Write your business plan. Every business needs a plan, and the logical time to do this is at the start. Sometimes it’s hard to get started on the business plan, so don’t be too ambitious - just start writing, on a paper napkin if that’s what is immediately to hand. See cowshed blog https://www.cow-shed.com/blog/post.php?s=2018-06-18-planning-to-succeed
Decide on your company structure. Think about who you want to be shareholders and receive dividends from the company. Shareholders may include partners and other family members not directly involved in running the business. You can change the company structure at a later date, but this involves further admin so it is better to set it up right first time.
Sort out your admin - unfortunately these are tasks that most of us don’t like but can’t be put off. They include:
- registering with Companies House (CH) and HMRC. If you are going to run your business as a limited company, you need to register it with CH and HMRC. Check that the name of your business is available before starting the registration process. All of this can now be done online via gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/topic/company-registration-filing/starting-company - in fact this is by far the best way to manage all your CH and HMRC administration.
- opening a company bank account. You will need a business bank account for your company for all payments and receipts relating to your business. This will take a few days to set up, so it’s worth starting the process as soon as you have registered your company.
- sorting out a system for recording all company payments and receipts. This can be a simple spreadsheet or an online accounting package, of which there are several cost-effective options (eg Quickbooks online https://quickbooks.intuit.com/uk/online/). Scanning bills and receipts into a cloud-based systems such as Evernote https://evernote.com or Onenote http://www.onenote.com/ avoids the need to file loads of paper. You can give your accountant access to these which will save time.
Set up your website and think about initial digital marketing options. Most businesses will need a website - customers will expect this and you may lose out on business if you don’t have one. Your site can start as a simple landing page which you can develop over time along with your digital marketing strategy.
- Manage your tax and accounting - unless you are qualified in this area, it makes sense to employ the services of a good accountant to take care of these specialist tasks for you. VAT and PAYE payroll are likely to be the first aspects of tax to deal with. Company accounts and Corporation Tax come further down the line after your first year or so of trading. If you have kept complete and accurate records throughout, your accountant should have no problem preparing these at the relevant time.
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