Steps for a business start-up
Youâ€™re looking to start up your own company and to become an entrepreneur. You have the name decided upon and you know exactly what goods or services you will offer to your audience, and now you just need some wind to pull your idea off the ground for you to lead to fruition. You may even have identified customers and started establishing a base for your idea.
Firstly you should be keeping all receipts for expenses purchased for setting up and running the business, and all invoices you have issued customers should be kept safe. It helps to keep this paperwork in line with the year youâ€™re in so a folder for year 1, another for year 2 and so on. You can hole punch the paperwork and staple duplicates together, so long as the date, price and expense details are readable. If you have a credit card receipt, ask for a copy of the original receipt as these slips will only show the amount and date, but no details as evidence for the business expense. If you hire out equipment, or purchase an expensive item on a loan, this paperwork will also be vital information.
You should open a business bank account under the trading name to keep the trading finances separate from your personal finances. This helps the bookkeeping process if every transaction is neatly organised. Business bank accounts are also designed to work best for businesses and will come with features that differ from a personal account. Shop around for the bank that will best suit your requirements.
HMRC is steering towards a digital future, and it has already made VAT submissions mandatory through online bookkeeping. Choosing the software thatâ€™s right for you is something to be considered before jumping straight into a monthly subscription, so look around at whatâ€™s on offer. Most software offers a trial period so you can spend time testing and learning the program before a commitment.
Register with Companies House if you are setting up a limited company. You do not need to register with Companies House if you do not want a limited company. If you are unsure, research or contact an accountant to find out what is best for your business. Next you will need to register for self-assessment with HMRC as either a self-employed trade or as a director of a new limited company. This will enrol you into the self-assessment tax return service, and HMRC will grant you a unique taxpayer reference.
If you have an accountant they will be able to register the limited company and yourself with HMRC, and they will send in an additional form which will allow HMRC to speak with the accountants about your tax affairs on their behalf. This is a great way to register if you are concerned about making errors in the registration application.
Once you have a name, a logo, identity and registered with professional bodies you will need insurance. Public Liability insurance is common, and you can find comparative websites on the internet easily. Some insurance providers will include deals that suit your needs better than others.
To summarize, to start up a business, key points are:
1. Keep all receipts and invoices, and hire purchase paperwork.
2. Apply for a business bank account
3. Choose an online bookkeeping platform
4. Register with Companies House if you set up a limited company
5. Register with HMRC for self-assessment.
6. Insurance - to buy!
Marketing will be a large chunk of your initial day to day activities. Advertisements in local newspapers can be ideal if you are working in a select area but this can be pricey depending on the print size and colour. The internet offers free solutions, such as online business directory sign ups or using Facebook to raise awareness through town communities. There is often a 'for sale' page for each town where you can let people know what you're offering.Tags:
business start up, HMRC, setting up, getting started