Setting up a business is a decision which must be taken seriously. If done correctly, it could set you up for life. There are many decisions to be made and business planning to be done in advance of forming your company. One of the first and major tasks is writing a business plan. This will contain your objectives and strategy for the business from the start and going forward. You can refer to it again and again to ensure you do not get sidetracked. A Sole Trader will potentially risk his/her personal assets if the business fails, so an effective business plan is doubly essential. If you are thinking of forming a limited company, you will have a high degree of protection for your personal possessions and property but a good business plan will keep you on the right path to enable your business to be successful.

Who will have access to your business plan?

A business plan is a document which you will refer to regularly, but your business partners and shareholders will also read it. Also, if you are applying for finance, your bank will need to study it in order to make their decision whether to grant you a loan. Potential investors will want to consider it before making their investments. A business plan is a really important document which will set out the route the company is taking and its aspirations, and can be used to ensure you do not deviate from your plans and strategy.

What elements should a business plan contain?

A typical business plan will contain a lot of detail and is usually divided into several sections. When writing your plan, bear in mind that you should state what your business offers to its customers and investors.

What the business offers to customers and investors?

It should include details of the various products or services you will offer to your customers and describe the target consumers and demographic.

Executive strategy

The business plan should clearly portray the type of business you will be operating. This executive strategy will help potential investors and banks to easily understand the overall representation of your company. Banks particularly will need to see a clear executive strategy.

Marketing and sales strategy

Your marketing and sales strategy is vital to attract customers for your products or services. It is therefore important to ensure this section is clear and attractive. No matter what your business is offering, it is vital to make your marketing and sales strategy understandable and transparent to attract potential investors.

Information about your management team and personnel

Your business plan should contain details about your company’s management and staff and your plans for future recruitment. Include any notable achievements, awards and tributes you have been given.

Details about your operations

You should include details of your production equipment (if applicable) and your management information technology. Also, it is a good idea to describe the IT equipment you use for your business.

Financial Forecasts

The business plan should also illustrate your potential income based on realistic forecasts. Getting this right is regarded as very important, although as long as it’s realistic and not over emphasised you will be fine. Investors know we cannot predict the future, but they also know the realities of business sales patterns and when figures are fanciful at best! So err on the side of caution but do not be negative at the same time. You want to show belif your buess can be a success.

How should you present your business plan?

Your business plan should be comprehensive but not too long. The only information in a business plan should be essential and you should ensure it appears professional in content and layout. Above all, it should be a positive document about your plans and objectives for the business. This document will potentially be read by professionals, eg bank managers and investors, so do take the time to produce a comprehensive but professional and concise plan.

A business plan should always be A4 size and filed in an appropriate folder. This will ensure it is easy to read and handle. If you produced a business plan in the early stages of your business planning, read through it again and make any necessary changes or updates. You want to appear professional, so out of date information could be embarrassing to future readers.

Conclusion

As your business plan is such an important document for your business, you should not try and prepare it in a hurry. A good and effective business plan can take hours to complete, but it will be worth it going forward. In addition to it being a document which could attract investment and loans, it is a reference document for your business for years to come. It can focus your mind on occasions when you may be in danger of being sidetracked. Take the time to write a professional and effective business plan and it will pay you back many times over the coming years.

The UK Government website defines a Limited Company as:

“A limited company is an organisation that you can set up to run your business – it’s responsible in its own right for everything it does and its finances are separate to your personal finances. Any profit it makes is owned by the company, after it pays Corporation Tax. The company can then share its profits.

Forming a Ltd company is actually quite straightforward these days. Accountants can help, yet more and more people are going online to form their own Limited Companies using formation agents likehttp://www.practicalcompanyformation.com. There are a few things to consider however, so we have produced this short guide to help you understand the important ones.

UK as Country of residence – Usually if you want to form a UK Limited company and carry on a business in the UK, you’ll need to live in the UK with a valid passport. If your business is a private limited company, you’ll also need a registered office and at least one director living in the UK.

Selecting a name for the company – The proposed name of the company can be searched online to check availability. People buying a ready-made company can also change the name of the purchased company to the desired name if available.

Registered Office – Every enterprise operating in the UK is required to have a legally registered office address to which communications from Companies House, HMRC and all official letters, reminders etc. can be served.

Bank Account – Having a bank account is mandatory for all financial transactions.

Tax and Insurance Registration – All companies are required to register for corporation tax, VAT and national insurance and pay the taxes and contributions promptly.

Finance and Accounts – All companies in the UK are required to maintain proper books of accounts and file annual returns to Companies House within the specified period, failing which a penalty has to be paid. Hiring an accountant who can manage all the paperwork is ideal. If not affordable then such services can be availed from financial services companies.

Staff – Hiring the right staff is extremely important to execute the intended activities efficiently and accurately.

Website – If the company has a website, then all details such as company number, registered office address, contact details; phone numbers, email address etc. must be displayed.

Other things you will need to think about are:

  • Your business model and strategy. Is it well-defined?
  • A comprehensive, realistic and positive business plan including financial forecasts, market assessment, unique selling points and short, medium and long term planning. This is an essential document which you should use regularly to ensure your business is on track and heading in the right direction. A great business plan is also valuable when trying to attract investment and bank loans.
  • Wide-ranging market research which confirms your product or service is viable, sought after and likely to lead to success.
  • How you will finance the business, either by loan or individual investments (if applicable).
  • Suppliers of products and resources you will need (if applicable).
  • Business premises (if appropriate).

So these are the very important factors you will need to consider before you form your UK-based company. They are the foundation of every good business, so get it right at the beginning and you will save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run. If you have ticked every box, you should be in a good position to get started.

UK Company formations

British entrepreneurs created a record of new business in 2014. This is due to a high level of unemployment rates in the UK, business are trying to cut cost. This could mean paying less amount of salaries to the employees, making some employees redundant. Also companies not giving potential young employees a chance because they would rather have someone more experienced, which means young people stay out of work.

Eventually people start to think if I can’t get someone to employee me why don’t I employee myself? As to a recent study from the national enterprise campaign shows 526,446 businesses were registered with company’s house. Beating the 484,224 businesses recorded in 2012, and 440,600 in 2011.

Emma jones, co-founder of start-up Britain said “we’ve been looking at these figured carefully for three years since the campaign began and it’s clear the UK’s start up community is growing year-on-year.”

Vital business start-up basics

  • Write Business plan this will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully. With an estimated financial forecast, asses the market you’re going into for example competitors, what products they offer, how much they are selling them for, any promotional offers they have. What’s is your (USP) unique selling that make you stand out from competitors.
  • Get business assistant and training take advantage of the free training resources and counselling service you have.
  • Chose a business location make sure the particular location you chose is affordable to you with the fixed monthly cost of the location.
  • Finance your business find government backed loans, venture capital, research types of grants to help you get started.
  • Determine the legal structure of your business, decide which form of ownership is best for your business. UK limited company, limited by guarantee, limited liability partnership, flat management company, right to manage Age Company, readymade and aged company and public limited company (PLC).
  • Register your business name
  • Take in to consideration Suppliers of products you’ll be needing, if needed.
  • Staffing cost if needed
  • Have key performance indicators

Starting is easy, but don’t do it with a plan. Get the funds you need when you need them

Starting your own business is now easier but there a difference to just starting a business and it being successful. If you’ve done your research in the market you’re going into and you got a well-planned business plan, realistic financial forecast and a unique selling point you will have covered the fundamentals of having a successful business.

If you’re starting an online business you don’t need any premises just the stock that you’ll be selling or the service your business offers. For the more complicated business that need a lot of resources, there’s a lot of revenue streams when you want to start up a business. You can opt to pick investment funding, crowd funding, loans, overdraft, invoice financing and leasing and finance funding.

You can also opt for government funding depending on your sort of business and what funding you’ll need. For government funding you have the option of a government grant or prince’s trust for people between the ages of 18-30, the government are whiling to give funding to new businesses because it will mean more employment opportunities for people around UK. Which mean the UK will fall and the economy will grow.

Registering Your New Company

Once you have decided on which business structure is right for you, the next stage is to choose your company name and register your company with Companies House.

Form a Limited Company with theses Simple Steps

1. Choose a Company Name

It is usually a good idea to have taken some time to choose your Company Name. Your company name will give your business its identity. A company name is what potential buyers will notice first and getting the right tone with your business’ name will be important. Successful companies will also develop a brand around a good name.

This first step in registering your company with Companies House is to register your company name. Whether registering with Companies House Direct or using a company formation agent, use the name search facility to check that your company name is still available.

  • Your company name must be unique. Companies House do not allow duplicate company names on the register.
  • All company names must feature the word ‘Limited’ or ‘ltd’ at the end.
  • The name must not be too similar to an existing company name. Words such as ‘services’ or ‘company’ do not differentiate a company name.
  • Using the word ‘agency’ will imply a governmental connection. Confirmation will be required by a relevant body.
  • Certain professional terms such as dietician are protected titles. These will also require prior approval.

Companies House has a list of sensitive words and expressions that must meet certain criteria.

Quick tips to choosing a company name.

  • What do I want my company name to achieve
  • Does the name make sense for my business?
  • Is the name easy to remember?
  • Is the name easy for people to spell?
  • Does the name sound good and is it easy to pronounce?
  • Is your name meaningful only to yourself?
  • Is the name visually appealing?
  • Have I conducted a proper trademark search?

Choosing A Registered Office Address

Your registered office address will appear on the Companies House Register and will be available to the public. This will also be the address that any official mail from Companies House and HMRC will be sent to. Many businesses choose to have an external registered office service rather than their residential address. This can stop any unwanted mail going home as well as providing a much better impression of your business, particularly if you can get one with a prestigious address like in central London.

Appointing your Directors

You must appoint at least one company director. Requirements to be a company director include

  • Minimum 16 years of age
  • They have not been declared bankrupt
  • They have not been banned legally by court from being a company director

Personal details required

  • Full name
  • Occupation
  • Date of birth,
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence
  • Home address.

Provide Shareholder Details:

A new company must have a minimum of 1 shareholder. Company Shareholders can be directors. Shares can also be held by other companies. Details required for each shareholder includes

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Share currency (GBP, EUR or USD)
  • Number of shares
  • Value per share

Useful Links

Register a Company Yourself – http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk

Registering a Company Name and Address

Companies House Register