Has Any one set up their own business ?

Discussion in 'Jobs (Discussion)' started by andy1984, Nov 27, 2007.

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  1. just woundering if any 1 has set up their own business if so what type and what problems you faced while starting up???
     
  2. Go to your local enterprise agency. They were brilliant and even gave me a small tax free grant to help set me up.
    They will help with a business plan amongst other things, and my local agency run seminars on a regular basis dealing with accounting, business practices and the web etc. all free.
     
  3. msr

    msr LE

    Do you mean the physical setting up of a limited company, or getting the money rolling in?

    msr
     
  4. Agree with the the praise given local enterprise agencies and the need for a good business plan. Start networking now.

    Unless you already have someone in mind, find yourself a good accountant. Ask around your local businesses for their recommendations. He/she can set you up in business in a couple of days and even display a plaque and act as your company's address for Companies House purposes. They will advise you about opening business bank accounts, deal with the taxman, and optimise your payroll and shareholders' dividends for the best return. If your business is halfway profitable, they will serve you well and pay for their own keep.

    Lots of FAQs and advice on the Companies House website here.
     
  5. P.S. Your bank should be able to provide a free idiot's guide and software for producing your business plan.
     
  6. Echo advice given here and to hammer home the point of getting a good accountant from the start.

    A good book if you're starting from accounting scratch is 'Accounts Demystified' by Anthony Rice.
     
  7. Setting up a company is easy and can be done online, there are plenty of companies out there who will do it all for you for very little cash, I used Company Wizard I think.

    The 2 other things you need are a business account I went with Barclay's and that were shiiite so jumped ship to Lloyd's and haven't had an issue, the other thing is get yourself a good accountant who will do all the work for you, shop around. I made the mistake of using the wife of a friend and ended up with fines because she forgot to file things or expected me to do it when I paid her to do such things. Basic accountancy costs are about a grand to 1200 a year, if you want more interaction like setting you up and sorting your VAT you may need to pay a bit more.

    Good luck I haven't regretted it except choosing a crap accountant, now unfortunately you will literally have to work for your living, the phrase "time is money" is so true
     
  8. Also, depending on where you work from, you can save money on your accountant. For instance, my business is based in London but my accountant, and registered office, is based in Warwick. A London-based accountant would be more expensive and i don't need to meet with him that often. Also, are you starting on your own or do you have business partners? If the latter, and depending on your business, it may make more sense to be a LLP, rather than a limited company.
     
  9. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    If you are doing any business to business work then join your local chamber of commerce. They provide excellent help and the contacts that you make at their £15 networlking lunches will likely lead to more business.
     
  10. Andy what kind of business are you thinking of?
     
  11. thinking of setting up 1 of 2 a catery / kennels with groming etc
    as my wife has quite a lot of expireace
    or
    a cafe / internet cafe
     
  12. Forgive the disjointed ramble here, I’m just typing the points as I remember em.

    Agree with all above except my bold.

    I found the Enterprise Agency to be run and staffed by "those who can't - teach" types. Generic useless information that I already knew about. Went their twice, wasted 6 hours of my life although I’m sure that different offices will have different results.

    Chamber of Commerce is a good networking opportunity, although depending upon your service or product it can be a bit biased towards bigger companies. That said, I have been attending their shindigs for nearly 8 years now and can directly link 3 of my contracts back to people I met there. Three may not sound much but it puts it into perspective when those three generate a high 6 figure income each, each year.

    The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) is a must at the beginning, they will give you free legal advice, legal cover included in the membership, accountancy advice, networking opportunities etc. Obviously more “Small Business” centred than the Chamber of Commerce and a good asset to have.

    Banks can also be uber helpful; I personally have our accounts at Lloyds TSB and can’t fault them. Remember not to take any crap regarding fees etc, once you have your account up and running for a while, play your bank off against the others, I have received a multitude of free services from Lloyds by doing this that I would have been previously expected to pay for. Good for financial advice (obviously), local knowledge (which industries are doing well, which are not) and a plethora of other useful titbits.

    Expect to have to put your house up as collateral against any overdrafts etc. This is just a fact of life and a risk that business owners have to take at the beginning (unless you have a shed load of cash already that is!). The banks are going to want to guarantee their risk, no matter how good your business plan or idea is. If you are confident in your service and yourself it shouldn’t be a worrying issue.

    Try to delegate as much of the “mundane” tasks as you can. Starting a business is a thankless, time consuming task that will eat away at your leisure time. Try not to head for a burn out in your first year, Mrs Aunty Stella will testify that hubby working 18 hours a day every day is not conducive to a good relationship, and don’t expect the “I’m only doing it for you and the kids” line to work :) Unless it involves belts and shoes, Doris’s are oblivious.

    Again depending on your product or service, you may want to try a freelance sales agent, I have used both the British Agents Register who can be found HERE and Westminster Lloyd who can be found HERE. They both offer none salaried sales agents (very important to keep salaries to a minimum at the beginning) who sell your product or service on a commission only basis.

    I have had great success with both of these places and the money spent in commissions has been far, far, far more effective than any return I have had from a similarly costing advertising campaign.

    Biggest problem is identifying your clients and then getting them to recognise you. A good web site is an absolute must as most end users will now use this as the first medium to find out about you. I have lost count of the amount of potential suppliers that I have ditched at the first hurdle because their web sites have presented an unprofessional image or were simply just too damned hard to navigate.

    Mediums like the Yellow Pages, Thompson Local etc are unpredictable. You may find that "home service" industries like plumbers and gas fitters will do very well out of them, other industries such as mine (specialised electronic security and surveillance systems) will get nothing. If you have a friend, colleague or anyone else that you know in the same industry, ask them first about their or their companies success rates before you commit money to an advertising medium that may get you diddly squat in return. If you do go down that route, don’t be afraid to plagiarise other good looking adverts that catch your eye, just change them enough to be unique to you. A friend of mine is a plumber who has a very snazzy looking ad in our local Yellow Pages and does very well out of it. The design was lifted from a London edition of the same book, altered slightly and then submitted in the local Central book. Voila, cheap graphics.

    Depending upon location, you could also try TV advertising. Not as expensive as you may think if you take advantage of the "New Business" deals that the TV stations run (they certainly do in the Central region anyway). Best bet for that is to stay up late at night for a while, watch your local TV station on TERRESTRIAL TV (not satellite, the ads are different) and wait until around 2 in the morning, or get up early and watch at around 0530, for the "budget ads" to come on. This will give you an idea of the format and the contact details for the "new business" service. Central TV used to do this for FREE for local businesses that had been running for less than 3 years. One thing I will say with this though is BEWARE! You had better be sure that you can cope with any demand afterwards. I was very sceptical when I tried it (it cost us around £100 in total for video editing, so I thought I'd give it a bash), but the results were absurd. The ad went out very early in the morning (0530) on Central TV (now Carlton). Viewer figures said that only 68,000 people saw it and we were expecting (by ITV's figures) a 0.66% response. What I hadn't figured on was that this equated to nearly 450 phone calls over the next 2 days! Of which around 50 turned in to actual jobs. Not bad for £100!

    As previously mentioned, a good accountant is a MUST. This can not be stressed enough. Whilst you may be able to do the books for yourself at the beginning, don't fall in to the trap I did where we were doing them on the coffee table and then getting a "tax advisor" (note, NOT an accountant!) to check the books afterwards. All looked well and good until we were audited in year 3 and HM Customs & Excise decided that we owed them over 8K in back VAT, Corporation Tax, interest and penalties! This was far more than an accountant would have cost us in the beginning and I have never made the mistake again. A truly good accountant will save you enough to cover his fees and more.

    Any further info required, drop me a PM and I'll see if I can help. Without sucking my own c0ck, we've been going 10 years now, employ 12 people and have a 7 figure turnover so hopefully some of the lessons I've learned have filtered through to my Stella befuddled brain.
     
  13. Yes Andy, I did. Masonry/Carpentry Contractor. 3 employees. Salary is twice what the Army paid.(almost0.Verty satisfying, but exhausting. When you factor in paperwork, quotes, shopping for mat'ls, etc, I normally work 15-18 hrs./ day. My advice would be, if you go ahead, to spend the money and hire an accountant, manager, etc. I find that when trying to juggle all sorts of varied responsibilities, one often ends up making sacrifices. Hard to do 30 things full-arrsed, STS. Some things will necessarily end up half-arrsed.Also, keep back 15% of your initial capital for emergencies (that way you don't suffer usurious penalties resulting from "emergency borrowing".) Best of luck man.
     
  14. The first thing I'd say is take all advice with a pinch of salt. When I was first getting set up, I made the mistake of taking advice from someone I thought of as credible because he ran a company with employees. After a stint of duff information, it became clear that the only reason he was in that position was because he was born into money. The same goes for organisations which offer business 'advice'. Some of it (advice on setting up your company, filing tax returns, etc.) is good, but as has already been mentioned, 'those who can't, teach'. The best way to gain advice is through networking (here or on allcallsigns for example), and always get a second and third opinion.

    The British Legion offer support for people starting up in business, so it's worth talking to them.

    Try the advice forums at www.allcallsigns.org - There are plenty of ex-forces members who run businesses and will be willing to share tips, advice, and perhaps even give you a hand.