Document 199787

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Small Business
Deciding to start a business can be one of the most exhilarating decisions you make in your life. But there
are a lot of moving parts and many different elements to consider.
Here are 10 steps that provide an overview of the basic steps required to start a business successfully. Take
one step at a time, and you'll be on your way to small business ownership.
Step 1: Get Inspired
All businesses start from a common point - an idea. You may have dreamed of starting your own business
for years, or inspiration may have hit you unexpectedly. Regardless of the source, the first step of starting
your own business is coming up with a business idea.
Step 2: Do Your Research
You've identified your big idea, now it's time to balance it with a little reality. Are you really ready to start a
The next stage of research you conduct in your small business start-up process will help you figure out if
your business idea has potential.
In order for a small business to be successful, it must solve a problem, fulfil a need or offer something the
market wants. There are a number of ways you can identify this need, including research, focus groups, and
even trial and error. As you explore the market, some of the questions you should answer include:
Is there a need for your anticipated products/services?
Who needs it?
Are there other companies offering similar products/services now?
What is the competition like?
How will your business fit into the market?
Don't forget to ask yourself some questions, too, about starting a business before you take the plunge.
Step 3: Make a Plan
You need a plan in order to make your business idea a reality. If you intend to seek financial support from an
investor or financial institution, a formal written business plan is a must.
Even if you don't anticipate seeking financial support, a simple business plan can give you clarity about what
you hope to achieve and how you plan to do it.
In general, your business plan should outline your business goals and the motivation behind them, as well as
your plan for reaching your goals in terms of marketing and funding.
Step 4: Plan Your Finances
Starting a small business doesn't have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment.
There are a number of ways you can fund your small business, including:
Small business loans
Small business grants
Angel investors
Step 5: Choose a Business Structure
Your small business can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a private limited liability company (Ltd, etc.
The business structure you choose will impact many factors from your business name, to your liability, to
how or if you file your accounts and pay taxes.
You may choose an initial business structure, and then re-evaluate and change your structure as your
business grows and needs change.
Step 6: Pick and Register Your Business Name
Your business name plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one.
Make sure you think through all of the potential implications as you explore your options and choose your
business name.
Once you have chosen a name for your business, you will need to check if it's trademarked or currently in
use. If you form a limited liability company, then there are actions you need to take with Companies House.
Don't forget to register your domain name once you have selected your business name.
Step 7: Licenses and Registrations
Paperwork is a part of the process when you start your own business. There are a variety of small business
licenses and registrations that may apply to your situation, depending on the type of business you are
starting and where you are located. You will need to research what licenses and permits apply to your
business during the start-up process. You may need to speak with HMRC regarding VAT registration and
payroll (PAYE) matters.
Step 8: Set Up Your Business Location
Setting up your place of business is important for the operation of your business, whether you will have a
home office, a shared or private office space, a retail location, a factory, a warehouse, a workshop, etc.
You will need to think about your location, equipment, and overall setup, and make sure your business
location works for the type of business you will be doing.
Step 9: Choose Your Accounting System
Small businesses run most effectively when there are systems in place. One of the most important systems
for a small business is an accounting system.
Your accounting system is necessary in order to create and manage your budget, set your rates, conduct
business with others, and manage and your taxes. You can set up your accounting system yourself, or hire
an accountant to take away some of the guesswork.
Step 10: Promote Your Small Business
Once your business is up and running, you need to start attracting clients and customers. You'll want to start
with the basics by writing a unique selling proposition (USP) and creating a marketing plan.
Then, explore as many small business marketing ideas as possible so you can decide how to promote your
business most effectively.
Once you have completed these business start-up activities, you will have all of the most important small
business bases covered, and be ready for small business success.