What to consider when starting a business

Starting your own business can be both an exciting and challenging experience but one which also carries its fair degree of risk. During the start-up phase you will have to make all kinds of decisions that could be vital to the long-term success of the enterprise.

You’ll need to consider:

  • The type of business and its attributes
  • Your target market and competition
  • Profit potential and how you will extract those profits
  • The rate of business growth
  • The impact of running the business on your personal life

At some point, you will also need to consider how you will exit the business when the time comes and realise its value. At TaxAssist Accountants, we specialise in helping small businesses and can provide expert, tailored advice and help you avoid the common mistakes.

Writing your business plan

One of the first things to consider is writing your business plan. This is not only for the benefit of potential investors, but to help you remain on the right track in the short, medium and long-term.

Your business plan should include:

  • The business structure that best meets your needs (sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited company
  • Your intended funding sources
  • Tax-efficient borrowings
  • Is a PAYE scheme necessary?
  • Should your business be VAT registered?

What business structure is best for you

Choosing the most appropriate structure for your business isn’t necessarily straightforward. Sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and limited liability partnerships all have their own pros and cons, with different implications for control, perception, support and costs.

For example, careful consideration is needed regarding whether to retain personal ownership of any freehold property on incorporation.

Deciding on your year end

It’s also important to select a year end that suits your business. Is there a time of year when it will be more convenient to close off your accounting records, ready for us? What time of year would be best for stock-taking? Is your trading seasonal?

From a tax perspective, picking a year end early in the tax year for an unincorporated business usually means that an increase in profits is more slowly reflected. Over time the delay between earning profits and paying the tax can create a source of working capital for the business. On the other hand, a decrease in profits will more slowly result in a lower tax bill.

Registering with HMRC

When you start a business, it is important to inform HM Revenue & Customs of your new self-employed status as soon as possible.

If or when you start employing staff, you will need to register for and set up a PAYE scheme and accept all the responsibilities and obligations that go with it, including compliance with Real Time Information reporting (and remember for this purpose you will most likely be an employee of your limited company, if you incorporate). You will also have to comply with the pensions auto-enrolment obligations, although exemptions apply to director-only companies so do get in touch for advice in this area.

How we can help

We can help you to decide on the best structure for your business and which year end might be appropriate.

Please talk to us as soon as you start considering taking on employees so we can help you set up a PAYE scheme and comply with your payroll obligations, or we can take on the task on your behalf.

We can guide you through the important decisions and help you to complete the appropriate registrations. We can assist with cashflow forecasts, helping you to spot potential cash shortfalls, and provide regular updates so you can monitor your business’s performance.

To arrange a free initial consultation with your nearest TaxAssist Accountant, call us today on 0800 0523 555 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form.

BUSINESS START-UP CHECKLIST
Prepare a robust business plan  
Make sure you have access to suitable funding  
Check your right to use your chosen trading name  
Choose the right business structure  
Register with HM Revenue & Customs  
Understand your responsibilities to register for VAT  
Understand your responsibilities to register as an employer  
Register your business name  
Trade and professional registrations  
Choose your year end  

 

By Jo Nockels FCCA
Last updated June 2018

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