The Start of your Startup…
Starting a business is perhaps one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do, amongst a whole host of unknowns and risks, there is so much to look forward to and be excited about. You are your own boss, it’s your time to run things in your way and your huge journey of discovery starts on day one.
For many entrepreneurs, all they have known before is the world of employment, a world where there are divisions where certain people in an organisation carry out specific roles, where you have a focus and a job description. Suddenly as a start-up you have to find creative ways to deliver a whole host of roles. The tendency is to try and do everything, to wear many hats, but the reality is that it is better to know what your strengths are and to outsource from day one.
So as a new business owner, what sort of tasks can be outsourced and how do you make sure you aren’t overspending from day one?
1. Online Accounting
So it goes without saying that as a business at some point you will probably need an Accountant, but as a start-up or a sole trader we often try to go it alone initially or live life in excel with spreadsheets for just about everything and process in our business.
There is nothing wrong with a spreadsheet, it’s a few steps ahead of running a business from your bank statement, but the truth is there are a whole host of feature rich online accounting platforms which as a start-up you simply can’t ignore. Suddenly you can see all of your financial information, see snapshots of your financial performance and even run your tax returns and annual accounts from a single system.
Our advice is to assign the task of setting up your online accounting platform to the person who is looking after your finances. It isn’t always a case of heading straight for a directory of Accountants as you will find there are a range of organisations who have specialist expertise with online accounting platforms.
Setting up your online accounting package from day one, will take a weight of your shoulder and will mean you always know exactly where you are on your exciting journey.
2. An Outside Perspective
For a start-up and more specifically for a sole Director in a business an outside perspective can be one of the most valuable assets. You will have a vision, you will have a plan and you will have all of the excitement that comes as a result of starting a new business, but are you ready for the hurdles you will meet along the way, the sometimes difficult decisions you will need to make. Even if you don’t commission someone when you get started with business, our advice is to start the search for someone who can act as your business mentor or a business consultant from day one. There are lots of people who offer these services, but finding someone who can complement your vision and provide advice that supports it, is often a whole different challenge.
3. Call a Director
As a start-up and when working with a traditional Accountancy firm however big or small, you will often find there are things you don’t know, there are gaps in what you can get from your Accountant and you will often find that advice comes only when you ask for it. Ultimately you are paying for your Accountants’ time and they will make sure your accounts are filed and your tax returns are calculated, but what they may not always be able to do is give you an idea of how well you are performing financially and provide the longer term perspective you really need.
The first year for most businesses is make or break, sink or swim. You typically either make money or run out of money. It may seem like overkill when you are just starting out but having someone who can provide external advice on your overall financial performance is one of the most valuable things you can do. This insight will help you to identify the areas of your business that are making you money, but also the areas that are a drain on your resources. You will also be able to look into the future and develop forecasts based on a clear financial strategy.
4. Focus on your strengths
We are in an exciting time in the world of business where more and more talented professionals are opting to work alone and go freelance across a whole host of industries. Don’t try and be all things to all people and instead think about areas of your business where it may be best to collaborate to strengthen your portfolio and service offering. Outsourcing successfully can be a profitable way of doing business while also adding additional value to your customers, but watch out for your pricing model because outsourcing badly can mean lots of work for limited return. Another valuable reason why having the external perspective of a financial director and adviser can be of huge value.
Whatever sector you are in, the truth is that even in the earliest of days it pays to outsource. As a start-up your time is hugely valuable, so don’t waste your time trying to develop skills to save money, give yourself more time to make money letting the experts take care of it for you.
At The Finance Department we offer a flexible financial solution starting from your basic bookkeeping and online accounting set-up, and ranging through to a full management accounting and Finance Director service.