Featured image by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash
Running a small business can release you from the humdrum life of the nine-to-five and allow you to take control of your financial future. The early days are the hardest but once you get the ball rolling things will get easier. Give yourself and your business the best chance of success by setting up the right way with these six preparation steps.
Get Ready to Receive Payments
This is possibly the most important step toward opening a business. However, many first-time entrepreneurs leave it until too late. If your company is going to be successful it needs to be able to accept and process payments from customers. It also needs to be able to pay invoices from suppliers and contractors. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop on Main Street or your business operates completely online, you need to have payment processing set up before you start trading.
Silverbird has the perfect and simple solution to this problem. They can help you set up early and be ready to start receiving payment from customers and paying your suppliers from day one of your business, or before. Silverbird can give you all the guidance you need to set up bank transfers. Then you can pay any invoices you receive while you are setting your business up. Moreover, they will continue to support you as your business grows. Cash flow is one of the most important elements of business, and you need to prepare for it early and start some good financial management practices.
Build Your Brand
Creating a business is not enough in the modern marketplace. You need to create a brand that people can identify with and invest in. Your products and services need to be a part of a lifestyle and a culture. Look around for existing trends that your business can become a part of that suits your products. Then design your brand to fit into this existing group. This will give you the best chance of success. You could choose your niche by the products you sell or by the area you operate in, for example.
Before you begin trading you need to have established this identity online, using social media and your business’s website. Even if you are not trading online, you will still need a presence in this space. Moreover, it should promote your brand as well as your products and services. Brands require a logo, a tone of voice, and a design language to establish them in the minds of consumers and lead them to make inquiries about your business that you can convert into sales.
Complete the Paperwork for Your Small Business
Paperwork is the foundation of any business and you simply cannot avoid it. Getting used to dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s is an important part of being a small-business owner.
You are going to have to register your business, get appropriate insurance coverage, and begin accounting. There is a lot of help out there, but this can increase costs and make it harder to progress in the early days. Try to do as much as you can yourself before generating another bill. You can always call in the pros later once your business is up and running and bringing in some money.
If you are a sole trader, you are self-employed and you run your own business by yourself. The profits your business makes, after you pay your taxes, are all yours to enjoy and reinvest in the business as you wish. You are also liable for any losses the business makes, however.
In the UK, your company needs to be registered with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You will have to file an annual Self Assessment Tax Return with them. In the US, check with the Internal Revenue Service to learn about the tax regulations that will apply to your company.
Create a Marketing Campaign
If people do not know about your small business how will they spend money there? Marketing is a crucial step toward success for businesses of every stripe. However, small and sole trader businesses often miss out on marketing and miss out on profits because of it. Spending a small amount of time and money on promotion can yield huge returns for you and your business in your first year. Social media is the perfect place to start even if you operate a locally focused business.
RELATED ARTICLE: TIPS TO UPGRADE YOUR COMPANY’S ADVERTISING STRATEGY
You should open accounts on all the major social media sites for your company and use them to build up interest and anticipation before opening day. Establish your brand and start following related accounts and hashtags. Use photography, memes, and humor to create fun and engaging content that will help you to build a customer base ahead of opening. Your marketing should continue after you have started trading, promoting your business every day to your existing customer base and their followers online.
RELATED ARTICLE: IS FRANCHISING THE RIGHT BUSINESS MODEL FOR YOU?
Do Some Basic Accounting
It is a good idea to do some basic accounting tasks before you start trading. Many first-time business owners struggle because they fail to take this step. Your tax exposure should be a primary concern to you, as it will affect the amount of money your company makes. Business owners should expect a big tax bill at the end of their first year. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Before you open your doors you should have a reasonable idea of what your tax burden will be.
If you can afford to hire a business accountant before you start trading, you should. They can be a huge help when you are setting up and can save you from paying more tax than you should. This means a good accountant can pay for themselves.
You may also have VAT obligations that you need to prepare for if your turnover crosses the VAT threshold. To give yourself the best possible financial future, you should hire an accountant in your first year at least if you cannot afford one before you open.
Plan the Future of Your Small Business
Planning and preparation should not end with the opening of your doors. The foundation you create in the early days needs to be a platform that you can build upon. The toughest test your business will face is the test of time. You need to have a long-term plan and milestones to achieve along the way.
Do you need to hire staff in the future? How will that affect your accounting? Will you need to make National Insurance and pension contributions? These questions need to be answered by your business plan.
Year one will be hectic, so having a business plan to use as a map to navigate the turbulent waters will help you as you progress. Set goals for years two and three, and plot your path to achieving them. With a proper plan for the first few years of your business, you will be able to react to mistakes and failures more efficiently and effectively.
The company rests on your shoulders. Think of planning your company’s future similarly to preparing your body for a workout, strengthening your core so you can carry the weight.
Prior preparation and planning is the key to success. Without them, you are planning to fail. Planning will help you to operate your company more efficiently once you open your doors and begin to trade. A successful business can open the door to financial freedom and provide for your family for generations.
RELATED ARTICLE: MEET ME IN MIAMI: HOW TO START A BUSINESS IN MIAMI