Starting a business can be a daunting task. There is a lot to consider, not least which type of business structure to follow. Here we offer three steps to starting a marketing business.
The thought of starting a business is one that crosses the mind of almost every marketing professional from time to time. The benefits of being self-employed are bountiful: not having a boss to listen to, being able to take control of the creative direction of a company, and the satisfaction of knowing that your success is self-earnt are just a few. Many are not ready to take the leap of faith, but for those willing to take the first step towards business success, there a number of things to consider first. Here we take a look at the foundations you need to build to get your business off the ground.
Choose the Right Business Structure
The type of company structure you choose can have a real effect on the long term direction of your business, so it’s important to get it right. For those unlikely to employ anybody else, it makes sense to register as a sole trader. Registering as a sole trader is the easiest and cheapest way to register a business, but the real benefit is the independence that comes with being a sole trader. Unlike other business structures, decisions can be made in real time, without having to discuss with colleagues or partners. However be warned that there are financial risks involved with sole-trading – if your business fails, any outstanding debt can be met from your own personal wealth, as the law makes no distinction between business owner and business.
For those starting a business with someone else – close friends or colleagues for example, forming a partnership is ideal. A partnership is similar to sole-trading but gives you a bit more flexibility and security, leaving you safe in the knowledge that there is someone else to cover the safe-running of the business should you fall ill. Once again, business owners are responsible for the debts of the business, so make sure the people you form a partnership with are trustworthy.
Registering as a Limited Liability Company is the safest option if you want to reduce financial risk. The law makes a distinction between the company and its owners, meaning that you are not directly responsible and your personal wealth is protected should your business fail. Be sure to look into the details of all three; the tax process for each is different and it’s important to consider which works best for your new business. Also consider whether you are going to employ staff. If you are, you need to provide a pension plan for your staff, without them having to do anything themselves. This is also known as auto enrolment.
Finding a Suitable Office
One of the most important steps for anyone setting up a business is to decide where you want to work from. If you are a sole-trader setting up a web-based marketing business, working from home is a possibility. For those looking to employ staff however, an office space will be needed. Indeed an office space certainly adds a level of credibility to your business, especially if you need to invite potential clients round to discuss a project. Look for somewhere in an easily-accessible location to allow you to work in the largest market possible with the widest range of clients, although bear in mind that city centre locations are likely to be more expensive.
Branding and Marketing
It sounds obvious, but for a marketing business to be successful, it needs to be marketed well itself. This should be easy for any marketing professional, but be sure to consider your target audience when branding your business and your website. Business targeting retail and technology clients should aim to appear creative and innovative, and so a bright but recognisable website and logo should represent your business.
For those targeting larger companies and public sector clients, chic and simplistic should be your aim. Don’t forget to enhance your SEO to ensure that your business stands out amongst the competition.
Get Up and Go
Take some time to fully research all your options and follow these steps to get your business off to a successful start. Once you’ve got everything sorted, the only thing left is to get your business up and running. Take the leap and make your business the best on the market!
Article contributed by Gary Keeley who is the founder of The Workplace Pension Consultancy, which provides advice and consultation for SMEs who are looking to set up auto-enrolment for their staff.