As the world recovers from lockdown after the COVID-19 Pandemic, now’s as a good a time as any to take a fresh approach to boost your income streams. For some this may mean defining a new career strategy. Others may decide that forming and building a new startup business provides a more attractive proposition for building a healthy remuneration for work.
Here are some useful tips on forming a startup business including essential tools that every new startup should look to utilize.
1–Think of a suitable name for your startup business. Keep it short, keep it snappy. Try and explain the nature of your business through your business name and try and choose a name that is easy to remember and that will differentiate you from similar businesses.
For example Mike’s Pizzas Vs The Good Pizza Delivery Store
The latter is long, doesn’t catch the eye, or roll off the tongue easily and is likely to be confused with other similar-sounding businesses. Mike’s Pizzas on the other hand ticks all of the boxes.
2–Get your brand name trademarked and protected. This will future proof you from competitors and companies with similar-sounding names. It also strengthens your brand and reputation as trademarked brands are usually associated with stable and reputable companies. It is also always good to have peace of mind that you can legally keep copycats at arm’s reach with a trademarked brand. Trademarking is an easy process to do follow with fees costing no more than £100, with no need to hire expensive lawyers. In the UK an application can be submitted directly to the gov.uk website.
3–Start trading immediately without a company. Many startups think they can only start trading as a business if they form a Ltd company. This is not necessarily the case. While in the long run forming an Ltd company has many advantages, if you are at the very early stages of your business and simply want to test the concept there is no law to stop you trading as a sole trader using your bank account. Once you are confident that things are going in the right direction set up a company and get a business bank account. Company formation costs are typically around £15 and you no longer need to make a trip to the High Street to open a bank account, wearing your best suit. There are several online Banks now that allow you to open a Bank Account in a few clicks with no interview necessary. Tide, CashPlus, and Monzo are to name a few.
4–A website is a must. You must have heard the saying that a business with no sign is a sign of no business? In today’s digital age a trading establishment with no website as also one of the biggest business sins that you can commit. Websites are not as complex and expensive to create as you might think. There are many online companies like Wix that allow you to build your website with minimum previous experience. For the hardest of technophobes, you can easily hire someone to build your website for you. A bespoke basic 5-page website with no shopping cart should cost you around £150.
5–Create a Logo for your business. Remember first impressions last. Your logo should look professional and attractive and should ooze professionalism. After all, your logo is your brand and your brand represents your business. A good graphic designer should charge no more than £100 to design a good quality logo. Find a freelance graphic designer on professional hiring platforms liking Fiverr and People Per Hour. Alternatively, you can have a go yourself using any one of many, logo making websites.
6–The trading address is important. As a startup you may not have the capital to invest in premises for your business, so the natural choice is to trade from home. But do you want to openly advertise your home address to the world? Remember in today’s digital age a quick search in Google Maps can reveal that the trading address for your business is a 3-bed suburban semi. This won’t do your business’s image any favors. Then you have the additional worry of customers turning up to your door unannounced, door to door salesmen calling in to sell you services you don’t need and not to mention receiving lots of business-related junk mail. A great solution to all of these problems is to rent a virtual office. For a few pounds per month, you can rent a virtual address at a desirable location of your choice. You can use it as the registered address for your business and most virtual office providers will provide a mail forwarding service. Do a quick search on “virtual offices near me” and see what comes up. Try and go for a virtual office provider that also has on-site meeting room facilities. That way you can “meet clients/suppliers at your office” whenever the need arises.
7–Don’t use web-based email for communications. There is nothing less appealing to a prospective client or supplier than dealing with someone claiming to be a reputable business while using a Gmail or Hotmail account! If you create a website as per our guidance in point 4 above, then you automatically have the right to have an email address in the same domain name as your website. Speak to your website hosting provider to set up a domain-based email address. You can also have a domain-based email address without the need to have a website. A few Google searches on “cheap domain hosting” will come back with a list of suppliers like Go Daddy and 123-reg.
8–If you are an office-based business, then try not to operate your business using a mobile phone. It doesn’t look very professional and it immediately sends signals to the caller that you are not large enough to have your own office with a landline number. The days of lengthy and expensive business landline contracts are now over. You can hire a VoIP landline phone number for just a few pounds per month. The beauty of it is that you can still make calls on your mobile or pc using an App. This means that you can still be on the move while still giving the impression to the person on the other end of the phone that you are in the office.
9–There are of course exceptions to the rule of having a VoIP landline number and where working from a mobile will benefit your business. If you are marketing yourself specifically as a small business with cheap prices where you provide a service that requires you to be on the move, then a customer would expect to reach you on mobile. An example that comes to mind is a gardener. Answering a call via a landline number can send signals to a customer that there can’t be much demand for your services if you have enough time to sit in the office and answer calls. We would recommend getting a separate mobile number for such businesses. You don’t need to tie yourself into an expensive contract. There is plenty of pay as you go sims that offer great deals. Giff Gaff and Asda Mobile are 2 of the cheapest pay-as-you-go, providers. If you invest in a dual sim phone you also eliminate the need to carry two phones.
10–Get a call answering service. Call answering services are great for taking calls on your behalf when you are not available meaning you never miss a business call. They also give the impression of you having an established business with a receptionist to answer your calls. Call answer services normally come in the form of a monthly fee to answer calls on your behalf and in some cases transfer calls to you too. Typical costs are around £20 per month but if you shop around you can also find pay as you go services which charge you for every call taken. These are of benefit if you only expect a low volume of calls.
The moral of the story as such is that it doesn’t need to cost a fortune for you to set up the infrastructure to operate a startup business efficiently and professionally. In the age of digitalization set up, costs are only getting easier and cheaper.
Matt Price is a blogger and speaker who enjoy enlightening others about unknown and little-known facts. Matt is the owner of Icon offices and we provide luxury serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and shared rooms in a cheap rate in East London Essex.
Startup stock photo by REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock