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Haines Watts Thetford Phone icon 01842 760 007

Are you thinking of starting your own business?


Where do you start?

What skills do you need?

What do you need to do first?

Where do you go for advice?

You won’t be alone

In 2018 there were over 5.6 million businesses in the UK, compared with 3.4 million in 2001. The self-employed accounting for 15% of the working population. There were 5.4 million micro-businesses, those with 0-9 employees, accounting for 96% of all SME businesses.

So, being your own boss has become very popular and with advancements in technology and communications, more and more of us can choose when and how we work.

What qualities do you need to be your own boss?

That’s a difficult one to answer, but mainly you need determination and patience. Starting your own business can be daunting. We can’t all be good at communicating, technology or record keeping. We can all be hardworking, flexible, open minded, focused, determined and positive.

Generally if you want to start your own business you will have a skill set or trade that you know can earn you a living.

Being positive and hardworking are essential to get your business off the ground and there are lots of things to do before you will be able to sit back and take a moment to be proud of your achievement.

To find out more about the qualities you need to make a go of it read our factsheet here.

First Steps

The first thing to do is co-ordinate all your ideas and get a plan together. Talk to friends and family to bounce around ideas and make sure you are ready both mentally and financially for the roller coaster ride of being your own boss!!

Being in business means you have to wear many hats, make sure you know which tasks you can manage and which you need to outsource.

Over a period of time start to build the foundations for your launch, giving yourself time to plan ahead before you actually start taking on clients or projects.

Check you have the finances ready to go. Make sure your family are there to support you with possible long hours and erratic spending.

Research your market. Not just your competitors but what is happening in your chosen industry. Do you need a qualification or specific training certificates to compete in the market? What technological advancements are likely to affect your offering?

Start as you mean to go on.

So you know your business offering inside out, but do you know what you need to do from a legal or statutory point of view?

  • Have you registered self-employed?
  • How will you structure your business, sole trader, Ltd Company?
  • What do you know about keeping Books and Records, Taxation, Pensions, GDPR, Business and Indemnity Insurances, Guarantees or Legal Contracts?

There’s so much to learn and so many things that you need to do before you even think about actually completing your first project.

Where should you go for advice?

Research for our Back to Happiness, Life of a Business Owner paper showed that 25% of business owners turned to their accountant for help, with 22% speaking to fellow business owners for advice.

Talk to your Accountant about a Business Plan. This is a key element for any business and not just for financing. Once you launch your business you will have a plan going forward to refer to. A target, whether its financial or productivity, will give you a focus and a goal to work towards.

An accountant will help you ensure you get things right from the outset with regard to Taxation and record keeping. They will also be able to introduce you to other professional services that you may need such as payroll services, pensions and insurance providers.

They will also be able to help with your business structure and advise on the benefits of sole Trader vs Incorporation. You should get an introduction to Cloud Accounting software which makes keeping books and records and monitoring your business easier with access to your business transactions anytime and anywhere.

You can join a local business group. They will be made up of like-minded individuals who will have been through the same fears and challenges and will offer insight and guidance in to what you need to do and where to go to get it.

Local business advisory groups will run courses locally covering basic things like Sales & Marketing and Social Media. These classes are often reasonably priced and will give you an overview of the subjects.

Of course there are many other things you need to think about like business stationery, marketing and advertising and premises.

How can Haines Watts help?

We regularly meet with potential business owners to introduce them to the world of taxation and accounting. It’s so much easier to start as you mean to go on. Get the advice you need from the outset to make sure you set up your books and record keeping and get tax planning advice from the word go.

Once you start to get busy with those essential daily tasks you’ll find time flies and having a structured approach to your accounting will prove to be a great advantage when it comes to raising invoices and chasing debts and cash flow.

At Haines Watts we love meeting new people and helping them to get their business ideas up and running. It’s an exciting, tiring, challenging and rewarding time for a new business owner and we aim to offer as much or as little support as we can.

If you are thinking of starting up your own business then please get in touch – we will be delighted to help you get your ideas off the ground and get you started on the road to becoming a successful business owner. Give us a call on 01379 640555 to organise a meeting with one of our business advisors.

Want to know more? Call us on 01842 760 007 or email

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