This article the last in the series about running your own business, following : Starting up your own business (part 1),  Accounting: first of the ABCs to run a good business (part 2) and Business administration: second in the ABCs to run a good business (part 3).

Necessary pins to tailor your business profile

  • Branding: use a good designer to develop your brand! Think about what your business is about, what makes it different, how does stand up against the competition… It’s not about jazzy logos and a fancy typeface – a good designer will explain why!  Apply good design to your website and anything in print like your stationary, marketing materials, etc. but note that a good graphic designer is not necessarily the same person who can create a good website – designing and developing the user interface on a website is a very different skillset to print design. This is vitally important if your business is offering online services for clients!
  • Professional memberships: sign up to the appropriate recognised bodies and more often than not you can use the membership logo on your email signature, business cards, business website, CVs, fliers, expos, etc.
  • Profiles: As an employee of your own business, your CV needs to be up-to-date and accurate. I have a portfolio of CVs which can be tweaked quickly to suit several roles in which I work. In recent times, depending on the target client, I have also included supplementary data on language skills and IT expertise that are aligned with frameworks used by EU institutions. Sometimes it is interesting to be purely experimental about what information you provide on what you trade!
    As a director, its useful to build up a good quality portfolio of CVs of people you could collaborate with on wider scope projects or engage as part of business continuity planning (such as sickness cover or damage to business premises for example).
  • Networks: sometimes your business may be offered a contract that is just slightly larger than the manpower/womanpower you have in your business, but perhaps your professional networks can be called upon for assistance. Via your own business, you can procure the services of another business to complete the work. When you are considering the procurement of services from freelance individuals, always consider how you will account for them too in your book-keeping.
  • Stationary: besides the print design aspects I mention above, also create electronic stationary for Invoices, Purchase Orders, etc. I have provided an example of the core documents that I recommend as part of the download (1).

If you have any questions about the article or the download please let me know.

GOOD LUCK if you embark on a new business – it’s an exciting adventure!

(1) In the suite of spreadsheets I have provided, the fields should be self-explanatory – I have added comments where extra guidance may be needed. All cells in grey should NOT be changed (unless you are updating the VAT %, Corporation Tax % or Mileage quotas, for example). All currency cells in blue text are awaiting your numeric input. If there is nothing to insert, leave values at zero. There are text fields in black for your input also.
If you are not registering for VAT, also leave the relevent VAT cells at zero.
The suite includes:
  1. Example Ledger DDMMYY to DDMMYY.ods
  2. Example Accounting Codes.ods
  3. Example Dividend Voucher Template.ots
  4. Example Invoice Template.ots
  5. Example Purchase Order Template.ots
  6. Example Remittance Advice Template.ots
  7. Example Board Dividend Minutes Template.ots
  8. Example Directors Self Assessment Tax Calculations.ods
In the spirit of Open Source philosophy, I used OpenOffice.org to create the spreadsheets and templates. For those folks who use Microsoft Office, simply download OpenOffice.org Calc (the equivqlent to MS Excel) and open each file above – then, using Save As, save each one as MS Excel spreadsheet or template. Simple!
I also included the directory structure as described above.
To download the ZIP file  New Business Startup Suite and save to your desktop. You can extract the files using something like WinZip or WinRar, for example.

Originally published: Thursday, September 9th, 2010 at 23:30 in Industrialism, Money

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