A new business in a box?
A new business in a box?
Starting a new business can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t attempted this before. The team at The Creative Tree understand this, it’s how we started and many of our clients. In this article we’ll outline the basics of getting business off the ground. Strap yourself in and light the fuse, here we go.
I just want to be my own boss
For many, the thought of building a business of their own is simply a dream. The idea of being your own boss, is nothing more than a fanciful thought as you sit at your office desk with company emails flooding in and office politics playing out around you.
Juggling a full time day job, perhaps even a hectic family life too, can push the dream further from your grasp. How on earth could you find the time to build a business on the side? It’s why some people simply give up on their dreams. Sometimes it requires a leap of faith, along with a healthy dose of support from those closest to you.
Making that leap is a personal thing, you have to be comfortable with it and most of all, you need the absolute commitment and drive to make it happen, because once you do, it’s hard to go back. Not hard because you’ll need to find another day job, but because of the emotional toll it will likely take; the thought of failure, rejections and embarrassment. Accepting these risks, rather like ‘water off a ducks back’, is one of the core traits of a true entrepreneur. For them, it’s all in days work. No risk, no reward, as they say.
So, having the right personality, the right attitude, the right amount of perspective, a healthy dose of realism and the willingness to have your ego bashed about, are all requirements for starting your own business and being your own boss. That alone puts most people off. It shouldn’t though, the world is a different place these days. More and more people are ‘giving it a go’. Some because they have simply had enough of their day to day boredom, others because life’s circumstances have changed and they are forced to try something new.
If you feel connected with anything we have said so far, that’s great to hear. Now though we have some good news and some bad news. The bad news first: We can’t help you with your personality, mindset and basic drive to get a new venture off the ground. Those qualities need to be burning deeply inside you right now. Bring those to us and we can help. And, that’s the good news. We certainly can help make your dream a reality.
Forming a new company
The most demanding aspect of creating a new business from scratch isn’t registering a new business or the paperwork around it. That part you can do yourself and it takes no more than 15 minutes through many of the business formation companies you can find when you search Google for “Company Registration Services”. These company formation specialists handle all the paperwork with Companies House and make the whole process extremely simple.
The first tough part for you actually happens before your register the company, and that’s the process of choosing a company name. This shouldn’t be rushed, as you’ll have to live with it. Sure, you can start again, set up a new business, but once you’ve invested time and effort and begin to get a following, changing what becomes a critical element of your brand is not something you really want to be taking lightly. Here are a few things to consider and ideally nail down before you go and form your company.
1. The type of company. For regular businesses – i.e not in a chartered profession such as an accountant or a law practice, your choice is usually between starting out as a sole trader or a limited company.
2. The company name. Sounds simple, but it really depends on what you want to do.
- What kind of business is this going to be?
- Will you have multiple streams to your business? Sounds fanciful, but it is possible these days, especially with online businesses. You could choose an uninspiring and fairly nondescript base name for your company, for example “XYZ Enterprises” and then use a series of ‘trading names’ to create your brands around. Trading names or trading styles are simply different names your main business can trade under. For instance: XYZ Enterprises trading as ‘Poly’s Pets’. The same business could be a pet food supplier, but wish to keep the brands distanced, using a different trading name. It’s also a way of developing a series of registered trade marks around brands, as the trading styles could be registered trademarks too.
- The point is, spend time developing the name and brand name strategy first, get that right, sleep on it, if need be for weeks.
3. Internet presence and domain name. Without a shadow of a doubt, you will have a website, even if it’s just a brochure site at first, a place marker. Probably one of the most frustrating aspects of picking a great business name is finding out that the domain name has been taken. Your domain name should:
- Be as short and sweet as possible
- Relate to your actual business or trading name
- Ideally use a ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’.
Choosing a domain name
Other domain extensions are available, some are more ‘vanity’ extensions or relate directly to your business type such as ‘.photographer’, or location, such as ‘.london’. Actually, there’s a huge choice. What to choose? Here’s a tip – do a Google search on several of your main competitors, by using a key word you’d expect them to show up for – e.g. ‘professional photographers near me’. Now count how many ‘unusual’ domain extensions you see in the search results. It’s likely you won’t find many, if any, at all. There’s a reason for that, but that’s for another article. Suffice to say that it has a lot to do with trust where Google is concerned.
When you do choose a name, try and get the .com, .co.uk and .net domains as well. The reason is that it stops somebody else from stealing part of what will become your brand. There’s nothing worse than running a search for your products or services in Google and finding a company that is using the other domain extension show up, especially if they are getting more interest than you.
A business in a box
With all of the basic company startup stuff out of the way, the clever work begins – building your company’s identity – its brand. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if you could have everything you need ready for you in one box – ‘a business in a box’, to coin a phrase. Well, you can.
The team at The Creative Tree recognised that for most aspiring new business owners, somewhat daunted by the prospects of starting a new business, a helping hand is needed. We’ve created a ‘box’ of services that provide what is essentially a ‘one-stop-shop’ service to get your business identity and online visibility off to a flying start.
We understand what critical aspects an aspiring new business need to get in place to give them the best chances of early success, and that all important motivation to continue. This also applies to established small businesses looking to rebrand or refresh their existing appeal to the world.
What elements go into a package of services to help the aspiring business owner?
Having worked with numerous small business we realised that there are number of ‘must haves’ to get things going, these include:
Your logo, is for many, probably the single most defining aspect of your brand identity. When you think of your favourite consumer brands, what comes to mind first? It’s often the tag line or the actual logo, even before the actual company name. It’s not surprising then that it’s important to get this right as it’s going to stick with you – just like your business name.
Mini Brand Guidelines
Quite surprisingly, this is almost always overlooked by small businesses. Often, once a logo is chosen, the logo’s colours set the colour guidelines for everything else.
The logo itself will need different versions because it may contrast poorly in certain applications, such as in printed publications where it may get used against different backgrounds. Even on your website, the design may require a different style to your logo for a dark footer, for instance. It’s quite common place to have logos produced in both colour, black & white, inverted colour and also some where the layout is changed – perhaps if the logo is accompanied by a tag line, how the tag line is positioned in certain applications. Lastly, a logo needs whitespace around it, to help it stand out from its background, and so brand guidelines state the physical sizes logos should be used at and the margins to maintain around them.
But the logo is just one aspect of the brand It’s quite important to look at the brand as a whole.
Your corporate font needs to be decided on, and the various ways it can be used, sizes, etc. You may choose a secondary font, perhaps to use for the main body of text in documents, leaving the main corporate font for use in a page’s main titles and headings. Your company’s principle colour pallet needs to be set, often using the colours in the Logo. These colours will be used as text colours, headings, or for highlighting.
A Simple Website
It’s not surprising, when you ask a prospective new business owner what they think the most important part of getting a business going is, to hear the need for a website as a top priority. For many, its the centre piece to their whole business strategy. Alas too, it’s quite common to see that enthusiastic business owners have ‘jumped the gun’ and just had the site built without having put much of the thinking we’ve outlined in this article and others in to it. While understandable, it’s just plain wrong.
Our business in a box service, helps clients take the right steps in the right order. This makes it less likely that you’ll waste your time and effort on designs and websites that just won’t work for you.
Our website service is simple and pragmatic. It delivers a website that is very easy to use and maintain. It helps you choose and set up a design that fits your business style and industry. Best still, it uses something call a ‘website builder’. This is a clever box of tricks that does it all for you – basically once you choose the design, it will give you optional layouts and build it for you. No need for expensive web developers. Once built, it allows you to edit and move things around just as though you were working inside a common document editor like Microsoft Word.
Can Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TicTok, YouTube and the host of other social media venues help your business? Yes, absolutely they can. But, you need to pick the right channels for your business type.
Social media can be a great way to create visibility for your business, especially if you are already active on social media, because then you can ask your friends to help you get the word out too. Channels such as LinkedIn offer a more professional, networking way of attracting attention to what you do. Twitter can be a surprising way to generate instant interest, especially if you develop a good following and often have short term ‘deals’ to offer.
All these venues offer a good way of communicating your presence to a wide audience.
Similarly, it’s important to get your branding consistent across your social media venues, just as with your website. We have a range of ways to help you there, from assistance with setting up each of your channels, to creating a brand template for each social venue that’s consistent across the channels.
Everything you need to get started today