Churchill’s Top Tips for Start-ups
Start-ups often conjure up images of tech enthusiasts situated in Shoreditch, Silicon Valley or any area that is over populated by Apple laptops. However, in reality, the term Start-up can apply to any business taking its first tentative steps. And, in our experience, whilst the service or product differs dramatically from start-up to start-up, the basic principles of starting your own business remain the same.
Having worked with a number of Start-ups over the past thirty years, we have drawn upon our team’s shared knowledge to compile some helpful pointers for ambitious entrepreneurs.
Market Research is an invaluable tool that can help offer a far more nuanced understanding of your market. Certainly, there are plenty of companies who offer outsourced Market Research, but for the budget conscious there are a number of thrifty alternatives:
– Survey Monkey: offers a free platform allowing users to create bespoke questionnaires. These can easily be shared on Social Media (particularly Facebook groups) to reach the widest possible audience.
– You Gov: Has a phenomenal hidden resource – the profiles page – that provides a unique insight into consumers at most large companies. Search for a large competitor and you can discover invaluable information about what makes your target market tick.
– Traditional market research: Attend events or workshops frequented by potential clients are ask targeted questions. You may find the answers to be of significant help.
When starting a business it is important you choose the legal framework that is best suited to your start-up. For the majority of companies we work with there are three main categories to choose from:
– Sole Trader
The simplest option, with few start-up costs and little bureaucracy. A Sole Trader has complete autonomy over their business and is able to keep financial records private. The only major disadvantages are that the owner is personally liable for any debt and it may prove more difficult to raise finances.
– Business Partnership
In a business partnership each partner shares joint responsibility for the business and is personally liable for losses. Having an equal partner offers far more flexibility and allows for considerable freedom from shareholders. For the perfect relationship we would advise finding a partner with complementary skills and similar core values. However, disputes can occur so make sure to draw up a solid agreement. No business should be overly reliant on personal relationships.
– Limited Companies
A limited company is run by directors and overseen by shareholders. This business structure removes any personal liability, offers far more tax flexibility and can boost a businesses’ credentials. Having Ltd. or Limited after your company name adds a level of prestige that may well impress those bigger clients.
However, for a smaller company it may not necessarily be the best option. It makes setting up a company far more expensive, means private information is displayed on public records and can easily double accountancy costs.
At Churchills we are always eager to help start-ups, so if you have any questions do feel free to give us a call on 0208 511 1070. If we can’t help we have links with a fantastic array of professionals who can provide relevant advice and helpful resources.