17 tips for start-ups and new businesses by Tehsin Kahn, GrowthPad

Written by Tehsin Kahn

If you have started your own business or are considering to do so then these tips will help you set up your business quicker without making costly mistakes and will help you improve cash flow and promote growth.

  1. Choose an accountant that understands your business. A Google search can help you pick an accountant with experience in your sector. Most reputable accountants will give you a free initial consultation and read the reviews! I have a network of accountants I would be happy to share with you…just ask.

  2. Choose the appropriate business structure i.e sole trader, partnership or company.  Are you able to carry out your business as a sole trader? What are the tax implications? The great thing about starting as a sole trader is that business losses can be set against your employment income and reduce your tax liability often resulting in tax refunds – perfect if you are starting a side business.

  3. Register your business with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and regulatory bodies required for your industry.

  4. Ensure that you have the correct protection for your business, in terms of insurance cover. This article is a great start to help you understand the different types of insurance to consider for your business.

  5. Invest in an online presence by creating a website for your business. This can be a basic single page website covering what you do, where you are based and how you can be contacted. This video is an easy to follow DIY guide to create your website, using WordPress with Elementor.

  6. Expand your online presence by setting up company pages on LinkedIn and Facebook to  add to your credibility and make your business easier to find and contact. Clients can also provide reviews/testimonials, further encouraging potential new clients.

  7. Cash is king so try to get clients as soon as possible – ideally before you even start your business!

  8. Ensure that there is a market for your services/product by securing a minimum of 10 clients before leaving employment and scaling your business. Once you get these clients and you’re confident that you can run your own business, set up to automate your processes and go full throttle.

  9. Don’t blow your money! At the start and at least before you achieve point 8; you do not need to invest in the best looking, fastest responsive website or the thickest business cards or full SEO services. Most businesses these days operate with a computer and mobile phone and that’s all you need. In terms of a computer, you do not require a high end MacBook Pro (unless you’re in the design and creative industries). I recommend most startup businesses to use something like a Chromebook and to use the software included by default. It has most of the same tools as Microsoft Office. You can also access your files from any device connected to the internet.

  10. Take advantage of your current network. You will be surprised at the amount of business available in your circle of friends, family members,  friends of friends, social media connections and so on. Build a foundation of networks with these people. These foundations can help build a solid business.

  11. Roll out the red carpet for your first clients! Your first clients are the foundation of your business, provide them with the best service possible before scaling your business. These clients will be your main sales tool, the ones referring you to other businesses. You not only want them to be shouting about how great you are but you also want to set the standards for your future clients too.

  12. Have a clear business strategy. For example, once you have exhausted your network you may want to attract new clients via advertising on Google Adwords, or even give remarketing on Facebook a go. What I would suggest is that you don’t try Adwords, Social Media ads, cold calling, outsourcing sales etc all at the same time. Invest 100% into one area you think will work best for you, then when you have optimised that channel, move onto the next channel.

  13. Attend local networking events and get to know and take an interest in other businesses in your area. You may be able to collaborate on projects, boost creativity and inspiration, or even share client base and opportunities. This is what works at Helm.

  14. Get in contact with your local Business Chamber. You may be eligible for free courses to help you develop your business. For example, in Doncaster, we have Launchpad that provides training, support and advice for businesses trading within 24 months.

  15. Be organised. When starting a new business, you are responsible for all areas of business – sales, marketing, design, finance, legal and so on. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the work. It is therefore important to have your day scheduled. I use Google Keep and my calendar to help prioritise my tasks. I find it easier to schedule the highest priority earlier in the day as there are less ‘distractions’.

  16. Think about you. Remember that you must take care of yourself to enable you to take care of your business. Eat the right foods, get enough sleep and exercise during the week.

  17. Most importantly – BELIEVE. Many people fail because they do not have faith in themselves to succeed. Believe. Be patient. Show consistency. Keep your determination and willpower strong.

BONUS TIP – Have fun. Okay – not every day will be fun, but enjoy the process. Enjoy getting up in the morning, grafting until late hours and returning home shattered knowing that you are creating something that will make a difference to someone (and not just yourself).

If you have any other tips, please feel free to get in touch. Also, if you can help startups in any way, feel free to introduce how you can help.

Written by Tehsin Kahn

“I run a specialist tax consultancy (GrowthPad), helping companies recoup their costs of developing new and improving existing products, processes, software and machinery using R&D tax relief. I typically work with companies involved in software development, manufacturing and engineering. Get in touch for a free consultation.”

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