Tips For New Businesses
Good planning and processes when you start a new business can make your life much easier and contribute to your success. It involves more than making sure your bookkeeping is up to date – although that’s important. Here are my top nine tips to help get your new business off to a good start. 
1. Write a business plan – your business will benefit from a clear plan that describes how it will grow. Take some time to write down your business strategy and to set milestones that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. It should outline your finance, marketing and operational plans. You can then use it as a benchmark for your performance, and you can compare yourself with your competition to understand the opportunities and threats you might face. 
 
2. Create marketing messages – marketing will drive your sales so you will need to develop a marketing strategy that defines how you solve your customers’ problems, how you will deliver your product or service, your price plans and how you will engage with your customers. This will allow you to focus on the people most likely to buy from you and how to reach them. 
 
3. Have the right processes – when you start your business you will probably do everything yourself so you might think written processes won’t be needed. However, you will soon become so busy that you’ll need to hand some of those processes over to someone else. Starting in the right way will make it much easier to bring in extra help when you need it. There are now many cloud-based business tools like Xero that can help to keep things simple. 
 
4. Set your budget – in the early days cashflow will be critical for your business so it’s important that you have reliable and accurate information about how much money is coming in to your business and how much you’re spending. Sending out plenty of invoices isn’t always proof that your business is profitable. Set yourself clear targets for income and expenditure and make sure you regularly confirm that you’re on track. 
 
5. Use automation – you can use accounting software to automatically send out regular invoices and to pay bills. This means you will receive payments reliably and won’t miss important bills that could lead to additional charges or other penalties. It will also be one less thing for you to think about. Even better, it will help you to keep your records up to date so there’s less work to do when you need to calculate VAT or complete your year-end accounts
 
6. Pay in to your pension – it might be tempting to cut back on things like your pension contributions when you first start your business but it can be a false economy. Saving a small amount now could make a big difference in the future. In fact, if you have a limited company, paying in to your pension can be a tax efficient way to save for your retirement
 
7. Keep business and personal finances separate – keeping track of your business expenses is much easier if you have a separate account to use for your business. This will make it much easier to confirm that you are claiming all your allowable business expenses to reduce your tax bill. It’s also a good way to show that your business is credit-worthy if you later want to apply for finance. 
 
8. Manage expenses – while you might need to borrow some money to start your business it’s a good idea to keep your debt as small as you can. If possible, reduce or pay back any borrowing quickly so you won’t have to make interest payments. If you have unused equipment you might be able to sell it. You can also monitor other costs such as salaries, contractor payments and regular bills like your energy costs
 
9. Maintain your work-life balance – your motivation is key to your success, so making sure you have enough time to spend with the people who are important to you is essential. They are the ones who will keep you going when things are stressful. Find trusted business partners who can take some of the strain and keep things running smoothly so you can take some time away from the business when you need to. 
 
I like to work as part of my clients’ businesses and can certainly help you to start with the right plans and processes and keep things running smoothly. 
 
If you’re thinking of starting a new business please get in touch for an informal discussion
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