Welcome to the Hertford blog!
So it’s 2013 and things aren’t really improving much economically. I remember listening to Radio 5 Live in January 2008 and them having a big phone in about the next 3 years being very tough financially. Economic experts were claiming this would all be over by 2010, but it would be very very hard going. The experts weren’t wrong (except for the fact it’s not over yet!!)
With the recent increase in redundancies lots of people are turning to starting their own business. While it’s hard work, running a business can be very rewarding. You become your own boss, answer to no one other than yourself, work the hours you want and work with the customers you want.
Starting your own business isn’t as daunting as it might seem initially. If you have a business idea, aren’t afraid of hard work and have a thick skin, then setting up a business in 2013 can be a reality that could lead to some great financial success and personal reward.
Whilst those 3 ingredients are vital to having a successful business, there are a lot of other things a business owner needs to do and get help with. So here’s a complete guide to setting up and running your own business, including links to local companies who can help your idea become a real business success.
Let’s start with the basics, office space and equipment. No matter how small or what type of business it is, there needs to be some space for office duties. Spare rooms, or converted outside buildings such as sheds make ideal offices. However kitchen tables or laps in front of the telly (a personal favourite during the Olympics!) aren’t great places to get productive. If spare rooms or outside buildings aren’t available then there are loads of options for office rentals on contract free terms. Space can be had for as little as £150 per month if you look hard enough, or think about sharing with a friend if they have a business and are in need of space too. It’s a buyers’ market for office space at the moment, so landlords are quite flexible on terms and costs. It’s very easy to think a kitchen table is sufficient to run a business, but it’s not. Distractions are too easy to come by and important tasks either take twice as long or are forgotten about until the last minute. It’s also important to feel like you’re ‘going to work’ rather than just sitting indoors. Quiet desk space is essential to run a successful business, whatever the type or size it is.
Once you have a place to work sorted, you need the all important phone line, electricity and broadband connections. Further down this blog post I mention the importance of keeping as much of your money as possible. So with that in mind your utilities are a very boring thing that you need to waste money on! I use The Utility Warehouse for my personal and business utilities. They provide a great service with UK call centres and I've saved a fortune since signing up with them in 2010. The biggest benefit is the contract free way they provide thir services. As a business owner, things can be unpredictable, so the last thing you need is to be tied into lengthy utility contracts. The link above is for the local Hertford distributer for The Utility Warehouse, Paul Jennings.
Your equipment is important too. In my opinion, every business needs a computer of some sort to get by. Laptops are ideal but let you fall into the trap of working in front of the telly, a desktop computer keeps you organised and productive. But if you’ve had a long day and have a handful of invoicing to do that evening, who wants to shut themselves away for an hour when they can do it with their family around them on the laptop? Smartphones are essential for small business owners, emails and leads from social media can be accessed instantly and there’s a wide range of business apps available to make life easier. For a good quality local independent mobile phone dealer who provides great deals on Smartphones I recommend Ware Orange.
Every business needs to be insured, it’s important and not something to be overlooked. Public liability is a must! I can personally recommend Ashbourne Insurance for business insurance. They’re local, low cost and based on the high street, so you can pop in for a chat about your requirements. Running a business can become all consuming and take over your life. So to not spend the time insuring your baby properly is a foolish thing to do!
One of the best parts of running a business is definitely earning your own money! But even more important than earning money is keeping as much of it as possible! There’s only one way to achieve that, get a good accountant! Your accountant should be more than someone to keep you from paying too much tax though. Your accountant should be someone who understands your business inside out. They are there to give advice about your finances and what decisions you should take with your business. You need to trust them implicitly and feel at ease to explain the intimate workings of your business, and also get some frank opinions from them. Your accountant could well be described as a silent business partner. They should have a vested interest in your business, because if you go under they lose a customer. Here’s 2 local accountants that can make your business a success, Leggatte Associates and KAP Acountancy. They’re both highly recommended and I use one of them for my business, you can’t go wrong with either accountant.
Business cards and general stationary is vital for any business, what better way to quickly pass your details on than handing a business card to a potential customer. So, you need a good printer! Like an accountant your printer is a vital cog in your business. Price isn’t always the thing to be swayed on when picking your printer. In my opinion, quality outweighs price any day of the week. When you order 1,000 business cards and 6 months later are still handing them out, the £20 you saved won’t mean anything if the quality is compromised. A cheap business card can wreck your image, and they get damaged easier. So spend some money and buy laminated cards with good clean design. I can recommend Atec Printing, based locally. They have produced my print work for nearly 3 years now and I've been very happy with the results every time!
If you’re planning to move into a premises, or employ someone then you need a health and safety policy and first aid training to avoid any future mishaps. Flexible Training run by local man, Neil Andrew are very well placed to ensure you have everything you need. Like your business insurance, it’s very important and something that’s often overlooked with sometimes dire consequences.
Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 of this blog which gets onto the exciting stuff of marketing and promotion for your business!
Good luck and thanks for reading, Rob
Member since: 10th July 2012
Hi there, my name's Victoria and as owner of thebestof Hertford and Ware it's my job to find and promote the best information, events and businesses that Hertford and Ware have to offer!