Setting up a business
When starting up a business there is a lot to learn – from the initial planning of the business to understanding the law and how this relates to you. There are various organisations that you could approach for all kinds of advice and support, these include:
- Company House (www.companieshouse.gov.uk) for the legal aspects and some additional advice
- NFEA Enterprise Agencies focus on supporting pre-start, newly launched and very small businesses. Services tend to be free or heavily subsidised. Find your local enterprise agency on the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies website: http://www.nfea.com
- Business Link London (www.businesslink.gov.uk) offers a wide range of support and advice for both startups as well as existing businesses and is an excellent source of information.
- Chamber of Commerce (www.britishchambers.org.uk) is a network that directly serves its member businesses and also the wider business community.
- Trade organisations; Trade organisations provide advice and support tailored to a specific business.
Investors and Banks are more likely to invest if you have a credible business plan and ideally previous business experience. Many new businesses therefore rely on savings, family and friends in the early stages. This is not to say you cannot access funds - but you should always start of slowly at first, being conservative with any initial expenses.
Funding and Grants:
If you need help identifying any loans or grants you might qualify for, then Business Link is a good website to start with. You may be eligible for funding from the Prince’s trust if you are aged 30 and under. Furthermore, most of the major banks offer business start-up packs and information. The government has pledged to help small businesses and are encouraging banks to lend their support. Professional private investors (business angels) and larger investors (venture capitalists) will often want to take a hands-on approach or at least offer informal advice.
Check what tax credits or benefits you are entitled to receive
If you look after a child, you are likely to be entitled to Child Tax Credit, unless you have a high family income.
Before you employ an accountant it is a good idea to have a look at how much of the work you can do yourself. Have a look at www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg where you can read advice on setting up your own record system. Doing your own record keeping is cost effective, however it might take up too much time and keep you away from other areas of the business. You may need to seek professional advice e.g. accountants who can inform you on the best way to set up your business, organise bookkeeping, and taxation issues. Many businesses also use their accountant for broader business advice and personal financial planning, so it is important to look for an accountant with suitable experience. Business friends and contacts such as your local bank may be able to recommend someone. Ultimately there is a lot to learn and it may be worth keeping notes so that you have something to refer to when you need it.
Professional mentoring schemes may be available in your area of business through various business organisations. These mentors are experienced business professionals who offer their expertise and knowledge to individuals and startups. Make sure you have researched your mentor before discussing any sensitive information. We always advise our members to be careful when it comes to Intellectual Property (IP).