TOP TIPS FOR START-UPS AND SMALL BUSINESSES

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I put a shout out on Instagram the other week for things you wanted me to write about in this blog and ta popular one was my top accounting tips for start ups and small businesses, but actually it needs to be more than that – it needs to be top tips for start ups and small businesses as there is more that just accounts that you ought be thinking about and often overlook.

1.     Get an accountant from the word go – yes, we cost money but a good accountant will help with the following:
- correct business set up
- making sure you claim all the expenses that you should be claiming
- making sure you have the write submissions in at the right time
- making sure you pay the right tax at the right time

We should be helping you to save money and tax, as in legitimately helping you, not some dodgy scheme that you’ve heard about down the pub!

2.     Regardless of how you are set up, always have a separate business bank account (it is a legal requirement for limited companies) and if you use PayPal have a separate business account for that too.  It helps to keep your transactions separate and allows you to actually see where your money goes more readily.

3.     Look at software – yes, it is more expensive than keeping a spreadsheet BUT if you find the right one for you, it will link to your business bank accounts and import your transactions in, a lot will link to e-commerce websites too to import transactions, now that’s got to save you time! And how much is that saved time worth? I bet it’s more that the software cost you in the first place! Yes, you will need to learn how to use your software but most of them now have a huge online library of short, sharp how to guides to help you along the way.

4.     Think about where you are spending your money – do you need business cards? If you won’t be handing them out to anyone then it’s a waste of cash, do you need the latest all signing, all dancing top of the range computer or would a mid-range one do for now and you can invest in something else in a few years time when you can more readily afford it.  It is very easy to spend all your money on things that actually you don’t need, tightening your belt when you start can help you in the long run as you become more aware of where you spend your money, you spend it more carefully and more wisely.

5.     Don’t forget the boring stuff – do you need trademark protection, do you need contracts in place for working with others, do you need supplier terms and conditions, wholesale agreements, are you complying with DGPR, Health & Safety, etc.  These might not sound exciting and fun, but getting the foundations right now will save heart-ache and hassle later on down the line.

6.     Keep ALL the receipts, you need them for 6 years .. scan them and save electronically if you don’t want lots of paper but do ensure you have a back up system in place.  A data failure isn’t a good excuse in HMRC’s eyes.

7.     Find your “tribe”, those you can turn to if you are having a crappy day and want to vent, who you can ask the daft questions to and get help, who you can lean on and receive support and who you would give the same back to if they needed it to.  Setting up your own business can be lonely at times o having a support network is vital.

8.     Be realistic – you aren’t going to take over the world overnight and the ads you see on social media about building a six figure business are generally trying to sell you something you don’t need (hey, someone has got to build their six figure business after all!).  So planning for how you will live with lower income than perhaps you have been used to is really important.

9.     Remember – one bad day, doesn’t make you or your business a failure.  Learn from it, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get ready for the next day.

10.  And lastly – have FUN – you are setting up your own business for a reason and if you are hating every minute of it then something isn’t right.  Yes, there will be dull days, there will be hard days but the good should outweigh the bad and you ought to be enjoying what you do.

Hope that helps! And if there is ever something you would like me to write about just ping me a message.