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I have done this several times for myself and I have also done this for many, many clients! There is a lot more to it than registering your company. Here I will show you all the things you should think about, and I’ll throw in a few tools I’m personally using.

Find an expert

I am a firm believer of using experts. Stick to what you know, which is exactly what your business will be doing. Try to outsource certain aspects to experts. I would advise using an accountant (myself maybe?) to register every aspect of your business. Find a branding/marketing company to brand your company and get you online. Also depending on your business I would recommend finding an IT expert. Keeping your information secure and accessible is very important in the modern age.

 

The Legal stuff

Okay, there is a fair bit you need to register here. First, you need to have a think if you would like to be a company or a sole trader. If you’re reading my blog I would assume you would like to register a company. The advantages o f doing so would be the company being liable for all obligations, and also you look more reputable when trading as a company. The main negative would be the cost/admin to file company accounts annually plus the filing of company taxes and personal taxes. As a self employed you would just need to do personal taxes.

Registering your company can be done on https://www.gov.uk/limited-company-formation/register-your-company by following a step by step guide. Bare in mind it may not be the easiest form if you’ve never done this before.

Once registered you will receive a letter and an email after a few days confirming. You will also be emailed your certificate and each director will also be sent a letter. An important piece of advice, do not throw any letters away, one of these (or one of the future ones) could be very important and difficult to get resent. Your accountant will ask you for the letter that has your Authentication Code on, so make sure you keep a note of this.

The next question you should be asking is if you should register for VAT. The general rule is you should register if the taxable turnover for a 12 month period is £85,000. If you expect that you will do this quickly then I would recommend registering from day one and charging VAT on your sales. You could also consider registering under a fixed rate VAT scheme as it could save you some money. If you would like more information then please contact me.

Registering for Corporation Tax would be done online using the HMRC Online Government Gateway. Again quite self-explanatory to do this once your company has been created. You should then receive an activation code through the post which you’ll need to input to activate the Corporation Tax part of the account.

You can use this HMRC Online Government Gateway to register for all other taxes, so this may include VAT and PAYE too. If you do plan to employ staff you will need to make sure you register for PAYE.

 

Managing your finances

The first thing you should do is find a bank. Have a think why you are picking a bank. Is it for just holding your money and the ease of keeping track of transactions (perhaps using a mobile app?)? Or a good overdraft/ loan facility. Another thing you should consider is the accounting platform you are using and if the bank will work with the accounting platform.

There may be another reason you choose your banking partner, and that is quickness of setting up. There is a new fintech company on the market that brags it can create your app based business bank account in 5 minutes. Tide is a state of the art mobile app that is streets ahead of most banks and it is compatible with Xero. I would definitely recommend taking a look: https://www.tide.co/. Tide however does have limitations so please review this to make sure they are a good fit for your business.

Xero is the accounting platform I would recommend to manage your finances. I don’t want to spend too much time on this blog talking about it, but I would recommend having a look: https://www.xero.com/uk/

If you’re accounting savvy, or have an in house bookkeeper then Xero is a great app to run your finances. It is really user friendly. But like I said above, I strongly recommend hiring an expert to run this part of the business for you.

The other parts of your business you should be thinking about is how you will receive payments, and if you’re in retail/hospitality perhaps an EPOS system. There are several payment services you could use. The common payment services are PayPal and Stripe, I would recommend you do your research or get some advice about this.

 

Your online presence

This is a very important part of your business. You would need to analyse exactly what you want from your online presence, from your social media, to your domain name, to your emails. Being quite particular, I wanted mine to all align. So I would recommend before signing up to any of the streams to check that all platforms have the availability of what name you want. If this is so important to you, perhaps check all this before registering your company name too.

One thing that was important to me was syncing everything with Office365 and making sure the business domain I had registered all fed into it. https://www.123-reg.co.uk/ made it very straightforward to buy your domain and register/ manage everything. You can also check on there about domain availability, and also call up one of their experts to walk you through everything.

Creating your brand and website for me go hand in hand. Your website is your base, it’s where any potential customer will check up your credibility. I personally used an expert to create both of these. If you are a bit more savvy in branding and marketing, I have been told about a great site to create a very professional looking website. https://www.squarespace.com/ Keanu Reeves endorses it, so it must be good!

If you have an online shop, things may get a little complicated to keep track of orders and to report on sales effectively. I think the market leader for an online shop is Shopify, https://www.shopify.co.uk/ so maybe give that a research. Of course Xero could be your main tool too if you want to send invoices and ask customers to pay through their system.

 

Everything else!

I’m sure there will be a huge variety of areas you will need to research to perfect your business. Things like office space, insurance, finding staff, finding your goods for the best price. You may also want to consider buying assets for your business. All these things, I can discuss with you and help you every step of the way. I am here to become your business partner and not just your accountant who files your tax returns. I have had experience in all sorts of business sectors and I’m sure I can give my advise on all sorts of decisions. Even if you just need a sounding board, I can be here to help.

Just believe in yourself and give it your all. Those two things are the two most important things to create a successful business.

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