Six things every start-up should consider before they launch

You’ve already got a brilliant idea; you might already have investors and business partners ready to help you launch; the product (or service) is polished, looking good and nearly ready to greet customers, but, wait… what about the practicalities?
What legal form will your business take, for example? Will it be a partnership, or a company?
If it’s the latter, have you carefully considered a company name which works for your business but won’t conflict with Companies House regulations?
Although there’s plenty of information and inspiration on the web from wildly successful entrepreneurs with names we all recognize, most of it’s designed to guide new business owners AFTER they formally start up and not before.
While this is extremely valuable advice and an important time for start-ups, it doesn’t address the important steps before your official launch.
Here are six things you should consider before you launch…
1) Different company structures – which one is right for your business?
There’s a wide variety of company types and you’ll need to select the one that’s best suited to your business, as well as reviewing the information that needs to be reported to Companies House.
Although not every company will need to be set up as a private company limited by shares immediately, it’s invaluable to know what the benefits and risks would be specifically for you and your business and which UK company type is right for you.
2) Choosing a name for your business
As well as knowing what type of company is right for your business, choosing a name is also a very important step. It involves more than just creative branding; regulations and “same as” legislation from Companies House must also be considered. New legislation regarding company names came into force in early 2015. Will this affect the name you’ve chosen for your company?
3) Getting your accounts and financials in order  
Having all of your business accountancy needs sorted before you get started will keep you on track once invoices and receipts start rolling in.
And if you don’t think you’ll have time to manage it yourself with all the other demands of your business, hiring a professional to manage your accountancy needs may be the best option to help you stay on track.
Also, will your turnover exceed the VAT threshold? Will you need help filing annual returns? These are all important questions to be answered before starting your business.
4) Knowing your legal obligations
Understanding the legal issues around running a business is of paramount importance. You don’t want to put yourself or your business at legal risk.
Have you clearly set out the terms and conditions of sale, for example? Are you aware of the requirements around what you can do with customer information and data protection laws?
Do you have employees? If so, you’ll need to consider employment contracts and policies.
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEEA) received Royal Assent on March 26 2015. How will the new law affect your business?
A new consumer law will come into force in October 2015. If you’re dealing directly with consumers, will you know what changes to make?
5) Selecting or designing a company logo
This is essentially the public image of your company. How do you want potential customers to view it? Have you thought about colour and shape?
Have you researched if your chosen logo design would infringe on copyright of any similar types of logos? You may want to consult with a qualified graphic designer who can review logo and brand options that would best fit your company.
6) Registering a domain name and building a website
Clearly, the web is here to stay, and to stay competitive in the digital marketplace, a website is a must. Choose your domain name carefully, get it registered and build a modern website.
Selecting a responsive design for your website that is mobile-friendly is ideal, as this is also at the forefront of the modern digital marketplace. Have you given thought to how you want to approach SEO? You may want to consult with qualified web developers if you’re unsure about having a go at it yourself.
For help with all these things and more, get in touch. You’ll find me at Oswalds in Edinburgh on 0131 557 6966, or email me at enquiries@oswalds.co.uk

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