With a new year just around the corner, now seems like a good time to make a life-changing decision. If you’re tired of your current job and want to try something different, resigning is all too tempting. However, if starting a new career, there’s a lot of preparation involved; here’s a guide to all the important stuff you need in place.

A Business Plan

For starting a new business, your first task is to draw up a business plan. It should include what your business will do, projected income, expenses, analysis of your competitors and a list of realistic goals in the short, medium and long term. A good template to follow for your plan comes from the Prince’s Trust; it has each section clearly laid out.

Clients

To get the money rolling in straight away, you should have at least one client for your service. To improve your chances of getting one, email your friends, ex-colleagues and share statuses on social media, letting them all know that you’re open to any offers of work. You’ll also need suppliers for things like business cards, raw materials and delivery from a company like TNT.com.
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Checklist of Expenses

Fortunately, it doesn’t cost a huge amount to try and go it alone. If you’re working as a sole trader or freelancer, your startup costs won’t come to much more than £300. However, you do need to draw up a list of expenses for getting off the ground. This should include:

  • Website hosting and domain
  • Business cards and other printed material e.g. flyers
  • Registration with Companies House
  • Office space, if you want to work away from home
  • Stationery

Your costs will depend on how big you want your business to be, as well as your chosen industry.

Finances

When it comes to money, you’ll need a business bank account. Most banks offer these for free for a limited amount of time – some won’t charge new business customers for up to two years. You’ll also need to get in touch with the tax authorities to let them know you’re setting up a business and, if targeting earnings over a set amount, register for VAT.

On the subject of money, you’ll need a little in the bank to see you through any lulls in trade. It could be a case of putting some of your savings into the business account or, if you choose the right product, a business loan or grant. Check to see whether you’re eligible for either by speaking to your bank’s business expert.