Welcome to the Business Start-ups Topic!

(91 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 14:42:28

Hello.

We have created this new discussion topic for those of you who have just started, or are thinking of starting, a new business.

The board itself is supported by Barclays but is very much inspired by Talk threads on all aspects of business that made us realise that many of you would welcome a dedicated space where you can discuss business and share your views. We'll be moving some of those threads to this topic over the next few days.

So, welcome! We hope you'll use this topic to swap all manner of advice, info and tips.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 12-Nov-12 22:37:02

I don't know, but I think that if MN are going to have this as a topic they would know that it's inevitable that a large part of that is going to be wanting advice re websites/ads/feedback, so it would be a bit silly to say that there can't be any links etc. Maybe that's why Barclays are sponsoring the form, so they can easily get links to new start ups and other information.

No links would make the forum a bit of a waste of time really.

TeamEdward Mon 12-Nov-12 22:37:43

Hi! I've just started a home baking business. I've got a dozen Christmas cake orders (for friends, so not great for growing the business, but at least they are paying!) and a couple of birthday cakes to do.
I have no idea what I'm doing with regards to banking and accounts though! Think I should probably get myself a good accountant, but don't know what I'm looking for or how much I should be paying.

mumblechum1 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:46:05

This is an excellent idea, it's a good way of networking.

Mine's a bread and butter business, will writing, and I've been doing it for 2.5 years now so if anyone is literally new to running their own business I'm happy to share my experience of what to do and not to do.

Top of my list would be that you don't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a website, get a good basic one to start with then improve it as and when.

Also, change your mobile and home phone messages so that it sounds like a business. I called someone the other day (business person) and her message was her toddler very slowly singing the Alphabet song. V sweet I'm sure but wholly unprofessional!

Also, keep all of your receipts for stuff like postage and parking; all those few poiunds here and there are deductible from tax if they're business related.

Tigresswoods Mon 12-Nov-12 22:47:29

Ooh ooh I want to play, I want to play! I write wills and advise on boring (but necessary) life cover to parents of young children.

I'd like to help new parents feel at ease with putting plans in place for the future rather than terrified they might tempt fate.

Keen to network with others & help where I can. grin

mumblechum1 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:47:34

Banking is a bit of a minefield, I started with a business account with Lloyds TSB which was free at first but after a year they started charging me for breathing (I'm never overdrawn/in need of a loan so this seemed unfair). I closed the account and now just use a personal account which doesn't charge.

gussiegrips Mon 12-Nov-12 22:54:30

I've "reported" the thread in the hope of some clarification about what we can and can't put on here...

...I think I may have been mentally scarred by my accidental advertising. I don't give a jot about getting into trouble in actual life, but on here,turns out I'm a wee goodie two shoes.

sausagerolemodel Mon 12-Nov-12 23:02:37

I've been trading as a ltd company for a year and a half and have grown from me and my mate on our dining room table, graduated to doing 2 full time jobs for almost a year (nightmare) to an office, a core staff of 3 and a roster of freelancers. We make films/videos for websites and broadcast and other communications projects and training (most projects are science based as that is our speciality) but we can do anything.

My advice would be to network and meet as many people as you can at events where your peers and/or clients hangout. We get far more jobs through people who know people who know people than we do from any direct marketing and we don't have any paid for marketing or advertising at all. (but we are a service, not a product based industry)

lunchbox Mon 12-Nov-12 23:17:02

My experience of trading for a whole 17 days grin is that start up costs will go waaaay over what you budgeted - 20% over in my case. Partly through underestimating the price of things, and partly through suddenly deciding you need more stuff! So do your research properly. I estimated new flooring (which was essential as my premises are a new build without any flooring) at £300, it actually cost about £2000. Luckily some things came in under budget do I was able to make up the short fall elsewhere.

Also, imagine yourself working there, what will you actually NEED? Don't get anything that isn't actually vital to running your business, the extra bits you can get later.

Also be wary of buying things second hand. I needed a lot of expensive refrigeration equipment, found some on eBay for a third of the cost new, but it's cost me the same amount again to have it repaired into a working condition.

skyebluesapphire Mon 12-Nov-12 23:56:34

HSBC do a great free business account if everything you do is mainly online. You can pay in cheques but there is a monthly limit. It hasn't cost me a penny so far.

I do bookkeeping, vat and payroll and have helped many businesses start up so feel free to ask any questions. 20 years experience, went self employed last year.

Records kept by spreadsheet can be very effective and keep your accountancy bill down if done properly.

fargone Tue 13-Nov-12 06:41:08

I also ran aground of the advertising rules accidentally - would love to see other people's links and have in fact just messaged one of the members here based on the business they are doing!

Stitchthis Tue 13-Nov-12 07:12:05

Marking my place

PurpleGeekyGirl Tue 13-Nov-12 07:12:12

Ooh fab thanks for this smile I am off to a Barclays business seminar on Thursday in bradford. Is anyone else going to that one or has attended one in the past?

Also if anyone has any advice about the transition from sole trader to ltd company I'm all ears!! Hoping to open premesis in 2014 (as a tea shop/cafe/city centre chill out zone) in Lancaster/Lakes area grin

threadweaver Tue 13-Nov-12 07:15:40

Great thread. I'm in the process of setting up a social enterprise which is essentially a business set up for a social purpose. On phone and off to day job in bit but will come back and post more info/useful links later on if anyone's interested in social enterprise.

Skyblue - I may well have some questions for you!

Btw just nc as felt time for change but long time lurker/poster

Great idea for a topic !

Tee2072 Tue 13-Nov-12 07:53:14

I keep all accounts by spreadsheet and don't have a business account.

I am finding being a member of the Federation of Small Businesses is getting me lots of networking opportunities, although joining is a bit pricey.

I do have an account look over my books at the end of the year, but we do trade as I work on his website for him!

This is a whole topic, so we can add other threads.

Although I am not sure what the difference is between this and the freelance board, TBH.

notnagging Tue 13-Nov-12 08:13:46

Brilliant idea but I think mumsnet will need some subtopics very quickly!
I actually need some advice on getting a prototype made for a kitchen utensil if anyone can help.

casbie Tue 13-Nov-12 09:33:19

Same here, even though I have been going for a year, made a profit in my first year, I still swing between cursing and singing! : )

NotaDisneyMum Tue 13-Nov-12 09:49:19

Great idea MNHQ!

I'm still in my infancy in terms of self employment - started 18 months ago as a dinner party caterer, had nothing
for 6 months (gulp) , then a few bookings but still quiet then changed direction and have been busy for the last 6 months or so doing cooking demos for a range of audiences - young mums, sheltered housing etc.
Another change planned soon though as I'm taking over a tea-rooms which I'm currently providing cakes and doing relief cover for - very exciting but a lot more of a tie than what I've been used to up until now!

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Nov-12 10:16:00

gussiegrips

So, how do the advertising rules work on here?

Can I tell you about my business and put up links to the website for help and feedback, but without falling foul of shameless self promotion rules?

OK, this is how we reckon it should work.

As you know, we do charge businesses to advertise on MN (either on leaderboards/MPUs around the site or in our Classified sections on the main Talk board or in MN Local). This enables us to pay our staff, keep the servers running and ensure MN is free to use for all members.

So, obviously, it wouldn't be fair to those who pay to advertise to allow you (or anyone else) to promote your business all over the shop. And, if you did, we'd likely delete your posts.

However, we have no problem with a regular MNer who is using this Talk topic to discuss her/his business ideas/plans posting one link to her/his website, if it is clearly relevant to the discussion (eg: it's a thread about how to improve your business presence online or summat).

So, key things to remember...

1. No self-promotional links all over Talk

2. Links are OK in discussions in this Topic ONLY, as long as they're posted sparingly and as a relevant part of the discussion (and not just random self-promotion).

Hope that makes sense. Do please let us know if you have any other Qs.

EwanHoozami Tue 13-Nov-12 11:24:09

Marking my place. I need a crash course in bookkeeping and small business finance so shall check this topic eagerly.

EwanHoozami Tue 13-Nov-12 11:25:06

PS I enjoyed Tee's Oracle pun grin

Tee2072 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:27:20

Thank you Ewan. grin

TerrorNotSoFrightened Tue 13-Nov-12 12:10:28

Marking my place also.
I have two business ideas but need to get my driving licence first.
So, obtain provisional in December, sit theory test in January, intensive week long driving course in February.

Meanwhile buy all the equipment I need to start up business #1...an entertainment business doing karaoke/disco with a sideline in children's parties.
I hope to get a residential spot on a Friday night at a local pub so that I have weekly money coming in.

The money made from this will fund further training for business #2, I'm already a qualified makeup artist and am currently training to do semi permanent eyelash extensions. I want to do further courses in nails, spray tanning etc.
I then plan to rent a room in a local hotel and work from there.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for advice on accounting and marketing as I know very little about these departments, actually I know nothing about them.

So, if anyone has any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Nov-12 12:13:09

TerrorNotSoFrightened

Marking my place also.
I have two business ideas but need to get my driving licence first.
So, obtain provisional in December, sit theory test in January, intensive week long driving course in February.

Meanwhile buy all the equipment I need to start up business #1...an entertainment business doing karaoke/disco with a sideline in children's parties.
I hope to get a residential spot on a Friday night at a local pub so that I have weekly money coming in.

The money made from this will fund further training for business #2, I'm already a qualified makeup artist and am currently training to do semi permanent eyelash extensions. I want to do further courses in nails, spray tanning etc.
I then plan to rent a room in a local hotel and work from there.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for advice on accounting and marketing as I know very little about these departments, actually I know nothing about them.

So, if anyone has any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Do please start your own thread, TerrorNotSoFrightened. We're sure lots of people would love to know more about accounting and marketing - and we're equally sure there are some MNers around these parts who've got some great advice to share.

LadyMaryChristmas Tue 13-Nov-12 12:43:47

Back to the adverts (sorry), companies are using your business start up section (and other sections) as an excuse to advertise for free. Web sites/stalls at craft fairs etc are all helpful to a small business but small businesses have to pay for these. I've spent less than an hour on here today and have reported 3 or 4 already. I've looked at what you do allow (up there), but it doesn't say anything about companies like these.

Sorry, this probably isn't very clear. My head hurts.

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