What to consider when you start up a business?
One of the real delights of being a print supplier is that we often get to meet people in the early stages of setting up their new business. This is an exciting and busy time for any entrepreneur and there is a lot to think about. We talked to a few new business owners and thought it might be helpful to share their top tips on how to set up a business. Here are some of their recommendations…
Get Good Advice
For a business of any size, you will need an accountant you can trust from day one. If you’re taking over an existing business or setting up anything at all complicated, you will probably also need some legal advice. Find the right people for these roles, and they’ll be invaluable to your success. Get them involved early. Make sure you like them. Make sure you trust them and they understand what your business is about. Personal recommendations go a long way so ask friends who have set up on their own to introduce you.
Choose Your Name Carefully
One of the first things you will need is a name. Don’t forget you will hopefully need to live with this for a long time. If you plan to grow, choose a name that can grow with you. Perhaps avoid using your own name if you hope to expand your team. Messrs Marks and Spencer got away with it but it may not work so well for you. Don’t focus on one service if you actually offer more than that. Consider whether your name will date – Carphone Warehouse have been lucky with that one. Finally, and slightly hypocritically, don’t limit yourself to being too local. You may regret being “Cornwall Cupcakes” if you later go national. We are very proud of being based in St Austell and are lucky our name has grown with us!
Once you have a shortlist of ideas, check the URL you need for your name is available through companies such as Macace . You should also use the Companies House Name Availability Checker to see if anyone is already using that name.
Logo, Branding and Website
From the start, you will want to present a smart image and stand out from the crowd. Use a professional designer or marketing agency to come up with your logo and take time with then to ensure they understand where you are coming from. Have a chat with them, or indeed us at SAPC, about the types of marketing materials you will need and make sure they develop sufficient versions of the logo for all those applications. For example you might need a small square icon to use on Social Media Profiles, a mono logo where colour print is not an option and a letterhead version. At this stage, do read our separate blog on What Should Be on a Business Card.
Your graphic designer will also help you decide on a font and pantone colours to help build a clearly recognisable look and feel for your brand. This can then all be carried through to your website once you have found yourself a web developer you like and trust. Ask your designer or marketing agency for a recommendation.
Decide on your Business Type
Less glamorous and creative, but critically important – you will need to choose what type of business you want to be. Are you a Sole Trader? A Partnership? or a Limited Company? Gov.uk has useful information on each. Do you need to register for VAT? This is usually only if you are turning over more than £81,000. Your accountant or legal advisor should be able to help you decide if you’re not sure the best way to go.
Set Up Your Office
You’ll want a base where you can work efficiently and effectively, undisturbed with excellent broadband. This may not be your spare room! Office space does not have to be expensive for startups. There are many options for small offices, hot desks and co-working spaces which come with the added benefit of opportunities to network with other businesses. At St Austell Business Park we can help with all sizes of private offices with access to a range of meeting rooms and conference facilities. We also offer hot desks and co-working space for those of you who need a few hours of peace and quiet to get on with your work away from home from time to time.
Find Out About Employment Law
If your new business is going to have employees other than yourself, you’ll need to do your homework on employment law. Speaking to an HR professional will help you get your head around aspects such as deciding how much to pay staff and payroll management, paying National Insurance contributions, pension requirements and of course best practice around recruiting and retaining staff. The CIPD have a list of Chartered Human Resources and Learning and Development Consultants which could be a good place to start. You will also need to register with HMRC as an employer.
Plan Your Launch Marketing
How are you going to tell people about your business? To get help with publicity to let people know you exist and bring in customers, talk to a marketing agency who can come up with a plan for your online and offline marketing and public relations. As with your accountant, this needs to be someone you like and trust, so talk to a few agencies or consultants until you find someone you really get on with. Sam Amps Marketing would be a good place to start.
Your business might be best launched with online advertising, by sending direct mail out to possible customers or with an actual event for local journalists. If you do choose direct mail, we can help by mailing out your flyers, catalogues or brochures direct to the prospects on your database. This service can provide you with huge savings in terms of both time and money. Your marketing consultant will help you decide which is best and help you really get started and grow.
Print Some Powerful Marketing Materials
Last but definitely not least, you will need a range of powerful printed materials to help you launch. Business Cards are the bare minimum, but also consider Brochures or Leaflets, Display Banners to use in your office and at events, quality Stationery and Posters. Have a browse of our marketing materials range to get some inspiration.
When you’re choosing, have a think about the finish and texture you would like on your materials and how many you will need. This will depend on how “evergreen” you’d like to make them – will your offers change regularly? Or are you producing something you could use for a year or more, in which case a larger print run could prove more cost effective.
At SAPC, we offer free consultation on all your design and print queries. Give us a call to arrange an appointment or just pop in to our print shop where one of our experienced team can show you samples of paper and print.
That is quite a “to do” list, so it’s time to get started. Best of luck with your new venture and do get in touch if we can help.