Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Top 10 Questions To Ask When Starting A New Business

If you don't ask them, you're probably not going to succeed ...


Starting a business can be a daunting task. So many people will think you're mad, and I suppose that leaving the security of the workplace in this time of austerity could be considered a little bonkers ...

When you're starting a new business, you really do need to get professional advice.

When you're starting a new business, you really do need to get professional advice.

However, if you are going to do it, make sure you do it right and get your facts and figures straight before you take that leap of faith. I see so many potential business owners and always advise them specifically for their own circumstances.

Here are 10 of the most common questions I get asked:

  1. When should I write a business plan and how do I do it?

    Everyone who is starting a business should start by writing down their big picture. Your business idea - crystallised and clarified! At some point, you should prepare a more detailed plan and a cashflow forecast, but exactly when is up to you. The important thing is to have done this before you make a decision you might regret!

  2. How much money will I need to set up my business?

    Well, this depends on you and what sort of business you are planning on starting. Every business is different, the only way you can predict how much your business idea needs is to list out what you need ... or prepare a cashflow forecast.

  3. How can I raise the finance I need for my business plans?

    Start-up finance for your business is often a tricky thing, and the best thing to rely on is yourself rather than others. The good news is that there are several potential sources of finance - but they often take some finding.

  4. How much should I pay myself?

    At the beginning you are more likely to be putting money into your business to fund it than taking it out! Once you have got to the point of being profitable, you can think about taking money out of the business.

  5. How should I approach recruiting new staff?

    Carefully! Hiring and firing is not something to be done without thinking through the long term and short term issues and then choosing carefully. Don't hire your friends just because they are your friends, but because they are good at doing what needs to be done. Most importantly hire for the right attitude.

  6. Should I go into partnership with someone else?

    Well, my instinctive answer is no! However, there are some excellent businesses that are partnerships. It depends on the individuals and the circumstances.

  7. Do I really need an office?

    You might not! Technology makes it easy to work from home and keep your costs down, so this is one to think about. Start by making a list of the advantages and disadvantages of either option. Add in the costs but also think about your customer's needs and perceptions.

  8. Do I have to set up a limited company?

    No you do not, but you might be well advised to. Limited companies have some particular features, and these can be an advantage, and occasionally a disadvantage.

  9. What marketing and advertising should I be considering?

    This is a short question but potentially a huge answer. Firstly check out books or articles about marketing and advertising. Secondly, where are your customers located? And what do they pay attention to? Thirdly, is there a networking group you can attend?

  10. How do I find the business support and advice I need?

    Ask your Chartered Accountant for help. They should be able to provide the support and advice you need - or help you to identify a suitable mentor.

Being self-employed, working in a partnership or running your own limited company all have their unique challenges and it's vitally important to get things right from day one. You want to be successful right? Get the proper advice!

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566