Business start-up 101: Part two

Tips for start up businesses, includes creating a strong business plan to refer to time and againInspired by the statistic that only 25 per cent of start-up businesses have a plan, and just over 36 per cent in the Birmingham area survive, we developed an article earlier this month offering business start-up advice, including researching the market and networking. In this article, we’ll be covering other business start-up fundamentals such as professional services, funding and business plans. If you didn’t read part one of this series, you’ll find it here.

  • Get professional help – whether this is for business start-up advice or accountancy services to ensure your tax obligations are fulfilled (avoiding much hassle further down the line!) and that your business is operating under the right structure, investment in these services is money well spent. Accountants can often be viewed as simple facilitators of tax returns, but they are one of the most under-used resources in terms of the breadth of services they can offer. Working in close partnership with your accountant will ensure your business is heading in the right direction and stays on track – with the potential to for-see any potential issues and prevent them from escalating. Additionally, an accountant can help you spot opportunities you may not have thought about.
  • Business plans – every business needs a plan for a variety of reasons. Not only does it give you clear goals and objectives, include forecasting to be able to plan growth, but it is a vital tool in seeking funding from any type of lender. It helps in financial planning for the business. If you are seeking funding via traditional funding routes such as banks or building societies, it will certainly be a requirement as lending criteria can be strict. Even if seeking funding from increasingly popular sources such as private investors/business angels or crowdfunding, a business plan should form part of the proposal to make it appealing. It is also worth remembering business planning isn’t a one-off activity. Ongoing monitoring of the plan to ensure the business is on track to meet goals, and the creation of new goals, will keep the business going in the right direction and take it to the next level.
  • Business funding – there are a plethora of funding opportunities now available to businesses as alternative sources have gained in popularity. Recent research findings have shown that more than 51 per cent of UK SMEs have either considered or used alternative finance sources. These include peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, business angels and grants/accelerator programmes. Our article on business finance types covers each in more detail, but it is always worth getting professional advice before going down any borrowing route.

Anyone wanting further business start-up advice can access a range of factsheets on a variety of business start-up topics available on our website.