It all starts with a great idea. A light bulb moment. You’ve come up with a product you know people want and need, or all-singing-all-dancing service that is going to change people’s lives. You’re ready to take the plunge and work for yourself… build your empire. It’s worlds of exciting.

But it’s also worlds of scary. What do you need to do first? How do you actually start a start up? And make sure you’ve ticked all the boxes.

Instead of looking back in 5 years’ time and thinking “I wish I’d done XYZ at the start”, learn from our experience seeing thousands of businesses through their journey, from start-up to exit.

The top 3 things you’ll need to consider first

1. How are you going to trade?

Before you take any steps regarding promoting your offering, you’re going to need to decide what business structure to choose. This is one of the most important choices because it’s going to affect how much tax you pay, how much paperwork you have to do, and how personally responsible you are for your company’s liability – it’s successes, failures, debts and profits.

The most common options are:

Sole trader

Most popular option for one-man bands. Simple, but can lead to paying more tax as you invest your earnings in your business.


Similar structure to a Sole Trader, except it involves more than one individual. Still simple, although added complexity with more than one business owner and how do you make sure you are drawing evenly? Maybe not so simple then…

Limited company

Means becoming the Managing Director of a registered company. The aspirational structure of a business owner. Can be beneficial in tax terms but things get a lot more serious with the admin.

Limited Liability Partnership

A combo-deal of elements from the limited company structure and the partnership structure. Liability is limited to only what the individual has invested in the business, but is still taxed as personal income.

This is just the short of it. There are lots of factors to consider, all dependent on your situation. This is where a good Adviser can really come in handy. See the full ins and outs, pros and cons of each structure in our dedicated guide: Choosing the right business structure. If you’re considering forming a partnership, you might also want to have a quick read of our views in: Can business partnerships really work?

2. How will you finance your business?

What will your start-up costs be? How soon will you receive income? How much credit will you get from your suppliers? Most new businesses require financial help in the first year of trading, and you’ll only know if you need finance, and how much by looking ahead and:

  • Understanding how you want your business to evolve
  • Estimating your costs and potential income
  • Considering the timing of incoming funds and outgoings

Even if you are just seeking an overdraft facility, the bank will request a business plan and will want to see your financial forecasts for at least the first 12 months you are trading. By presenting this information in the best possible way and reflecting the potential of your business you are more likely to achieve success in financing your business proposition.

But, this can be one of the most daunting tasks for someone starting out with little to no experience of financial projections, or of dealing with the finances at all.

Go into it with confidence

We’re hooked up, and we know how important it is to have both the time and knowledge to make a successful application. We can:

  • Quickly access the required financial information needed to make an application on your behalf.
  • Access a range of business finance funders through A4G Growth, our team of business growth specialists. We’ll look at the providers, and the finance options they specialise in, to ensure you choose the solution that best matches your needs.
  • Help you navigate the full spectrum of Government initiatives that support businesses with their finance.
  • Manage the process from the application through to approval.

Take a look at our guide to financing your business here

3. Which accounts package are you going to choose?

So, you’ve chosen the most efficient way to trade. You’ve got your application for finance under way. Now you need to think about how you’re going to keep your business records, and how you’re going to submit the required information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Getting set up with a cloud accounting software, like Xero, will mean that your tax year end will be far less stressful than it needs to be – because:

  • You can invoice online, meaning reduced paperwork and a simple view of your earnings
  • You’ll have a clear view of your finances in real time, anywhere, anytime
  • You can do your bookkeeping as you go
  • Track your expenses by scanning your receipts in from your mobile
  • Your Accountant can also get a real time view of your finances wherever they are
  • You’ll be using a software that is compatible with Making Tax Digital (MTD), which all businesses will have to comply with. Wait, what is making tax digital?
  • You have the security of cloud stored data, so even in the event of a natural disaster, your data isn’t lost

Start your business on the right foot, by choosing an accounts package early on. Real time access to your financial data will be one of the most important tools in your box for business growth.

Whether you are just beginning or have already taken the plunge to starting your own business, our free checklist will guide you through what you need to do next (and whether you’re on track and need some specialist advice). If you’d like this checklist, please email us at for your copy. 

Starting a business with employees? You might want to make Auto Enrolment the 4th most important thing you do. Read about your duty to provide a pension scheme to your employees in our guide to Auto Enrolment.

Want to find out more?

Call us on (01474) 853856 and we will put you in contact with one of our advisers, or send us an enquiry by clicking below.

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