Starting up your own business is very exciting, but does involve a lot of hard work to prepare for the launch of your venture. It is vital to ensure everything is in place for day 1. You must have completed at least the following elements in order to be ready for the formation companies’ process:
- Ensure your start-up finances are in place. If you have insufficient funds, you must seek investment from banks, small business loans or financing from individuals
- Carry out comprehensive market research to verify that the products or services you are offering are attractive and required by your target market and demographic
- Set up a website showcasing what you offer and use search engine optimisation and social media to help market your goods or services
- Write a convincing and inclusive Business Plan. Include realistic financial forecasts and details of how you perceive the business will grow and develop
- Decide whether you will need office premises/warehousing and staff. If so, ensure you have sourced the relevant resources.
The following is a guide to formation companies.
When you are satisfied that your preparations are complete, it is time to have a look at formation companies. Searching the internet will provide you with all the information you need. Spend some time studying the various websites to see what they offer. Packages and prices will vary, so look for those who offer the most comprehensive at competitive rates. Packages on offer should range from a basic one for small business start-ups providing a ready to trade company with all essential incorporation documents, to complete bundles that include VAT and PAYE registration with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), company register and seal, mail forwarding service, statutory register completion/maintenance and annual return filing.
Some companies will provide services such as setting up a business bank account with one of the major banks and an accountancy consultant service. Many of these services can be really helpful for new businesses. The best will also provide post-formation services to support the new company into the future.
Look for formation companies who are well established, professional and dependable. There should be a great deal of information on their website. The superior ones will have extensive customer feedback and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help potential clients make their decision. Remember that your relationship with the formations company can be a close and lengthy one, so it is vital to choose the right one.
When you have selected a formation company to work with, you can start the process. Ensure you have all the necessary information to hand. You will need to check whether your chosen company name is unique as Companies House will not accept a name already registered to another business. Your company formation agent will be able to do this. It is a good idea to have a few alternative names available. The mandatory forms will need to be completed with details of your business and its directors and shareholders.
When all the paperwork has been completed and checked, your agent will submit the forms on your behalf. You will not have to wait long, as most formations are authorised within a matter of hours. You will receive electronic copies of the Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles and Association and Share Certificates for your shareholders. Any hard copy documents you have requested will be sent by normal mail.
Congratulations – you are now the proud owner of a legally formed company and can start trading immediately. The excitement begins and you can look forward to a successful future running your own business.