Thinking of starting a limited company? Whether you're making the leap from a sole trader or starting up an entirely new venture, we've got your back. Here’s our complete guide to starting a new business.
Research your idea
Before you jump into launching your business, take the time to test out your idea. Who are your customers? What do they want? Is your idea something people actively want or need? So many business owners jump straight into executing their idea without any consideration for who they're helping and how they're making a difference for their customers. By taking the time to identify what your customers are looking for, you're far better placed to deliver a product or service that actually meets their specific needs.
Define your value proposition
Right now, the competition is higher than ever before. For every established business, there are hundreds of nimble, agile startups doing things differently. The trick is knowing what makes you stand out from the rest. How does your business idea provide value? What makes you different from your competitors? How can you provide a better product or service than your competitors regarding efficiency, innovation or cost?
By nailing down your value proposition, you're establishing why people come to you and not your competitors. This is the golden ticket to creating a lasting business built on products and services people actually want.
Establish your business model
Think of your business plan as the foundations for your business– you want to make sure it's absolutely solid to guarantee the best chances of success. What does it look like? Is it viable? Is it resilient? Without a solid plan in place, you're leaving it up to fate whether your business fails or thrives.
A business plan isn't something to be drawn up at the start of your journey and then filed away, never to be seen again. It's something that will actively change and evolve as your business grows. Make time to regularly review your business model- what's working? What's not? How could it be improved to make your business more resilient and adaptable to change?
The world feels like a pretty unpredictable place right now, and there's always going to be some new obstacle or hurdle coming round the corner. But it's the businesses that can't adapt to change that will be left in the dust. Being proactive and thinking one step ahead will help to ensure your business remains agile and adaptable, no matter what comes your way.
Strategy, strategy, strategy
To run a successful business, you need to take a strategic approach to your finances and future growth. Even the best business ideas can fall down if they're not underpinned by enough cash to survive knock-backs and sustain growth.
To start on the best footing, establish a working budget from the outset. How much will it cost to start your business? What's the cost of developing your product or service? Remember to factor in the costs of hiring or outsourcing help.
Every business has it's ups and downs, but taking a proactive approach to managing cash will help you bounce back quicker from financial setbacks. That's why it's so important to regularly keep on top of your business's cash flow. By making accurate predictions of your cash position a few months down the line, you'll spot problems in advance and be able to act quicker to mitigate any damage. It will also help you make the right decisions that will enable your business to thrive.
Once you've established your budget and your cash position, you'll also need a foolproof funding strategy for raising finance. At some point, you'll likely need to receive some form of funding for your business, whether it's a business loan, asset finance, invoice finance, management buyout, or a mortgage. Make sure to establish what finance options are available for your business to support you as you grow.
As a new business owner, you'll often find yourself wearing many hats– the marketing hat, the financial hat, the customer service hat, the bookkeeping hat. But when you're juggling everything at once, it can be difficult to prioritise the 'big vision' stuff, the stuff that inspired you to start a business in the first place.
Time is precious. Outsourcing will free up your time, letting you focus on the areas of your business that you really love. More productivity, focusing on your strengths and the areas of the business where you can provide the most value. Peace of mind that the other stuff will get done. Scaleability- ability to take on more work, like those ambitious projects you don't have the capacity to do alone.
As a new business owner, hiring might not be an option early on, but finding partners to outsource some of your workload can be a good place to start. And if you find people who are skilled in the areas you're lacking or the areas of your business you don't enjoy, they'll do a better job and your business will benefit in the long run.
Find a good accountant
A great idea can only become a successful business if the numbers are there to support it. If numbers aren't your strong suit, a good accountant can help you with the financials. When it comes to running a successful business, it's so important to have a good accounting setup in place from the start. Not only is it important from a compliance point of view, but it's also key for enabling your business to grow. A good accountant can help you implement clever technology and apps that save you time and headaches by automating the accounting process. They can also help you with the strategy side of things, like funding, forecasting and business growth. They'll help you plan for the future of your business, digging into the stories that the numbers can tell about key business decisions.
Looking for help starting a limited company?
We help businesses get to where they want to be by taking away the stress of running a business and helping them focus on what they love. Working with businesses across a range of industries, it's our mission to help people build amazing organisations that stand the test of time.
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