How to Start a New Business

In this article, we list all the things to consider when starting your new business in the UK.

Starting a new business is a fantastic adventure, but there’s also a lot to think about and plan. Here’s everything you need to consider as you create your new venture.

This guide aims to help new and small businesses:

  • Structure your business plan
  • Register your business
  • Save time and money with software

Business Plan

Every great business idea needs a sound plan behind it. Your business plan is more than defining your mission, vision, and goals for your new business. Your business plan should include how you intend to back your business financially, whether you have the funds or not. Will you apply for business credit or seek venture capital and angel investors? Do you know how much is needed to get you started and how those funds will be invested? 

Your business structure will determine where your finances need to go. For example, you may have an online business and start with marketing to drive sales through your website. Or you may have a service that requires extra hands to meet demand. You may focus on research & development to hone the ideal customer persona and product pairing. Or maybe you need space for manufacturing and distribution. Perhaps you plan to bring on freelancers until you can bring on full-time department roles.

There’s no right or wrong way to spend the capital you raise, but it’s essential to outline expenses and have a clear purpose for every line item. Investors, partners, and banks will all ask all founders for this. Plus, it helps you stay organised as well.

What to include in a business plan:

  • Business name
  • Executive summary, mission and vision
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market research
  • Marketing plan
  • Business structure and model
  • Financing
  • People you need to hire

Registration requirements

Make it official by registering your business with HMRC. Register as a partnership if you’re sharing profits with at least one other individual. Register as a limited company if shareholders own your business, is privately managed, and is an entirely separate legal entity from personal affairs. Limited companies also need to file with Company House. Sole traders have essential tax information to prepare as well.

You must also register for VAT if your turnover is over £85,000. You can register voluntarily if it suits your business, for example, if you sell to other VAT-registered companies and want to reclaim the VAT.

Any business can create a Google My Business listing, as long as you can verify your business profile information. This profile will make your business findable in search, google maps, and other Google business services. And don’t worry, there’s no cost to list your business. Creating your profile makes your business more credible, helps your potential customers find you, and strengthens your SEO signals.

Are you in a highly regulated industry? Careful review requirements around product safety, food services, storing personal information, insurance, and licenses and permits before you move forward. There are also strict rules for selling products online and importing/exporting from abroad. 

There are services that can help the company formation process as well. Made Simple registers your company name, creates a bank account, provides templates and forms for statutory requirements and more.

Save time with software

Small business owners have saved a lot of time and headaches with business software that automates challenging and complicated processes. 

Invoicing, accounting and bookkeeping software

All businesses need to keep track of money going in and out. Doing this manually is very risky and error-prone. Are your customers able to pay through various means (i.e., credit cards, PayPal, cash, wire, etc.)? Managing all payment types in one place will simplify your bookkeeping as well as your understanding of your balance sheet. Open a separate business bank account to keep things simple and clean for understanding cash flow and managing tax information.

Look for software that issues invoices and collects payment, syncs multiple bank and credit cards, tracks accounts payable and receivable, prepares basic financial statements on your profit and loss, and are suitable for mixed workforce businesses that need to track time. 

Hiring software

Business owners often start looking when they need the person instead of beginning the search a couple of months ahead, which means you are already behind. Relying on your network or social media can bring candidates in but often not at the required speed.

You should have a good idea of your hiring plan based on the initial business plan you created. But of course, things can shift and change as your business starts to come to life. Don’t shortcut how you manage employees, whether you hire full-time, part-time, or freelance workers. You need to make sure you pay workers on time and the correct amount. Businesses with hourly workers, holiday pay, or other pay fluctuations are at a higher risk for mistakes if managed manually.

A talent marketplace is an excellent alternative if you don’t have the budget for a recruiter or headhunter. You can often review available candidates already vetted and qualified for your open position. Gain more control, so you don’t need to wait for the talent to come to you. 

Moonworkers offers a talent marketplace as well as HR and payroll software. Now you can look for talent, manage their schedule and pay them all in one place. 

HR & payroll software

Payroll shouldn’t be managed manually. Payroll software will make sure you calculate compensation, National Insurances, and any changes to payment laws appropriately. Payroll software will automate the required documentation whether you hire full-time employees or freelancers. P30, P11D, P60, or P45 forms? You don’t have to worry about documents for each employee – software can help with that. Ideally, your payroll software will also time-track your employees and manage leave.

Will your employee incur expenses? Are you offering benefits or coupons? These can also be managed through HR and payroll software automatically. It will save you time, and it gives employees an advantage and puts them on a path for positive employee engagement.

Of course, a robust onboarding process is a significant step to help make sure your employees will stick around. Along with all of the above, Moonworkers also provides a comprehensive onboarding hr workflow for new employees so they can hit the ground running fast. If you don’t have a full-time HR person, onboarding software simplifies the process. See the complete list of features that Moonworkers offers.

Website domain and hosting

Every business needs a website. Buyers are used to researching online and are comfortable spending thousands of dollars without talking with a sales representative. Most out-of-the-box website creation tools manage the technical aspects of creating a website (like purchasing the domain) and have dramatically simplified the user experience. You can launch a beautiful website quickly without knowing any HTML. Wix and Squarespace are two intuitive, affordable options.

A website is used for more than driving sales. Your website can inform your audience about your product as well as provide educational materials to help them solve challenges they face that relate to your product. For example, if you’re opening a local handyman business, you may want to write blog posts about how to fix a hole in your wall or how to measure to hang a picture. 

Create content that addresses the challenges your audience faces to draw them to your site and build credibility with them. They may not be ready to purchase, but they are more likely to return to a trustworthy source when a decision has been made. Then a customer relationship management (CRM) system comes in handy to capture interest and follow up later.

CRM software

If you have a website for your business, you may need CRM software. Managing inquiries through a spreadsheet is no longer sustainable. You need to act as quickly as possible when someone is interested in your business. CRM software plugs easily into your website, captures interest through forms and automates important emails and follow-ups, so you don’t have to rely on watching your email. 

CRM software will also make any online paid campaigns easy to track and understand. It will help you know who is converting on your website and which campaigns drive the most impact. It’s easy to spend money to get general awareness but each pound matters. So make sure you know what is working and what isn’t.

Hubspot and ActiveCampaign are two great options to get you started with organising your contacts. They are affordable, simple, and you can easily integrate them into your existing website to track visitor activity.

Social media accounts

You don’t need to create accounts for every social outlet available. It’s too much to manage, especially if you don’t have someone dedicated to running them. Instead, consider where your customers spend their time and research key outlets for usage trends. Go where your audience is. 

Software like Buffer can help you manage social media posts. You can easily schedule tweets, and some platforms use AI to find the best time to post your tweet and provide copy suggestions. 

You don’t have to be a great writer to leverage social media for your business. You just need to know your audience. What is keeping them up at night? What unique advice can you give them? What have successful customers done that they can learn from? Focus the message on your audience to build credibility and trust first and promote your product second.

Conclusion

A business idea is an exciting starting point, but entrepreneurs have a lot to think about when starting a small business. Registration, financing, hiring, and marketing your business are all important steps for a small business owner to take to get started. Moonworkers simplifies HR, payroll and recruitment by automating processes, integrating productivity tools, and providing access to a talent marketplace so you can spend less time on admin and more time unleashing your team’s potential.


Nicolas Croix

Co-founder & CEO

Nicolas is the founder and CEO of Moonworkers, the next-gen HR & Payroll operation system to streamline talent acquisition, management and payroll.