Checklist for starting a business

If you’re thinking about starting a business to try to meet your career, financial and lifestyle needs as a working mum, you need to take into account all the practicalities and considerations it will involve.

There’s plenty to think about – from where you find customers and what services or products you sell, to whether you should be a Ltd company or sole trader and if you need an accountant. To help you decide if starting a business is right for you, we’ve put together a useful list of questions.

Starting a business

  • Why do you want to start a business?
  • What’s your vision for your business?
  • How realistic is your plan?
  • What’s your business’ USP?
  • What services or products can you sell?
  • How will you keep your skills up to date?

Researching your business idea

  • How much research have you conducted into your market?
  • Is there anyone you can talk to for advice or insights?
  • How much competition is already out there?
  • How can you be better, different or cheaper than the competition?
  • Is there anyone who can help you with your business idea?
  • Do you need to protect your business idea or products?
  • Do you need to register with any professional body?
  • Do you need any specialist qualifications or certificates?
  • Can you test out your product or service to see if it works?

Thinking about money

  • How much money do you need to start your business?
  • Do you already have the equipment you need?
  • Will you need to invest in marketing materials?
  • Will you need any professional help to do your work?
  • Do you have the funds you need to start your business?
  • If not, where can you find them?
  • Is there enough need for your products or services?
  • Can you charge enough for your products or services?
  • How will you support yourself while you’re establishing your business?

Identifying your market

  • Who will your customers be?
  • What type of businesses or people are they?
  • What are their budgets?
  • What are their needs?
  • How do they currently meet those needs?
  • How will you meet those needs?
  • Where do they look for your products or services?
  • What makes you better than other businesses (price, speed, quality of work)?

Finding customers for your business

  • How do you plan to find customers?
  • Are there any resources you can use, for example online listings?
  • Where can you network to find customers?
  • Do you have any existing contacts that can help you?
  • How much are you planning to charge for your services?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How do they find work?

Marketing your business

  • Have you chosen a name for your business?
  • Do you need a logo?
  • Do you need a website?
  • Can Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn help you?
  • What three promotional methods will be best for you?

Practical considerations

  • How will you set up your business (Ltd company or sole trader)?
  • How will you pay tax?
  • Do you need an accountant?
  • Do you need professional insurance?
  • Are there any regulations you need to follow?
  • Where will you work?
  • When will you work?
  • Do you need specialist premises or equipment?