Got an idea for a business, but don’t know where to start? It’s a problem faced by many budding entrepreneurs. Starting a business requires a fair bit of planning, and it’s best to go in prepared with knowledge of the necessary steps.

In Paisley, many entrepreneurs have overcome the initial hurdles. In 2020, there are 4,565 small businesses in Paisley and Renfrewshire, data from the Office of National Statistics shows. In the past year, growth in the number of small businesses has been low. Compared to 2019, there are 40 more businesses with less than 50 employees in Paisley and Renfrewshire, showing only a 1% increase.

So, what steps should you take to join the ranks of small business owners in Paisley (and beyond)? Here’s how to get started.


Putting together a business plan

First things first, every business should start with a plan. In order to do this, begin with conducting a bit of market research. Which similar products/services are already out there? How would you differentiate your offering from them? Also, look at how well other similar businesses are doing. It can help you gauge the size of the market, but also spot the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. After you’ve done your research, write down a clear plan of how you’ll structure, fund and run your business.


Deciding the business structure

You’ll need to decide upon the type of company you’re setting up, where you’ll be operating and whether you plan on taking on employees. Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership. As a limited company, there’s less personal liability for the company’s debts than with being a sole trader or partnership. Then again, limited company insurance is more costly, and you’ll have more reporting and management responsibilities. What would be the best choice, depends on the circumstances of your business.


Sorting the paperwork

When you’ve got the business plan in place and the basics decided, it’s time to file the paperwork. You’ll need to register the business, check if any licenses or permits are needed, and get the necessary insurance. Using the UK government’s license finder makes this easier to figure out. Reading up on the types and cost of business insurance can save you a fair bit of trouble, and money, as well.

When you have the registration and licensing ready, it’s time to open a business bank account. Make sure you’re clear on taxes and bookkeeping, too. Many businesses choose to hire help with accounting, but with a bit of research and numeracy skills, it’s not impossible to handle yourself.


Setting up shop

Finally, when all the boring (but crucial) steps are taken, you can set up shop. Getting the business going might not be easy, and can take more than it gives back. Utilising your network to find customers and investing some time (and possibly money) in marketing can help you along at this stage.

Starting a business can seem like a great deal of work, and it is. Before launching into entrepreneurship, it’s a good idea to think the whole process through. Doing proper market analysis and putting together a plan will save you much trouble in the future.