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Starting up? Have you thought about...?

So the New Year is a few months old and you’ve decided to start up on your own, good for you! Whatever you decide you want to do, though there are certain things you should never ignore or overlook if you want to succeed.

Have a Business Plan; this may seem obvious but you’d be surprised just how many new star ups don’t have one written down. Write down both your short term and long term objectives and how you plan to achieve them and while you’re at it don’t forget to include an exit strategy in case it all goes pear shaped. A business plan will help you set your priorities and milestones in terms of financing, customer base, suppliers, staffing, premises, etc. Remember any potential investors or banks will expect to see your plan before they commit and if you can show that you have already fulfilled some of your milestones; you are more likely to achieve a favourable result.

Get the right constitutional documents in place. Articles of Association set out all the formalities regarding the composition of a board of directors and how directors and shareholders can make decisions. Investors are likely to insist upon certain protections with new start ups, so having the right articles in place could avoid disputes which could jeopardise any third party investment.

It’s been said in other blogs here, but you cannot emphasise the importance of creating standardised written terms and conditions for both your customers and your suppliers. Apart from giving you some protection if suppliers fail to deliver or a customer fails to pay, having a legally enforceable agreement in place will mean that you can be more comfortable in finalising contracts quickly and without protracted negotiations. Protect your brand by registering your trading name as a trade mark. Don’t forget to register a domain name for all potential web addresses you’d like to be associated with your business. Intellectual Property is also important; ensure that any ideas or processes people come up with are assigned to the company, and carefully review any contract dealing with IP prior to signing, and that includes your employees. Having written contracts not only satisfies certain statutory requirements but also helps protect confidential information and trade secrets and intellectual property rights.

Have strong financial reporting, controls and procedures in place; appoint an accountant to prepare your company’s accounts so that you, and the rest of your board, understand them. This can be vital when you pitch for investment. Make Companies House filings updating the company registers, keep minutes of board meetings and ensure that your bookkeeping is accurate and up to date.

Think about insurance, whatever the nature of your business you need to have the necessary insurance in place. If you employ any staff, you will need employee liability insurance, if customers visit your premises you will need public liability insurance and if your business provides an advisory service, professional indemnity insurance should be considered.

Don’t forget tax once you start trading to ensure that you properly account for PAYE and NICs. Instruct an accountant or tax advisor to register you for VAT if applicable and to advise you on the most tax efficient means of paying yourself and staying on the right side of HMRC!

These are just a few of the many topics we can advise you on so if you’ve decided to take the plunge, why not give us a call.

This entry was posted in Business Contracts, Business Aquisitions and Disposals and posted on March 7, 2017