6 boring business essentials you’ll forever regret neglecting

Business should be exciting, dynamic and addictive once growth begins and you start to see the fruits of your labour materialise. Unfortunately — and there’s no getting away from this — you have to do a whole lot of hoop jumping and red tape cutting before you get there.

The necessities of business are often the most boring and tiresome, but they are absolutely essential if you’re to make a success of your big idea. Worse still, if you miss one important piece of legislation or neglect a particularly onerous legal form, your entire business could come crashing down around you.

And none of us want that.

So, in this post, I’m going to attempt to make the boring business essentials interesting. I’ve picked 6 of what I believe to be the most important.

1. Domain names and social media accounts

Imagine writing your business plan, devising a superb business name and then discovering that you can’t grab that same name as a domain for your website.

Register your domain name and social media accounts as soon as you have a business name. And note the plurals above — go for as many TLDs (.co.uk, .uk, .com, etc) and variations on the name as you can afford and find.

In the internet age, this is absolutely the first thing you should do when starting a business.

2. Company registration

We’re living in a world where entrepreneurship is encouraged and made ever more accessible due to the tools we all have access to. Unfortunately, that means we often dive head first into the exciting stuff and overlook the more mundane tasks.

If you’re intending to be a sole trader, skip this step. If you’re setting up a company, you need to register it with Companies House. Contact them — they’ll tell you exactly what you need to do.

3. Set up a bank account

I’ll take a wild guess that you’re in this for the money. Money needs placing somewhere. You and I know that’s called a ‘bank account’, and your business needs one.

“This is all rather easy,” I hear you say. Bear with me. We’re going deep now…

4. Get your licenses

Now it’s time to really do some research. Depending on the industry you’re about to enter and the products and services you wish to sell, you may need one or two licenses.

If you’re planning on selling alcohol, you’ll need to be licensed. Similarly, if you’ll be working in hospitality (for example, a hotel or restaurant), you’ll need to contact your local authority environmental health department and obtain the correct licenses.

5. Data protection

Ignore this one at your peril if your business will be holding personal data on individual people. Data protection and security is a hot topic and high on the agenda for most people in the digital age.

Contact the information commissioner at your earliest opportunity to register your business.

6. Find a good accountant

The general rule of thumb when it comes to accountants is that they should save you more money than it costs to use their services. It may be tempting to do your tax return yourself, but unless you’re an accountant, you’ll miss so many opportunities to legally reduce your tax liability.

Speak to fellow business-owning or sole-trading friends and ask who they use. Word about good accountants travels fast, and for good reason.

Summary

There is, of course, an awful lot more to starting a business (understanding business rates, for example), but the above are those seemingly inconsequential or ‘leave it until the last minute’ things which it pays to spend time on during the planning stages. Ignore them at your peril.

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