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How to start a part-time business - Week 1 Concept

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by Startacus Admin

Decide on a business legal structure - For many, even the mention of such things is enough to send them into a boredom induced coma, but you must not be complacent about the structure of your business. In the UK even a part time enterprise must be registered with HMRC - if not you could find yourself in the bad books of a very miffed tax man… enough said!  You have a few legal structures to choose from, and the one that you go for will depend upon a number of things:

  • Sole Trader - This is by far and away the most popular choice for part time businesses. It’s a common misconception that it means you are working on your own, but actually it means that business legal structureyou are running your own company as an individual rather than as an organisation. Once tax has been paid on the company’s profits, you are entitled to keep the remainder but you are also personally responsible for any losses made.

  • Ordinary Business Partnership - This is very similar to being a sole trader only instead of being a single individual running and company, taking responsibility for the finances and sharing the profits you also have one or more partners. This would be an appropriate structure if you and a friend/partner wish to develop a part time business together in which you both hold an equal stake.  

  • Limited Company - If your part time business has high growth potential and you are hoping to develop it further, the the chances are at some point you will come across this legal structure. It basically means that your business is detached from you personally and operated by an organisation which you have created to take responsibility for it.  You are not financially responsible for its losses, tax is paid on any profit and you will most likely work as an employee of the company, probably as a director.

Create a great business plan - Even though your business will be run on a part time basis, it’s still really important to include a sound business plan as part of your concept.  Getting this done at an early stage will give you the ability to get your business idea clear in your head, identify any problems which may occur further down the line, establish your goals for the business and measure your progress. If you are unsure of how to go about writing a business plan and need a little advice check out our handy tips post.  

Brand yourself (not with a red-hot poker though) - Remember that your branding is often the only thing that a potential customer can see of your company and therefore it’s a really important part of making your business a success. Think about the kind of brands which you admire and try to work out what it is about them that makes them stick in your head.

business brandBranding must be clear and unambiguous. It should state unequivocally what it is that your business does and why a customer should avail of your services. Subtlety isn’t the way to go when it comes to branding for a part time business - you risk your message being lost.  Get yourself a catchy name with a great tagline that will make your business stand out against all the others. It’s also a great idea at this point to start thinking about how you will market the business, for example, social media sites, flyers, local newspapers/magazines, paid online advertising etc.  Check out our top tips on creating a stand-out brand for some more advice.

Hopefully this will get you thinking about the kinds of things that you need to be taking into consideration when it comes to the concept of your part time business.  Next week we’ll be doing battle with the dreaded “How to finance your part time business” so be sure to keep an eye out for it.

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Published on: 4th February 2014

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