How to get over the first hurdles in business

Why not make 2013 the year you become your own boss and get your business idea off the ground?  We’ve got plenty of free guides to help you start a business, but here our Sage Business Expert Caroline Baxter discusses the first hurdles new businesses can expect to come across – and how to clear them.

Having the chance to start your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience – there are so many ideas to explore and so many potential paths to go down. However, every career has pitfalls and hurdles, so it’s important to be prepared when it comes to starting up a business. Below are some of the aspects of your business you need to attend to in the early stages.

Caroline BaxterHow to write a business plan

Your business plan should reflect what you want to achieve and what services you offer – think of it like a map directing people around your business. Make sure you include financial information, like how much you want to put in and get out initially, as well as any marketing plans.

This business plan will be crucial if you wish to get Government-backed loans or other funding for your business – they will require that you have a plan in place.

How to register a business

It’s important to give some thought to the name of your company. It needs to be distinct, suitable and, most importantly, available. Once you have chosen a name you will want to register it, as you must tell HMRC you have a new business within 3 months of beginning operations.

If you are having problems with the name of your business, contact a solicitor who specializes in small businesses; they will be able to check that your business name will work based on any regulations in your area.

You’ll also need to determine the legal structure of your business. If you are doing it alone, you will be doing it as a sole proprietorship. However, if other parties are involved, you may need to list it as a partnership.

Tax & Legal Status

You need to choose whether to trade as a sole trader or register a partnership/company. You can find lots of information on the website regarding the differences, or you can consult an accountant Also, there are specialist legal advisers in the UK who can help you with issues relating to your new business. Some firms will specialize in early stage business or corporate issues.

Permits and Licenses

In order to operate your business in your local area you need to pick up any required permits and licenses as requires by various governing bodies. This could include food, health and safety, hygiene or any qualifications in order to practice specific trades. Having these in your possession is the sole responsibility of the business owner – not having them could lead to potential fines and penalties.

Make sure to always seek legal advice on any issues you’re unsure of – there are professionals whose job it is to help you with business needs. Make sure you don’t overlook the basics while creating your dream business product or service and most importantly of all, good luck!

Caroline Baxter is a serial entrepreneur, SME Consultant, Business Start Up Coach, and bestselling author on Amazon. She has multiple businesses in property, the motor trade and online and offline business consultancy.