𝐁𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐁𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 - 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐝
You’ve done it. You’ve started on your journey as a businesswoman (or man, full props to both). Maybe you decided not to return to work after maternity leave. Maybe you want flexibility around childcare. Maybe you need to bring in an extra income. Maybe it’s all three!
Whatever has brought you to the start of your empire, it can be a daunting task. Where do you even begin?! If you’re in a tailspin with getting up and running, then relax.
𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐬.
Pick a Name - and Make it Memorable
Lots of people choose to use their name as a business name, but if you want a separate identity or your name is tricky to spell, then coming up with something to call your new enterprise takes some thinking. It’s like naming your child, except you have to check that NO ONE else has the same name.
The best tools for checking name availability are;
Companies House - this is a list of all currently trading and dissolved companies. You can’t use the same name as a trading business.
URL - this is the domain. Use a provider such as 123reg to check if your business name is available as a domain. Be wary of adding hyphens since most people will forget to include them - you may end up sending your business to a competitor!
Facebook/Insta/Twitter/TikTok - Basically, all the socials need a handle that’s relevant too. @83media was taken on Twitter, but since I don’t use it much I was ok with going for @83mediadorset. This wasn’t make or break for me.
International Options - check out the .com version of your domain too. If there’s a website on it, you might want to rethink the name. Not only will you likely lose people who are looking for you, but you may also end up competing for keywords too (no idea what a keyword is? Check out my post on an intro to keywords here.)
Make it POP
I may be biased, but a great logo is the best way to begin your journey. Not only does it look like you mean business, it gives you the confidence to believe in yourself too. But branding isn’t just about looking pretty - it’s a clear communication of who you are talking to (your ideal customer) and what you are about (your ethics, lifestyle, and aims).
I work with many wedding industry businesses. Their ‘ideal client’ is usually (but not always) a woman. Armed with this information, as well as more specific details, the design process begins. One of the key aspects that drives the design is examining who you want to respond so understanding your target market is super helpful.
Logos don’t have to be super expensive (although investing in professional design is a very good thing). I’ve created a logo shop for those that just want an instant design that gets them started on the journey. These pre-designed logos cost just £15 and will be tailored to you to give you everything you need to launch a confident brand.
Sole-Trader or Limited Company?
How you plan to run your business is biggie, and understanding the differences between a sole trader, partnership and Limited company is essential.
I’m no accountant (as my accountant will attest), but I have been all three of the above, so I can whistle-stop tour you around what each means. But please speak to a professional to get more detailed advice, I’m just the designer!
The business is an entirely separate entity to you. It has its own name, bank account, and has to be registered with Companies House. You become a Director of the company, and if you carry out work within the company, you’ll be paid via Payroll as an employee. You are an employee of the company.
As such, you’ll need to make pension contributions, but you’re entitled to benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay, and maternity and paternity pay (provided you meet the minimum required income). You can also draw dividends from the company profits, and those are taxed at just 7%.
The downside of it is the cost. You have to file company accounts as well as a self-assessment, so you will need to pay an accountant for this, as well as Payroll each month. You aren’t personally liable for any debts though, so if you’re a homeowner, this route might be a good idea.
For me, the option of sole trader is more appropriate. I don’t have end of year accounts, just my self-assessment. I do run my business as I would a limited company; I have business bank accounts (yes, plural, I follow the Profit First method, there’s more on that in this blog). I use accounting software to raise invoices and do my bank reconciliation and have insurance (ALWAYS get insurance). If you take out loans or lines of credit, you are personally liable, so if you stop trading for any reason, the debt would still need to be paid.
This is basically Sole-Trader status, but there’s more than one company owner. You’ll need to have a partnership return done as well as your self-assessment, but other than that, the above applies.
That’s all we have time for today, but I’d say that quite a lot to get started with. From naming to branding, to official status - you have an exciting time ahead of you. The world needs more strong, female business leaders, so go forth and be confident!
I’d love to hear about your idea and if you need a logo, you know where to find me.