When you’re setting up a new business, ideas are often discussed casually. Around the dinner table, over a drink – the plan on the back of a receipt is often quite an accurate anecdote!

Taking a concept from the ‘dream’ stage to a fully-functioning, financially stable business can seem overwhelming, even down-right impossible. The good news is, all you need is a pathway to follow. If you’ve got an idea, and passion to go with it, you can be on your way.

Of course, all businesses are unique, but we’ve laid out the basics below – including the most common errors or oversights we’ve come across.

In the majority of cases, here’s what you’ll need to cover before you get going:

Planning

A business plan and financial forecasts should be your starting point. Knowing the market allows you to cover everything you’ll need to present to the banks to secure funding. This is where we would assist with financial knowledge and forecasting advice. If you’re unsure where to start, accountants and financial advisors can assist with business plans.

Getting in experts is key here. You should get the right assistance in, with the knowledge as to how to go to market, this may include: other entrepreneurs, ecommerce specialists, land agents and marketers. Seeking external advice at this stage will pay dividends in the future, by helping to avoid common errors and mitigate any potentially expensive mistakes. Going to see other businesses who are doing similar things can also be extremely useful, seeing how they are set-up, the infrastructure in place can provide inspiration, not to mention build your network.

Structure

Next up, it is crucial to sort out the structure of the business. Is it going to be a company limited liability? A partnership? Getting this all set up, as well as the issuing of shares, etc is extremely important. Particularly with rural businesses. Often business owners’ lives are embedded in their business, many rural entrepreneurs work from home and with family. This brings in the added dimension of future generations, and it’s not uncommon to have four generations in the same business.

People’s needs, aspirations and ambitions must be agreed, and need to correlate, if not, the business will not be successful. Disagreements can get in the way, and it doesn’t work if any one shareholder is disgruntled. Whilst it may seem unnecessary, bringing lawyers in to make sure there are shareholders and partnership agreements, is vital. This ensures everyone has clarity on the structure and trajectory of the business.

A strong business plan and structure lay down a solid foundation, upon which a prosperous business can be built. Although initially, you may be able to start trading without these in place, further down the line, the cracks will appear, and a lack of planning can come back to haunt you. Clear structures and planning will enable you to secure funding, attract investors and, ultimately, drive your new business forward towards a successful future.

If you’re looking to set up a business and would like some advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

A strong business plan and structure lay down a solid foundation, upon which a prosperous business can be built”

Suzanne Preston

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