What’s involved in starting your business

Deciding on a name for your business

Choosing the right name for your business is important and is something you need to really think about because whatever name you give to your business will need to create the right image for potential customers. Let’s say you’re planning to organize painting holidays in Cornwall. You could call your business simply ‘Painting Holidays in Cornwall’, but the obvious problem here is that it doesn’t give any more information than the obvious.

Your business name doesn’t have to describe your business

Your business name doesn’t have to describe or even suggest what your business offers. Take Amazon as an example. Here we have the world’s largest retailer of books with no mention of books anywhere in the company name. Yet everyone knows they retail books. Although originally marketed as an online book retailer, Amazon now sells a whole range of non-book products including software and games.

The advantage of choosing a name like Amazon is that not only is it easy to remember and intriguing, but the name doesn’t restrict the future growth or diversity of the business. Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is similar.

Beware of choosing cliché names

It’s also a good idea to avoid choosing a cliché´ business name. By this I mean something like Green Fingers Gardening Company or Joe’s Bloomers, or Harriet’s Heavenly Pastries etc. While names like these might seem like a good idea at the time just wait until you discover there’s already more than one of them in the country and suddenly your business isn’t unique after all.

Bargain hunting

The exception to the rule is when you’re absolutely certain that what you’re offering is going to be cheaper than offered by most other retailers, you should include this information somewhere in your title. Let’s say you’re planning to open an online fishing tackle shop where offering rock bottom prices is the basis of your marketing strategy.

Personalizing the name

You could also personalize your business name and call it something like Joe’s Fisherman’s Warehouse. Some businesses are ideal for this sort of personalization, particularly if they involve looking after something that your customer treasures, like children, pets, gardens etc.

While John Browne’s Dog Walking Service might seem boring and unimaginative, it does suggest to potential customers that John Browne and not someone unknown to them will be looking after their dog. Including your own name in your business name can under the right circumstances create a feeling of trust, which brings credibility. So don’t be afraid to include your own name particularly if the business you’re planning to run involves looking after other people’s treasures.

Opening a business bank account

There is no legal requirement that I am aware of that says you must have a business bank account. However, there are banking terms and conditions, which if you ever have the time and patience to read will tell you that you cannot use your personal account for business banking.

Operating without a business bank account cash only

If you’re planning to run a small hobby business where all of your customers can pay you in cash then you don’t necessarily have to open a bank account. You could manage your money by simply paying it into a cash till, which you then record as business income. You keep a float in your till to pay your business bills etc, and then finally you pay yourself using cash.

Because this money has now effectively gone from being business cash to personal drawings, I can’t see why any bank can object when you lodge this money as it is after all your wages.

Last word

Be prepared to start from where you are right now. If your dream is to run a florists’ shop, but you can’t afford to buy one or take on a shop lease, then be prepared to start with a bucket, selling door-to-door.

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