Starting a business – the Yorkshire Powerhouse guide to a successful launch
This article is essentially a checklist of areas to consider when starting a business, with links to various articles within this website – bookmark this page, return regularly, get in touch for help or introductions!
Starting a business can seem like a big step and there are a lot of factors to consider from a legal, marketing, financial and practical perspective. Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we have combined all our experience to bring together the information you will need to start your own business. From articles on how to write a business plan to downloadable documents (cashflow forecasts, marketing plans, etc) all to help you get your business started and ALL FOR FREE and provided by us and our expert collaborators!
The main reason for business failure is poor planning and poor financial control.
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we believe that this can frequently be avoided by forming a comprehensive strategy and maintaining tight financial control. This is only achieved by planning things properly. Sure, you might have a great idea, but by forcing yourself to write it out and explain it ‘properly’ might actually help you realise where there are holes – and then you can do something about it!
If you consider, plan and document your business thoughts properly, then this forms an amazing ‘brief’ for your suppliers and partners – it’s much more powerful than simply chatting and ‘talking it through’.
Don’t Cut Corners when Starting a Business
Don’t avoid doing it right and don’t dodge the hard work of writing it out … to be blunt, if you can’t be bothered to put a proper business plan together, how on earth do you think you’ll stick you’re your business when it starts getting tough!
If you have a great idea, concept or service then getting the foundations of your business correct is absolutely paramount.
Some of the professionals you will need to speak to include solicitors, graphic designers, accountants, IT suppliers, finance suppliers and marketing companies – always look for experience and recommendations to these businesses to make sure you get quality advice and support. Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we have an amazing set of business contacts so if you’re looking for introductions, just ask and we’d be delighted to help.
Don’t forget to also download planning resource templates from our Downloads Centre – they’re all FREE and independent: Business plans, marketing plans, growth plans, cashflow forecasts and loads more.
Here are the main points to think about and links to further advice within our site:
1. Fundamental Business Strategy
If you genuinely want to get things right then you need to underpin your business with a genuine strategy that drives all decision making. If you have to make a decision about doing something then the only test to apply is whether it supports your strategy or not.
- Don’t do it ‘on the cheap’ … this naturally leads to a weak business. Build a strong business to achieve strong results. Read our article on the core principles of a strong business.
- Goals and Vision … you need to have a goal or clarity of vision to know where you are trying to get to. Read our article on setting your Goals and Vision.
- Are you an entrepreneur? Understanding the demands you’ll come under as a business owner is important. Read our article on the entrepreneurial mindset.
- Using competent and professional support can help you identify some of your weaknesses. Most large organisations provide help and support (including Banks, Government and Business Organisations). There are also tremendous benefits in working with a business coach or mentor whose experience could be invaluable to a new business. Read our article on seeking support or finding a business coach
- For the ultimate ingredient in your strategy, can you find a genuine Unique Selling Point / Point of Difference (USP/POD)? Read our article on creating a Point of Difference and understanding disruptive business models.
2. Actual Business Planning
Preparing a business plan should be hard work – get it right and the years to follow will be a joy!
- Do you understand the elements of a business plan / financial plan / marketing plan / one page plan? Read our overview article on writing a business plan.
- Working out what you don’t know is one of the great tricks to running a successful business! Read our article on how to work out what you don’t know.
We’ve all watched Dragons Den when the Dragons chastise the wannabe entrepreneurs for not knowing their numbers – but financial control and discipline is essential to success.
- Getting an understanding of your start up finances is essential. Read our article on start up finance.
- Many new business are looking for financial Grants but most funding providers are looking for other things. Read our article on grant funding bodies in the region.
- As part of starting a business, you should understand your Survival budget and have clear Cashflow forecasting.
- Remember that you’ll probably need to set up a business bank account – clearly all high street banks want your business but it might pay to also consider the emerging ‘disruptor’ banks who are offering a new way of doing things – take a look at Tide, Starling Bank, CashPlus and Card One Money
- It is essential that you understand bookkeeping, VAT, accounting systems and the procedures for invoicing customers. Read our articles on these various subjects here: Bookkeeping : VAT : Accounting systems : Invoicing
- Preventing debt with good quality credit control and debt collecting procedures is essential. Read our articles on credit control and debt management.
4. Legal Matters
Dealing with the legal side of business ownership is something you simply cannot ignore.
- Your business will need a structure of some sort – sole trader, partnership and Limited companies are the main ones. Read our article on business structure.
- Registering with HMRC is another requirement you need to understand and is connected with your business structure decision above. Read our article on registering with HMRC
- If your business has shared ownership (multiple owners) then you really should have Shareholder agreements / Partnership agreements to protect the owners. Read our article on ownership agreements
- One essential aspect for your plans should be to form a set of Terms and conditions for any sales you make. Read our article on terms and conditions.
- If you’re going to be employing staff then this is a legal minefield and you must comply with all the various compliance elements connected with this. Read our article on employing staff.
- Have you considered where to work from – home, office, shop, unit … owned, rented, leased, shared? Read our article on workplaces
5. Marketing and making sales
In truth, ALL your planning is essential, but if you don’t actually make any sales then it’s all for nothing and you don’t own a business! Know your customer, offer them what they want, deliver it well and get paid!
- Having absolute clarity on your customer profile is an essential starting point of any marketing plan. Read our article on customer profiles
- Getting your branding right should help your customer connect to you and remember you. Read our article on branding
- Having a website is generally an essential step but have you actually thought about what your customer wants and whether your website delivered it. Read our article on website strategy, domain names and e-commerce
- The world has gone ‘digital’ and you will need to decide whether your marketing needs to also be digital. Read our article on digital marketing in general and the various aspects of digital marketing including social media, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click and email marketing
- Don’t forget that traditional marketing (old, non-internet marketing) still works today and, when used well, actually works better now than ever before. Read our articles on traditional marketing, printing, networking, exhibiting, direct mail, telephone marketing and copy writing
- Have you considered whether you need to improve on your selling skills and knowledge to help make your business work? Read our article on selling skills
6. Planning your business operations
A strong business should run like a Swiss clock – precision and reliable systems and procedures will help ensure you get things right.
- Without exception, all professional sports people use a performance coach to help them (some use more than one!) … so how are you going to keep the business focus going once you’re in the middle of a business? Read our article on finding a business coach.
- Almost every business will use computers in some way. Read our article on IT security, backing up, data security
- You may need to recruit staff – as well as the legal aspects of this (above), have you thought about how you are going to expand your team? Sometimes it’s right to recruit, sometimes it’s better to outsource. Read our articles on recruiting staff and outsourcing
- Show the World that you care about quality – if you’re doing everything right and well then implementing management quality systems like ISO 9001 will be simple.
- Exiting the business. Read our articles on planning your exit and enhancing the value of your business.
A final thought
When starting a business, be obsessed with perfection and control. Don’t try to set up a business on the cheap … invest and do it right from the start and your business will reflect your approach.
Again, don’t be afraid to ask for advice as it will be that advice and assistance which will help your business strive. Businesses should be surrounded by a core group of professionals working collaboratively for the good of the business. This circle may include one or more of the following professionals:
- Accountant and Tax Advisor
- Financial Advisor
- Business Coach / Mentor
As your business expands you may also need to develop relationships with marketing consultants/agencies, recruitment companies, IT support, quality consultants, debt collectors, and many more – as appropriate to your business.
If you would like to be introduced to trusted, skilled and reliable suppliers and professionals, please simply get in touch and we will be more than happy to help you.
When starting a business, ensure your approach is measured, skilled and based on sound strategy. Lacking a vision or goal, not considering a strategy and not having the financial, legal and business practices in place will jeopardise your success.
Thoughts on starting a business from Yorkshire Powerhouse
Have you any questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:
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