Every small business owner should...
- Have a short spiel ready.
Potential customers are everywhere so always be ready to confidently convey what you do if they ask.
- Website and Email address with your business name.
In this cyber age no business can afford not to have a web presence. At less than £50 there aren't many cheaper ways to lift you professional profile.
- Professional phone manner.
Be available by phone at all times. Use top quality equipment and when answering the phone is impossible, using a virtual office is a great alternative. At home a second line for business is the best idea, or get an extra number attached to your existing line which has its own ring tone. BT's Call Sign Service can do this at less than £2 a month.
- Register with HM Revenue and Customs.
Make sure this is done immediately to avoid a fine. They allow three months but that can slip by when you are busy.
- VAT watchdog
If turnover reaches £60k in any 12-month period, you must register for VAT within 30 days. Even if the goods and services supplied are zero rated, register and then apply for an exemption. Here is the main guide VAT rules and procedures and use this ready reckoner to see if opting for a flat rate scheme is best which VAT scheme is best for you.
- Get organized and stay that way
Don't let paperwork slide, deal with it immediately or employ someone who can. Keep all receipts and use a good diary planner to jot down and record important dates and deadlines. Renewals and due date can creep up fast.
- Take care of yourself
You are the most important asset in your business. Take time out, exercise and eat well.
- Protect you business assets
Back up all business data, all the time. Back up the back up. Do this by storing on compact disc, a portable external drive or try an online back-up service. QuantaBackup is affordable and secure for all size companies.
Get together with other small business owners in the area to share information. Business contacts are invaluable for word of mouth promotion and support. Try these resource sites to find who's who in business.
British Chambers of Commerce
Government Business support helplines
Federation of Small Businesses