Get everything in place
Going into business and setting up your own company can be very exciting. It can also be very daunting. The worry of leaving a steady job, where you get paid the same amount every month, requires a huge leap of faith. Bravery secured, buckles done up and jump taken – what’s next?

Well let’s take a step back for a second and make sure you’ve got all the basics sorted and have everything in place before pushing forward to make your first million.

Navigate the journey quicker
At Workbench we meet a lot of start-up entrepreneurs and one thing they all agree on is that hindsight is a wonderful thing. “If only I knew then what I know now.” So being the friendly, helpful bunch that we are, we thought we’d help all you budding entrepreneurs out.

What if there was some sort of checklist that you could go to, to cast your eyes over? A chronological, prioritised inventory providing you with all the steps you need to take, both before & after you’ve launched your business. Having a road map will help you navigate the journey quicker, safer and with the headlights on.

Well, look no further. We’ve come up with a fool proof list of all what you’ll need to get yourself set up – plus some optional extras; after all there is no such thing as a ‘cookie-cutter approach’. (Mmm, now we’re thinking about cookies).

Research Research Research
Playing devil’s advocate for a second ask yourself these questions:

Have you done your research?
Is the market saturated?
Have you got a competent and realistic business plan?
Are there too many people doing what you’re doing?
How will you stand out?
If there’s nobody doing what you doing, have you asked why?
Is your product or service even needed?

These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself, because your bank manager certainly will if you’re looking for funding opportunities.

What are you going to be called?
Naming your business is a really tough decision. It’s kind of like naming a child. Once you’ve chosen it, you’ll need to stick to it. Of course you can re-brand down the line, but it’s best to start as you mean to go on. You can use one that relates to the services you offer; or one which is more personal to you, or even a combination of the both – like ‘Barry’s Bath Bombs’. Most things will work well if you give them some thought.

Once you have the name, it’s time to register this with Companies House , the UK’s registrar of companies. At Workbench, this is what we advise the virtual companies we host. Here you will choose between a Sole Trader, Private Company limited by shares, Private Company limited by guarantee, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Don’t worry, that’s corporate speak, it’s not as confusing as it sounds.

Logo and Branding
Now you want to sort out your branding. What colours will you use, what will your logo look like – does it reflect what you sell/offer. It’s important to have branding which is congruent with what you do. If you’re creative enough you can design most or even all of it yourself. Or you can hire a professional designer. However if budgets are tight, there’s always Canva, Fiverr or 99 Designs amongst many others.

Socially Savvy
Using this new branding and your super-duper logo you can now set up relevant social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and some of the new social media kids on the block. Remember to only use channels that your target audience can be found on, otherwise it’s a wasted effort.

Don’t try and juggle too many balls at once, if you want to be on 3 social channels, start with one, get it running smoothly, then work on the next one. If you’re super smart you can even pre-build your social media audience before you launch your brand. Use your new branding and get it on your business cards, vehicles, signs, stationery or wherever else you fancy. Brand awareness is tough enough for a new business – so get your new brand out there.

Google My Business
Google My Business is a must. Whether you are setting up as a products or services business, virtual or bricks and mortar, getting yourself on Google is pretty much essential. Set up correctly it will show your business in search results enhancing the chances of someone clicking through to your website. This is something that a Workbench virtual office can help you with.

This brings us on to your website. Depending on your business, you may not actually need a website, but for the vast majority of start-ups, you’re going to want a strong online presence. It’s likely that as a brand new business, budgets might be tight so a professional website developer might be way out of reach. However there are plenty of DIY website builders such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, or even Shopify if you are going to be selling online.

Professional Domain and Email
Have you ever emailed a large corporation only to see they have a Google or Hotmail email address? No, neither have we. Securing your domain name and creating a professional email address such as will make your business look instantly professional so your new clients or customers will take you seriously.

The Boring Stuff (you have to do this too, sorry)
Names, logos, and Instagram profiles are pretty exciting. You can literally see your business coming to life. But as you’re about to find out, business isn’t all fun and games. There are a few things you need to get done, or at least consider, before opening up the doors.

✓ Setup a business bank account
✓ Get insurance, licenses & permits, should you need
✓ Do you need office space – we’ve got your back
✓ Get advice from an accountant/chartered accountant (business size dependent),  or make sure you know how to do your own bookkeeping

So, there you have it, we’ve given you a run down of what you need to think about when you start your business. Of course, there’ll be a lot more you need to do that will be specific to your business, but hopefully we’ve helped you get started. Now, it’s over to you. Good luck.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash