Skip to main content
6 min read

20 Tips For Starting Up On The Right Foot

While there’s a lot to be said for learning as you go, no one likes to part with time and money unnecessarily. In business, every minute and every penny counts. Business lessons are character building, but if someone offers you a roadmap when you’re in the middle of nowhere, you take it – right?

These 20 tips are your roadmap to avoiding a lot of wasted time, budget and sanity in the early stages of entrepreneur-hood. It’s natural to make a few wrong-turns along the way, however these tips should help you avoid time-sinking traffic jams and costly dead ends.

The structures and strategies you set up at the very beginning can impact how your business operates, what it prioritises first, what it’s selling, who it’s selling to… the list goes on! Thinking about them now, rather than rushing into any serious commitments, could mean the difference between startup success, serious setbacks or – unfortunately for some businesses – shut down.

1. Ensure there’s a demand through comprehensive market research

Before embarking on your business journey, invest time in understanding your market, competition and industry trends. Know your target audience’s needs, preferences and pain points. No demand? No point. Don’t scrimp on time when it comes to this crucial stage.

2. Develop a robust business plan

A well-structured plan is your business’s in-built GPS system. Outlining your objectives, clarifying strategies and financial forecasts – it will direct your next steps, while keeping your longer-term goals in sight. Ensure your business model is solid but adaptive and outlines your revenue streams and financial sustainability. A robust and well considered business plan can attract investors and secure financing.

3. Choose the right legal structure

Decide on the legal structure that best suits your business. Common options include sole trader, limited company, partnership and limited liability partnership (LLP).

This is a crucial phase to get right, and one that is worth receiving expert guidance on. For all things legal, seek tailored guidance from a legal professional. Additionally, an accountant can assess your financial and tax requirements alongside your business goals and provide advice on your structure options accordingly.

Don’t rush this stage – get the right advice and make a well informed decision.

4. Register your business

Register your business with Companies House, if applicable, and obtain any necessary licences or permits based on your industry and location. Fail to do this correctly at the start, and you could face serious legal repercussions and fines down the road, including loss of business rights and closure.

5. Secure adequate financing

Ensure you have access to the capital needed to start and sustain your business. Explore various sources of finance for businesses such as loans, grants, investors or personal savings. (Again, an accountant can help advise here.)

6. Build a brand identity

Before deciding on your brand identity:

  • Define your unique value proposition
  • Understand your target audience
  • Craft a compelling brand story

You can then move onto:

  • Creating a memorable logo and consistent visuals
  • Developing a cohesive online presence
  • Maintaining consistent messaging
  • Delivering exceptional customer experiences

A strong brand identity will help you stand out in a competitive marketplace, build trust with customers, establish credibility, foster loyalty and support expansion. (Just a few of the benefits! It’s worth spending the time on getting it right in the first place, rather than having to make tweaks or undergo an expensive rebrand down the line due to missing the mark.)

7. Establish financial management practices

Implement robust financial management practices from the beginning, including thorough bookkeeping, budgeting and setting aside money for taxes. The very best way to kickstart this process is to consult with a professional and experienced accountant, who can assist with setting up:

  • Business structure: Advising on the most tax-efficient structure.
  • Budgeting: Creating realistic financial projections and budgets.
  • Financial planning: Developing a sound financial strategy.
  • Compliance: Ensuring legal and tax compliance.
  • Record-keeping: Establishing efficient accounting systems.
  • Funding: Identifying potential sources of capital.
  • Risk management: Mitigating financial risks.
  • Guidance: Offering financial advice and expertise.

Fail to set these crucial practices up at the very beginning and you’ll likely hit some potholes in the road, such as:

  • Financial instability: Struggling to manage cash flow and cover expenses.
  • Misallocation of resources: Wasting funds on unnecessary expenses.
  • Compliance issues: Facing legal and tax problems.
  • Poor decision-making: Making uninformed financial choices.
  • Difficulty securing funding: Struggling to attract investors or loans.
  • Increased risk: Vulnerability to financial crises.
  • Missed opportunities: Failing to capitalise on growth prospects.
  • Business failure: An increased likelihood of business closure due to financial difficulties.

8. Set up a business bank account

Keep your personal and business finances separate by opening a dedicated business bank account from the start. This will help with:

  • Separating finances: Keep personal and business finances distinct.
  • Legal compliance: Fulfil legal requirements and maintain corporate integrity.
  • Better organisation: Streamline financial management and record-keeping.
  • Professionalism: Project a more credible image to clients, suppliers, and partners.
  • Tax efficiency: Simplify tax reporting and deductions.

An accountant can help you select the best business bank account – providing guidance based on the specific financial needs of your business. They can also help with the account opening process. This will ensure your chosen account aligns with your business’s financial requirements and goals.

9. Understand tax obligations

Familiarise yourself with the tax requirements for your business and maintain accurate records to facilitate tax compliance.

Again, consulting a qualified accountant is recommended to ensure you’re abiding to the relevant tax laws and keeping accurate financial records. Government websites and tax authorities also provide guidance and resources to help businesses comply with tax regulations.

10. Protect your business

Secure your business with appropriate insurance coverage tailored to your industry and specific needs.

Assess and identify your industry-specific risks, work with an insurance provider that understands your sector, tailor your coverage to your unique needs, shop around for competitive rates and make a note to continuously review and adjust your cover as your business evolves.

11. Build a strong online presence

Establish a captivating website and optimise your online presence. Use social media and search engine optimisation (SEO) to reach a wider audience. Actively interact with your audience, encourage customer reviews and invest in content marketing and online advertising to reach a wide audience and foster brand recognition.

12. Develop a marketing strategy

Craft a comprehensive marketing strategy that outlines how you will attract and retain customers. This should include both online and offline marketing efforts.

13. Embrace networking

Networking is a powerful tool. Attend industry events, join local business groups and connect with peers and potential clients.

14. Create a support system

Develop a network of mentors, advisors and fellow entrepreneurs who can offer guidance and support throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Advice and direction from those who have been there and got the t-shirt – or those in the same entrepreneurial boat trying out new ideas – is priceless.

It’s easy to take offers of support when you first start out, soaking up all the advice and insight you can get. But be mindful of longer-term business friendships and relationships as part of this process. How do you see your network evolving? Can you return any support to them? Or could you pay forward all the advice you’ve received to another wave of optimistic and energetic entrepreneurs in the future?

Try and picture your ideal support system and make an effort every day to do something that works towards it (it can be as simple as an email). Be proactive in establishing the type of network you need to meet your business goals. But don’t just take and build – pay it back, pay it forward. You never know where these types of relationships can lead.

15. Focus on customer service

Think about ways you can provide exceptional customer service to build trust and loyalty among your customer base.

For example, you can do this by training staff, actively listening to customer feedback, resolving issues promptly and offering personalised experiences. Think about the structure and processes you need to be putting in place now to enable this. For example:

  • Customer-centric culture: Instil a customer-first mindset throughout your business.
  • Clear communication: Set up channels for prompt, courteous and clear communication.
  • Staff training: Train employees in customer service and problem resolution.
  • Standardised processes: Develop consistent service procedures and scripts.
  • Complaint handling: Create a protocol for addressing customer issues.
  • Employee empowerment: Allow staff to make decisions to resolve customer problems.
  • Feedback mechanisms: Implement systems for gathering and acting on customer feedback such as encouraging online reviews and ratings, social media polls, email feedback forms and customer focus groups.
  • Accessibility: Ensure customers can reach your business easily by providing multiple contact options, from clear contact information on your website to user-friendly communication channels including direct messaging on social media, to website chatbots.
  • Quality control: Monitor and improve service quality.
  • Continual improvement: Regularly review and adapt processes to enhance the customer experience.

16. Set realistic goals

Define SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals that guide your business’s growth. For example:

  • Specific: Increase monthly website traffic for the UK by 20%.
  • Measurable: Track website analytics to measure the 20% increase.
  • Achievable: Achievable through targeted SEO and content marketing efforts.
  • Relevant: Relevant to expanding the UK customer base.
  • Time-bound: Achieve the increase within the next 12 months.

17. Invest in technology

Trying to shoehorn time-saving technology into already established business processes can be lengthy and expensive. Considering the type of technology you need when starting up is a game changer when it comes to streamlining your operations, improving efficiency and staying competitive from the outset.

For example, adopting digital tools for recurring tasks such accounting, customer management and inventory tracking from the very beginning can ensure a slick start to things. The right tools can help you quickly establish an online presence, enable hassle-free remote working options, as well as the security benefits of cloud computing.

As employees join your team, take time to train them in your chosen technology, which should be viewed as the backbone behind the day-to-day running of your operations.

Examples of technology that can help from the outset:

  • Website builders (e.g., WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace)
  • Accounting software (e.g., QuickBooks, Xero)
  • Social media management (e.g., Hootsuite, Buffer)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems (e.g., HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho)
  • Email marketing (e.g., Mailchimp, Constant Contact)
  • Online payment processors (e.g., PayPal, Square, Stripe)
  • Project management tools (e.g., Trello, Asana,
  • Cloud storage (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox)
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems (e.g., Shopify, Square, SumUp)
  • Communication and collaboration platforms (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams)

18. Keep learning

Ensure you carve regular time in your diary for learning and personal development. Whether it’s 10 minutes at the end of every day, or a dedicated day of the month, you and your business will benefit by championing continuous learning as part of your routine.

Fail to make it a schedule staple from the beginning, and it will fall to the wayside. Get into a good habit from the start. By being on top of the latest consumer trends, industry news, technological advancements – and more – the quicker you can predict and adapt.

A great way to ensure this happens is to add this to your work calendar as a recurring event – it not only reminds you to do it but gives the task itself the status it deserves.

Other ways to stay motivated to keep learning include:

  • Setting specific learning goals.
  • Allocating time for regular reading and research.
  • Attending workshops, webinars and industry events.
  • Encouraging a learning culture among your team.
  • Measuring the impact of new knowledge on business growth.
  • Embracing technology and innovation.
  • Remaining open to feedback and adaptation.
  • Seeking mentorship and networking opportunities.
  • Find a study buddy! Do you know someone who’s in a similar position to you? Can you cover more ground as a team? Divide study tasks, swap notes and see how this impacts the speed of your learning journey. You could even try out some of your learnings on your respective businesses, were the results the same? What can you learn from each other’s results? It’s also a great way to make sure you do it as you’re accountable to your study buddy (similar to having a jogging partner – you need to show up!).

19. Track and analyse performance

Flying blind never ends well. Monitor your business’s performance through key performance indicators (KPIs). You can then use these insights to steer your next business decision.

You can track and analyse performance by:

  • Setting clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Using software and tools such as accounting, CRM and analytics systems.
  • Regularly reviewing financial statements and reports.
  • Monitoring website traffic and social media engagement.
  • Collecting customer feedback.
  • Conducting competitor analysis.

The key is to be consistent in assessing your results and adjusting your strategies as required to improve performance.

20. Stay committed and resilient above all else

Entrepreneurship can be challenging – there can be many moments of doubt. There will be highs and lows – nothing in business is smooth sailing. When all is said and done, it all comes down to attitude. Commitment and resilience are key. Stay focused on your vision but remain agile to changing environments and unforeseen obstacles. Track, learn, adapt, go again.



We hope these 20 steps help you put your best foot forward during the early stages of your startup. Charge straight into things without careful consideration and you’ll quickly discover you’re trying to dance an entrepreneurial tango with two left feet. The result? You’ll just go around in circles.

Share this content
Jenny Lambert

Jenny Lambert is a freelance writer, interiors blogger and Etsy shop owner with extensive experience working in marketing, digital and publishing roles.

Leave a Reply

Register with Informi today:

  • Join over 30,000 like-minded business professionals.
  • Create your own personalised account with curated reading lists and checklists.
  • Access exclusive resources including business plans, templates, and tax calculators.
  • Receive the latest business advice and insights from Informi.
  • Join in the discussion through the comments section.