Starting a new business – getting it right from day one

For many, setting up their own business is a dream come true. Whether you are formalising a lifelong hobby, or starting out on a new business proposition, there are several steps which need to be taken to ensure you comply with all UK business regulations.

One of the first decisions to be made is what type of business you want to run. You may be a sole trader, entering into a partnership, setting up a franchise or starting a limited company. Depending on how you want to proceed, the taxation and legal requirements differ. A limited company must be registered at Companies House, and if a taxable turnover of more than £85,000 is expected, the business should register for VAT, whereas everyone must also self-employed be aware of the recent changes to IR35 regulations.

It is important to investigate what licenses or permits are required for your industry, and also what types of insurance policies are necessary. All small businesses which employ people must have Employers’ Liability Insurance, to cover the business should any staff members claim they have suffered an illness or injury at work. And if you or your employees come into contact with other people, you will need Public Liability Insurance. You may also wish to protect your business by gaining intellectual property rights. Copyrights, patents and trade marks can keep your business idea safe, and you can also protect your designs or digital intellectual property. Getting this right in the beginning will help ensure nobody else uses your ideas and that you don’t infringe the rights of others as you go about your business.

Where you decide to work has an implication on your taxation as well. There are grants and tax relief opportunities if you work at home, and if your business has an office or manufacturing site, you will need to pay business rates.

If you decide to employ people, it might be beneficial to ask a third party to manage your payroll, taking care of PAYE, national insurance and pension payments.

Keeping records of your income and expenditure is vital and should be done properly from the very beginning. You can choose a bookkeeping service to make sure your finances are recorded and reported currently, or work with an accounting team to help form and manage your business strategy going forward. A qualified accountant can help you make important business decisions during good times and when things are more challenging.

An important prerequisite for all businesses today is digital record keeping which is now mandated by HMRC. Recording your income and expenditure properly from day one will make a big difference as you go forward, no matter how big or small the transaction.

Getting it right in the beginning is key to long-term success. From planning to budgeting, from tax to pensions, James Milne has been helping businesses get started for over 100 years. Contact us now with to make your new business dream come true.