from a business advisor, or you could always call us, we’ve been there.

4. Bank

Before you can see the pound signs flowing into your personal account you need to notify the bank who will set you up a business current account. We have always used Barclays, they’ve always been great and come highly recommended.

5. HMRC

Your business is going to be great, we promise, but sadly the taxman wants a cut of your success. Register early on to save the problems later. You’ll need to pay things like corporation tax, PAYE and potentially VAT. Use accounting software to get things right from day one.

6. Financial planning, funding and grants

Planning ahead is vital to a successful business so you will need to think about drafting a cash flow forecast. You might need to write a business plan for the lenders if you’re intending to get a grant or loan to fund your business.

7. Website, Branding, Marketing

Think about how you’re going to market your product or service and plan your budgets early. Think about your target audience and how you want your brand to be perceived. Register a domain name early as well as setting up a professional email address as this will go a long way.

We have tried to consolidate the absolute basics into a very short space. We would love to have a chat with you about your business, so if you need any help at all, we are here to help.

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