15 étapes pour démarrer une entreprise à partir de zéro avec (presque) aucun m …

Table des matières

Trouver une idée d'entreprise et démarrer une entreprise peut sembler écrasant et compliqué. Il y a tellement de choses que vous devez considérer, de la création d'une excellente idée à l'enregistrement d'une entreprise, en passant par la planification d'entreprise, la collecte de fonds et bien plus encore.

C'est pourquoi nous avons élaboré ce guide détaillé pour vous guider étape par étape dans la façon de démarrer une entreprise. Il couvre toutes les choses imaginables que vous pourriez vouloir savoir lors de la création d'une entreprise, y compris:

  • Connaissez-vous en tant qu'entrepreneur avant de commencer
  • Générer de nouvelles idées commerciales
  • Rechercher la validité de vos idées
  • Tester votre local commercial dans le monde réel
  • Création d'un plan d'affaires initial
  • Mettre en place la bonne structure juridique pour votre entreprise
  • Comprendre vos obligations financières, comptables et fiscales
  • Protéger votre entreprise d'un point de vue juridique et en cas de catastrophe (assurance)
  • Création d'une identité pour votre entreprise, y compris la création d'une marque et d'un site Web
  • Obtenez les éléments essentiels de votre entreprise, y compris la configuration d'Internet et de la papeterie
  • Options de financement pour démarrer votre entreprise, y compris investissement, subventions, prêts et plus
  • Concevoir des stratégies de marketing et de vente initiales
  • Construire votre équipe initiale, y compris le recrutement, la gestion et la culture d'entreprise
  • Démarrage de votre entreprise tout en conservant un emploi à temps plein
  • Je recommande fortement que si vous êtes nouveau dans le démarrage d'une nouvelle entreprise, vous devriez lire ce guide du début à la fin, mais si vous voulez sauter plus loin, il y a une table des matières ci-dessous avec des liens rapides vers les sections et sous-sections.

    Ce guide est conçu pour les entrepreneurs britanniques mais la plupart concerne les entrepreneurs qui démarrent une entreprise n'importe où, seules les sections financières et juridiques différeront considérablement.

    1. Connaissez-vous en tant qu'entrepreneur avant de commencer

    Le démarrage d'une entreprise est un processus qui nécessite une énorme quantité de réflexion et un examen attentif. Tout d'abord, vous devez examiner attentivement vos forces, vos faiblesses et vos compétences. Cela vous permettra de commencer à réfléchir à ce que vous pouvez faire et à ce que vous ne pouvez pas faire. Il est important de commencer ici même si vous avez déjà la meilleure idée commerciale du monde, car vous n’avez peut-être pas les compétences ou les traits de personnalité nécessaires pour en faire une entreprise prospère. Vous souhaitez proposer des idées commerciales où vous êtes naturellement le mieux placé pour réussir, par exemple:

  • Une personne avec un niveau décent de compétences en programmation est bien adaptée pour démarrer une agence de développement Web.
  • Une personne qui a une courte durée d'attention peut ne pas vouloir envisager des activités liées à la comptabilité.
  • Une personne qui n'aime pas parler à de nouvelles personnes ne considérerait pas une entreprise fortement tournée vers le client.
  • Ce ne sont que trois exemples généraux, mais cela vous donne une idée du processus de réflexion. Le point crucial est de vous comprendre vous-même et votre équipe, et si vous êtes bien adapté à toute idée d'entreprise, domaine d'activité ou type d'entreprise spécifique. Il vous permet de commencer à proposer des idées et de préciser quelles entreprises vous pourriez démarrer.

    Découvrez votre motivation pour démarrer une entreprise

    Avant de démarrer une entreprise, vous devez être absolument clair sur les raisons pour lesquelles vous le faites. Cela peut sembler évident, mais il y a en fait de nombreuses raisons pour lesquelles quelqu'un devrait choisir de tourner le dos à la sécurité d'un emploi et d'une carrière pour l'incertitude de démarrer une entreprise. Donc, plus vous savez clairement ce que vous essayez d'accomplir, plus vous avez de chances de le réaliser.

    Richesse, pouvoir, renommée, sauver le monde? La plupart des entrepreneurs sont motivés par un mélange de ce qui précède, bien que la plupart ne voudraient pas l'admettre. Comprendre ce qui vous pousse à démarrer une entreprise est un facteur majeur dans la détermination du type d'entreprise à démarrer. Pourquoi? Parce que lorsqu'une entreprise que vous démarrez n'est pas conforme à l'ambition personnelle, il est beaucoup plus probable que vous échouiez.

    Vous devez vous assurer dès le début que vos objectifs personnels et votre dynamisme sont compatibles avec votre entreprise, par exemple:

  • Quelqu'un qui recherche la richesse pourrait vouloir regarder les entreprises du secteur des services financiers, où les évaluations et les revenus de la Fintech sont généralement beaucoup plus élevés que les autres entreprises en démarrage.
  • Quelqu'un qui cherche du pouvoir et de l'influence pourrait y parvenir grâce à n'importe quelle forme d'activité médiatique.
  • Quelqu'un qui cherche la renommée pourrait être le mieux adapté à une entreprise liée au divertissement.
  • Quelqu'un qui veut sauver le monde pourrait lancer une entreprise de lutte contre le changement climatique grâce aux énergies renouvelables.
  • Il est important de comprendre pourquoi vous lancez une entreprise afin de pouvoir vous concentrer sur des idées commerciales qui vous aideront à arriver là où vous voulez aller.

    Assurez-vous que c'est une bonne raison de commencer

    En réalité, il est peu probable que vous ayez une seule raison de démarrer une entreprise; il est probable qu'il s'agisse d'une combinaison de plusieurs d'entre eux. Soyez donc conscient que les objectifs peuvent entrer en conflit les uns avec les autres. La création d'une entreprise familiale à long terme pour transmettre les générations, par exemple, pourrait bien être incompatible avec une fortune sérieuse, car vous pourriez avoir besoin de vendre l'entreprise afin de réaliser sa pleine valeur.

    S'il est possible de créer une entreprise prospère uniquement pour gagner beaucoup d'argent, en réalité, ce sera un travail difficile s'il n'y a pas au moins un autre facteur agissant comme facteur de motivation. En effet, il peut s'écouler de nombreuses années entre le démarrage d'une entreprise et la réception de tout argent – si jamais – et le long du chemin, le dur labeur requis est immense, et la possibilité d'échec est très réelle.

    Il suffit de placer vos espoirs sur un futur pot d'or possible ne suffira pas à vous soutenir dans les moments difficiles. Alors assurez-vous d'avoir une bonne raison, travaillez dur et profitez de la balade!

    Comprenez vos passions entrepreneuriales

    Quand il s'agit de démarrer une entreprise, si vous êtes passionné, vous aurez plus de chances de réussir. La raison principale en est simple: vous travaillerez plus dur et persévérerez davantage dans une entreprise qui vous passionne, donc vous aurez plus de chances d'y réussir. Souvent, la seule différence entre un entrepreneur qui démarre une entreprise prospère et un entrepreneur qui échoue est la passion.

    La logique veut que si vous voulez réussir, vous devez commencer dans un domaine qui vous passionne déjà. Pour commencer à déterminer quelles entreprises ou quels domaines d'activité vous êtes ou pourriez être passionné, commencez par penser aux domaines, aux activités et aux choses qui vous passionnent, c'est-à-dire qui vous intéressent et vous avez des opinions bien arrêtées, par exemple:

  • Quelqu'un qui aime faire de la randonnée pourrait envisager de créer une entreprise de voyages.
  • Quelqu'un qui aime Lego pourrait penser à une entreprise de jouets ou de construction.
  • Quelqu'un qui a passé sa vie entière avec une passion pour la musique pourrait démarrer une entreprise liée au son
  • Lorsque vous pensez à des idées commerciales hors ligne ou en ligne, gardez à l'esprit que démarrer une entreprise est déjà assez difficile, si vous vous assurez que c'est une entreprise qui vous passionne, vous avez beaucoup plus de chances de réussir.

    Avez-vous l'âge approprié pour démarrer une entreprise?

    Des questions telles que quel est l'âge moyen d'un fondateur de startup, quel est l'âge optimal pour être un fondateur et est-il possible d'être trop vieux / trop jeune pour démarrer une startup, sont souvent posées. Le graphique de HBR montre la répartition des âges des fondateurs de milliards de dollars, des sociétés privées soutenues par du capital-risque.

    C’est une distribution intéressante qui favorise indéniablement les jeunes de 20 à 35 ans. Bien sûr, ces sociétés de 1 milliard de dollars sont d'énormes valeurs aberrantes et représentent un très petit ensemble de données sur le nombre total de startups. Cela dit, c'est un graphique intéressant à noter car après tout, pour ceux d'entre nous qui démarrent des startups, n'est-ce pas le rêve ultime que nous souhaitons tous à long terme? Pour ceux qui tombent dans cette tranche d'âge, les signes sont bons. Même Fred Wilson, un prolifique capital-risqueur basé à New York, a déclaré que «la technologie est biaisée en faveur de la jeune génération», comme le note l'article.

    Contrairement au graphique ci-dessus, la Fondation Kauffman a mené une étude et publié un rapport intitulé «L'anatomie d'un entrepreneur». Ils ont constaté que l'âge moyen d'un fondateur était de 40 ans. Bien sûr, je peux penser à un certain nombre d'avantages à attendre cet âge pour démarrer une entreprise; la plus évidente étant des années d'expérience à votre actif.

    En fin de compte, l'âge ne devrait pas être un facteur limitant de réussite. Il y a des avantages et des inconvénients à propos de certains âges, et certaines personnes peuvent avoir des préjugés dans un sens ou dans l'autre. En ce qui concerne le démarrage d'une startup, cela dépend souvent des circonstances et du processus de réflexion de l'individu. Il y aura toujours des raisons de ne pas franchir le pas, mais en réalité ces raisons sont-elles même valables?

    Votre âge devrait être bien en dessous de la liste des facteurs que vous envisagez si vous envisagez de démarrer une startup. Les startups étant les montagnes russes qu'elles sont, l'éventail des émotions, des hauts tout-puissants aux bas profonds vécus par n'importe quel fondateur au jour le jour, éclipsera les avantages ou les inconvénients causés par l'âge du fondateur. Il existe de nombreuses mesures auxquelles les fondateurs de startups peuvent prêter attention à tout moment. À mon avis, l'âge ne devrait pas en faire partie. Qu'en penses-tu?

    2. Trouver de bonnes idées commerciales

    Il est relativement facile de trouver une idée d'entreprise, il est difficile de trouver une bonne idée d'entreprise. Il est essentiel à votre succès qu'au début, vous exploriez autant d'idées que possible avant de décider de la dernière que vous allez mettre en œuvre.

    Dans cette section, nous vous guiderons à travers le processus de recherche d'une excellente idée d'entreprise que vous pourrez transformer en une entreprise prospère, rentable et précieuse.

    Commencez à générer des idées commerciales

    Il est maintenant temps de commencer à proposer des idées, c'est souvent un processus long et long, mais ayez un peu de patience et vous donnerez vie à des idées fantastiques. Vous trouverez ci-dessous des conseils sur la façon de démarrer le processus d'idéation et de trouver de bonnes idées commerciales!

    Résoudre un problème qui intéresse les clients potentiels

    Commencez par réfléchir aux problèmes importants que vous pourriez résoudre et comment. De nombreuses entreprises prospères ont commencé leur mission pour résoudre des problèmes réels qui affectent des millions de personnes et fournir une solution par le biais de leurs produits et services.

    Par exemple, Tesla a commencé avec l’objectif de rendre les voitures du monde purement électriques et elles sont en bonne voie d’avoir bâti une entreprise de plusieurs milliards de dollars avec succès dans le processus.

    Identifiez où vous fournissez une meilleure solution

    Recherchez les domaines dans lesquels des solutions sont déjà disponibles, mais vous pouvez faire mieux que les entreprises existantes en termes d'efficacité, d'innovation ou de coût.

    Par exemple, Apple est entré sur le marché de la téléphonie mobile il y a plus d'une décennie en tant qu'outsider avec un nouveau produit innovant et est désormais un leader du marché. Malgré le fait que la technologie était disponible depuis des années, personne n'avait mis le niveau d'innovation de l'iPhone sur le marché.

    Être moins cher que les autres entreprises

    Vous devez rechercher les domaines dans lesquels vous pouvez réaliser des économies significatives pour le client par rapport aux concurrents. Ces types d'entreprises se développent incroyablement rapidement, en particulier pendant les récessions.

    Par exemple, Poundland est un excellent exemple de ce type d'entreprise, depuis sa création, son prix utilisé comme principal facteur de différenciation par rapport à ses concurrents. En offrant le prix le plus bas possible sur une large gamme de produits de consommation, l'entreprise est devenue une chaîne de magasins très performante.

    Innover dans un marché traditionnel à évolution lente

    Y a-t-il un domaine d'activité ou d'industrie qui n'a pas connu beaucoup d'innovation au cours des 10 à 100 dernières années? C'est souvent le cas dans les industries non technologiques qui tardent à faire avancer le changement alors que le statu quo demeure rentable.

    Ces industries ont souvent d'énormes possibilités de les perturber avec de nouvelles technologies, innovations, systèmes et méthodes. Par exemple, ce n'est que récemment que l'industrie du taxi a rapidement changé avec l'introduction d'Uber qui innove dans la façon de trouver et d'embaucher des taxis.

    Bâtir une entreprise pour un besoin ou un marché futur

    Essayez de penser à l'avenir, à quoi ressemblera le monde dans 5 ou 10 ans? Penser à l'avenir vous permettra de penser à de nouveaux marchés et niches susceptibles de s'ouvrir grâce aux innovations et aux nouvelles technologies.

    Par exemple, les crypto-monnaies telles que Bitcoin au cours des dernières années sont devenues des marchés importants en eux-mêmes avec tout un écosystème de fournisseurs de technologies et d'infrastructures se développant autour de lui.

    Copiez d'autres entreprises et soyez mieux

    Il est peu probable, à moins que vous ne soyez à la pointe de la technologie, que vos idées commerciales soient uniques. Beaucoup des plus grandes entreprises mondiales n'étaient pas révolutionnaires, mais elles sont arrivées sur les marchés avec des acteurs développés et ont surpassé tout le monde.

    Vous n'avez pas besoin d'avoir l'idée la plus originale pour créer une entreprise brillante, il vous suffit de le faire mieux que quiconque! Par exemple, Microsoft est sorti de nulle part et a battu tous les autres concurrents pour devenir le principal fournisseur de systèmes d'exploitation au début des années 1990.

    Transformez votre hobby en entreprise

    Un saut logique consiste à prendre un passe-temps et à le transformer en une véritable entreprise. Pourquoi? Un passe-temps est quelque chose que vous connaissez déjà beaucoup, qui a clairement une passion et vous saurez par où commencer. Par exemple, il est logique de passer de la collecte de modèles à la vente de modèles.

    Pensez à une entreprise mondiale

    Le monde est maintenant un endroit très mondial, vous pouvez avoir une entreprise en Chine et l'exploiter depuis la Nouvelle-Zélande si c'est ce que vous voulez. La mondialisation et la technologie offrent d'immenses possibilités de diriger des entreprises sur les marchés nouveaux et émergents du monde entier.

    Si les conditions ne conviennent pas à votre modèle commercial sur le marché de votre pays d'origine, recherchez un pays où elles se trouvent. Par exemple, Rocket Internet a bâti son entreprise de plusieurs milliards de dollars en copiant des modèles commerciaux innovants à partir de marchés développés et en les emmenant sur des marchés moins développés où ils étaient la seule entreprise.

    Ne vous limitez pas à une seule idée d'entreprise

    Il est facile de s'installer sur une seule idée, mais pour vous donner les meilleures chances de trouver une bonne idée, il est préférable d'en choisir quelques-unes à explorer et à comparer.

    Si vous êtes coincé, arrêtez de penser

    Vous pouvez y penser trop quand il s'agit d'idéation, donc si vous êtes coincé, arrêtez d'y penser. Plusieurs fois, lorsque vous cessez de penser activement à quelque chose, la solution ou l'idée vous viendra plus tard.

    3. Recherchez vos idées commerciales

    Cette étape consiste à rechercher votre idée d'entreprise autant que possible pour décider si votre idée ou vos idées pourraient devenir une grande entreprise. Pour évaluer et comparer chacun, vous voulez avoir une compréhension claire des points ci-dessous.

    Définissez et analysez votre marché cible

    Existe-t-il un marché pour l'entreprise, le produit ou le service et est-il suffisamment grand pour atteindre vos objectifs? Vous devez également tenir compte du paysage concurrentiel et savoir qui sont vos principaux concurrents. Analysez quelles sont leurs faiblesses et vos forces, ainsi que vos opportunités et menaces sur le marché. Vous voulez avoir une idée claire du marché global et de la manière dont votre entreprise s'y adapterait.

    Voir s'il y a une demande pour votre produit ou service

    Existe-t-il une demande directe pour vos produits ou devrez-vous informer les clients de la nécessité de votre produit ou service?

    Comprenez vos clients potentiels

    Vous devez avoir une idée claire de qui sont vos clients potentiels, y compris des données démographiques et des détails commerciaux si vous vendez du B2B.

    Avoir un plan de marketing et de vente qui a du sens

    Il est essentiel de réussir à bien comprendre comment vous pourriez atteindre vos clients potentiels et augmenter votre part de marché. Plus précisément, comprendre quelles activités de marketing et de vente et quels canaux devrez-vous poursuivre et comment.

    Assurez-vous que votre modèle d'entreprise fonctionnera

    Votre modèle d'entreprise peut-il fonctionner compte tenu du marché actuel et des clients potentiels? C'est souvent un point négligé, mais de nombreuses start-ups échouent car leur modèle économique ne fonctionne pas.

    Trouvez du financement pour votre entreprise

    Cela va-t-il coûter cher pour créer votre entreprise? C'est un facteur clé pour savoir si votre entreprise pourrait fonctionner car cela dépend de vos ressources et de votre capacité à lever des fonds si nécessaire, c'est-à-dire des subventions aux petites entreprises, des investisseurs providentiels, du capital-risque.

    4. Testez votre local commercial

    Une fois que vous avez fait des recherches approfondies sur quelques idées commerciales, il est temps de tester rapidement et de valider si le principe de votre entreprise proposée fonctionne dans le monde réel. De nombreux entrepreneurs qui sautent cette étape finissent par perdre beaucoup de temps à courir après des entreprises qui ne fonctionneraient jamais. Alors maintenant que nous avons établi que c'est une bonne idée de tester vos idées et vos recherches, cette section explore les différentes voies de commercialisation pour tester différentes idées.

    Soyez précis lors de la mesure des performances

    Lorsque vous testez une entreprise proposée, vous pouvez évaluer les performances de toute entreprise de différentes manières, il est donc important de déterminer initialement ce que vous souhaitez mesurer pour évaluer le succès ou l'échec. Voici quelques mesures suggérées pour vous aider à démarrer:

  • Combien de revenus pourriez-vous générer / Combien de produits pouvez-vous vendre?
  • Quel intérêt client pouvez-vous générer?
  • Combien de presse / notoriété pouvez-vous générer?
  • Différentes méthodes de test

    Selon le titre de cette section, vous devez trouver et déployer le moyen le plus rapide, le moins cher et le plus robuste possible de tester vos locaux commerciaux. La façon dont vous choisissez de le faire dépend en grande partie de votre idée d'entreprise, voici quelques-unes des méthodes les plus populaires qui répondent aux critères ci-dessus.

    Créer une page de destination et effectuer du marketing par e-mail

    Si vous avez des services ou une entreprise basée sur une solution spécifique et que votre principal canal de vente sera en ligne, c'est souvent le moyen le plus rapide de tester:

  • Créez un site Web rapide d'une page (pour les non-techniciens, Wix est une bonne solution).
  • Faites en sorte que vous vous sentiez professionnel (vous pouvez obtenir un logo / marque de 5 dollars sur Fiverr).
  • Listez vos services / solutions.
  • Ajoutez un e-mail de contact.
  • Trouvez les e-mails des acheteurs potentiels idéaux et contactez-les au sujet de votre service.
  • Ensuite, gérez les communications et voyez si quelqu'un est intéressé, sinon demandez pourquoi et soyez persistant.

    Créez une boutique en ligne et achetez des publicités

    Si votre idée consiste à vendre des produits en ligne:

  • Créez une boutique en ligne rapide (WordPress, Shopify ou BigCommerce sont de bonnes options).
  • Ajoutez une marque et donnez à tout un aspect professionnel.
  • Ajoutez des maquettes graphiques de vos produits.
  • Ajoutez les coordonnées et triez un e-mail.
  • Dépensez 25 £ sur les publicités Facebook et voyez combien de clics, de ventes et de revenus vous pouvez générer.
  • Mettre en place un étal de marché et vendre

    Si vous démarrez une entreprise basée sur un produit et que votre principale méthode de vente sera en face à face, un moyen rentable de tester votre entreprise consiste à créer des versions initiales de votre produit et à réserver une table sur votre marché ou festival local.

    Vous pouvez évaluer via les ventes et les commentaires des clients si la prémisse est un succès et obtenir des commentaires précieux sur la façon de faire pivoter la prémisse vers le succès en cas d'échec. Innocent Smoothies a commencé par tester leurs produits lors d'un festival avant de devenir une entreprise (puis d'être racheté par Coke pour des centaines de millions).

    Vendre par téléphone (télévente)

    L'un des meilleurs moyens d'obtenir des commentaires qualitatifs significatifs est de trouver l'acheteur idéal de votre produit sur LinkedIn, par exemple, de retrouver son numéro de téléphone et d'appeler / lancer autant que possible pour recueillir autant de commentaires et autant de précommandes que vous. pouvez.

    5. Créez un plan d'affaires

    À ce stade, vous avez choisi l'idée commerciale que vous allez transformer en entreprise et vous l'avez testée, il est maintenant temps d'élaborer un plan d'affaires pour décrire en détail les objectifs de votre entreprise et comment vous prévoyez de les atteindre.

    Un plan d'affaires est un excellent exercice pour trier vos pensées et il vous permet de planifier votre entreprise de manière structurée, pour vous-même et pour que des parties extérieures telles que des investisseurs ou des partenaires puissent comprendre ce que vous essayez de réaliser et comment.

    Une bonne planification dès le départ peut faire la différence entre une entreprise qui réussit et est bien exécutée et une entreprise qui échoue. Dans cette section, vous trouverez des conseils sur la façon de créer un excellent plan d'affaires.

    Éléments clés d'un plan d'affaires

    Votre plan d'affaires doit comprendre de nombreux éléments clés et suivre une structure simple et claire. Visez toujours à créer un plan d'affaires que n'importe qui pourrait saisir et comprendre en quoi consiste votre entreprise, quels sont ses objectifs et comment vous prévoyez d'y arriver; cela signifie le diviser en sections claires.

    Résumé

    Un résumé est une introduction à votre plan, son contenu et un aperçu de tout dans votre plan d'affaires. Il devrait fournir au lecteur un aperçu court, concis et clair de ce qu'est votre entreprise et de ce que vous essayez de faire en deux paragraphes maximum.

    Page de contenu

    Les lecteurs de votre plan voudront souvent passer à des parties spécifiques qui les intéressent; une page de contenu leur permet de naviguer rapidement vers la section appropriée.

    Modèle d'affaires et produits / services

    Ici, vous devez décrire votre modèle d'entreprise et quels sont les produits, services et solutions que vous fournissez.

    Client, marché et concurrence

    Dans cette section, vous devez montrer une compréhension claire de votre client idéal, du marché de votre produit, service ou solution (avoir également votre marché clairement segmenté) et une compréhension du paysage concurrentiel, y compris qui sont vos concurrents et où vous êtes sur le marché par rapport à eux.

    Marketing et ventes

    Cette section vise à démontrer un plan clair, du point de vue du marketing et des ventes, sur la façon dont vous comptez atteindre vos objectifs, qu'il s'agisse d'échelle, de génération de revenus ou d'une autre tactique.

    Finances et projections

    Vous voulez montrer vos finances actuelles et toutes les projections que vous avez pour l'avenir de l'entreprise. Assurez-vous toujours d'être réaliste avec les projections financières, vous devrez les sauvegarder à un moment donné!

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    Équipe

    Incluez une courte section sur votre équipe actuelle, qui elle est et ses qualifications / expériences. Si vous avez des plans d'expansion des ressources humaines, vous devez également les inclure ici.

    Résumé du plan d'affaires

    Cette section doit résumer l'intégralité de votre plan d'affaires à travers des points clés sous forme de puces et fournir des coordonnées afin qu'un lecteur puisse facilement vous contacter.

    Comment rédiger un plan d'affaires

    La rédaction d'un plan d'affaires au début est souvent une tâche nouvelle, compliquée et parfois écrasante. Il y a cependant quelques règles d'or à prendre en compte lors de l'écriture qui vous faciliteront la vie!

    Gardez votre écriture courte

    Assurez-vous de résumer et de garder votre texte aussi court que possible, car cela aidera votre plan à être très clair. Il vous aide à organiser vos idées, mais surtout, il facilite la compréhension des parties externes.

    Assurez-vous que tout est pertinent

    Il est très facile et tentant d'inclure des informations non pertinentes dans votre plan d'affaires. Ces informations supplémentaires rendent généralement votre communication moins efficace et rendent l'idée plus difficile à comprendre.

    Pour vous débarrasser de tout contenu non pertinent, une fois que vous avez terminé une section, faites un examen rapide et débarrassez-vous de tout ce qui ne prend pas en charge ou n'ajoute pas au point principal que vous essayez de faire dans cette section.

    Vérifiez soigneusement la grammaire et l'orthographe

    S'il y a même une chance que des parties externes lisent à un moment donné votre plan d'affaires, assurez-vous que votre orthographe et votre grammaire sont excellentes. Comme avec tout document, vous perdez beaucoup de crédibilité et parfois de sens s'il y a des fautes d'orthographe et de grammaire.

    Créez un énoncé de mission simple

    Un énoncé de mission doit expliquer de manière concise quel est le but général de votre entreprise, par exemple, la mission pourrait être: réduire l'impact des déchets plastiques sur l'environnement.

    Fixer des objectifs clairs

    Fixez des objectifs SMART en étant très précis sur ce que vous essayez de réaliser dans l'entreprise et dans des domaines individuels.

    Indiquez comment vous allez vous y rendre

    Cela semble simple, mais de nombreux entrepreneurs ne savent pas très bien comment ils vont atteindre leurs objectifs commerciaux, assurez-vous de bien réfléchir et de créer un moyen pour votre entreprise de passer du point A au point B.

    Utilisez une chronologie réaliste

    L'établissement d'un calendrier réaliste à côté de vos activités et objectifs est un facteur critique lors de la composition de tout plan d'affaires.

    Comment formater et présenter votre plan d'affaires

    S'assurer que vous avez créé votre plan dans le format approprié peut être très important pour la façon dont il est perçu ou utilisé. Voici quelques conseils sur la façon d'obtenir le meilleur format.

    Formats de plan d'affaires

    Créez votre document initial dans Word, Google docs ou Open Office, ces outils sont faciles à utiliser et vous vous retrouverez avec un fichier facilement modifiable. Vous pouvez également utiliser Excel pour créer et mettre à jour une structure claire, cela vous donne un bon aperçu du plan. Assurez-vous d'utiliser un thème cohérent dans tout le document concernant les polices, les couleurs et les caractéristiques de conception.

    Si vous devez donner une copie à une partie externe, exportez toujours le fichier au format PDF et assurez-vous d'avoir des graphiques professionnels en place si vous le souhaitez (si vous souhaitez concevoir quelque chose de graphiquement complexe, Adobe InDesign est parfait pour cela).

    Comment présenter votre plan

    Si vous allez faire une présentation de votre plan, vous devez créer une version PowerPoint / Keynote. Le format de présentation sera différent de votre plan d'affaires dans la mesure où chaque page doit faire un point clé avec un maximum de trois autres éléments de support.

    Assurez-vous d'utiliser des graphiques simples et de vous concentrer sur ce que vous essayez de communiquer (n'oubliez pas que vous pouvez toujours fournir un plan d'affaires complet à la fin d'une présentation à toutes les parties).

    Gardez votre plan d'affaires à jour

    Votre plan d'affaires doit être mis à jour à mesure que les circonstances et les objectifs changent. Si votre entreprise est en cours d'exécution, il n'est pas pratique de mettre à jour continuellement ce document, mais il doit être révisé et mis à jour au fil du temps. En dehors de toute autre chose, c'est une bonne réflexion sur où vous avez commencé et où vous en êtes maintenant.

    Si vous cherchez un moyen de suivre vos progrès par rapport aux objectifs, il est préférable de construire un tracker / planificateur sur Excel ou d'utiliser des outils comme Asana ou Trello.

    Outils de planification d'entreprise

    Habituellement, Excel, Word ou même un tableau blanc sont suffisants, mais si votre entreprise est un peu plus complexe ou si vous rencontrez des difficultés d'organisation, l'utilisation d'un logiciel de planification d'entreprise est logique. Les solutions les meilleures et les plus populaires sont Asana, Trello et LivePlan.

    6. Enregistrement d'une entreprise

    La structure que vous sélectionnez pour votre entreprise dépend de vos besoins spécifiques. Dans cette section, nous vous guiderons à travers les différentes structures commerciales, leurs avantages, leurs inconvénients et comment les mettre en place.

    Différents types de structure d'entreprise

    Il existe plusieurs types de structures juridiques parmi lesquelles vous pouvez choisir lors de la création d'une entreprise, nous les avons détaillées ci-dessous.

    Commerçant unique

    Un commerçant unique est un type d'entreprise où une personne possède et gère l'ensemble de l'entreprise. Il s'agit de la structure commerciale la plus simple que vous puissiez adopter. Il convient parfaitement à toutes les entreprises individuelles; cela comprend des comptables indépendants, des développeurs Web et des jardiniers, entre autres.

    Être un commerçant unique signifie que l'individu a droit à tous / tous les bénéfices de l'entreprise, mais est également responsable de toute dette / dommages encourus. Au Royaume-Uni, il y a actuellement plus de 3 millions de commerçants indépendants enregistrés, et ce nombre augmente avec un afflux massif de pigistes qualifiés.

    Société anonyme

    Une société anonyme est une structure qui signifie qu'une entreprise est une entité distincte de ses propriétaires. Cela signifie que les propriétaires ne sont responsables des dettes commerciales que dans la mesure du montant d'argent qu'ils ont investi dans l'entreprise, limitant ainsi toute exposition pour les propriétaires d'entreprise au-delà de leur investissement total. Il existe deux types de sociétés anonymes au Royaume-Uni.

    Société à responsabilité limitée (LTD ou Ltd)

    Dans une société à responsabilité limitée, les propriétaires détiennent des actions privées. Il s'agit de la structure d'incorporation la plus courante et préférée pour la plupart des petites entreprises au Royaume-Uni. Plus de 5,2 millions de sociétés anonymes opèrent actuellement au Royaume-Uni.

    Société anonyme (PLC)

    Dans une société anonyme, les actions sont disponibles au public pour la propriété et l'achat. Une société anonyme doit avoir une valeur d'au moins 50 000 livres avant de pouvoir être négociée en tant que PLC.

    Le PLC est couramment utilisé comme structure pour les grandes entreprises après leur premier appel public à l'épargne (vente d'une grande partie de leurs actions sur les marchés des capitaux).

    Société à responsabilité limitée (LLP)

    Un LLP est une structure de partenariat utilisée par de nombreuses entreprises, y compris les vétérinaires, les dentistes, les cabinets d'avocats ou les cabinets comptables. Un LLP est composé d'au moins un commanditaire et un commandité (il peut également y en avoir plusieurs), et ces partenaires ont des responsabilités et une exposition différentes en ce qui concerne l'entreprise.

    Partenaires limités

  • Lors de la formation, fournir un bien ou de
  • Sont responsables de toutes les dettes jusqu'à concurrence du montant qu'ils ont
  • Ils n'ont aucun contrôle sur les opérations et ne peuvent pas gérer activement l'entreprise.
  • Ils ne peuvent pas retirer l'investissement initial (biens ou argent) qu'ils ont investi dans le partenariat.
  • Partenaires généraux

  • Sont tenus de payer les dettes que le partenariat ne peut pas rembourser.
  • Gérer et contrôler activement le fonctionnement de l'entreprise.
  • Peut prendre des décisions contraignantes (irréversibles) sur les affaires et pour l'entreprise.
  • Les associés commandités peuvent demander l’ACS; c'est là que les actifs et l'argent sont rassemblés et gérés pour le compte des partenaires. Les partenaires finissent par être copropriétaires des actifs mais doivent uniquement payer des impôts sur leur part des bénéfices.
  • Compagnie de garantie (LBG)

    LBG est une structure utilisée par les entreprises à but non lucratif telles que les entreprises sociales qui cherchent une structure juridique pour fonctionner. Cette structure se situe quelque part entre un statut caritatif et une société anonyme.

    Dans un LBG, aucun capital social n'est émis, mais les membres agissent en tant que garants de la société. Il est couramment utilisé par les associations professionnelles, les écoles et d'autres entreprises.

    Sélection d'une structure pour votre entreprise

    Il n'y a pas de réponse simple à la structure qui convient le mieux à votre entreprise, cela dépend du fonctionnement et des besoins de votre entreprise. Par exemple, si vous:

  • Prévoyez de faire croître votre petite entreprise au-delà de vous-même (une personne), puis de la vendre, alors une société à responsabilité limitée serait probablement la structure la plus appropriée.
  • Prévoyez de fonctionner uniquement comme une entreprise individuelle pour un proche avenir, alors une entreprise individuelle serait probablement la meilleure structure.
  • Prévoyez de démarrer une entreprise qui a une quantité importante de cadres supérieurs, de capital et qui traite de services, alors un partenariat à responsabilité limitée serait le meilleur choix.
  • La mise en place d'une structure pour votre entreprise n'est pas quelque chose que vous faites tous les jours, faites des recherches plus approfondies et décidez quelle structure juridique est la meilleure pour votre entreprise.

    Enregistrer une société anonyme

    La création d'une société anonyme peut être un processus simple, mais c'est aussi quelque chose qui doit être fait très soigneusement (si vous n'êtes pas sûr de quelque chose, demandez un avis juridique).

    Vous trouverez ci-dessous un aperçu de ce dont vous aurez besoin pour enregistrer une entreprise, où vous pouvez vous inscrire et d'autres détails utiles sur la création d'une entreprise.

    Où puis-je enregistrer ma société?

    Vous pouvez enregistrer votre nouvelle entreprise à Companies House sur GOV.UK, ce processus vous prendra environ 30 minutes si vous avez tous les détails requis prêts.

    Combien coûte l'enregistrement d'une entreprise?

    L'enregistrement d'une entreprise en ligne coûte 12 £ (vous pouvez payer ces frais via PayPal, carte de débit ou carte de crédit). Il faut en moyenne 24 heures pour que votre entreprise soit enregistrée.

    Details needed for registering a company

    To register a company, you will need to have the details below ready:

  • A company name (You can find more information on naming your company below).
  • Address for the company.
  • One or more directors’ names and details (if it is just you that is fine).
  • Details of the company shares, shareholding, and shareholders (with at least one shareholder).
  • A Memorandum and articles of association. This is a standard document that shareholders create and agree to that outlines the company’s written rules, it’s usually very standardised unless you have specific needs.
  • Detailed information on anyone who owns a significant interest or control in the company (this means anyone who owns 25% or more shares or voting rights in the company).
  • Choosing a company name

    When choosing a company name you need to consider legal requirements but also apply common sense:

  • Make sure the name you have chosen isn’t trademarked by another company, you can check this via the Intellectual Property Office search on GOV.UK.
  • Your name cannot have any profanity in it (that is, rude language).
  • Your company name does not have to be the same as your trading name, for instance: your company name could be “Generic media group Ltd” and you might trade under different names for various products the company owns such as “Business magazine, Agriculture magazine…” It depends on your plans, but it can be useful to have a name different from your product or service if you intend to launch other areas of the business, products or services.
  • Your name cannot be to the same or too similar to another company that’s registered at Companies House.
  • Your business name should be something that’s simple to say, spell and remember.
  • Be creative and try brainstorming as many options as you can.
  • Test your name and get feedback from your social group.
  • Ultimately, you should take some time before you decide on a business name.

    Setting up a company address

    To start a limited company, you need to have a registered business address. A registered address will appear on your Companies House listing and it is where the official post is sent including corporation tax and annual return requests.

    You can use your home address, office address or even a PO box. A PO box can be bought from a virtual office provider and is usually a good option if you want a more formal business address from the start (virtual address providers will forward any post onto your home or selected address for a fee).

    Creating a memorandum and articles of association

    The standard articles of a memorandum document are usually sufficient for most new companies, all you need to do is have all the shareholders read, sign the document and submit it. If you have more complex needs regarding your company’s rules, you should consult a lawyer.

    Understanding directors & secretaries

    Every company needs at least one director to start, this director or directors form the initial management team of a company. If you are starting a company by yourself, you would need to be listed as a director. You will also need to nominate a company secretary, which would also be yourself if you are the only founder.

    Getting shareholding & shareholders right

    You want to get shareholding and shareholders details right from the let-go, it can cause a painful situation later if you submit this poorly or even incorrectly, particularly if you take on investment.

    A new company with only one director and one shareholder (who are the same person), and a shareholding of 100 ordinary shares owned by this director/shareholder would work well initially.

    Register as a sole trader

    Registering as a sole trader is a simple process, it just requires you to fill out and submit several forms to the HMRC registering yourself as self-employed.

    What details do I need to register as a sole trader?

    You only need your national insurance number, a home address and a business name.

    Where can I register as a sole trader?

    You will need to register as self-employed with the HMRC by filling in the appropriate SA form and submitting it.

    Choosing a sole trader name

    Being a sole trader, you can trade under your name or a business name of your choosing. If you want a separate business name, it cannot conflict with any existing trademarks, and you will also need to use your name and the business name on any official paperwork.

    Deciding on an address for a sole trader

    Usually, a home address is fine as this is not made publicly available and many self-employed people operate from home. If you are going to list your business address on a website or anywhere else though, you could consider getting a virtual office or PO Box if you do not have a fixed office address.

    Registering a limited liability partnership

    Registering a limited liability partnership (LLP) is more complex than most registrations. The details below provide a helpful outline of how you can go about registering an LLP with practical advice.

    How can I register a LLP?

    You will need to download the LP5 application form from GOV.UK and send it by post to Companies House. All partners in the company must sign this form and it typically takes five days for your limited partnership to be set up.

    You will also need to send in a fee of £20 via cheque or postal order at the same time (payable to “Companies House”). As an alternative, you can incorporate the company online through a third-party software.

    Choosing a partnership name

    The same rules apply to selecting a partnership name as with a company name, see advice in the above, limited company registration section.

    Choosing an address for your LLP

    The same address rules as for a limited company apply only that your registered business address, for official mail and public listing, must be in the territory where you incorporate initially. For instance, if you incorporate in Wales your registered partnership address must be in Wales. You are free to change this after registration though.

    You need a general partner and a limited partner

    You must have a general partner and a limited partner to start a limited liability partnership. This cannot be the same person, so the minimum founding team is of two people by default.

    7. Setting up finances, accounting and tax

    Once you have set up the legal structure of your business, there are several important financial and tax responsibilities you need to figure out.

    Opening a business bank account

    Before you can start generating any revenue or making purchases, you are going to need to open a business bank account to send, receive and securely store your businesses capital (money).

    It is essential to select a bank and business account carefully as it is very likely you will be with the chosen banking provider for the life of the business.

    Choose a bank for your business

    There’s no simple answer for this, it is best to gather some information on each bank and their offerings and compare to see who’s the best fit. You should look for details such as:

  • What’s their track-record in working with small businesses?
  • Do they have a range of products and information specifically for small businesses?
  • What do other small business customers think of the bank?
  • Is the bank respectable, have they engaged in any illegal activity recently?
  • Once you collect all this information, which you can find online; you should have a good idea of which bank is best for your business.

    Select a winning bank account

    You also must decide what type of business account or accounts your set up. If you have the wrong type of account, it can significantly affect the cost of business banking. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a business account:

  • Do they charge fees based on different transactions, is it a flat monthly fee or is it even free?
  • If transaction fees are applied, what charges are applied to each type of transaction?
  • Do they provide transaction fee free accounts for certain types of transactions such as online or retail?
  • Does the bank offer any complimentary benefits such as insurance, software, or other benefits if you open a certain account with them?
  • Do they offer free business banking and accounts for a period? For new ventures, banks tend to offer from 6-24 months free banking.
  • It will take you a bit of time to gather information on bank accounts and compare it, but it is worth doing as it can save a lot of money, time and headaches in the future.

    It can be difficult to change banks

    Once you are a few months or years into trading, it can be challenging to change banks and even to change your accounts, as you will likely be processing many payments and purchases through your bank and accounts at any one time.

    If you change banks or accounts you will need to update individual partners, suppliers and customers, which is a very time-consuming task. It usually ends up being severe enough that many businesses do not switch banks even if they have an unpleasant experience.

    Understanding your accounting, tax and filing responsibilities

    As a shareholder, owner or director you will likely be responsible for filing some form of accounts, filing paperwork and paying various business taxes to the HMRC on an annual or more regular basis.

    Understanding your basic accounting, tax and financial responsibilities from the start is essential to running your business properly, being legally compliant and avoiding hefty fines from the HMRC.

    Record your financial transactions

    Most businesses are legally required to keep an accurate and up to date record of their finances, this means recording expenditure, income and any other financial transactions of the business. Having up to date records helps to make financial plans and enables you to file your accounts relatively quickly as you have all the relevant data ready for your accountant.

    Prepare & file annual accounts

    Limited companies and limited liability partnerships are required to submit accounts annually. These accounts are a record of your businesses expenses, revenue and financial transactions across the accounting year.

    Your corporation tax bill will also be worked out based on these accounts. It’s typical for an accountant to prepare these accounts based on your accounting records from the year, depending on how organised and up to date these records are this can be a simple or complicated process.

    Filing a confirmation statement

    Limited companies and limited liability partnerships need to submit an annual confirmation statement. This statement is simply to check that the information that Companies House has about your business is correct and if any is incorrect or out of date, you will need to update these details. It currently costs £13 to file your confirmation statement online and £40 offline.

    Register for self assessment

    Self-assessment involves the annual filing of a set of simple accounts covering your income during the year. The HMRC uses this to assess the tax you need to pay personally. Sole traders, company directors and limited liability partners will need to register for self-assessment (company directors will also need to know about PAYE and dividends).

    Sole traders can also use any business-related costs to reduce their income and overall tax bill. One final exception is that if your limited company is not-for-profit, then you do not need to file self-assessment.

    Register for VAT (Value Added Tax)

    If your business is likely to have more than £85,000 in annual sales, you will need to register for VAT. This is a flat rate tax you must charge on top of any goods or services you sell. VAT currently stands at 20%.

    On the positive side, once you’re VAT registered and have your VAT number you can purchase products from other businesses VAT free.

    Register for corporation tax

    If you have a limited company and it is trading (this means making any financial transaction), you will need to register for corporation tax within three months of starting your business or beginning to trade.

    You will be assessed for corporation tax through your annual accounts and will need to pay a flat rate tax based on the profits generated by your business. You can find more details on paying corporation tax here and further details on registering for CT here.

    Understanding business rates

    Business rates are a tax levied on business premises by the UK government and delivered by local authorities. They are charged annually on business properties including shops, factories, offices, warehouses, bars and more.

    If you own or rent commercial premises, it is likely you will need to register for and pay business rates. However, if you are running your business from home it is unlikely you will need to pay business rates.

    Tell Companies House and HMRC of any changes

    If your business details significantly change you will need to inform the relevant authorities, for instance, for instance; if your registered address changes you will need to tell Companies House/HMRC straight away.

    Hire an accountant

    When it comes to starting any small business, it is advisable to have an accountant. A good accountant will save your business substantially more money than they cost to hire. Specifically, an accountant will ensure:

  • You pay the right amount of tax.
  • Ensure you meet, file and pay any major tax deadlines,e. annual statements, accounts, corporation tax…
  • Have expert financial advice and information at your service.
  • Ensure your annual accounts are correctly compiled and submitted to the HMRC.
  • In summary, a good accountant will make the financial aspects of your business much easier to handle and save you much money in the process.

    Choosing an accountant

    The ideal accountant for a small business that’s just starting up is a local independent accountant who will give your business finances the time and attention it needs and probably be less costly than a major firm.

    How much does an accountant cost?

    Accountants will either ask you to pay a lump sum annually or more commonly a monthly fee that will cover the ongoing work. The amount typically depends on how well you can negotiate, but it will likely be between £30-150 a month depending on the complexity of your business financial matters and filing needs.

    Sole traders however, probably only need an accountant once a year for self-assessment and this should cost between £80 -200.

    Choosing small business accounting software

    Unless you are a sole trader with a few transactions going through your business each year, yes, you need small business accounting software, and there are two primary reasons:

  • If you are a limited company or partnership, your annual accounts, which you must legally submit to the government yearly, require all your records from the annual accounting period.
  • So you can accurately track all your financial transactions and the financial health and future of your business (including costs, revenue, and profit).
  • It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep up to date and accurate financial records from the start. Failure to do this can result in losing a lot of time, money and in some cases criminal prosecution.

    8. Protect your business

    Once you have taken care of all financial matters, it is necessary to protect your business from the unpredictable by taking care of certain legal and insurance issues.

    Find a solicitor or law firm

    Most companies will not need to hire a legal advisor initially, except if they want advice on company set up or have some specific legal matters that need attending. However, at some point in your businesses life-cycle, you will need some form of legal support, whether that is drawing up contracts or protecting your business interests in court.

    Make sure that if you hire a legal advisor at some point, you always agree on an hourly rate and on the amount of time required in advance for any work.

    Getting intellectual property protection in place

    Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is the result of creativity. Protecting your IP as a business can be critical to protecting your business, brand and products from damages that come from people using your intellectual property without your permission.

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    This section explores intellectual property rights and protections you can put in place to protect your business’ intellectual property.

    Trademarking a name and brand

    A trademark is a legally registered symbol, word or words representing a business that legally owns it, protecting the business from anyone else using this name or symbol.

    For new ventures, you will want to trademark your company name and brand, this makes sure you legally own your brand and company name, and prevents anyone from misusing it.

    Patenting an idea, technology or process

    A patent is an exclusive right granted for a product, invention or process that provides a new way of doing something or provides a new technical solution to a problem. Applying for a patent is only relevant for new businesses that have invented innovative technology or product that could be copied by others. A patent grants your legal ownership of this invention and the exclusive right to it, thus providing your business with protection.

    The relevance of copyright law

    Copyrighted work means that other businesses cannot use your written or creative work without permission. Copyright is primarily employed by book publishers, theatre companies and other types of entertainment/information based companies who need to ensure works are not reproduced without authorisation.

    Make sure you have small business insurance

    Business insurance for a new business can be an absolute lifeline that provides much-needed financial and legal support when the unexpected happens. Whether you must recall a dangerous product or have an employee endure an accident at work, having the right insurance can be the difference between a business being able to cope with a disaster or having to close. With that in mind, this section gives a quick overview of the major types of insurance you might consider for a new business.

    Public liability insurance (PLI)

    PLI protects businesses against losses suffered by people or customers injuring themselves or sustaining property damage due to the activity of business, it is one of the most common types of small business insurance. It is of particular importance if you operate physical premises and regularly interact with customers in a third party or business owned premise.

    Professional indemnity insurance (PII)

    PII is for businesses and professionals that provide advice or services to customers. It protects your business against any claims for damages or legal costs which arise due to act omission or breach of professional duty in the daily course of operations. It actively protects your business if advice or a service provided negatively affects a customer.

    Employers liability insurance (ELI)

    ELI protects a business that employs staff from financial losses incurred when a staff member experiences a job-related illness or injury. Workplace injuries can be extremely costly for an employer if they are liable. ELI offers protections against this and it’s particularly relevant for business who have many staff involved in physical work on their behalf, i.e. manufacturing, event running…

    Product liability insurance (PLI)

    PLI protects your business from damage to property or personal injury caused by products your business/company has supplied or sold.

    Key man insurance (KMI)

    Key man insurance protects businesses from the loss of a key employee such as a CEO by paying out a large sum on the event of their death or incapacitation. It is effectively life insurance against anything critical happening to a key employee. If your business is entirely reliant on one employee or a small group, this insurance can often help save the business from bankruptcy in a disaster situation.

    Landlord insurance (LI)

    LI protects business owners who own property from losses sustained as the result of renting that property. If a business owns its office and rents it out to other companies, this type of insurance will protect you from damages caused by a tenant.

    Trade credit insurance (TCI)

    Trade credit insurance is insurance that protects private companies from their customers being unable to pay back a debt due to bankruptcy, default or insolvency. It’s most relevant for companies that operate under a B2B model and have a range of key customers who use offered credit facilities.

    Choosing the right business insurance

    As with buying any product or service make sure to shop around and compare prices and clauses. With insurance, you will want to read the small print very carefully and clarify the conditions around your insurance policy (to make sure you a policy covers losses or damages thoroughly).

    Regarding selecting an insurer, look for firms who have an excellent reputation and long record of accomplishment in insuring small businesses.

    9. Create a brand and identity for your business

    Now that you have protected your business adequately, it is time to create a public facing identity. This is how you present your company to the world including branding, setting up a basic website and creating a business e-mail address.

    Create a professional brand for your business

    Having a professional brand is critical to any business that wants to stand out in today’s competitive environment. That does not mean the branding process needs to be costly or time-consuming, there are just a few key things you should consider for creating a professional brand:

  • Create a logo (Keep it simple and hire a designer on Fiverr, online logo maker, or a cost-effective design agency).
  • Create a colour scheme for your business that will be used across all promotional and company assets (you can use a colour selector to find a palette and it’s also a good idea to look into basic colour psychology before you choose).
  • Come up with a slogan for your company if you think it is useful.
  • You can also create a symbol that can be used as a recognising mark of your company when you do not want to put your full dress logo, such as on a product (it is typically included in your logo).
  • It is important to take your time though and explore a few different branding options before settling on an initial brand.

    You need to create a website for your business

    Whether you are a retail store, a chemicals company or a modelling company having at least a basic website is a requirement for business in the 21st century, customers expect you to have a website and expect to be able to find it easily. Your website should:

  • Include and show your company/business details including address, phone number, name, and logo (if you have a limited company number it is also a legal requirement to list it here).
  • Provide a clear description of what your business is/does.
  • Provide details of your products, services, and
  • Provide a business e-mail or contact form that enables prospective customers/outside parties to reach you easily.
  • You can add many more things to your website, this is just the basic information you need to include. Now, how do you create a website?

    How to create a website for your business

    Creating a website is not nearly as complicated as you might think it is. There are many different types of software, website builders and helpful information that allow you to build a simple website for your business.

    Easily build your own website

    If you do not want to take on this task or are unclear on how to do it, you can always outsource it to a freelancer, but there is a far better and cheaper option available. Website builders have come to the stage where you can build your entire website quite simply through one provider with no prior experience. Companies like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Shopify or BigCommerce offer very simple to use tools so that you can often have a simple website up and running in under an hour. However, if you decided to explore the possibility or even build your own website, we have outlined the main steps you will need to accomplish this with helpful tips.

    1. Purchase a domain

    A domain name is your public address on the internet, it is the URL that appears at the top of your browser on any website, for example: www.cocacola.com. The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain for your business. Typically this domain would be your business name, if this taken, try different variations.

    You can buy a domain name from popular domain registers such as GoDaddy or Name Cheap (try to make sure you purchase a .co.uk or .com domain, these are important trust indicators for anyone visiting your website).

    2. Purchase website hosting

    Web hosting involves renting all or part of a server (online computer) where your website will be stored, think of it as renting virtual land for your office. When looking for a reliable website host, you will want to review a few things before choosing a hosting provider:

  • What’s the reputation of the hosting company?
  • What’s the cost of hosting compared to other providers?
  • What’s the host’s uptime compared to other vendors? (% of time their servers are live.)
  • Do they provide one-click installs of LAMP/LEMP and CPANEL/WHM and WordPress (Read further on for descriptions.)
  • If you are in a hurry, popular and cost-effective web hosting companies include Bluehost, GoDaddy and 1&1.

    3. Point your domain name to your server IP address via DNS

    The Domain Name System (DNS) is the internet’s mail routing system in a way. When someone types the domain genericmedia.co.uk, your hosting company’s server will respond by telling the computer that genericmedia.co.uk website is stored on a particular server with the IP address of xxx.xxx.xxx.

    Many hosting providers will automatically generate the correct DNS record, pointing your web address to the server IP address when you install your website, but a number do not. If you need to set this, you will need at an elementary level to add an A record pointing your domain name to your correct server address (you can typically find your DNS panel in your hosting provider’s portal).

    4. Point your domain to your web hosting company

    Now that you have set up your domain, hosting and correct DNS records it is time to point your domain at your web hosting company. This is done by changing your domain’s nameservers. Start by looking for the nameservers/DNS in the domain company’s portal.

    Once you have found it, you will want to swap out the current nameservers for the ones your web host has given you and click update (if you do not know what these are, do a Google search on “nameservers” and your web host’s name, they usually pop up!).You now need to wait 5 – 48 hours for the nameserver change to propagate across the internet.

    5. Install LAMP & WHM/CPANEL

    Depending on your hosting company this may already be set up, if you see anything that says ‘enter cPanel’ or ‘cPanel’, it likely already is and you do not have to do anything! For other hosts, you will need to install a LAMP stack (the underlying technology used by the server) and WHM/CPANEL, the web hosting software that allows you to set up your website. There are many steps by step guides providing information on how to do all this for different hosts across the web.

    6. Install WordPress

    WordPress is often the go-to choice for flexible content management systems that allow you to build and manage websites with little technical skills. Installing WordPress usually requires a one-click install from cPanel under Softaculous or another auto-installer (if you do not have an auto-installer you will need to download and transfer WordPress via FTP, this gets a bit more technical). Make sure to note down your login details as well!

    7. Purchase & install a website theme

    Login to WordPress at yourwebsite.co.uk/wp-admin. You should have a new up and running website, now you need a design in the form of a WordPress theme. These themes (designs) give different aesthetics, structures and control options depending on which one you get.

    You can find a free theme or purchase a theme to suit your needs. There are particularly good paid options built for many types of small businesses including blogs, restaurants, builders, and many more. You can find themes to download via WordPress or go to paid providers like Themeforest. Once you have one, you will need to upload and activate your theme via the appearance-themes panel in WordPress.

    8. Add all your information

    Now it is time to create pages and add all your business information.

  • Create your pages (Home, about, contact us).
  • Add your logo.
  • Add your product, service, or solution listings/details.
  • Add a menu.
  • Congratulations you have built a basic website, now it’s time to get a professional e-mail address.

    Create an e-mail address for your business

    Once you have a website, you are going to need a professional e-mail address where prospective customers and external parties can reach you, this means that instead of using:

    genericmedia@gmail.com/outlook.co.uk or person6454x$35@gmail.com you will be using mail@genericmedia.com or yourname@genericmedic.com

    Having a business branded e-mail address is critical to engendering trust and is a general standard for most businesses in the UK.

    Fist set up an email address using G Suite or another third party email service. Then you’ll need to make sure your email is routed correctly which is done by updating your MX records. To change your MX records you will need to look for your hosting company’s DNS panel.

    Once your MX records are updated any email received by your server for your domain will be sent to Gmail (or the email service provider you’ve chosen) i.e. any mail received by genericmedia.com would be forwarded to your email. This is easier to do than it sounds!

    Initially, unless you have more team members, you will want one generic email address: mail@, info@ and one personal address such as Tony@genericmedia.com or TonyHedburn@genericmedia.com.

    10. Buying the business essentials

    Getting the basic essential setup for any new business is not glamorous, but it is very necessary. Whether that is sorting the internet, phone, utilities or purchasing technology among many other things, here’s a quick guide to getting the essentials right.

    Setting up business broadband

    Fast and reliable internet is a necessity. Whether you need to sell online or communicate with customers, the internet is a vital component for most new businesses. Here are some guidelines for choosing a secure, reliable and fast internet provider and package:

  • Make sure your connection will have a minimum of 20mbs download speed and 6mbs upload speed (Broadband or Fibreoptic).
  • Check reviews online of each company and the different tiers/types of internet packages they offer.
  • Make sure the contract length is no longer than 18 months (you usually negotiate heavily when your contract comes up for renewal, lowering the cost).
  • Verify that the company has a responsive customer service team rather than an automated machine or poor customer service. This can be a nightmare when internet problems occur and has a been a big problem over the last year, particularly in the UK.
  • If you live or work in an area where broadband or fibre is weak regarding internet connectively or it doesn’t connect at all, consider a 4G internet contract and an antenna as an alternative solution to get fast and stable internet.
  • Most of the above is quite logical, but it is easy to miss things in the hubbub of starting a new business.

    Getting a business phone line

    Having a landline number for your business is still a necessity for having a legitimate business image from the start and for having a fix and reliable number where customers can reach you on.

    If you own or rent a private office, it is easy to set up a business line with your phone package. However, if you do not, you can still purchase a business landline in London and many other cities that will route to your mobile phone, allowing you to take calls via that number and make calls online using that number.

    Finding office space

    Apart from working from home, there a few different options for entrepreneurs looking for space to start and run their businesses.

    Rent a co-working space

    Co-working spaces allow you to flexibly rent office space or an individual desk at a relatively low cost compared to traditional serviced or private office options. They also offer an environment designed for start-ups with a great community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

    Apply for a business accelerator

    Accelerator programs provide seed investment, mentorship and office space for a limited time to start-ups and other small companies. If you are a technology business there are many accelerators where you could apply for in many major cities in the UK.

    Rent a business incubator office

    Incubators are effectively low-cost office space that offer some level of community and network. Non-for-profit companies, charities or universities typically run them.

    Rent from another local business

    Many large to medium sized businesses that find they have excess space are often open if approached by a smaller company about renting unused space in their premises. It is a great source of extra income for the landlord business and often a flexible renting agreement for the tenant business.

    Rent a serviced office

    If you are starting with a large team and have investment ea serviced office is probably the best option for you. A serviced office will not be cheap but you can usually choose the layout that best suits your team on a particular floor or area of the building.

    Selecting business stationary and signage

    It may be hard to believe but for limited companies there are specific laws you must obey regarding the details you include on signage, stationery and promotional material.

    Choosing a sign for your business

    It is a matter of British law that you must display a sign showing your company name and your registered business address as well as any other address where your business operates in your business premise (if your home address is where your business is based you do not need to display a sign).

    Office supply and stationary options

    When purchasing official company stationary or producing promotional materials such as letters, forms or your website, you must display your company name, company number, registered address, and the country your business is registered in (Scotland, Wales, England, or Northern Ireland). If you also decide to list a director’s name on materials, you must include all the directors’ names if there are more than one.

    11. Find funding for your new business

    Most businesses require some source of funding to start. This section covers the primary sources of financing available to small businesses with the relative advantages and disadvantages.

    Your savings

    Some of the world’s most successful companies have been initially self-funded. The upside of this option is you do not lose any control by involving any outside party. The downside is that depending on the business you are starting, you may need more capital than you have or it may run out very quickly.

    Friends & family

    Many entrepreneurs receive their initial funding from friends and relatives in the form of an investment or loan. This is because in many cases you will not have to pay this money back if something goes wrong or you can agree on preferable terms when dealing with friends and family, usually both!

    The upside is that your family or friends are unlikely to try and bankrupt your business to retrieve their money if you cannot pay them back within the terms set. The downside is you can put relationships in jeopardy if things do not go to plan and you cannot pay the money back or if expectations are poorly managed.

    Business grants

    Business grants are free funding (money) awarded to qualifying businesses. A significant amount of public and private grants are available for new businesses; typically they are designed to support businesses starting up in impoverished areas, to boost the economy or to promote technological innovation and research.

    The best place to start looking for small business grants is your local Council website. They typically will have all the details of local grants available and of some national ones as well. Grants tend to range from £1,000 up to £5,000,000 in size, the amount depends on the grant (it is also common for payment to be made in stages based on achieving certain conditions).

    The plus side of grants is it’s free money with the downside being that applying for grant funding is often a complicated and time-consuming process, and the probability of obtaining one is not very high. Still, many businesses in the UK receive grant funding each year, it is still worth a shot!

    Business competitions

    Business competitions offer the chance to win free funding for your business, typically between £500 and £50,000. Large corporates, universities, or local councils usually run them to gain exposure, support the local economy or as a PR and marketing stunt.

    Competitions are often underapplied for and applying is usually far less time-consuming than applying for other funding sources like grant funding. The downside is you might not win and lose a lot of time and energy in the process, depending on the requirements and conditions of the competition.

    Angel investors

    An angel investor or business angel is a wealthy individual (commonly a former entrepreneur) who is willing to provide money for your business in exchange of a percentage shareholding in your business. A business angel is usually a good option for businesses who are a little further along than just starting out, as these investors typically want to see some growth/traction in your business before investing.

    However, some entrepreneurs do raise business angel finance initially ranging from £30,000 to £150,000. The downside of this option is you’re losing some control at an early stage. The upside is that it’s a much quicker way to raise money than through VC or grant funding. Angel funding usually has few requirements and angel investors at this stage are primarily investing in people much more than they are in the business!

    Venture capital

    Venture capitalists are professional investors who invest significant sums of money into many companies with the aim of making a return on their overall portfolio.

    At this early stage, venture capital unfortunately is only applicable to highly technological companies that operate in fields such as life science and biotech. These types of companies require huge initial investments from the start and can justify this funding by the promise of massive innovations and breakthroughs in technology and science that could yield considerable returns.

    The relative downside of venture capital is that it is hard to raise and, as professional investors, they will actively take ownership and control of part of your business. The upside is that you can raise a considerable amount of money very quickly (if your business already has much traction, venture capital could also apply to you).

    Financement participatif

    Crowdfunding is a relatively new form of investment, it allows you to raise small amounts of funding from many people. This can be done by selling equity or offering a reward or product in a presale crowdfunding campaign.

    Crowdfunding campaigns typically require an enormous level of marketing to be successful in most cases. The upside is that a campaign gives you the chance to test if people are receptive to your business and if you crowdfund goes well, in some cases, you can raise your funds in 48hrs (of course, after having prepared for months). Crowdfunding platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube offer equity solutions, and Kickstart and Indiegogo are the go-to choices for pre-ale/rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns.

    Business Loans

    A simple business loan means you borrow an amount of money from a bank, person or lender and agree to pay it back over time, such as in a timeline with interest.

    Although loans offer a flexible way for businesses to raise capital, in most start-up situations they are not an ideal form of funding as you’re immediately taking on a risk where if you cannot pay back the loan you could lose your business and any personal wealth you have (depending on the liability).

    Given that banks do not lend as much as they used to to new businesses, the start-up loans scheme detailed below is likely the best option for anyone starting up if you want to raise finance this way.

    Getting a Start Up loan

    The Start Up Loans Scheme was launched in 2012 by the British government. It made available £150+ million pounds of public money to entrepreneurs in the form of a favourable, low-interest loan up to the amount of £25,000. Eligibility and facilitation of a start-up loan are carried out by delivery partners who assess each business plan or business case.

    The loan is typically payment free for the initial year where you only pay nominal interest payments each month, with the bulk repayment starting on the second year and being paid back over as much as five years (be aware that although the loan terms are very favourable the actual debt obligation lies on you).

    Over the last few years, many businesses have been successfully launched by entrepreneurs who took startup loans. It can be a good funding option depending on your situation.

    Business credit cards

    You occasionally do hear stories about entrepreneurs maxing out business credit cards to fund their new business that quickly becomes successful. What you do not hear a lot is about most entrepreneurs who max out their credit cards and go bankrupt.

    A business credit card is one of the worse forms of finance to use for starting a business. The interest rates, penalties, and complexity of this kind of short-term finance only make it useful to trading businesses which are profitable and need a flexible credit facility.

    Business overdrafts

    A business overdraft is a flexible lending/credit facility you will agree with the bank or another financial institution. An overdraft allows you to borrow a set amount of money on an ongoing basis or until the bank withdraws the facility. You pay an agreed monthly rate of interest on top of anything you borrow.

    It is not a good form of finance for starting a business and should only really be used by trading profitable companies. It is specially useful for businesses who have seasonal businesses or cashflow issues due to longer client payment terms or other reasons.

    12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy

    Sales and marketing are the beating heart of any new business, for a business to be successful it needs to be innovative at marketing and effective at selling. When it comes to starting a business, this means thinking about preparing your product or service for sale, how you plan to go to the market and what channels and systems will be employed to reach and close customers.

    Getting a product or service ready for sale

    Once you have a product or service ready to be sold, you need to start packaging it for the market, this means considering differentiation, positioning and pricing.

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    Positioning your offering

    Positioning is all about identifying your product’s/service’s key attributes and how you are going to communicate them to the customer. It is about defining who you are and what you are offering in a way that resonates with your prospective customer.

    Understanding your USP (Unique selling point)

    Differentiating your offering from your competitors is all about identifying and showing your USPs (Unique Selling Points). This means thinking about where you offer superior functionality and value over your competitors and how you can communicate this through your marketing message.

    Setting price at the right level

    Pricing a product or service is tricky, it is often unclear for new entries into a market what pricing strategies you should implement, so here are few ways that will help you to calculate a fair price:

  • Work out your costs per unit.
  • Work out the profit margin you will be making per unit/per hour.
  • Gather pricing information on your competitors’ products or services.
  • Find out what the customer is willing to pay. This will require market
  • Once you’ve done your research and pricing analysis, it comes down to what you think the market will bear combined with what you want to make per unit or per hour for any product or service respectively.

    Choosing a route to market

    Once you are ready to go to market, you need to figure how you will get there. This means choosing the best route to market; this could be online, through fixed retail, wholesale, even selling through a third party or a mix.

    Selling online

    Selling online could be in the form of an online shop or a subscription software platform (SAAS). The internet offers small businesses complete control over their route to market. Many new businesses will choose to sell directly to their customers through the web as it provides fantastically low overheads with little required investment compared to starting a physical business location.

    Selling via a retail shop

    A retail store is a public place where customers can go and purchase from your business directly. Retail stores give you a guaranteed audience of passing customers depending on the site. This type of sales route is perfect for high-volume product-based businesses, but it also works for services, i.e. travel agents, insurers…

    Selling wholesale

    Wholesaling offers businesses the chance to sell their products in bulk to suppliers or retailers who will then go and sell directly to the public through their own sales channels. The profit margin from this model is usually smaller given that there’s another party involved, but it does offer the potential for selling substantial orders and generating significant revenue.

    Selling through an agent or affiliate

    Hiring an agent or affiliate on your behalf means they will find and connect you with potential customers, thus doing most of the marketing and some of the sales work for you. You will however usually have to pay a hefty commission to the agent when a customer they refer converts or a fixed fee on a per lead basis.

    Selecting marketing channels

    Once you have chosen a route to market, selecting the correct marketing channels to generate interest and customers is critical. There are many different channels and you have to find the most cost-effective and high-return channels for your business. It can take some time and testing.

    Email marketing

    Email remains the core way people and businesses communicate online. Thus, email marketing (reaching potential customers via email) is one of the primary marketing channels for generating customers and sales. This type of marketing could be done through newsletters or cold sales emails, and it is one of the online marketing channels available with the highest return on investment.

    Online advertising

    Pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the most popular forms of online marketing. It typically involves using paid display and search advertising via Google and other networks to reach potential buyers and drive them to your website or landing page.

    If PPC campaigns are well targeted and managed, it can be a highly efficient and reliable method of generating business. It is important to note that social media and Facebook advertising also now accounts for a huge amount of marketing budgets for many businesses.

    Social media marketing

    Social media is one of the newest and best ways to reach potential customers. Whether it is Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn or others, there is a range of social media platforms that are useful for effectively targeting and reaching your ideal customers. It is time-consuming to build and maintain an account, but in the long term it has proven to generate a significant return on investment for many brands.

    Content creation

    Written content can be an excellent way to reach customers via online search. If you have access to a good writer and your business is primarily online, one of the best and cost-effective ways to reach your customers is through organic search. Out of all forms of online promotion, natural search traffic is the highest converting regarding sales, it is particularly useful for promoting your website to potential customers.

    Posting a letter

    An old-fashioned method, direct mail marketing is still used by many companies today to inform potential customers about their offering and drive sales. It is particularly useful for service-based companies who have complex offerings that need to be described well, i.e. pensions, life insurance…

    Telesales

    In the UK you may be asking yourself ‘how can telesales even be a marketing channel anymore? No one has a positive experience’. However, you might be wrong, many businesses still rely heavily on telesales for large swathes of their marketing and sales budgets, and the return is still substantial, particularly in the telecoms industry.

    Build a sales process

    Creating an effective sales process is about taking potential customers generated by your marketing efforts and turning them into paying customers.

    With sales and marketing inextricably linked, it is important that your sales process will highly convert the leads that your marketing delivers, otherwise marketing is a waste of resources. This section covers the assets you will need, the pipeline you will need to set up and how to create a great customer service team.

    Building sales assets

    Sales assets are the documentation and document-based promotional material used in the selling process, for example, this could mean leaflets, brochures, PDFs, pitch decks and much more. These materials are critical to a salesperson as customers will often ask for a presentation or written document during the sales process.

    These assets demonstrate key features and advantages of any product or service. It is imperative to have these assets ready, looking professional and well-structured for your sales team to use.

    Building a sales pipeline

    A sales pipeline is at the core of any sales process, it is a system that continuously tracks the stage of the customer. This pipeline allows sales teams and managers to see where prospective customers are regarding the sale and to look for efficiency gains and problems that need correcting in the sales process.

    A typical sales pipeline is just a set of stages going from A to Z, A being the first contact, Z being when the sale closed (there can be further steps if you include cross-selling or up-selling as part of the same process). To manage this pipeline businesses will typically use a software-based CRM (customer relationship management) system. It is crucial to the sales process to have a structured pipeline set out so you can ensure every potential sale is tracked and there is maximum conversion.

    Create a customer service team

    One of the most overlooked areas of sales is customer service, with many organisations seeing sales and customer service are separate functions. This leads to a lack of focus on proper customer service will dramatically increases the amount of customers lost and thus the long term profitabilltiy of any sale.

    This means that from the start it is critical to building a strong customer service framework and team to minimise the loss of any clients and maximise the longevity of clients or repeat purchases. This all contributes to the sales bottom line.

    13. Building a team for your new business

    Most new businesses will start with a small team or begin to grow one very quickly. Thus, businesses and entrepreneurs need to learn early on how to effectively recruit and manage their team, while developing a great company culture and themselves as leaders.

    This section is here to guide you through the initial setup of what will become your business’ human resources department, covering recruitment, management, company culture and self-management.

    Brilliant recruitment practices are linked to business success

    Don’t hire anyone until you absolutely need to. The work and responsibility that come with employing another person is tremendous. When you do get to a stage when you need to recruit, it is important to make sure you take the right approach to finding and employing the best person or people for the role and for your business.

    Attracting great employees

    The start of a recruitment process is about finding and getting the best potential candidates to apply for the position you have open. Companies who want to attract great candidates should:

  • Offer a competitive remuneration package (salary, benefits, share options).
  • Use their company’s vision to inspire a candidate to want to be part of the enterprise.
  • Show career progression possibilities for the candidate.
  • Demonstrate a progressive, diverse and exciting work culture to the candidate.
  • Beyond the basics of attracting great employees, it is often about highlighting how your offer is better than other organisations’ offerings, i.e. if you cannot compete on salary, compete on offering responsibility and progression.

    Create a strong recruitment process

    Once you have attracted a good pool of potential candidates having a strong recruitment process is key to making sure you end up hiring the best candidate. At a minimum, this means having a process with:

  • A clear timeline and stages for candidates.
  • Unambiguous criterion for what you are looking for and how you will be assessing candidates.
  • At least 3 interviews (ideally with different members of your team).
  • A step for checking previous work references and thoroughly vetting candidate claims.
  • A poor recruitment process may leave you with the worst candidate. A strong recruitment process will enable you to work down to the best candidate efficiently. Companies who choose to invest time and resources into the recruitment process will always outperform those who do not!

    In-house recruitment vs outsourcing

    Outsourcing recruitment to an agency and in-house recruitment both have advantages. When it comes to choosing there is no easy answer, the best method depends on your business situation. However, to help here are some the key advantages/disadvantages of each.

    Outsourcing recruitment

  • A professional agency will find candidates that exactly fit your profile.
  • It eliminates the need for an extensive in-house recruitment team.
  • It can be very expensive (the agency will usually take a fee between 15% and 25% of the candidate’s total first year annual earnings).
  • In-house recruitment

  • It enables you to control and optimise all aspects of the recruitment
  • It’s usually cheaper than hiring an outside agency.
  • It will require the use of an internal team and resources.
  • When it comes to choosing, smaller companies who are profitable will often choose to initially outsource the first steps of the process to attract candidates and then do in-house recruitment and asses the candidates themselves.

    Creating a management ethos and system

    Excellent management is essential for the success of any business. From the very beginning your management team or even just you as an entrepreneur need to create a clear management structure, a positive work environment, and build a company culture that will support the business and its people as you grow.

    Set management structures

    Getting a management structure in place early on is critical to any small business that hopes to grow. This ensures that business’ policies and objectives initiated at the top will be carried out throughout the structure and that there will be accountability for their progress. In practice, this means having clear structures, roles, objectives, roadmaps and responsibilities, tracking employee performance, having team building exercises and feedback sessions, among other areas.

    Create a positive work environment

    Having a productive workforce is inextricably linked to creating a positive and supportive work environment. This means that from day one, managers and CEOs should make creating and maintaining a positive work environment a core company objective. This could mean holding office social events, providing large desk spaces, having clear HR policies and career progression, offering flexible holidays or any other initiatives that employees would value.

    Build a great company culture

    People are the primary resource of any business. Your founding team may work hard, be passionate and close-knit but how do you make sure that culture of excellence and responsibility scales with your business?

    Very simply, by clearly outlining and documenting your company culture and making sure it is one of the main objectives of your business. Company culture should be considered in the hiring process and each new employee should be introduced to it. It should not be something unspoken but something at the core of the business.

    Making sure you are compliant with employment law and taxes

    Building a great team can be complicated and not just regarding recruitment and management, but also regarding understanding and adhering to your tax and legal responsibilities when hiring. You need to be aware of the legal, tax and pension responsibilities that come with employing people.

    Knowing employment taxes

    When hiring anyone in the UK, you will need to pay several monthly employment taxes on their behalf including national insurance contributions for each employee. These taxes are typically paid via PAYE; this system is the primary mean of collecting employment taxes from UK companies by the government (speak to your accountant if you need to register for PAYE).

    Understanding employment law

    Employment law in the UK is strict and well set up to protect both businesses and employees; there are several key areas all employers should be aware of:

  • You must pay each employee at least the minimum wage.
  • After two years of continuous service, employees are entitled to a redundancy package if they are forced by your organisation to leave their job without cause,e. workplace closure or need to reduce workforce.
  • Females employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and men up to 2 weeks if they have worked longer than 26 weeks for the business.
  • The maximum number of hours anyone can work for an employer in a week is 48 hours, unless they agree to work further and sign a release.
  • Employees are entitled to at least 28 days paid holiday a year (this is prorated for part-timers).
  • You cannot unfairly discriminate by race, gender, disability, or any other factor regarding recruitment, pay, promotion, access to training, or termination.
  • Unfair dismissal applies after two years of continuous employment and companies can be fined by having to provide compensation to employees wrongly terminated.
  • It is important to be aware of employment law and the aspects that affect you as an employer.

    Providing a pension for employees

    As of 2018 the Pensions Regulator has made pensions mandatory for all employees who work in the UK, are aged 22 years or over, and earn at least £10,000 a year. This means that as a small business and employer, you are legally required to provide a pension scheme for all staff that meet the above requirements. Note that to contribute to this payment scheme you can choose a private business pension provider.

    Managing yourself

    As an entrepreneur, one of the difficult things you will often face is managing stress, fatigue, and pressure while balancing work and life. This is common as there is an enormous level of responsibility upon you as an entrepreneur and leader. In this section, we cover how you can mitigate this by creating a support network, engaging in the community and finding mentors to guide you through the perils of entrepreneurship.

    Build a support network

    Whether it is friends, family or colleagues, having a strong support network around you is critical. This system will help to support you and keep you going through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial path, make sure not to neglect this network!

    Meet the start-up community

    Start-up communities and networks in the UK and across the world are prolific and well established. Engaging and becoming part of these communities in your local area is an excellent way to meet other entrepreneurs, share stories and exchange ideas and advice.

    Trouvez un mentor

    Finding an industry relevant mentor is one of the best things you can do when starting any business. If your mentor is knowledgeable in your sector, he or she will be able to provide advice and guidance. It is true what they say, great entrepreneurs learn from other people’s mistakes.

    14. Starting a business in your spare time

    If like many reading this article you have a full-time job and can’t afford to quit your job to start straight away, have no fear. In this section, you can learn how to start a business and make it successful in your spare time without having to leave your job. One way of reducing the risk of starting up your own business is to hold onto your day job in the early days and work on your business in your spare time at evenings and weekends.

    It’s an appealing idea because if your business venture fails then you still have your job, and if it succeeds then making the transition to being your own boss will be a lot less risky. In fact, there are now so many people running businesses from home in their spare time at evenings and weekends that there is even a name for them – the 5 to 9 ers.

    Perfect businesses to start in your spare time

  • An internet-based business which does not require your constant physical presence for it to function
  • A business that can outsource many of its functions. Husband and wife Brent and Marilena Shaw run their online luggage business Swiss luggage.com in their spare time while both do full-time day jobs. They outsource the packing and posting of orders to a fulfilment company, which takes delivery of their stock and stores it in its warehouse. During the day a call centre handles their customer enquiries.
  • One that allows you to communicate with customers by email rather than by phone, so you are not limited to conventional office hours
  • Don’t start a business that will be in competition with the company you work for, and don’t start one that uses information or data provided by your employer, as you will quickly run into legal issues.
  • Hide your entrepreneurial intentions

    Downplay your entrepreneurial intentions in front of your boss. No matter how well you get on, no-one likes to feel that their employee’s attention and focus is elsewhere. Provide information solely on a ‘need to know’ basis and never bring up your business venture in conversation unless you are specifically asked about it.

    Only work on your business in your spare time

    Don’t give your boss any reason to clamp down on your business venture. Be scrupulous about doing your day job competently. Only work on your business in your own time and never use your employer’s resources for your business – don’t take stationery, don’t use the office phone for your business phone calls.

    Social life on hold

    Put your social life on hold, and try to get the support and understanding of your family – you can’t do a full-time job and start a business AND see as much of friends and family as you used to.

    Maximise the number of hours

    Make the most of every hour you have available to you – When Chris Orrell was starting up his company Hotelstayuk.com offering cheap hotel rooms to employees of large firms, he would go down to the car park every lunch hour to make calls to potential clients on his mobile phone. His business now has a turnover of millions.

    Work on your business every hour

    Don’t underestimate how much time you still have available – there are 168 hours in the week, so even allowing for a 40 hour a week full-time job and eight hours sleep a night, that still gives you a potential 88 hours left in which to work on your business.

    Make sure to get some rest

    But don’t sacrifice sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep every night as over tiredness will make you feel ill, run-down, grumpy, short-tempered and lead to poor judgement and bad decisions.

    Advice from owners of successful spare time entrepreneurs

    Janan Leo, is a typical 5-9er. During the day she works as a product development manager for Virgin Trains. As soon as she is finished there, she switches to running Cocorose, which makes folding shoes for women to wear while commuting. She started the company, which she runs from the spare room of her home in north London, in 2008 with £3,000 of savings. She works every evening from 5 pm until at least 11 pm and every weekend and now sells hundreds of pairs of shoes a month in boutiques and through her website. She may never see her boyfriend and barely get any sleep but for Leo, starting a business this way and running it at home has one huge advantage – it has minimised the financial risk. She says: ‘I lie in bed at midnight watching the orders come through on my BlackBerry.’

    Steve Emecz, runs his own book company, MX Publishing, in his spare time from home while holding down a demanding full-time job as the business development director for Venda.com, an e-commerce support company. Steve, whose business publishes around 50 titles, including books on Sherlock Holmes and neurolinguistics, says: ‘I process urgent orders in my lunch break and regular ones in the evening. I have an outsourced warehouse that picks the books and ships them — it is all technology-driven and web-based. The authors all have day jobs themselves and so want to talk to me in the evening anyway, and the distributors do everything online. I have my e-mails sent directly to my BlackBerry, and I use Skype a lot.’

    15. A little bit of entrepreneurial inspiration

    If at this stage you’re feeling a little overloaded you should be but don’t worry every one of the worlds most successful businesses started from the smallest of to-do lists. to remind you that’s its entirely possible to do here are 10 case studies of extremely successful businesses that came from very humble beginnings.

    Johnny Cupcakes

    This business started by selling t-shirts, sweaters, shorts and undergarments in a bakery-themed retail shop. The initial investment was $6,700. The firm is now worth $3.8 Million. The first store opened in 2005 and the founder, Johnny Earle, soon found himself on the list of ‘Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under’ in 2008.

    Adventure Life

    Adventure Life offers group tours and vacation packages for its customers. In 2008, it had revenue of $11 Million; the start-up costs, however, were very low. These included $3,000 for brochures, $11,500 for ads in 1999 and £33,500 in 2000.

    Paragon Space Development

    Paragon Space, which is now worth £8 million in 2008, started with an initial investment which includes $30,000 for computers and lab equipment, £600 per month for office and lab premises, and $20,000 for yearly travel.

    Chobani Yogurt

    The #1 selling yoghurt in the United States was founded in 2005 by Hamdi Ulukaya. However, his ex-wife claims that he stole the recipe and paid $40,000 for it. The founder used a loan of under $1 million to buttress the initial start-up costs. The company is now worth $1.1 billion.

    Sweet Leaf Tea

    With its current value of $12 Million, Sweet Leaf Tea was founded in 1998 with a $100,000 initial investment. The company broke even in its third year and reported revenue of £300,000.

    Tokyo Joe’s

    Earning revenue of $22 Million per year, Tokyo Joe’s was started off in 1996 with an initial cost of $330,000. Tokyo Joe’s is famous for consistently bringing nutritious and delicious food to customers’ tables.

    Tarte Cosmetics

    Tarte Cosmetics offers a wide variety of make-up products including brushes and body products. It was established in 1999 by Maureen Kelly in New York. The start-up cost was $18,000 and now the company grosses $12 million (2008 figures).

    Edible Arrangements

    This company changed the way people send gifts. They specialise in fresh fruit arrangements and offer a wide variety of speciality fruit gift items and gift boxes. Tariq Farid founded this company in 1999 with an initial investment of $100,000 and the company is now worth $19.4 million.

    Facebook

    Now worth over $200 Billion, Mark Zuckerberg started the world’s biggest social network when he was still in university. According to various reports, the idea was allegedly stolen from twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who eventually sued Mark.

    ZARA

    We have saved the best for last: ZARA. It was founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega. The big retail giant opened up several stores across the globe. The founder’s estimated worth is reported to be $65 billion.

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    Now that you have made it to the end, hopefully, you’re well on your way to starting and beginning to build a successful business, good luck!

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