ad collaborative post // There’s lots to think about when you’re starting a business, and sometimes it’s hard to pin down what’s the most important or where to start. A good idea and a lot of passion are both crucial, and once you’ve got those you’ve got the foundation blocks to build on.
It’s worth giving your business address serious consideration. Having the right location can boost your business confidence, but it can also save time and money through efficiency.
An online retail business, for instance, can flourish quickly leading to a growing need for suitable stock storage. A storage unit for business would be a good starting place, since they’re normally in good town locations and available in a range of sizes, as well as being secure. As well as stock storage, you can also run the pack and dispatch side of things from within your stock room.
If, on the other hand, you’re running a virtual service or information type of business, maybe as a freelance writer or blogger, a home office could be all you need. Especially to get started. Later, more dedicated business premises might give your brand a professional boost, in which case a rented office with built-in flexibility should be on the list of possibilities to investigate.
The flexible office is an alternative type of office agreement that doesn’t tie you into a long contract. It does, however, provide the same level of service and facilities as a standard office rental. Many business owners appreciate this flexibility.
You’re legally required to keep business records, so whether it’s fun or a chore, accounts are part of your life.
But there are options here too:
- Hire an accountant – even if you keep all your books through the year yourself, having an accountant for your end of year tax return is a huge weight off your mind. You’ll claim the right expenses, avoid late fees, and you can forget long hours with a calculator under deadline. Plus, you can get smart business advice and insight when you have a good accountant.
- Hire a bookkeeper – if your eyes glaze over at the very thought of keeping your books up to date, a bookkeeper will cure that headache. Bookkeepers are often self-employed, so if you just need a couple of hours help every other week you can find someone. Having both bookkeeper and accountant is the ideal for some business owners.
- DIY accounts – when you don’t mind delving into your numbers, keeping your own books can be a rewarding exercise. Make it easier with an online accounting subscription you can also file your taxes with, and it’s just about as simple as it can get. Some online accounting packages partner with banks, so you may even avoid subscription costs.
Of course, this assumes your accounting is relatively simple. Partnerships or limited companies can be a little more complicated, making an accountant more valuable.
Stock storage and handling can become a logistical nightmare if you let it get out of control. If you’re working from home, try and have somewhere away from family areas to store stock, especially if you also have small children. This is for safety, but also so items don’t go ‘walkabout’.
As mentioned earlier, a storage unit is ideal as the business grows and you need a place you can organise for efficiency. As your stock value increases, the extra security is vital too. And if your stock includes clothing, space for hanging rails or extra shelving racks can help keep items pristine.
Wherever you store stock, keep an up-to-date inventory, do a regular stock take, and label boxes clearly. You can’t beat transparent tubs when it comes to quickly locating items.
Your brand is important, and just about everything you do plays a part. Established companies often spend huge amounts on branding, from marketing and promotion to logo, name, and internet domain.
When cash is tight, especially in the early months of an enterprise, you might not have the time or energy to think much about branding, but at least pay attention to what you can:
- Your product or service – what are you providing, who is your customer, what is your goal?
- Make sure the tone of voice is consistent in all your communications, whether it’s on a leaflet or in an email. If your image is fun and lively, stay that way, and if your business is more sombre, don’t suddenly start cracking jokes. As an extreme, think about funeral directors. We have very strict ideas about how they should look and behave.
- Build brand recognition through colours and styling on the website, on your invoices and letterheads, and through your domain name.
No matter how large or small your budget, every business owner can address those three things. Try not to go way outside your comfort zone, because you’ll need to wear your brand hat every time you sit down to work.
These points to ponder aren’t a complete list by any means. But they’re a starting point. Answering a few of these questions will put you in a stronger position to move forward more confidently and build a firm foundation for your business