Starting an online business, and managing the administrative elements of it, can seem somewhat daunting. In practice, however, the process is relatively straightforward and can be really quite simple these days. So, if you are ready to take the plunge into the world of business, follow these steps to ensure that your new startup gets off the ground successfully.
Decide on your business name
If you are starting an online business, your business must, of course, have a name. It’s best to select the appropriate name right from the start so that you can obtain a domain name; include the name in your business plan; and you will be able to provide the name to contacts immediately. You should aim for a name that is simple yet original. You want it to be easily remembered.
Get things done correctly from the beginning, so ensure that you contact HMRC and have a chat about your business so that you can register as a sole trader, self-employed or create a Limited Company. HMRC has some useful guides online which provide help with the associated processes.
Open a business bank account
If you are a limited company, you must have a business bank account. If you are self-employed it is still wise to have a business bank account, although it is not a necessity. If you choose not to have a business bank account, you must ensure that your business accounts are kept meticulously so there is no confusion regarding finances.
Consider what insurance you may require
Check if you require insurance policies for your business, this will vary according to the nature of your business. There are various online insurance wizards into which you can input your information. They will tell you what forms of insurance are a legal requirement and may also recommend additional coverage.
Depending on the business, you may require compliance certificates such as health and safety or you may need to adhere to certain regulations such as data protection. Gov.uk can offer advice on this so you can ensure that you meet all the requirements for your particular business.
If your business is online and you are able to work from a laptop, you may be able to work from one of the many hot desk offices or shared workspaces that have opened in many towns and cities. Perhaps you will be able to start off working from home to reduce costs. If so, you will need to check your contract to confirm that working from home-working is acceptable if you rent your property.
You may need to think about planning permission if you will have staff working from your home or will be receiving regular business visitors to your premises. You can get advice from your local planning department. You should also consider Capital Gains tax implications if a particular room or area of your house is used for business and also think about including a percentage of household bills as business expenses.
Organise your accounting system
Get your accounting system organised in readiness for trading so that you can be sure that financial management overhead is kept to a minimum.
And that’s it!
So, those are the key things to consider – once they’re all taken care of it’s time to start making waves with your new online business.
Our Domain Name Search tool is very useful when tackling our first piece of advice – your business name. Pop the name of your idea in the tool below and see if it’s available. If not, the handy tool will suggest some alternatives for you. Good luck!