engage magazine issue 003 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'07 - Page 44

44 STARTING A BUSINESS Ten Top Tips 10 you will probably need to install a telephone on a business line. Again this isn’t compulsory, but you generally get better customer service. I recommend that you have at least two lines, one for incoming calls and faxes (which is always quoted on your stationery and business cards) and one for outgoing calls. Again this shows that you are serious about being in business. It also makes it easier for people to get in touch with you. 6 7 is normally one day per week or a couple of evenings per week. You will also make a lot of useful contacts at the local FE College which will serve you well in later life. 8 it is unlikely that you will initially need to retain a local solicitor. However, if you have got legal problems, this is where the legal department of your union or professional body can help. Your accountant can probably tell you which local firm of solicitors can help without breaking the bank. you may quickly find that you do need premises. Again, don’t be afraid to shop around. Local authorities often own premises designed for small businesses while traded associations like the local Chamber of Commerce may also keep lists. However, NEVER sign any rental, lease or freehold agreement without showing it to your accountant and bank manager. They have wide experience of spotting what the small print really means (eg what you can’t use it for). it is worth using the free advice on business courses that your local council gave you. Is your book–keeping really up to speed? Are you confident you understand the basics of commercial law? Do you understand health & safety issues? There may also be grants available. If you are currently unemployed, your benefits adviser at the Department of Work & Pensions should be able to give you a free information pack. Any costs of course are usually tax–deductible. If you can’t decide, then go on a BTEC in Business Studies. This is a very good basic course and 9 I recommend that you have at least two lines, one for incoming calls and faxes and one for outgoing calls there are often trade directories and local newspapers which you can advertise yourself in for quite small sums. Examples include Yellow Pages and Thompsons. The local Chamber of Commerce may also do an annual trade directory. You may get business referred to you from other traders as a result. Chris Youett is a freelance journalist. He supports Coventry’s world–famous rugby club. 10 engage | uk ISSUE THREE 2007