A start up's guide to business formation


Date: 13 December 2023

New business owners

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is akin to navigating uncharted waters, where forming a limited company is the keel that steadies your business against the capricious tides of the market. Limited company status not only fortifies your business with legal protections but also affords it operational dexterity. This comprehensive guide illuminates the path you must take if you want to establish your business presence with confidence and strategic insight.

Step 1: Selecting your business name

The genesis of your limited company begins with the christening of your business - a name that encapsulates your brand's essence while adhering to government rules. It must be distinctive and not infringe upon existing entities. You can register your company with Companies House online, by post, using an agent or using third-party software. This initial step is pivotal as it lays the foundation for your brand's identity and legal recognition.

Step 2: Appointing company directors

All limited companies must have at least one company director and at least one of them must be an actual person (as opposed to another company). Directors are responsible for ensuring that the company complies with company law and that statutory returns are filed on time with Companies House.

Step 3: Filing Articles of Association

When you register your company, you will also need a ‘memorandum of association’ - a legal statement signed by all initial shareholders or guarantors agreeing to form the company and ‘articles of association’ which set out the written rules about how your business will be run.

Step 4: Registering as an employer

When you take on your first employee, you normally need to register with HMRC. You must do this even if you are the only employee of your company. You will be issued with a PAYE reference number (note: this can take up to 15 days). You must then run payroll and submit full payment submissions to HMRC.

Step 5: Equip yourself with the skills and knowledge you need

Running a business is not easy. You will suddenly become responsible for a range of decisions, tasks and legal obligations you may have no previous experience of. It is advisable to seek training and support to help you navigate your new role and responsibilities. You might consider:

  • A BBA in Human Resource Management that equips professionals with a deep understanding of organisational assets and their complexities. In today’s business landscape, degrees focusing on human resources, financial management, and entrepreneurship are increasingly in demand. They offer valuable insights into the legal requirements of business operations and the strategic management of company resources.
  • Finance and Accounting: Degrees in finance or accounting provide essential knowledge for managing a company's financial health, crucial for strategic decision-making and legal compliance.
  • Entrepreneurship: A degree focusing on entrepreneurship equips individuals with skills in business planning, risk assessment, and innovative thinking, pivotal for startup success.
  • Business Law: Understanding the legal aspects of business operations is vital. A degree in business law can help in navigating the complexities of legal requirements, contracts, and corporate governance.
  • Marketing: In today's competitive market, a degree in marketing can be instrumental in developing strategies to promote your business effectively, understand market trends, and engage with customers.

Each of these can contribute to the efficient administration and growth of your limited company, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive approach to business education.

Step 6: Maintaining compliance and good standing

Your limited company's journey doesn't end with its inception. Annual reports, returns and adherence to regulatory changes are ongoing responsibilities. These ensure that your LLC remains in good standing, preserving its legal protections and operational legitimacy.

Step 7: Establishing your business credit

As your company takes shape, it's essential to establish a separate business credit profile. This is crucial when applying for business loans or lines of credit. Begin by opening a business bank account and obtaining a business credit card. Use these financial tools responsibly to build your company's credit history. Lenders will look at this history when considering your applications for financing, which can be pivotal for growth and expansion.

Step 8: Planning for taxes and accounting

Understanding and planning for your company's tax obligations is paramount. Profits and losses are reported via an annual corporation tax return. You may also be required to file VAT returns and a range of weekly, monthly or annual information if you are running PAYE.

Step 9: Protecting your intellectual property

In business, your intellectual property (IP) is an invaluable asset that demands vigilant protection. As you cultivate your company, consider the various forms of IP, such as trademarks, patents, and copyrights, that can safeguard your brand's unique elements - be it a revolutionary product, an original logo, or proprietary content. Securing these rights can deter infringement and provide legal recourse should your creations be replicated without consent. It's not merely about defence; it's about asserting the distinctiveness of your enterprise in a bustling marketplace.

Conclusion: The voyage ahead

As you conclude the formative chapter of your business saga, remember that establishing a limited company is not merely a bureaucratic checkpoint but a strategic manoeuvre that positions your start up for future prosperity. With the proper guidance and adherence to legal protocols, your business can navigate the complexities of the corporate landscape with the assurance of limited liability and the flexibility to adapt to the ever-evolving demands of commerce.

Copyright 2023. Featured post made possible by Amanda Wilson.

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