Starting a business: what you need to know

When I first thought about setting up my business it was to gain a better quality of life for when I was lucky enough to have a baby. However, I embarked on this without, in hindsight, having a clue what was coming. If you are thinking of leaving the security of employee status I applaud you, I think it will be the best decision of your life, as a mum, but be prepared!! I now have a lovely little 12-month-old boy and an expanding business which makes life both challenging and enjoyable.

My first thoughts to anyone setting up on their own:

Find a trustworthy accountant straight away. Some charge you without offering any support or advice. A good one saves you stress, time & money – they will prove priceless.

Make sure you understand what key documents you need such as terms & conditions, supplier contracts, confidentiality agreements etc and establish a working process model early. This will protect you in terms of cash flow in particular. I mean things like cancellations, payment terms & what you need from your customers and when.

Protect your personal assets and home by considering a limited company or LLP. This offers reassurance in the event something goes wrong and helps keep your work bank accounts separate from your personal ones too.

Insurances – do you need any and/or which ones can protect you and/or can you actually save yourself money, in the long run, by not having any. Insurance ranges from legal expense cover and public or employee liability to key workers insurance.

Take advantage where you can of VAT reclaims, free business banking and shop around for quotes as everything varies significantly and often most things can be handled remotely (virtual office or receptionist, for example).

Finally, if you need support, but are wary of taking on the over head of staff look at work placement schemes, student schemes or consultancy. With the latter, you can benefit from experienced staff without long-term commitment until you are ready to make that move.

Most importantly, take time out for yourself and your family so you remember why you are doing this.

More tips and antidotes will follow in the next diary entry, but if anyone has burning questions I am happy for you to email me directly at [email protected] or contact [email protected] and she will pass on your questions.

*Karen Holden is Senior Partner of A City Law Firm LLP and will be blogging regularly.

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