14 Top tips for choosing the best business accountant for your type of business3 November 2022
19-Point checklist for starting a private company
All businesses start with an idea. But you'll need more than an idea to make your business dream a reality. Planning, skills, resources, time – and a little luck – are all important.
This list will guide you through the early stages of your business. Use it as a roadmap for building and running your new business.
Get your new business up and running with our 19-step checklist.
1. Define your unique selling point
You need a unique selling point (USP). It’s important that you define what makes your business different from the competition. Try to sum it up in two sentences – and memorise it. You'll use it every time you pitch to investors and potential customers.
2. Find a business mentor
Whether it's a business advisor or a financial guru, find someone who will give you honest feedback about your business. Contact small business associations or small business development centres.
3. Create a business plan
When you create a business plan, you’ll need to summarise your business as it is now, and map your vision for how it will be in the future.
4. Register web domains and trademarks
You'll need a website, so check for suitable domain names and register them. Think about trademarks too – talk to your lawyer about this.
5. Set up your business structure
Choose a legal structure that works best for you. An accountant can help you here.
6. Ensure that your business will eventually be profitable
Can you make a profit from your business? Use accounting software to run profit and loss forecasts. Ask an accountant or financial advisor for their opinion.
7. Set up a business bank account
Don't use your personal account, even if you're just starting out. It’s always wise to keep your business finances separate. A credit card and PayPal account could be useful too. Make sure you have your MOI handy when visiting the bank as this will be required to open a bank account. Your accountant can source the MOI for you.
8. Arrange business insurance
Even the smallest companies need insurance. Talk to a broker to find the best package for you.
9. Register for taxes
Organise tax IDs and register with the tax office. It’s best to get this paperwork done right at the start.
10. List the items that can be tax deductible expenses
Office rent, equipment costs, internet costs – all of these may be offset against tax so make sure you talk to your accountant.
11. Create your website
Use the website domain name you've already registered if possible. Services like Squarespace, Wordpress, Moonfruit and Onepager will get you online quickly. You can always refresh and improve your site at a later date.
12. Create social network accounts
Different businesses have different social media needs. You might need a Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile – or you may only need a Twitter account. Do some research on competitors or ask your mentor to see what will work for your business. Look at companies that you aspire to be like for inspiration.
13. Ask people to promote you online
Contact members of your social networks. Tell them about your new business and ask them to share the link to your website with the people in their networks.
14. Think about how you'll use technology
Nearly all companies use technology. Think about whether you need laptops, tablets, smartphones – or all of these. Talk to local IT firms if you're not sure.
15. Choose your business applications
Software is getting more powerful and intuitive. If possible, choose online applications for your work. These include Google Docs and Microsoft 365. That way you can access your valuable data online from anywhere at any time.
16. Keep your data safe
Companies that lose data also lose business. Use cloud-based software for peace of mind.
17.Separate your personal and business bank account
Even if you’re a sole proprietor you should have a separate bank account for your business income. You should even take it as far as paying yourself a salary out of your business account into your personal account. This will help paint a clearer picture of how well your business is actually doing.
18. Fund Your Business
With your business plan, registration, and bank account in order, you’re officially ready for funding! The two most common ways to finance a new business are loans and grants:
Business loans are typically secured through banks or through the Small Business Administration. If your loan application is approved, you’ll receive a sum of cash with the agreement that you’ll repay the amount over time (plus interest).
If you secure a grant, you’ll receive funding for your business with no repayment obligation. Grants are provided to small businesses because they help stimulate the economy and meet needs within an industry or community.
19. Find the right employees
Hiring the right employees is important. While you may only be able to hire one or two employees to start with, it’s still vital that you hire well and choose the right ones.