Top Tips for Starting A Business…and starting one during a pandemic!

With so many people’s careers seemingly in tatters there are an enormous move towards starting up new business ventures and this is a very good thing. While it is awful people are losing their jobs, it is great that at least some are looking at a life change and a new start. Starting a business can be hard, it doesn’t always have to be though. However, there are some things you need to think about and some that are specific to doing it during a pandemic. 

Get the Right Idea

So, before we even look at tips for getting a business going it is really important to get the right idea. You may have had a dream for many years about a certain type of business but don’t let that cloud your judgement. Be mean to yourself, take your idea and try and break it! Ask yourself questions, get friends to think about your plan, ask anyone you can think of and tell them to be honest. THEN…search for other people who are doing it. Dragon’s Den has programmed us all to try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to business but that is hard to do and very risky. Obviously unique ideas are great but seeing other successful businesses in other parts of the country can give you a solid idea of how it could work. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, just do what others have done a little better, cheaper, faster etc. When it comes to Covid it is important to consider lockdowns and ask yourself, can this business model services people during a lockdown? If the answer is no, then starting up that kind of business now could be very risky. If the answer is yes, then you are future proofing against further issues in 2021 and beyond! BUT be careful not to base your business solely on lockdown behaviour, because if and when this is “all over” you may find the model doesn’t work very well. 

Do Some Research

The fact you are reading this guide is good but go and read some more! Read, read and read some more. There are loads of start up guides out there and they will all have bits of info you will want to absorb and use. Starting a business is not about one single bit of advice, it is about preparing the ground by getting a wide array of opinions and ideas. You will find that as you read more you will start to formulate a more solid idea and plan. You will also find that some previously held ideas will melt away in the face of other people’s experience. Of course, we all need to go out there and learn ourselves but standing on the shoulders of others saves you a lot of time and potential stress.

Hidden Costs

The word hidden suggests someone is out there trying to con you with secret costs; this is not the case. Hidden costs where running a start up in concerned is just a list of things people don’t think of and that can cause some serious problems. First of all you may be thinking about a premises! Before you even go down the rental route think co-working! It’s a great way to start up, network and grow a business. However, if you have your heart set on an office, shop or business unit then plan for the costs. Rent is only one part of it, check business rates and check what’s going on with utilities. Some places will have an agreement in place, and you pay a single bill. Other units or offices will leave you to organise your own water, electricity and gas. It is really useful to speak to a utilities procurement company as they will advise and help you get a good deal! As well a premise related costs plan for an accountant because you really won’t want to do it yourself. If you are thinking about taking on staff then consider the costs, there is more to pay than wages, you have to pay national insurance and pension costs too! Consider an outsourced HR company too! Contracts, PDPs, hiring and firing can get complex and if done wrong lead to legal issues. Don’t forget insurance, indemnity cover and more. 

So, while you need to consider if a business can make money to pay your rent etc it also has to pay for lots of other things and it is crucial you understand these costs. Keeping Covid in mind, is it the sort of business that could end up refunding because of a lockdown? If so, you must plan for that. Plan with lockdowns still being a thing and if they are not then that’s great. 

Business Type

Limited, Partnership or Sole Trader are all options but plan carefully. It may seem like a great idea to kick off as a limited company but there are costs associated with this, you have to do annual returns and that means paying accountants more. Sole traders are at risk if the business goes wrong, but they are simple and agile and if it’s just you it can work very well. There are different types of partnership so have a look into them and choose carefully. Don’t forget, you can always turn a sole trader business into a limited one, it is a little harder to go the other way!

Go for It

While this article looks at some of the things you need to consider it is not written to put you off. Starting your own business is amazing. It’s liberating, it can be very mentally and financially rewarding too! But careful planning and consideration mixed with the kind of attitude you need to jump out of a plane is what you need to make it happen. Learn, plan, research and then JUMMMMPPP!

Photo credits: eOffice