A few years ago, information for people starting a business was thin on the ground. People used to talk to the bank manager, their mates down the pub and maybe their families to get information.
Now it seems we are at the other extreme, we almost have information overload. I just Googled “UK starting a business” and it came back with 7,370,000,000 results.
Top of the list was a .gov website and the money advice service which, admittedly, are probably two of the most important.
10 things no-one tells you:
Despite this wealth of published information, there are still some key fundamentals, which I recommend to every new and existing business, that do not seem to be covered anywhere else and these are:
- Get a separate bank account and keep your business cash separate from your personal cash. Pay yourself out of this bank account once a month and do not use it for personal items.
- Get an accountant as soon as possible – they will save you money in the long run. Make sure they offer fixed fees and unlimited advice and if possible, they allow you to pay over 12 months.
- Get a spreadsheet from your accountant to keep your transactions on or better still sign up to xero.com.
- Register with HMRC and make sure you meet their deadlines. Attend one of their ‘running your own business’ seminars. Use an accountant to help you meet your deadlines but make sure you are on top of these.
- Track your cash on a simple spreadsheet so you know how much cash you are likely to have and when you are likely to run out. It will give you peace of mind and will aid in a good nights sleep if you have this information at hand.
- Get a CRM database to keep track of customers. Use a spreadsheet or trey a fee online system, such as capsule.com but get one and record details of everything. It will help you get organised and save you time in the long run.
- On your computer, don’t use ‘my documents’ to save everything. Set up a separate folder with the name of your business and then set up sub folders for customers, suppliers, marketing etc and make sure you back this up.
- When marketing for the business. Don’t blow the budget on one form of advertising. Test different approaches and measure the response. Do more of the thing that worked. A client of mine spent £10,000 on a well-known paper based and online directory and received very little response.
- Get a website. Even if it’s a one pager with your contact details on it. Ensure you have the things people are likely to search for included in the page headings and content and get it submitted to Google. Set up a Google My Business page and get your site listed on as many free listings as you can. This will give you a higher page rank on Google and increase the chances of your website being found.
- Become and expert or the go-to person in your industry for what you do. Experts earn more and attract more customers than anyone else. Become famous for what you do. Think Martin Lewis the expert money saver. He is the go-to expert for money saving advice and it has made him a millionaire. Become your own expert in your industry by writing about what you do, by commenting on blogs and forums or by setting up your own website. It doesn’t have to be expensive; moneysavingexpert.com cost £100 when it was made in 2003 and it now has 7 million users each month.
How we can help
We help start-up businesses take care of their accounts, tax and bookkeeping so they can focus on growing the business.