The name you choose for your business should be well thought through, not just what you need for today. It should reflect your Unique Value Proposition and your personal values. It should be linked to how customers can communicate with you, for instance a web site and domain name. Decide on the most suitable structure for your business - will you operate as a sole trader, partnership, limited liability company or limited liability partnership. You have a statutory obligation to file certain documents with Companies House if you are a limited company so ensure that you know the deadlines and the information that is required.
Unique Value Proposition
Your unique value proposition consists of the sum total of the benefits which you promise to your customer; what they will get in return for entering into a contract with you. Put simply, the value proposition is what your customer gets for his money/time.
A customer can evaluate your value-proposition on two broad dimensions:
- relative performance: what the customer gets from you compared to a competitor's offering;
- price: the total cost, which consists of the payment the customer makes to acquire the product or service; plus the access cost
Business Planning and Cash Flow
Perhaps the most important document that you have in the initial stages of your business. A good business plan will help you manage your organisation and processes, make good strategic decisions, and significantly improve your access to bank borrowing or funding. A good cash flow plan will tell you how much you need to survive - a cash flow problem is nothing more than an unforeseen cash need. A good plan, from an experienced business planning professional, is vital to success, to ensure that you don’t end up as a statistic - more than half of new business fail due to unforeseen cash needs! When you put your trust in someone to help you with the cash flow planning always check their credentials; what is their “real-life” experience of cash flow planning for your type of business; what do they know about acquiring the customers you will need to meet your plans; what assumptions and what tests have they made for ensuring that your plan is realistic?
This means making sure that you secure the best price for your product or service based on your costs of production and your customers willingness to pay. Underpricing is one of the biggest causes of business failure. Establishing your price point is vital to the customers perception of your product or service - think iPod versus MP3 player, Mercedes versus Ford.
Trade Marks and Intellectual Property
To secure the long term value of your business you must ensure that you protect your ideas, designs and products. Registering trademarks is not half as complicated as one might imagine. Applying for a patent is vital if you have a unique idea - it’s expensive and time consuming but could be the difference between your business being valued in millions or only thousands
Making sure that you record and monitor your expenditure is vital to ensure that you claim all your entitlements, but also making sure that you don’t fall foul of HM Revenue & Customs. Keep receipts for everything - even if you don’t register for VAT you can claim retrospectively for money spent in the early days of your venture; in some cases this can mean a tax rebate of many thousands of pounds.
Build Your Own Website
In today’s marketplace it is vital that you have a web presence, even if it’s only a static page with your name, address and the products and services you offer. You can achieve this for a lot less than you imagine. Click on this link to get your own site or call us to discuss in more detail. If you only want an email account with your company name then click here.
Should you register at the outset? Which scheme is right for you? Flat rate, cash accounting, annual accounting, retailers scheme? The answer depends on your business and what works best for you in terms of the effort involved.
Business Administration Skills
Most entrepreneurs will admit that they went into business with lots of ideas about their product or service but little in the way of experience of dealing with the other aspects of running a business. Administration - the bureaucracy and red-tape required to meet Government legislation like Health and safety. Operations - the production processes and operational systems, like how to ensure good credit control, or inventory management. Marketing - how to acquire and retain customers in the most cost effective way. Finance - what to measure and how to control the flows of cash around the business. Human Resources - what the statutory requirements are when interviewing and recruiting, what to do about sick leave and disciplinary actions - it’s very easy to fall foul of the law here and end up with a lawsuit and paying compensation.