Kerry Start Up 101: “Make friends…”
You’ve decided to go for it. You may try to convince yourself that your business is unique in every way, but it’s not. This is good news: All the business set-up problems you are coming across (or don’t even know you have!) are probably already solved. It’s time to make friends and avoid re-inventing wheels. The best advice you could get at this point is to talk to people who are in similar businesses and ask them about their basic business challenges and the processes and tools they use to get over these challenges. Here are a few examples:
(1) You’ll need an accountant. Many accountants will provide a service for start-ups, but the packages differ. Look for the following services at a minimum: Advice on company type most suited to you and subsequent company setup with CRO (Company registrations office), payslips, VAT returns, P30 returns, annual personal tax return. Negotiate a monthly fee; shop around.
(2) You should know that cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Efficient invoice management is key for cash flow. Invoices must be generated automatically, on time and issued expeditiously to customers and ideally settlement should also be automatic. The payment terms should ensure invoices you issue are paid before you need to pay your staff (or pay invoices you receive from suppliers). A system to automate invoice management is essential to get you out of business operational tasks and into actually making money.
(3) SaaS where possible. Software as a service should be used where possible. The ability to access your business collateral wherever you are is crucial, and SaaS is also attractive from a cash-flow standpoint (i.e. no big annual outlays, only small monthly fees). The aforementioned accounting and invoice generation packages are examples of where the advantages of SaaS can be exploited.
You could spend weeks or months figuring this stuff out, or you could simply ask someone who has done this before and get it all sorted in a few days. There is a direct cost saving in this, so use LinkedIn and/or pick up the phone and start asking good people good questions. Start-up folks are always very willing to help so make friends and start talking.