Build Your Confidence!

This is Part 1 of Nick Hodson’s Business Starter Tips

Start-ups need nurturing, you need to build your confidence!

Okay, so you’ve hit on the perfect idea. Confidence is high, this idea is the one, the one to make money, maybe even lots of money! 

You’ll have to work hard on your start up, build your confidence and make sacrifices, but it’s all going to be worth it. Before you get carried away, let’s have a look at some of the practicalities of starting your own business, and maybe, just in case, how you could avoid some of the pitfalls, the things that could go wrong and ruin your dream!

– Please note the links and content of this article are intended as a helpful guide and do not constitute financial or legal advice, you should always check carefully and take legal advice before entering into any contract. –

Are You Compliant?

Now this may seem like a very silly question, but there have been cases where some very bright entrepreneurial careers have come to a shuddering halt before they’ve even started.

If you’re starting from home, and many a large business has had small beginnings, then make sure you’re allowed. For example if you have a landlord, does your lease permit it, if you are likely to keep irregular hours will your neighbours be disturbed, are you likely to be keeping foodstuffs at home, this may contravene health & safety laws etc.

You should also be aware that some marketing and promotional ideas also fall foul of the law. You may inadvertently be starting a lottery or a sweepstake if you offer prizes, you may need to check that images your website designer uses are not protected by copyright, or if they are that the requisite fee has been paid.

If you hold databases of prospective or current clients you may also need to register your business with the Information Commissioner’s Office. This is the Government organisation charged with looking after Data Protection. It’s really not too onerous and doesn’t cost too much, but could save you a lot of grief later in your business life.

Make sure your accountant registers your business. You’ll need to decide on your business structure, sole trader, partnership or Limited Company are the three most common forms of business entity. 

Once you’ve decided you’ll need to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) commonly known as The Taxman! Have a look at this useful article from the Guardian giving you some very worthwhile advice and tips.

You may also need to register for Value Added Tax (VAT). Have a look at the HMRC website for some VAT guidance, but do take advice. The official HMRC website can be a bit impenetrable, see the later section on choosing an accountant.

From April 1st 2016 all taxes are payable online, so take check the official HMRC website and see how you register to pay tax online.

Handy Tips #1

The key here is simply to check. Do some web searches, organisations like the Federation of Small Business can be very helpful. Also trade bodies, if it’s a retail business idea you’ve got try looking at Bira or IMRG for online retailing.

All sectors have got trade bodies now, so consider investing in joining one of them. They can be very helpful in lots of different ways. 

By now you’re probably sick of me saying ask your lawyer or accountant, and before you do, follow this advice. Make sure they charge you a fixed fee for setting your business up, but do remember ignorance is no defence, so don’t assume. HMRC are pretty ruthless when it comes to enforcement. 

The advice professionals give you will protect you should a Government agency decide at a later date that you should’ve registered for VAT or you owe some tax etc. Finally or perhaps firstly, check this Government website.

Stay tuned for more of my Business Starter Tips.

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About Me

Small businesses make up the vast majority of the UK economy, we employ more people, generate more tax revenues and create more wealth than the rest of the UK economy put together.

All businesses need a little help from time to time, that maybe the oversight of a Non Executive Director, or an interim manager who offers help and support at a time of need or crisis or simply an outside eye to offer support and pracical advice at regular intervals.

I've been involved in small and medium-sized businesses for over 30 years. My first career was in the Hospitality sector, I then moved into temporary healthcare staffing, healthcare provision and finally international recruitment.

I've been involved in businesses that experienced extraordinary growth, and stagnation. Both can be problematic and need management, different styles of management, but management none the less.

Many issues draw a business owner away from their primary role; to strategise, to ensure success and make sure the business is still trading a year from now. Often, that re-focusing requires an outside eye, that's where a good business adviser is invaluable.

I offer practical no-nonsense advice and support. I can't honestly say I've seen every eventuality that a business may encounter, I don't believe anyone can, however when times get difficult, as they do in all businesses, it's good to have someone you can call on who's prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.