Must-have business services every start-up should consider

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Start-up|Must-have business services every start-up should considerBritain is, according to a report in The Telegraph, “a booming nation of start-ups.” In fact, around 660,000 new companies are registered in the UK every year.

Starting a new company is hugely exciting. It is also a risk. The fact is, as many as 60 per cent of new businesses go to the wall in the first three years, and 20 per cent fail within just 12 months.

Making a success of a start-up and growing your idea into a viable business can be achieved if you embrace two rules.

Firstly, learning from mistakes is key (including learning from the mistakes of other start-ups) – there will be blunders and you’ll have to learn how to be agile and recover from them. The second and equally important part of any successful start-up journey is knowing when to invest in help.

Here I’ll be focusing on the five must-have business services every start-up should consider.

  • Funding and business planning
  • HR advice
  • Digital marketing and SEO
  • Intellectual Property rights
  • Business coaching

Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.

Funding and business planning for start-ups

Researching possible funding avenues and finding an investor isn’t easy, especially when you are starting out and have a huge number of tasks to complete in order to set up your venture. Seeking the advice of a business adviser could be worth the investment. A business adviser can help you with your business plan, and give invaluable advice on possible funding avenues.

Business advisors and chartered accountants, Wellden Turnbull, say that it is astonishing how many start-ups set out without a well-thought out plan. They say that 1.5 million SMEs do not have a business plan and that it is often the lack of a plan that catches small businesses out.

HR Advice

As soon as you take on your first employee, you will need to ramp up your understanding of HR – that’s human resources. You’ll need to know which HR regulations you’ll need to adhere to and how to deal with all sorts of employee-related issues, such as absenteeism and sick pay, paying a fair wage, calculating holidays, overtime, dealing with staff complaints and much more.

Your employees are a precious resource – get the management of them wrong and you could lose them or worse find yourself at a tribunal. Every start-up needs a minimum level of HR knowledge – if you don’t have clue, you’ll need to learn fast or seek some professional HR advice.

Digital marketing and SEO

Getting noticed online is now more important to business success than ever before. Why? Nowadays everything happens online. Digital marketing is a cost-effective way to promote your business and can put you in a position to compete with established businesses which are much larger than yours.

While setting up a website, email marketing and social media are perfectly do-able in-house, optimising your website to move up the Google rankings is quite involved and requires a certain amount of technical skill.
Seeking help from an SEO professional to ensure your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, fast-loading, and has backlinks from authoritative sources is worth the investment.

Intellectual Property rights

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) defines Intellectual Property rights as “the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds.” Also known as IP rights, Intellectual Property rights give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a set period of time.

IP is protected by extensive laws and disputes are common – in fact, there are specialist lawyers who only work on IP cases. There are two main categories for IP protection – Copyright, and Industrial Property (which includes things like trademarks and patents).

Why is IP important for start-ups? When you have a unique idea for a business, there will always be people who will want to steal your idea, so it is important to protect them. In order to prevent your IP being exploited by others it would be prudent to seek specialist advice. For a checklist on protecting your Intellectual Property, see here.

Business coaching

One-to-one coaching or mentoring when you are setting up a business may seem like an extravagance, but it could actually be the best investment you ever make. Research suggests that working with a business coach can increase your profit margin by an average of 46 per cent.

While there is plenty of information out there to help you get your business started, there’s nothing quite like personalised custom advice. Business coaches are usually expert entrepreneurs who know what it takes to make a start-up succeed.

A business coach will train you in the skills you need and teach you how to set goals and grow your brand.
Choosing the right business coach to work with is obviously important. Get this right and your start-up could be catapulted to success.

Ensuring Your Business Starts On Stable Footing

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Starting Your Business|Ensuring Your Business Starts On Stable FootingWe can often see businesses as stable institutions, perhaps absolutely secure on the platform upon which they stand. But most of us who have experience in the industry know better. For example, industry titans can easily lose plenty of their stock if rocked by deep controversy, if failing to live up to their obligations, or if investing in a bad route without caring for the sunk cost to make that work.

But all of that is in the future. For a business just starting out, ensuring your firm begins on stable footing can allow you to move forward to the future and develop a more cohesive output, potentially allowing you to sidestep issues before they occur and staying optimistic about meeting challenges.

After all, a tree with deeper, more secure roots will take much more effort to become uprooted in winds of chaos. This means that no matter what your business weathers, these essential preliminary tips can help you start in the best possible sense, and for the best possible reasons:

Plan Effectively

Planning effectively is not just a nicety, it’s a requirement. You need to be able to list, to the letter, exactly how you hope to proceed in a certain capacity. This means knowing how you will commit to a certain task, how much it will cost, who will be assigned to it, when your deadline is, and potential variables that can go wrong. Time is money in a small business trying to establish itself, and so as far as that is concerned you need to be as careful as possible. Chart each step as delicately as you can. When you follow this process, you can treat your clients with the care they might require, offsetting the risk they have taken by using your services despite the lack of testimonials.

Dot The I’s, Cross The T’s

Ensure that your paperwork is perfectly considered. For example, a fein application can help you immediately find an ID number that allows you to curate your best taxes planning and payment schedule. Additionally, taking an accurate view to your paperwork can help you more appropriately catalog it, even if you then offset that to a professional accountant or tax management lawyer.

Hire A Consultant

Many firms feel as though there’s something shameful in hiring a consultant, but of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a consultant can help you inject the experience that you may have never been able to curate on your own, and this can be a real problem. Additionally, you might find that hiring a consultant can help you dispel your own foolish or inexperienced notions, allowing you to refine your own skillset and embark upon your own necessary training. Business leaders who are unafraid to admit this need can only come out stronger and more capable in the end – and that’s never a negative thing to consider or promote.

With this advice, you’re certain to ensure your business begins on stable footing. We wish you the best to that end.

How To Choose Your First Business Premises

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Business Premises|How To Choose Your First Business PremisesPerhaps you started off at the kitchen table. Or maybe you were in a spare room. Crammed into a garden shed or a loft conversion, occasionally working out of a cafe with free WiFi when you could. Launching your own business often starts with unglamorous surroundings – and when the time comes to finally move into a proper business premises, it feels like a significant milestone. Where your business is based has the power to be transformative. Whether you’re seeking warehousing space to become the logistical hub of operations, or an office environment where you can expand your team and make new hires to grow your business, it’s an exciting time but also a potentially stressful one. Securing premises generally involves a cash outlay and being bound to various contracts, so it’s a decision which needs to be right. If you’ve never chosen a business premises before, what do you need to know to make sure that you get the choice right?

Think Through Your Requirements

Despite your business straining at the seams for growth, choosing a location is not something that you should rush into. Before you go signing up to every commercial lettings agency in town, take the time to draw up a comprehensive list of the unique requirements that your business has, so that you can make viewings with a logical mind. Think about the size of space you need – and how quickly you’re likely to grow. You don’t want to sign a contract only to find that you’ve already run out of space six months down the line, but equally you don’t want to be paying for space you don’t need. If growth is unpredictable, then place a short term leasing agreement higher up your list. Think about things like access and proximity to public transport hubs for your employees. Look into parking restrictions, nearness to your suppliers, building facilities, business rates and the security of the property – even things like the Access Entry System. Now is the time to both think of the big picture and zero in on the details to make sure you make the right choice.

To Buy Or To Rent?

One of the main considerations to bear in mind with your first business premises is whether it’s better to rent or take the plunge and seek capital funding to purchase. This decisions depends on a variety of factors. If you work in a smaller scale, high growth industry such as software development than it makes more sense to rent – this gives you more flexibility and requires less outlay of precious capital. In other situation, where business growth is more steady or you require a very specific space for specialist manufacturing equipment, you may well be better off making a purchase, as you can manage and modify the building to fit your needs. This also gives you the option of renting the premises out in the future if it no longer suits your requirements and creating an additional income stream.The decision has to be up to you – but make sure you enter the process with a clear mind, and you’ll make the right decision for your business.

Do You Need Good Credit to Start A Business?

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Credit Score|Do You Need Good Credit to Start A Business?We all know that many entrepreneurs have bad credit score. Some businesses only start because the owners are unemployed, laid off, or worse, bankrupt. Some even start their businesses when opportunity arrives and not when their financial situation is good to begin with. Moreover, some go through personal difficulties which affect their personal credit score at the same time.

Do you need good credit to start a business? While having a bad credit should never be a hindrance for you to start your own business. There are some things that you can do to at least improve it. Improving your credit score allows you to get loans or business line of credit that you can use to build your business.

If you’re planning to startup a business but realized you have a poor credit history, you can check out these tips on how to improve your credit:

1. Don’t use big banks as a funding source.

Back then, banks only depend on your credit history, collateral, cash flow, and character when it comes to bank loan approval. These days, most banks tend to focus on credit history, particularly when making decisions on loan approval for small business owners. This happens because banks are now driven by the banking consolidation, which force them to automate the credit decision process and lessen the labor that takes place in credit evaluation. Regardless of how great your business proposal is, having a below 650 credit score will not get you anywhere a bank loan is involved. A good credit score is important if you want to get a loan.

On the other hand, you may apply for home equity loans in order to secure that much-needed funding. However, it is not advisable, particularly during the earlier cycles of business as cash flow can be a little unstable.

2. Determine the difference between your personal and business credit scores.

You may know by now that banks, especially the large ones, focus on the personal credit scores. Smaller lenders or banks, on the other hand, combine your personal credit score and business credit score, together with a lot of other factors when it comes to loan approval.

Keep in mind that your personal credit score is affected by a lot of factors. These include outstanding debts on personal credit cards, history of bill payments, late payment history, as well as the number of credit lines opened. While your personal credit score is associated to your Social Security number, business credit score is linked to the business tax ID. These differences can help you and your business get the financial boost you need.

A damaged personal credit score can affect how banks or lenders see your loan application. Hence, you need to consider obtaining a separate business tax ID number to link with your account. This is possible but you need to be very careful when doing this.

Apart from getting a separate tax ID number, making sure that your business has a distinct identity is crucial. Here are some tips:

  • Get an official business name and register it with the local authorities.
  • Get a separate business address that is not a P.O. box and have a separate telephone number listed under your business name.
  • Open a bank account under your business name.

These administrative tasks may look minor and unimportant, but they play a crucial role in distinguishing your personal accounts from your business.

3. Slowly build the credit score of your business.

Now that you have a business tax ID number and a legal business name, you can now start building the credit score of your business. Doing this helps your business establish a way to qualify for a business line of credit from suppliers and other sources of capital.

Starting a Business is Not Always About Good Credit

Keep in mind that anybody can start a business, regardless of how good or bad their credit scores are. If you need some funding and cannot go to banks and big lending facilities, you can opt for other ways to fund your business. You can ask family and friends to lend you personal loans. Just make sure to thoroughly talk it over and discuss with them the payment terms or the risks that they are about to take. Also, you can use credit card loans to help you with your startup. Although it is not the best way to do it, it is a much better option than not starting at all because of lack of funds.

Remember that nothing should stop you from building yourself to success. You may have a bad credit score now, but slowly, with the help from the right institutions or the right persons, you will be able to start the business and eventually make that business grow.

How To Succeed As A New Business Owner

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |New Business Owner|How To Succeed As A New Business OwnerBeing a new business owner is an exciting time in your life but may also be cause for some uncertainty. There’s a lot to learn and do as you embark on this journey and maneuver your way around as an entrepreneur.

Know that there will be challenges along the way but that if you work hard and keep a positive attitude you’re likely to go far with your business. The upside is that if you love what you’re doing then it might not even feel like work to you. Take one day at a time and remember to always track your progress so you can monitor how you’re performing as you go.

Choose the Right Office Space

One way to succeed as a new business owner is to spend time choosing the right office space. Discover more information around working with a bank vs. mortgage broker at so you can better understand which option is best for you. You want a space that’s convenient for you and your customers and will be a nice and comfortable place to meet with clients.

Find A Mentor

In addition, you can better succeed as a new business owner by finding and working with a mentor. Choose someone who’s been in your shoes before and has built a company from the ground up. Meet with them often to pick their brain and understand more clearly what you can be doing to improve your management style and become a more successful leader and boss.

Focus on Your Customers

It’s very important that customer service always comes first at your workplace if you want to be successful. Get in the habit of focusing on your customers and their needs and wants above all else. Train your staff to respond to questions or concerns in a timely and professional manner as well. The better job you do at this the more positive reviews you’ll receive and more business you’ll bring in.

Expand Your Marketing Efforts

The reality is that there’s a lot of competition out there and consumers are being pulled in many directions at once. Therefore, commit to expanding your marketing efforts and investing in getting your name out to your target audience so you can grow your company. For example:

  • Engage on social media
  • Run online advertising campaigns
  • Buy advertisement space in print
  • Produce commercials
  • Create videos

This will give you a good start and help you to drive more attention to your business.

Take Care of Yourself

Your company will succeed when you’re diligent about taking care of yourself. This way you’ll have more natural energy to carry you through the day and will be able to concentrate and focus in the office better. Make self-care a priority and be good about eating healthy, exercising and getting plenty of rest and sleep. You’ll find you reach your goals at a quicker rate when you attend to these matters and don’t let your own health slip through the cracks.