First published March 8 2022.
It’s International Women’s Day 2023 – a day to shine a light on female entrepreneurship.
Here at Rocket Lawyer, we pride ourselves on encouraging and supporting women business owners, helping them wade through the legal landscape in a way that is both affordable and accessible. Deciding to start a business is exciting, however, the law can be complicated so it’s important to get the right legal help from the very start. Early support can help prevent future legal problems, protect your business and save you money.
If you’re a female entrepreneur looking to start a business, here are my 7 tips to help you get started.
1. Understand and refine your business
So you’ve got an idea and want to turn it into a business. What’s next? A Business plan can help you get an idea of your strategic goals, as well as the financial, marketing and operating strategies to achieve them. While it might seem daunting, writing a business plan can really help to focus your endeavours and protect you against the unexpected. Moreover, it’ll form a major part of your pitch to investors (more about that later).
2. Choose a business name
Your business name should reflect the personality of your brand and differentiate you from your competitors. A good business name should be original, future-proof and available, so it is important to check that the name has not been registered already. Remember that your business name should be memorable, so get creative (puns welcomed – nod to Jason Donervan)!
3. Choose your business structure
The business structure you choose will have significant implications on the amount of administrative work involved, the degree of personal liability (should the business fail) and the amount of tax you pay, therefore, choosing the right one is absolutely vital. You may choose to set up as a:
- Sole trader, meaning you are self-employed, and operating your businesses as an individual. If you are providing consultancy services, you may wish to set out the arrangement in a Consultancy agreement.
- Partnership, enabling you to go into business with other people. A partnership is an attractive alternative to setting up as a sole trader or company and can be put in place using a Partnership agreement.
- Company, a particularly popular structure, as it enables you to separate yourself from your business, however, be aware that there’s a lot of admin involved. Consider adopting Articles of association and, where relevant, a Founders’ agreement and/or Shareholders’ agreement.
Given the importance of choosing the right structure for your business, you may wish to get further advice and Ask a lawyer.
4. Secure your funding
Get your business off the ground by securing your funding. There are a number of financing options, including crowdfunding and angel investors. You might also find grants for your business to help lighten the financial burden – such grants being particularly beneficial, as you won’t have to pay them back. It is also worth checking for any government schemes and loans, such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
Some founders choose to enter into an Advance subscription agreement, enabling them to raise money for their business in exchange for shares. For more guidance on this complicated area, Ask a lawyer.
5. Get business insurance
The type of business insurance you’ll need will depend on your business. Businesses face a number of risks every day – ensuring you’re sufficiently covered can help to protect you.
6. Find your tribe
Find yourself a tribe or a community within your industry, or a network of entrepreneurs that can support you when you’re going through difficult periods. Having people around you who understand what you’re facing and can give you words of encouragement and advice can make all the difference.
7. Find a mentor
Mentors have been there, done that (and maybe even gotten the t-shirt). They can equip you with the skills and confidence to succeed, and facilitate the gathering and sharing of experiences and ideas. Tapping into the advice and experience of a skilled mentor could help transform your business for long-term success.
So what are you waiting for?
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