engage magazine issue 003 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'07 - Page 42

42 STARTING A BUSINESS Ten Top Tips 10 So how can you ensure that you are one of the lucky 20 per cent? A lot of it is down to luck, so applying common sense does improve your luck. ten top tips for STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS STARTING up your own business looks very simple — but you should always remember that 80 per cent of all new start–ups go bankrupt within the first two years. 2 1 decide whether you can work from home or need to hire premises. You will need to check your house deed as most properties have restrictions on what they can be used for. These will almost always ban them from being food outlets. If you are using a spare room, there are normally no business rates to pay as long as there are no business fixtures like shop counters or machinery installed. Your council will give you free information on its business rating policy as well as trading standards, courses at local technical colleges and independent advice available. Don’t be afraid to shop around. A simple test is to ask the accountant the name of your tax inspector and find out what he or she is obsessed about you will need an accountant. I know that most people only see this grey–suited species as something out of the famous Monty Python sketch, but they can save you thousands during your first few years as well as making sure that you stay on the right side of the local tax office. Go for a small local firm. Not only will they charge far less, but probably enjoy better relations with HM Revenue & Customs. Anyone who isn’t convinced should look at the executive car park of any of the Top 20 firms and see all the limos their clients are paying for. Don’t be afraid to shop around. A simple test is to ask the accountant the name of your tax inspector and find out what he or she is obsessed about (when I started on my own in 1980, my tax inspector was obsessed with whether school fees were paid out of client accounts or personal accounts). Ask for written quote and fees guidelines. Most are only too happy to give you these. You will need to draw up a business plan. This is a road map for your business. It will also show whether you have a viable business and what targets you need to hit month–by–month. Your accountant should look it over and tell you what records you are expected to keep. This varies according to how your tax inspector interprets the law. engage | uk ISSUE THREE 2007