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Starting a New Business on Your Own

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 9 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Self-employed Taxes New Business

It’s a big step to start a new business, especially when you’re doing it alone, so here’s a useful guide to the key issues involved in starting a business on your own.

When you’re first starting to launch your own business, there’s an awful lot to organise and think about. Needless to say, it’s easy to get bogged down with everything and find it a big overwhelming, especially when you’re doing it on your own. However, by being fully aware of everything you’ve got to get done, and by being organised from the outset, you can make your way through your lists and ensure everything is completed.

Money and Finance Issues

For many people, one of the biggest changes involved in starting your own business is the move to being solely responsible for all your taxes, expenses and bills. If you’re setting up a business as a sole trader, than you have to first remember to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as self-employed within three months of starting your business. If you think you’ll need to register for VAT as well, then they can send you the relevant form to complete.

As a self-employed sole trader, this means that you’re in control of completing an annual self-assessment tax return for the Inland Revenue. Due to this, it’s crucial to get on top of your paperwork from the beginning, so that you have clear and easy-to-follow records of all payments you make, supplies you purchase, employees you pay and any other expenses you have.

If you don’t keep records throughout the year, you’ll be faced with a major panic when it’s time to complete your self-assessment form – and that’s no fun when you’re totally disorganised! Simple records can easily be kept on the computer and you could employ a bookkeeper for extra help, if need be. When it comes to filling in the tax return, it can be very daunting, especially when you’ve never had to do it before. Employing an accountant can make the job easier, plus you can gain from their specialist knowledge and they can help you save money.

Paperwork and Correspondence

When it’s only you running your business, it’s up to you to keep on top of all paperwork and correspondence, as well as all your other work. There are times when it can be overwhelming to be having to handle everything, but if you want to portray a professional image, you need to keep on top of all areas and ensure you reply to any correspondence and sort out all paperwork as soon as possible.

It’s the same case as far as replying to any enquiries from clients, whether existing or prospective, or anyone that may be able to bring you business. The quicker you’re able to reply to queries, the more impressive your business service will appear. After all, nobody wants to employ a gardener who takes forever to reply. If your business soars beyond your expectations, then you may need to employ an assistant to handle your correspondence for you. This has obvious benefits, namely that they’ll always be someone there to handle queries, even when you’re off on a job.

If you’re not yet in a position to need an assistant full-time, then you could always use the services of a virtual assistant. Not only can they help you out with fielding phone calls and email queries, but they may also be happy to chase unpaid invoices and other work, which can be really useful.

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