Administratively there is quite a lot to do to set up a business. It can seem quite overwhelming but don’t worry – the following list will take you step by step through everything you need to do.
1. Choose and purchase a domain name for your business. Obviously you can only do this once you’ve got your business name decided upon. There are a few things to consider when selecting your domain name. It’s a little like choosing a company name actually!
- Ensure your domain name is easy to type and avoid slang – such as u instead of you (it may make your site harder for your customers to find)
- Keep it short – the longer your domain name is, the more chance it could be mistyped. Short and simple is the way to go.
- Target your area – if your business is local you could consider including your town or county name. E.g www.ramseyplumbers.co.uk
- Avoid numbers and hyphens if you can – they often confuse.
- Be memorable – a name that is catchy AND makes sense is ideal
- Research it – make sure your chosen name isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or used by someone else. Be careful to ensure close competitors don’t already use a name that is very similar as this may infringe on copyright and worse – may end up confusing your customers as to whether you are the same company as your competitor.
- Careful choosing your domain extension – extensions are suffixes such as .com .co.uk etc at the end of the web addresses. Try to avoid the more obscure suffixes.
2. Choose your email address – once you’ve got your domain name you’ll need to decide what email addresses you want. There are endless options here… admin@ info@ sales@ yourname@ help@ . There’s no reason that you can’t have have several email addresses for different uses. Again – keep it short and simple though.
3. Register your business with HMRC – this is simple enough to do. All you need to do is to give them a call with details of your company. They will walk you through the whole process. To learn more about registering, they have lots of information on their website.
4. Sort out insurance – if your business requires it, now is the time to organize your insurance. This is a great website worth checking out for advice and quotes on the many different types of business insurance. www.moneysupermarket.com
5. Open business bank accounts – You need a business bank account if you set up a company, as it is a separate legal entity to you. It’s not strictly required if you are a sole trader (though it’s usually recommended) – but you must keep very clear accounts.
6. Set up your book-keeping systems – at this point you need to start accounting for everything. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds and is very easy to do yourself even if you only have basic IT skills. Have a look at my Forecasting and Tracking your Finances article.
7. Set up your IT systems – email, email signatures and purchase and install any software you’ll need.
8. Organise any communication needs – mobile phones, business and broadband lines.
9. Have any business stationary designed and printed – No clue what you want? Don’t worry! We’ll walk you step by step through the process with absolutely no technical talk at all!
10. Set up all your social media – in this day and age, social media is essential for any business! Now’s the time to get cracking with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked in. If that all sounds terrifying…or if you’d like some help getting this all set up then head over to my social media articles and you’ll be sorted in no time!
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