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LAUNCH & GROW YOUR BUSINESS with support from the Forum #ForumStartup 2

MARKET RESEARCH In order for any business to succeed, reliable research needs to take place to determine if there is enough demand for the product or service you plan to supply. Do your homework, sense check your idea, research the market place and make sure you get impartial advice. Check out the competition and find out if your idea already exists. Don’t let it deter you if it does, just get out there and execute better than them.

“Most companies shy away from market research and then wonder why they don’t succeed” Simon Wieremiej British Market Research Association Start-ups 2011



the most important documents a business should have. It will help you determine where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties and what you need to sustain it. Your business plan should include: An executive summary

Financial requirements

Your aims & objectives

Financial processes

Legal structure


Management processes

Training needs

Marketing strategy

Business risks

Marketing plan

PEST analysis

Targets & objectives

SWOT analysis

You should review your plan every year to ensure you are on track with your desired objectives. 4

WHAT’S YOUR COMPANY NAME? A business or company name is central to a firm’s identity and can help distinguish a business from its competitors. When naming a new business venture, it is important to choose one that is: Easy to remember Unique to the business Appropriate to the business’ character Easy for customers to find in directories Simple Permitted under UK legislation. Check with Companies House to see if the name you like already exists. Also check domain names as you will want to create a website for your business. 5

COMPANY STRUCTURE One of the biggest decisions when starting a new business is the company structure. Each type has different implications for tax, ownership and responsibilities. There are three main types of structure:

Sole Trader

General Partnership

Private Company Limited by shares

The Government website is a good starting point for you to understand the different structures and help determine which is right for you. We recommend you seek professional advice before making a final decision. 6

REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS Once you have a company name and structure you need to register your business. You can set up and register (if necessary) all businesses yourself through HMRC or Companies house. However, we recommend you take advice from an ACRA accredited company registration agent. Not only will they take care of the set up for you but they offer additional advise, support and help with legal requirements once your business is set up. You will not get this additional help if you register yourself through Companies house. Take a look at one of our partners who can help you register your business.


RAISING FINANCE When starting a new business or indeed growing your current business, chances are you’re going to need to raise finance. The most likely options will be: Personal savings and loans from family or friends Bank loans and overdrafts, credit cards Private equity investors Crowdfunding (P2P lending) Government funding schemes and Local authorities Responsible finance providers (RFPs) Credit unions Independent business support organisations Pension led funding Take a look at one of our partners:

They’ll help you choose the right finance for your business. 8


increase in peer to peer lending


invested annually in SME’s by equity providers


of SME’s plan to grow in the coming year

*British Business Bank 2016

“Most recent figures show investors have put £3.7 bn into Crowdfunding, up from £100 million five years ago.” Telegraph, Jan 2016


BUSINESS BANKING A business bank account is vital to your business. The right account can mean lower charges plus make the running of your business easier and provide essential support when it comes to growth. You should take the time to look at all of your options to determine which is the right business bank and account for your business. All businesses that are not sole traders, legally must have a separate business bank account.


HIRE AN ACCOUNTANT Hiring an accountant is an investment that will really make a difference to your company’s growth. Their expertise and knowledge is invaluable. Ensuring you have a good accountant will help you overcome any initial hurdles and stop you making costly mistakes. What does an accountant do?

Analyses the financial picture and offers strategic advice. Produces key financial documents and can help file company taxes. Can be outsourced as a chief financial officer after tax season, to advise on financial strategy.


RECRUITMENT Hiring people is key to the growth of any business. You can build your business faster by developing a strong team, rather than doing all the work yourself. Consider, like minded people, with uniquely different skills! Remember, great people make a great company!

The top three methods smaller businesses use to find applicants are*:

42% their own website


recruitment agencies

28% local adverts



EMPLOYMENT LAW When the times comes to recruit employees ensure you are up to date with legal rights and responsibilities that you must consider: Contracts

Disputes and grievance

Working hours

Working parents rights


Auto enrolment

If you become a member of the Forum, you have access to a 24/7 membership helpline offering expert guidance on employment law.

“The average cost to employers of defending an employment tribunal is £9,000” British Chamber of Commerce


INSURANCE Purchasing the right business insurance is important and needs to be in place when you launch your business. Insurance to consider: Public Liability Employee Liability - by law, if you have employees, you must have at least £5 million cover Building and contents Professional indemnity/liability Business interruption Key person Vehicles Contractors all risk A wide range of business insurance cover is automatically included in the Forum’s membership. Designed to protect small business employers and help you to survive traumatic events.

Call the Forum’s membership helpline for more information on 01565 626001. 14

HEALTH & SAFETY Your health and safety management system must be fit for your operations and run by people who are competent to do so. Without a health and safety management system in place the likelihood of a costly accident increases dramatically. A system should be designed to prevent accidents, to ensure legal compliance, to save costs and to enable a business to be more efficient.

ÂŁ37, 297 average penalty for failing to comply with legislation

72,702 injuries in the workplace in 2015/16

30.4 million working days lost as a result Source: HSE/Riddor


MARKETING Do you have a vision to create a dynamic, customer-focused marketing strategy? The discipline to carry it out? It’s an opportunity to do something special with your business. Being smart with marketing ensures success by attracting more customers and retains them in the long term.


Average annual marketing spend per SME*

1 in 5 small businesses view increased marketing spend or improved marketing as the key to growth this year.** *Centre for Economics and business research **eBay


CREATE A WEBSITE A website is the shop window to your business. It is the first place customers will go, not just to see your product but to also establish your credibility. Find a trustworthy and reliable website designer to work with. Put together a design brief to show what you require. As your business grows so will your website. If you need help producing a website for your business we can recommend one of our partners.


GET SOCIAL Social media is a great way to reach your target audience. You can deliver your message, promote your product/ service and communicate with your audience to discover what they love or indeed dislike about your brand. How do small businesses use social media?

social media to 27% use increase brand awareness 6-10 hours a 25% spend week on social media

the value of social 81% see media as a business tool

Source: Sage


GOOD LUCK! As a member of The Forum we can help you rocket to success



FORUM START-UP MEMBERSHIP Membership is available to all new start-up businesses for a period of 3 years for the exclusive price of just ÂŁ99 per annum. At the end of that period, or you take on employees, the price returns to standard membership charges.

Call 01565 626001 Quote discount code STARTUP. As a member we can provide one to one support and advice on all subjects covered in this guide. #ForumStartup

Ruskin Chambers, Drury Lane, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6HA 20



Forum of Private Business Book12/March2017

Forum of Private Business Pocket Guide for Start-up Businesses  

Are you looking to start a new business? have you got an idea and your not sure where to start? View our pocket guide to starting a new busi...

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