New Year, new business, new strategy, new start?

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In the latest UK200Group blog post, Martin Williams FCCA ACA, Partner at George Hay Chartered Accountants, discusses the considerations which might be made at the beginning of a new year for both new and established businesses.

Martin Williams
Many herald the New Year as the perfect time for a ‘new start’, whether personally or professionally. HMRC figures reflect this, indicating that January-March is consistently the most popular time of year to incorporate a new business.[1]

The festive period can be the perfect time to mull over big business dreams and with a new-found motivation, as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many take the plunge in pursuit of a new career where they are their own boss!

Taking the plunge though, should follow thorough planning and careful consideration and it is during this planning phase that we think ambitious entrepreneurs should ask themselves a few key questions, for example;

• Why do I want to start a new business?
• What do I know about my chosen industry, potential customers and competition?
• What do I want to achieve, both in the short-term and in the long-term?
• How will I go about running my business to realise my goals?
• Are my finances in order/do I have the necessary finance in place? (Cashflow forecasts and budgets are essential to answer this question.)
• Do I have access to the advice I need to make my business a success?

Bumps in the road are inevitable but spending the right amount of time devising a business plan and ironing out the smaller details early on can save a lot of time, money and stress further down the line.

Aside from budding entrepreneurs, this time of year can also be a great time for established business owners to rethink their strategy for the next 12 months;

1. Review goals and address inefficiencies
Resolve to stop wasting valuable time on inefficient processes and make a conscious effort to be more productive! Without a doubt, you must spend time on core business functions but not to the detriment of innovation and implementing new strategies for growth.

2. Embrace technology
With Making Tax Digital just around the corner, relying on outdated systems and technology is no longer adequate, nor conducive to ensuring your business continues to evolve in an increasingly competitive economic environment. Embrace emerging technologies and new solutions to future-proof your business in 2019.

3. Don’t let compliance slip
Your business should always be compliant with the latest rules and regulations. Diarise the key deadlines your business has with HMRC and Companies House, as missing these deadlines will have an adverse effect on your business.

4. Catch-up with your adviser
If you work with an accountant or financial adviser, think about scheduling a catch-up with them. Evaluate the past 12 months together and use them as a sounding board for your ideas going into the year ahead.
If you don’t have an accountant or an adviser, now could be a good time to change that; particularly when you consider the challenges that lie ahead thanks to the digitisation of the tax system and Brexit.

5. Plan and review
Now and every month this year, make planning a priority. Without planning, you cannot expect your business to be flexible or resilient to change. Take time to review your performance against what you’ve budgeted; something which is now easier than ever to do, with cloud-accounting software.

Whether you have a fledgling start-up, an established business, or the beginnings of a sound entrepreneurial idea that you dream of bringing to life – our professional team of chartered accountants can work with you and help you to realise your ambitions.

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