Setting up your business

For followers of ‘The Apprentice’ you could be forgiven that setting up a business successfully requires the ability to trample all over your colleagues and a pair of killer heels (for the ladies anyway!).  What the TV programme does not show us are the detailed business plans prepared by the contestants without which Lord Sugar would be struggling to make any sensible decision about his choice of winner.

A good first step is the preparation of a business plan, this need not be lengthy, it should set out your strategic aims and a plan of how you will achieve them, one side of A4 should be enough. Describe the product or services you are offering,  your target market and set out your objectives for the first three years of trading, make your aims measurable. The plan needs to be reviewed frequently and adapted to changing circumstances. There are a number of options to consider such as working as a sole trader, setting up a private limited company, going into partnership or buying into a franchise. The latter can be a useful way of entering the world of working for your self because a well run franchise will provide marketing support, business know how and hopefully a developed brand. On the other hand a franchise can feel restrictive and it is not always easy to exit a franchise agreement, so legal advice before you sign is a must.

Also, take tax advice early on,  as this could affect your choice of business structure.

Many people set up as sole traders and, work from home. Setting up your own business can be liberating, but might equally be isolating with no one to provide motivation or support. You could decide to set up in business with a relative or friend in ‘partnership’. A partnership agreement is recommended to document each partner’s share in the business and to cover what happens if things do not work out as you had hoped. Similar considerations apply if you set up a limited company with others, then a share holders agreement is recommended.

In recent years the government has implemented some schemes to reduce the NIC burden to encourage new business to take on employees. These would be well worth investigating. If you are thinking of starting a business, or your business is already up and running, Wolferstans’  Business Services Team are on hand to provide support with many of the  challenges you may face including; staffing issues, contracts with customers and suppliers, securing premises for your business, or resolving a dispute your business is involved with such as a bad debt.

For more information please contact Clare Magill on 01752 292354 or email

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