Starting your small business: the key steps to take

Portrait of cheerful african american businesswoman discussing and smiling at the meeting with colleagues

You’ve got your vision, product and business plan down to perfection – so now it’s time to get practical and take those first formative steps to get your business out of the ideas realm, and into action.

Whatever business model you have, a savvy choice of support systems, tools, and having the right experts on hand, can all prove invaluable to helping a new business on its founding path.

There are five key steps that will enable you to start your venture on solid ground and be prepared and organised behind the scenes so that you can focus on building your brand and reputation in your sector.

While you’re out there focusing on growing your client base, you’ll want to know your accounts, systems and banking are all set-up to help you and your business thrive from the get-go. 

So, let’s run through them.


Step 1: Find an accountant that suits your industry and your business

Do your research when it comes to finding an accountant as, in many ways, they can act as a partner to your business. Look for an accountant’s client list that has businesses similar to your own, or maybe even some competitors as this will give you a great take on the sectors they work with and their particular expertise.

A great accountant is always loaded with advice and will look for the best money saving solutions for you, as well as guide you towards the best funding options and help you forecast your finances going forward with realistic views.

They can also advise on business registering, deal with HMRC on your behalf, and take care of the online paperwork, so you don’t have to. A trusted and valuable key player in a new business, for sure.


Step 2: Get a business bank account – shop around

Another big step for a new business – where does your revenue go? Luckily, in today’s climate of ever emerging new businesses, there are a great many more banking options to choose from just for start-ups, as well as the traditional banking giants.

Similar to finding an accountant, compare banking options. Who supports new businesses? What kind of businesses? What success stories do other new businesses share about their business banking and how do they feel supported?

It’s recommended that you open a separate business bank account to help you keep track of your business finances – which is useful when it comes time for tax returns.

Fees, overdrafts and loan avenues are all something to take into account when choosing to open a business account too. So do the research and go with the best add-ons and flexibility for start-ups.


Step 3: Choose smart accounting tools from day 1 – save valuable time 

A simple-to-use system that covers your base accounting needs is an absolute must from the start. Using accounting software will take the headache out of invoicing, reduce the amount of  admin time massively, and free you up to focus on chasing goals and pursuing your dreams.

There is no downside to having smart software on your side – especially when it can send and chase your invoices for you. Admin and invoicing don’t need to be overwhelming – far from it, and your accountant will be grateful, too. 


Step 4: Where’s your workspace?

Work from home? Shared workspace? Or private premises? It all depends on your immediate needs and the best environment to nurture those. There are so many great options available from just having a desk space, to setting up your dream office at home. And since the pandemic, many small to global businesses have embraced and adapted to the changes in the ways we work.

As a new business in 2021 and beyond you have the luxury to either build your empire from your kitchen or find a space with great potential in a newly formed working world. What will suit your vision and budget the most? Will you need any specialist equipment? Once you start with a list of must-haves, you can drill down to the details of what you’ll truly need then go and create the space to suit.


Step 5: Set the date – make it happen 

The day you officially start to trade may be the most exciting day for your business. You can get an idea of when this day will become a reality once you have all your major players, plan and funding in place.

You’ll know when the timing is right; it’s a line between being overly cautious and throwing caution to the wind. Sometimes in business either approach can be positive, but take a look at your individual deciding factors, then go ahead and name that day. It will give you and your team an end goal in sight and a timeline to get there.

Find support on where to begin with Sage’s Small Business Toolkit. Good Luck!

Further Reading: You can now find out how ready you are to start a new business with free resources and expert insight through Sage’s ‘business readiness’ quiz here.

Stacey McIntosh
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