11 Jul 2018
Starting a business checklist
Written by Doug D'Aubrey

There are many reasons for starting a business, for example to make a profit from a much loved hobby. Or perhaps you’re a tradesperson gone self-employed.

I come across the latter frequently in my role as a business coach. Often, tradespeople find themselves doing ‘foreigners’ in addition to their job. In some cases, the number of these jobs increases to the point that a business is created. However when starting a business, there are a few key tasks to complete to give it the best chance of success:

1. A business plan

In my previous post, (Starting a business from a hobby) I share the elements needed to create a simple business plan. Covering everything from goal setting to pricing, this is a great place to start and will ensure you have the key components in your business plan. Read it here.

2. Decide on a business structure

When starting a business, you’ll need to decide on its structure, either as a sole-trader or as a limited company. There are pros and cons for each and I’d advise getting expert advice from an accountant to decide what’s right for you. If setting up as a sole-trader, you’ll need to register for self-assessment with HMRC. To become a limited company, you’ll need to register with Companies House, find more information here.

3. Set up a bank account

As a sole-trader, a business account isn’t essential, however I’d recommend having a separate account to easily keep a track of income and expenses for the business. While you’re at it, decide upon a process for recording what you spend and what you earn. A simple spreadsheet can do the trick.

If you’re a limited company, you’ll absolutely need a business bank account and it’s worth shopping around for the best new deals. Moneysupermarket offer a good comparison for startup banking.

4. Get insured

Investigate what insurance you’ll need to protect yourself and your customers. As standard, you’ll need public liability and professional indemnity, but also consider whether you need to insure any tools or machinery. Again, shop around for a deal that suits your circumstances.

5. Qualifications

When starting a business of your own, you’ll naturally come up against competition and many consumers will likely obtain a few quotes. Is your training up to date? Be sure not to lose out due to out of date qualifications.

6. Equipment

Similarly, if you were previously employed your tools may not be your own. While you may need to invest in your own, getting the right tools for the job will also help in winning work and doing a good job. Get this sorted as soon as you can.

7. Winning work

With a business plan, marketing strategy and structure all in place you’re now ready to start winning work. Many new business owners aren’t natural salespeople and while it takes time to hone this skill, there are some simple guidelines that will help when quoting for work:
– don’t be late, sounds obvious but first impressions count
– be well presented; work clothes are fine but take care not to leave dirty footprints on the carpet. Use common sense
– send a written quote, to show you’ve considered the job thoroughly
– ask for the work! Simply follow up with a phone call to see if they’d like to go ahead, if you don’t you could miss out

As ever, if you need any help going through these processes, why not contact me for a free new business review? I’ll spend two hours with you giving you professional coaching on starting a business. I’ll leave you with actions for immediate implementation.

Doug D’Aubrey.