Starting a Business on Your Own
Starting a business is a major step and it can be even more so if you’re going it alone. There can seem like a huge amount of things to do and you need to get organised in the early stage to keep on top of it all. So what issues do you need to take into consideration?
Being organised and knowing what you need to plan, organise and achieve is crucial to running a successful business. When you’re doing it on your own, you’ve not got anyone else there to remind you of things – unless you’ve got additional non-business support – so it’s up to you to keep on top of everything and make sure it all gets completed.
Money IssuesOne of the benefits of starting a business on your own is that setting up as a sole trader is quicker and easier than other options and involves the least number of formalities to deal with. In the first instance, all you have to do is register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as self-employed within three months of when you start your business. If you need to register for VAT, they’ll then send you the relevant form to fill in.
As a business, you will be responsible for all your taxes, debt and controlling debt management. As a self-employed sole trader, you’ll need to complete an annual tax return for the Inland Revenue, so it’s important to keep your accounts accurately throughout the year, otherwise you could be faced with a panic when the time comes to fill in the return. This means keeping track of all expenditure, invoices, outstanding debts, receipts etc.
Many companies do their own accounts, but to take some of the pressure off, it may be easier to employ an accountant, as they’ll do the hard work of filling in the tax return for you. They’ll also be able to advise about what equipment is tax deductible and all the other ways in which you can save money.
Health and SafetyAnother issue you may need to consider is ensuring that your business environment, whether it’s a shop, workshop or office, meets basic health and safety issues. If you’re working from home and not employing anyone else this won’t be too much of an issue, but as soon as you employ anyone else, this becomes important. Not only this, but it’s also up to you to provide a good standard of health and safety for any members of the public or other visitors who come to your workplace.
This means that you need to ensure the environment itself is safe, as well as that any equipment or tools used are done so in a safe way. If you have employees and you’re making crafts, then you may need to train them in the safe use of tools or other equipment. Either you, or someone else working at your business, needs to be trained in basic first aid and you need to have a fire safety check to assess the fire risks and fit fire or smoke alarms. You should have a fire emergency plan in place, so that you and anyone else working for you knows what to do and where to go in the event that a fire does occur.