Did you know that, according to TYL Natwest, in 2020 a record number of 770,000 new businesses were formed in the UK? That’s up by 30% compared to 2019.
Online and mail order businesses account for a big proportion of that hike, with 305,608 being created in 2020, compared to 13,615 in 2019. That comes as little surprise when taking the effects of covid into account, which has hit us all hard.
Setting up an online business, with the likes of an Etsy account as a ‘shopfront’ can be relatively easy, and it may give people the flexibility to run their lives – including the trials of home schooling the children and staying home during lockdowns – that’s been needed most recently.
Setting up a business can seem like a piece of cake, and it needn’t be a challenge. You’ll find more information about it in our articles ‘Starting from scratch’ and ‘Working out working from home’. Making sure you have enough time and space to dedicate, though, are perhaps as important to your success as making sure you have a solid business plan.
Here, the enterprise team at Ryan’s share some advice, based on conversations with our start-up customers from around the UK in the past year:
Work out where you’ll work and dedicate a space
While in the past, new businesses may have taken shape in a number of different premises – whether retail outlets, commercial settings or any other – 2020’s lockdowns and pandemic response has meant that increasingly, and particularly in the case of online shops – new business owners are starting up from home. This shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s always a good idea to check with your mortgage provider, and also on your deeds, to make sure there are no covenants or other regulations that restrict what you do.
You’ll also need to consider where within your home you’re going to be setting up. Working from the kitchen table may do the job to start with but, as things get busy, and as the paperwork builds up (because even with the best will in the world, there’ll always be a paper trail needed), you’ll need to make sure you have a dedicated space to work from.
Juggling work and family
One of the big positives of working from home is having the flexibility to manage that ideal work/life balance. Separating work from home life is also important, though, and it’s very easy for work to creep into being ‘always on’.
It can be helpful to set some time boundaries and to try to stick to them, allowing you to be in the moment and undistracted with whatever you’re doing, when you’re doing it. This can be particularly useful in making sure your product, whether that’s something physical or if it’s advice or another business service, is good quality – a must for keeping your customers coming back for more.
Seeking out storage
If you’ve started an online store, while you may start out with low stock levels, with success will come additional demand and the need for extra storage. Having a plan already laid out can help to alleviate the stress of finding something suitable at the last minute.
Your storage facility will probably need to be relatively close by, allowing you to get access quickly and to arrange your deliveries easily. Remember, though, your storage will also need to be insured to ensure you’ve got cover in the event that something goes wrong – either as a result of damage or theft.
Making sure you’re covered
It can be hard to know what type of insurance you might need as a new business start-up, especially if you’re working from your home. It’s a good idea to first check with your home insurance to ensure they’ll cover your business equipment. This may cover you in the short term, but its always a good idea to look into specific business policies, which will give your business more specific protection and protect your investment.
You’ll also need some other insurances, including liability cover. This may include products liability if you’re selling products, professional indemnity if you’re offering advice or a business service, public liability if you’ll have customers or colleagues coming to meet with you, and employers’ liability if there’s anyone other than yourself working with you.
To chat through your start up business with a member of the Enterprise division at Ryan’s, call them on 01473 343491 today.