Good businesses start with an idea that skilfully and efficiently connects supply with demand. But while every business needs one, even the best idea will not, on its own, develop a healthy and regular turnover.
That is because starting a business is so much more than just inspiration. It is notoriously hard work. You need to research everything, from the market opportunity to applicable tax laws. There are endless decisions to make and forms to fill in and the following are just some of the questions you will ask or be asked:
- How will you access company formation advice?
- How robust is your business plan?
- What licences or permits might you need?
- What happens if you want to export goods or services overseas?
- How much do you know about employing staff/managing payroll?
- If you intend to store customer information, what are the rules around that?
- How will you fund your business?
Suffice to say that none of this is easy. Many entrepreneurs are so unprepared for the set-up phase that they never make it to the good part, when they can actually start selling goods and services.
They underestimate start-up costs, or decide the potential rewards of starting a business do not outweigh the risks. Sometimes, they just become swamped by bureaucracy.
The good news is, entrepreneurs do not have to do any of this alone. If you have a business idea, the very first thing you should do is look into all the advice and guidance that is readily available in your own country or region. Wherever you are in the world, there is likely to be a lot.
A good start would be to review a UHY ‘Doing Business Guide, readily available, and free, on UHY.com
Help with starting a business
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy. They contribute up to 45% of global GDP and employ up to 60% of the world’s workforce (as reported by Gitnux in Small Business Statistics and Trends in 2023).*
Unsurprisingly, governments want to encourage this essential sector. Economies thrive when people turn good ideas into growing businesses.
That is why, in many countries, governments run schemes to help people start new companies. This help is often in the form of a website or helpline. It can also include local hubs where start-up specialists offer personal support to new businesses (or prospective new businesses) in that region.
Government small business information websites may give you all the information and contacts you need, but try local authorities, chambers of commerce and business associations too. If they cannot help you directly, they will be happy to introduce you to someone who can.
This government-backed support should be the first port of call for any new business owner. The advice is likely to be free and will be given by people who know local rules and regulations and have a solid overview of the local business environment. They can also introduce you to local small business networks, a valuable source of on-the-ground advice.
Ask a professional provider
The other place to seek tailored, relevant advice is from professional service providers, many of whom are business owners themselves and will be familiar with the challenges, regulations and pitfalls. If your business is going to be bigger than just a sole trader you will probably have to partner with an accountancy firm anyway. An added reason for doing so is that good accountants now offer so much more than just ensuring your financial compliance.
Good accountants can be trusted sources of business advice. For new businesses, they can highlight potential funding streams, or offer advice on applicable tax or business rate incentives, which can be generous for companies in their first year of operation. They might be able to tap into their existing connections about affordable premises and equipment.
In addition, professional service providers are often active in regional networks of business angel investors. They are the people who make the introductions.
An experienced accountant is likely to have knowledge of the market you intend to operate in, and to understand its opportunities and pitfalls. They may have clients in the same sector, or might have done in the past.
Accountants are at the business coalface every day, which makes them a rich source of advice and information for new business owners. They can offer both practical experience and a specialist view of the wider economic environment.
Accountants are also familiar with processes you would otherwise have to learn to streamline your workflow – cloud-based systems for storing documents and files, smarter invoicing, cashflow control, efficient payroll and automatic receipt saving. They know local tax and labour laws in detail, and how these rules may be applied to your business. If you want to sell abroad, now or in future, a global accountancy network can help you move across borders in the most efficient and cost-effective way. With our considerable sector and country expertise UHY member firms can deliver timely advice to help new business owners make the right decisions at the right time.
Starting a new business is exciting. But it can also be daunting, thanks to the volume of information new owners have to take on board. A mix of government help and professional advice is the best way to ensure great ideas become good businesses.