In part one I introduced you to the key considerations you need to think over and implement when starting a new business.

You should now have an idea of your:

  • your unique selling point
  • target audience
  • competition
  • how to position yourself with a brand and website

If you’re still unsure, head over here for a refresh.

This time we’re going to look at the practical steps you need to take to get things off the ground.

You’ve thought about your ‘why’ so let’s move on to the ‘how’.

How am I going to make and deliver my products/services?
How am I going to market them effectively to my target audience?
How can I make sure I’m doing everything legally, and above board?
How can I keep on top of the day to day management?

It’s the legalities and day to day processes I want to cover in this part of the blog, as every business owner is going to be producing their goods/services and marketing differently.

Insurance is a priority when running your own business

You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t see insurance as essential. In some industries its mandatory – finance, legal, health and wellness, etc. But what if you’re just a copywriter working from home? Or, making jewellery to sell on eBay and Etsy?

Every business owner needs insurance.

It doesn’t matter what you offer, or how you sell it. If anything can go wrong, you need to be protected. There are different types of insurance, and you might not need all of them, here’s a summary of each kind.

Business Premises Insurance
If you have commercial buildings then premises insurance is essential to protect you against risks like fire, storm damage, flooding and explosion.

Business Contents Insurance
Just like your home, business contents insurance covers what’s inside your premises or home office and may sometimes include items you take outside (think laptops, etc.)

Public Liability Insurance
If you have contact with other people during your business operations then you need to protect yourself in case someone is injured, or their property damaged, as a result of what you do. Examples might include tripping over a rug that isn’t secured, or a flower display falls onto their photographic equipment during a wedding reception.

Employer’s Liability Insurance
A legal requirement if you have employees. This insures against injury and illness because of an accident or part of their day to day work.

Professional Indemnity Insurance
If you offer advice and expertise to other business owners, you need indemnity insurance to protect you in case your advice caused harm to their trade and reputation. If a client believes you’ve been negligent, they can potentially sue you for loss of time and money.

If you work from home your current insurance policy may be enough to cover what you do, but I’d always advise getting a separate business policy in place. Be sure that you inform your home insurance provider that you are working from home as failure to do so can invalidate your policy!

Data Protection and GDPR are a legal requirement for every business

Data Protection is such a big deal right now with the upcoming implementation of GDPR (25 May) – General Data Protection Regulation.

There’s so much to know about GDPR that it’d take several blogs to look at it properly, but the information on the ICO’s website is a good first step. Essentially, you are responsible for:

  • Only collecting information from people that you need for a specific purpose (this includes customers and website visitors who may sign up to your mailing list, for example)
  • Keeping that information secure
  • Ensuring that the information is relevant and up to date
  • Only holding as much information as you really need, and for as long as you need it
  • Allowing the person that information pertains to, to see it on request

Failure to do any of those can result in a large fine, so it’s something you need to be on top of from day one! The ICO has a self-assessment toolkit that has checklists covering each aspect, and I created my very own GDPR auditing checklist that’s great for getting the ball rolling.

Business Processes and Procedures

Preparing for GDPR is all about looking at your working processes to identify where you collect personal data, and how you manage it. It’s a great way of having a good think about how you plan to do things and whether you can think of better options.

We’re talking about your workflows here – what are the steps you take for each business task?

It might seem crazy to sit down and plot each step it takes to respond to an email, or deliver a product to your customers but it can provide you with valuable information on:

  • How to streamline the process
  • Apps and tools that can automate things for you
  • Any replication you can reduce for you, and your clients
  • Anything that’s bothersome that you can outsource to a VA that enjoys it!

Your processes are something that bank managers and business coaches are keen to give the once over as they highlight areas you might be unsure about or could prove to be costlier than they’re worth.

Time to put it all together into a practical business and marketing plan

If you’ve followed everything in both parts of this blog, you’ll have the answers you need to put together an effective business plan that’ll guide you through your first few months as a new business owner. Putting it down on paper (that means printing it out!) helps to enforce what you’re going to do in your mind and reading through your business plan regularly will help you keep things on track.

If you’d like to discover how Banks’ Business Solutions can help your new start-up be successful, give us a call today for a friendly chat on 07736 938480 or drop us an email