There are textbooks and 3-year degrees programmes for building a business. Yet with so much information and so little time, there are rookie errors that happen.
While some of these points seem meaningless in the rush to get to market, ignoring these can create huge costs and lost time down the line.
Whilst the list is self explanatory in parts, I want to highlight a few things:
1. Too many people register a company but are not ready to trade. So, think about-
- The reporting responsibilities, why set a deadline for your business before you start
- Being registered opens up more responsibilities with regards to tax reporting
- You can start as a sole trader and convert, so wait till you are ready
Be very aware that you need consistency across platforms. So by this I mean, you cannot have different formats and spellings across websites, twitter, Facebook, letterheads and logo etc. Make sure the name you call your business is available and you can use it.
You want to create an impression of being organised.
3. Buy your domain name, why?
There are individuals who buy domain names and sell at an inflated price when they spot - you didn't. Spend the £5-7 pounds for the year. That's right, it can cost only a few pounds. I have heard of and seen plenty of startups caught out.
4. There are so many online accounting packages, you can set aside an hour once a week, to keep on top of your books. It is not as complicated as you may think.
The volume of transactions will be small at the start and as a business person, understanding and tracking your P&L you will help you understand the mechanics of your business. Over time this can be outsourced.
5. Developing your culture. This starts while developing your business plan. You may think you want to be 'xyz' but as you develop with co-founders, co-workers, customers, competitors etc you will redefine what you want your business to be. And this will evolve over time.
Your culture will shape how you find and retain future customers and how you hire staff. A bad hire can cost a huge amount and not just financial losses. You will need to make sure any new hire adds to the team and your customers. Never rush this process.
In saying that as your culture evolves, you may have to be prepared to change the team and resign clients and customers, as you scale.
Never a pleasant realisation but prepare yourself for the tough calls a head.
6. Finally, be very aware of your market environment, you might have a great idea, but consider:
- Is the market actually ready, do they need to upgrade technology, buy more equipment etc
- Are you actually a niche?
- Are there government regulations to consider?