If you have not yet had the chance, you can read our previous article in this series here https://www.dieple.com/the-ecosystem-of-a-start-up/
Getting started in the United Kingdom is administratively simple. The Gov.UK website is replete with guides and templated to help you, and the wider start up community is among the top 5 in the world, ensuring a vibrant ecosystem. https://www.gov.uk/browse/business/setting-up. In addition, https://startups.co.uk/ is a great source of fresh ideas and approaches to shaping your business.
The rest of this article will review some tips and experiences along the way that will support your journey.
Opening A Bank Account
In early February, I contacted my traditional bank’s premium services online, to open a business bank account. Through various emails, phone calls, follow ups 3 months later, I still had no account. I cancelled the application and logged on to Starling business banking instead. Within 24 hours, I had a business bank account.
This story presents some key lessons on getting started in business. When you make the transition from being an employee to the service of a continuously changing stream of clients, you often have biases; like a preference for a long established brand with a historically strong reputation. In today’s modern economy, historic reputations do not assure future results. The ease of doing business with the relatively young but trending Starling has been both a surprise and a delight for me, check them out so you can decide if they are right for you too. https://www.starlingbank.com/business-account/
Sourcing Legal Services
As with the banks, I started my legal services journey with a meeting in a large corporate office, being served tea and biscuits, and being attended to by keen dark-suited lawyers. It surprised me during our meeting that talk of virtual administrators and hiring resources from upwork and fiverr drew blank stares from them. These firms are organised as specialists in a functional area of the law, but not specialists in business lifecycles. There was no specialist available for Start-ups, and the hourly rate of their senior partner was my daily sales rate for my own services.
Many standard legal forms can be found online for free, for many legal questions which are in fact standard procedure. The best resources that I found were available free after I made a one year subscription to my local chamber of commerce. What could have cost me my arms and legs was available for free, requiring a bit of my time for editing, and a quick consultancy call for the areas in which I had doubts.
Traditional legal services are ripe for disruption. It’s about time that business model and set up changes to suit the times we are in. Nonetheless, here are a couple resources to help you look for solicitors in your area, and to review their records.
When it comes to funding there are many fund raising sites such as kickstarter, Rocket hub, crowdfunder, fundrise, crowdcube, crowdshed, spacehive, Ratesetter, funding circle, Seedrs, angelList, fundersclub that are raising millions to fund equity or donation based funding across a wide set ventures. Most of the funding sites provide guidance on their portals, and there are numerous you tube videos on the topic with clear guidance on how to prepare for funding as well. Check them out to see who Is right for you, and if your business is right for them. Don’t forget though that there is also government support available for start-ups including loans and grants.
Entrepreneurs often think that to save money for the long journey they should seek minimal external support. However going it alone can actually lengthen your period of suboptimal cash flow. Getting a Virtual Assistant can, if it’s the right one and you have planned well for it, expand your time by many multiples. The first benefit is that they tend to be better at admin than we are. the second, they lift a lot of non-value adding tasks out of your hands
Letting an office
This proved a key strategic move for me. There are many office solutions cropping up on high streets all over the UK as traditional retail businesses close. Coworking spaces do not only offer desks nowadays; some are fully functioning shared facilities with private offices, and create a healthy atmosphere within which to drive growth, share ideas and growing pains, while maintaining your flexibility. You can negotiate to find a solution that fits your size and period of transformation. I have a great space in Southampton, if you are nearby come pay us a visit! https://www.sofourteen.co.uk/
Our next article in this series will look at the advantages and disadvantages of starting up outside of London (or big cities in general). Let us know your thoughts on this piece, and your experiences getting started! we are always happy to engage with people like us who embrace the challenge of creating something from nothing!