In this 5-part blog guide we have listed the start-up tasks in order of how [we think] they should be completed when you are going through the process of setting everything up for your new business, but some of the tasks might not apply to you, or perhaps some of them have already been done. Either way, use this guide to best suit you and your business needs.
Time to go it alone!
If you have decided to leave your current day job and go it alone, or maybe you have a life-long dream to be your own boss but not quite sure how to go about setting a business up, then our ultimate checklist can help you start off on the right path.
But first – congratulations! It takes courage, discipline, dedication and determination to make a new business work, and the first step towards your new self-employed working life is to take the plunge – often the hardest step, especially for those that are still in full-time employment.
We work with many new / start-up businesses and all too often new business owners overlook some of the smaller but important tasks that need to be done in a certain order during the early days of the business start-up process and others don’t know where to start, so we have compiled a comprehensive list of tasks that you can use as a guide when setting up your business.
In part 1 of 5, we look at the initial tasks you need to think about when setting up a new business.
Think of a name for your business
This is probably the most important aspect of any new business, but given how many businesses there are in existence, it can often be difficult to come up with a great business name that is not only unique but also available to use.
What do you mean by ‘available to use’ I hear you say, well, here lies the problem; many people come up with a great name for their business but often fail to do even the most basic of checks to see if the name can be registered as a limited company, if the Domain Name can be registered (in both .co.uk and .com versions ideally) and whether there are any trademarks that are pending or active using the same business name that you have thought up.
It is also just as important to do proper research on Google to see if anyone trades under the same business name, and if they do, who are they, where are they located and what do they do? Write a list of words that relate to your business, perhaps think about different terminology or references that might relate to what you do and get creative with names!
It’s also worth pointing out that if you decide to go for a more exotic sounding business name, perhaps words in another language, it’s worth making sure the translation literally translates into what you expect it to be rather than something inappropriate of offensive!
Some online resources to help you
- Companies House web check: Here you can find out if there are any active, previously active or dissolved Limited companies – visit Companies House Web Check
- LCN – to check for Domain Name availability: Check to see if your business name is available as a .co.uk and a .com Domain Name – click the following link to check now Low Cost Names
- Search for a trade mark: Go here to see if a similar trade mark already exists and to find out who owns a trade mark – https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark
- Google: Do a thorough research on Google to see if anyone else trading with your proposed business name.
- Social Media: You should also check to make sure the relevant Social Media platforms that you wish to use have your new business name available. Use https://namechk.com to check all platforms at once.
The key thing to do is research and then research some more. Take time to carefully and thoroughly check to make sure your new business name is free to use.
Better to spend more time at this early stage checking then having to spend more money at a later stage changing your branding, artwork, print and anything else all because you failed to check your proposed business name properly at the start.
Buy your Domain Names
So you have carefully researched, double and triple checked to make sure your new business name is available – great! The next step is to secure your Domain Names. We can either register them for you on your behalf, or you can do this yourself (but remember to select “auto renew” on your Domain Names and have a valid debit/credit card on the account so you don’t lose your Domain Names!)
If you do choose to register the Domain Names yourself, there are plenty of companies that you can use to register them, however we recommend LCN (www.lcn.com). We have used LCN for many years and always found them to be excellent with great customer service.
We always recommend registering both .co.uk and .com versions of your chosen Domain Name where possible too.
Secure your Social Media platforms
The next stage is to think about what Social Media platforms you are going to be using. For most businesses the best Social Media platforms to use are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and in some cases SnapChat. Just Google these to find the websites and sign-up.
Using the tool mentioned previously to check for availability – (https://namechk.com), it is recommended that you secure all your Social Media platforms at this stage whether you intend to use them straight away or not to prevent anyone else registering them.
You will need an email address to register your Social Media accounts with – ideally you should use an email address associated to your business, but if you only have a personal email account at this stage then that will be fine.
With Facebook, you will need to have an existing personal profile to setup a business page. To create a business page, simply log into your personal Facebook account, and at the very top right next to privacy shortcuts and notifications, there is a downward pointing arrow icon. Click on this icon to expand the drop-down menu, and click “Create Page”. The rest is self-explanatory from here.
Website hosting and email
Website and email hosting is important, and it is recommended that you invest in the best solution you can afford. In years gone by when the internet first came into existence, cheap hosting accounts (some as cheap as £1, $1 or even 1p a month!) offered a limited service and in many cases, it was slow and unreliable.
In more recent years the same principles apply and it really isn’t best practice to use cheap, unreliable shared hosting as it will not only annoy your customers when trying to browse your website but Google won’t thank you for it either and will result in less visibility on Google when people search for your business if you decide to do a Search Engine Optimisation strategy. It is a much better bet to spend more for a better service. We offer hosting solutions for small, medium and large sized websites, find out more here – https://vaccodadesign.com/support
Once you have chosen and ordered your hosting, your business email addresses can be setup and your website holding page created to let the world know about the upcoming launch of your new website!
For email, you can have any email addresses you like. The most common ones are [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] (or [email protected] without hyphen) [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] and [email protected] You don’t have to be limited to just these options though – you can choose anything you like!
We offer great hosting and can give you loads of advice if you need it! Find out more about our hosting service here: https://vaccodadesign.com/support/
Coming up in part 2
In part 2, we will look at all things creative and the sort of questions you need to ask your designer when having a logo and brand identity created. We also start to think about preparing the text content of your website before having it built!