So you have an idea you think can be turned into a money-making product or service. What next?

Before getting too far down the path, you’ll need to research what’s and who’s already out there doing similar things to what you’re planning. Although it’s great to ‘first in’ with a brand new product or service, don’t discount taking something already existing and simplifying it or making it better. More information on doing competitor research is in our planning for growth section.

Do also talk to potential customers and ‘pitch’ your idea to them. You can gain valuable and constructive feedback from people’s first impressions. Also take note of any recurring questions that come up – these can be a useful guide for what you might need to include in sales information or in product design to make sure customers truly understand what your offering is and how to use it.

Researching whether there are any local and relevant partners and suppliers would also be a great move towards growth, and you may need to register your intellectual property  to ensure that your brand and ideas are protected.

Once you’re convinced that the idea is a goer, you’ll need to formally set up your business, register for tax and if you’re eligible get funding.

You’ll have to let HMRC which type of business structure you’re going to start with and act on guidance about how to establish your business from a legal perspective.

The main types are sole trader, limited company and business partnership. However if you’re establishing a business aiming to help people or communities, may want to consider being a social enterprise.

More information on business structures here.

Also essential for you to consider:

  • Setting up a business bank account
  • What equipment you may need to purchase or lease
  • Finding a premises in the most appropriate location and contemplating whether buying, leasing or taking up a serviced office is right for you, or whether you could work from home and use virtual office services
  • Health and safety issues

Help is at hand as we guide you through the following: