Have a brilliant idea for a small business, but not sure where to begin? Running your own business can significantly impact and change your life and the lives of those around you. Creating something from nothing and putting your passion into the world can be both exciting and daunting. Before you can create your own dynasty, you need to learn how to start a small business.
There are almost six million small and medium businesses in the UK. They are at the heart of the British economy. Here at Virtual Cabinet, we understand how overwhelming starting a small business can be, that’s why we’ve created this handy guide on how to start a small business. We will help you through each step of the way in starting a small business, from how to apply for a small business grant to small business software for guaranteed operating simplicity.
With passion, dedication and a little help from us, you can join one of the six million SMEs in the UK. Raring to go? Read our guide on how to set up a small business in the UK.
Ideas for Starting a New Business
Our first point for how to start a small business would be to have a business idea. We hope that you already have some ideas for your business: it could be a hobby that you already spend your evenings doing, or it could be a skills gap in the market that you’ve recognised from your employment or education. Whatever your idea, it needs to be something you’re passionate about and happy to dedicate putting time, money and energy into. Without that, unfortunately your idea and resolve may fizzle out.
Once you have your idea, then you need to hone it. Identify your audience, ideate your business name, evaluate your competition. Once you’ve planned what these will be, then you will have the foundations of a business plan. Think about where you will market your new business: online or in person? Starting a small business will take a lot of trial and error, however once you have got the basis, then you can move forward.
How to Apply for Small Business Grants
Next, you’ll need to validate your product idea. To ensure that your small business idea will work, you’ll need to test to see if people will buy into your product or service. We recommend setting up an online website to take pre-orders or visiting a local market and selling products in person. Once you’re sure that there is a market for your business, then you can get your finances in order.
How much money will you need to start a business? Well, it will depend on your product or service. You may not need much initial investment if you’re starting small, however it is useful to know how to apply for a small business grant. The benefit of a small business grant, rather than a loan, is that you don’t usually have to pay the money back. The government provide various funding options for new businesses. For instance, there is the government-backed scheme called ‘Start Up Loan’ which allows a new business to borrow up to £25,000 at a six per cent fixed interest rate, along with 12 months free mentoring.
The business plan that you will have completed before this stage will help you apply for funding. After you’ve secured your finances, you’ll then need to know how to manage cash flow and budget to ensure efficiency and security for your business. Starting a small business can be expensive when you need to hire space, equipment and inventory. Bookkeeping needs to be one of your primary financial tasks as soon as you’re ready to make purchases. Keeping an accurate record of your expenses and incomings will help you to keep an eye on your finances. However, if you’re wondering how to do accounting for small businesses then you’ll need to invest in solid business bookkeeping software that will help you organise receipts and other important records.
How to Register a Small Business
You’re nearly there! Now that your business is up and running, you’ll need to register your business. So how to register a small business? Firstly, you’ll need to establish what type of business you are, where you work and whether you will take on additional people to help. Most small businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership.
This means you’re personally responsible for your business’ debts and you’ll have accounting responsibilities. If you’re a sole trader, you will run your own business as an individual and are self-employed.
- When you form a limited company, then the finances are separate from your personal finances, however there are more reporting and management responsibilities.
This is the simplest way for two or more people to run a business together. The business partnership means that everyone shares responsibility for the business’ debts and have accounting responsibilities.
How to Grow Your Small Business
Now, how to grow your small business? Small business software is a great way to start optimising everyday tasks. Outsourcing accounting, bookkeeping, cloud software and document management can be expensive, so investing in excellent small business software is a great way of keeping costs low for the long term. The best small business software will not only deal with the large, more important tasks – such as exchanging contracts and sorting files for the tax season – but also making everyday tasks, such as collaboration, communication and filing, more streamlined and efficient.
At Virtual Cabinet, we pride ourselves on offering excellent enterprise document management, so you can spend less time on the trivial workflows and more time on what really matters – your small business! Some of the benefits of our enterprise document management software include electronic signatures that will speed up the process of obtaining approvals and completing business transactions. Additionally, we offer automatic filing and secure file sharing, so no matter where you’re working, you’ll be able to access your small business files.
Aside from efficient small business software, how else can you grow your small business? Well, the world is your oyster. Look for gaps in the market and utilise them to reach new customers. From optimising your website for mobile to encouraging online reviews, the digital world has a plethora of ways to guarantee that your small business will increase sales to existing customers and grow your customer base through new and exciting ways.
We hope our guide on how to start a small business has helped you gain an idea for starting a small business. At Virtual Cabinet, we’ll provide tailored, expert advice to meet your company’s document storage and utilisation needs. Book your free demo today and we’ll answer any questions you may have.