How To Start Up a Start-Up - Your Essential Checklist
There are so many factors to consider when starting up your own business. From choosing a name and designing a logo, to hiring staff and onboarding new clients, it can be a real minefield. The most important thing to consider, before you start renting office space or building a team, is whether there is a gap in the market for your big idea. Once you’ve established that your business will provide a service which doesn’t currently exist, or is executed poorly by other companies, you can begin to establish yourself within your target market.
We’ve put together an essential guide to starting up your own business, including some must-do tips and tricks, and some pitfalls to avoid at all costs!
Formulate and refine your business plan
First of all, you have to transform your big idea into a tangible business plan. You’ll need to establish how you’re going to start out, both on a visionary and practical level, and set objectives for the next month, year and 3 years.
Decide what sort of business you will be
First things first: you must decide whether your business will be a sole trader, partnership, LLP or Limited company. This decision will affect every single other step - on a practical level, this has to be decided as a matter of urgency for tax and VAT declaration purposes, but also, this decision will give you a path to follow. If you’re going to seek investment, you’ll proceed differently to someone that has all the cash behind them upfront. Likewise, if you’re going to be setting up a partnership, the paperwork is very different than someone setting up a one-man-band business.
Choose a name and write a business blurb
Now for the creative part! Try to choose a name which is simple, concise, easy to spell, and preferably, in some way relates to the sector that your business will be operating in. If you’re setting up a Recruitment company, calling it ‘Chef School’ might be unique, but will also confuse your potential customers.
Next, you need to write a concise summary of your business, explaining what you do, which sectors you operate in, and how to get in touch with you. The key is keeping it as simple as possible - if it’s filled with complicated industry terms or is very vague about what your business actually does, most of your potential customers will just switch off before reading the whole thing, and are far less likely to call you if they don’t understand your business!
Rent an office space
This isn’t strictly necessary if your business will be just you for a while, and you have space at home to work from. However, the second you take on a member of staff, you’re going to need an office space. You’ll also need one from the outset if yours is the sort of business which requires daily meetings with potential clients. Plus, having a separate space dedicated exclusively to work helps to create a sense of work-life balance. Make sure that it’s easily accessible by both car and public transport.
Sort out administrative practicalities
There are three vital systems which must be put in place for a business to function effectively. These are:
1. A phone system
Having an office phone line, rather than using your mobile, is vital. Not only does this give
credibility to your business, it’s more cost-effective and easier to add extra extensions when your business grows.
2. A CRM system and IT support
Anyone that works in a candidate-driven market will extol the virtues of a CRM system over spreadsheets. It is by far the easiest way to manage your client base, and will help in any number of tasks, from chasing up lost invoices, to building company mailshot lists, and storing CVs for review at a later date. It is a significant upfront cost, but it is worth it.
3. Accountancy software
You can, of course, hire an accountant to manage this for you, but there are some great pieces of software which are relatively inexpensive and simple to use. Be aware that there are different deadlines for different kinds of business tax, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with each date, to avoid getting caught out one month with a huge bill.
Establish a brand
There are a number of ways to do this, but the vital elements remain the same; every business needs a logo and a website. Choose a style which fits your business and think about who your target market is, then tailor your website to your ideal customer. Stick to facts, figures and testimonials, and always include a Contact section with your phone number, office address and contact email address. Your logo should be iconic and recognisable, and the basis for your company branding, which includes company colours, fonts and imagery. Tying all of your branding together makes your brand look slick and professional.
So, you’ve got a fully functioning startup business - now it’s time to tell people about it. Advertising differs according to industry, and can range from online platforms, to print ads, TV and press marketing materials, or on social media. It’s up to you to decide which form of advertising is the best for your business, and this is often a case of trial and error; frequently, the advertising platform which you begin with isn’t necessarily the one you stick with.
If you’re considering setting up your own Recruitment business, or seeking investment in your existing firm, get in touch with Triple Seven CEO Simon Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org now.