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Business Start-up Checklist

Our guide to what needs doing

Here is a run down of what needs to be ticked off your list of things to do before you start trading. The order you do them in is up to you and we'll be happy to help so if you have any questions please contact us:

  • Write a short summary of your business idea.
  • Set basic aims and objectives for your business idea.
  • Decide on the what, who, when and how of your business idea.
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your business idea.
  • Clearly identify the target group/market sector for your business idea.
  • Conduct a survey to find out what your target group think of your idea.
  • Gather information related to your idea from official reports and statistics.
  • Assess the existing competition in your area.
  • Decide on the start-up and operational costs for your business idea.
  • Produce a cash flow prediction for your business idea.

A name for the Business

Create a new name for your business or trade under your own name, which ever you choose you need a business name to trade under.

Business Setup (Self Employed, Limited or Partnership)

Depending on your business formation, the number of people involved, whether or not you have shareholders (people who have invested in your business) how the business is legally setup. The following are typical structures you would consider.

  • Sole Traders
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
  • Private Limited Companies (LTDs)
  • Public Limited Companies (PLCs)

Bank Account

Most banks on the high street have free bank options for new startup business. Look out for the ones with no charges for the 1st year along with other incentives. For more information and help please contact the Wildfire team.

Business stationary - something that tells people what you are offering

  • A logo
  • Business cards
  • Business stationery
  • Sales leaflets/flyers/brochures

Telephone number

It's not a good idea to let your family or friends answer your business calls. Get a simple PAYGO mobile phone or a proper land line number for your business. You could use your personal mobile number, as you can then take the calls as and when you need to.

Email address for your business

Get a dedicated email address to use for your business - it's not very professional to use your personal email address. Its costs so little to register domain name which comes with the option of setting up various email addresses for the chosen name.


All businesses regardless of size should have a website, it’s the biggest form of advertising you can get for free. It is mostly likely the place you will be found, a larger number of people these days search for companies, products and services online first.

Marketing plan

Very few businesses take off without some sort of advertising or marketing. The method you use will depend on many factors, costs, time, other resources, publication dates, involving designers for example. One thing that you cannot beat is free advertising, word of worth mouth advertising by friends and family, recommendations by your own customers, which is the best form of advertising you can have. If you can get this right, your customers will grow very quickly without costing you much.

Payment Processing (Getting paid for the work via credit card, invoicing or cash payments)

You need to agree upon how you will get paid, cash on delivery is simple, however if you plan to invoice your clients, or take credit card payments then you will need to do more work to setup a system.

Business Premises

Where to trade from, what space you need will all depend on the business you setup. Many businesses start up from their basements or attic rooms. There is nothing stopping you from setting up at home, but you do need to check with your landlord if you have one, your insurance company or that of the person who insures the property to check if trading is allowed.

Several city councils, colleges, and universities opeate incubation spaces for new and growing businesses. They come with a variety of added incentives, such as free wifi, hot desks, shared offices a range of support packages such as access to mentors and business advisors. Do consider these first if applicable.

Business Insurance

Most businesses need at least Public Liability insurance if nothing else. If you plan to employ someone then you will need Employers Liability insurance along with insurance to cover your trade.

Register with HM Revenue & Customs

When you start trading you need to register with HM Revenue and Customs within 3 months of starting your business. This is a legal requirement so if you are unsure of how to go about doing this please contact the Wildfire team for more information and guidance.