Starting a business is one of the most exciting things you can do, but it can also be quite overwhelming. While few things beat the buzz of waking up in the morning and knowing that you are your own boss, running your own business comes with a host of practical considerations and legal responsibilities that you may not have thought about.
Are you going to open a shop, set up a website to trade goods from abroad, manufacture your own product or sell your professional services? Do you have a brilliant idea that has never been tried before and you're itching to put into action or are you sticking with what you already do? Whichever avenue you take, make sure you thoroughly research your chosen market.
Once you've settled on the type of business you want to run, the next thing to think about is how you want to legally structure that business. The structure that you choose will have a big impact on the type and amount of taxes you pay, the records you need to keep, the level of red tape you face, your exposure in the event that your business fails and your legal responsibilities.
You will need to think about how you are going to finance your business. Does your idea involve substantial set-up costs or will you be able to work out of your spare room on your laptop? Do you have enough money of your own to finance the business, perhaps because of a redundancy payment, or will you need to approach banks or other finance providers? If you want to convince lenders that you are a safe bet, you must have a good idea of how much money you want and what you want it for.
It is important that you do as much research and planning as possible in the early stages of your business so that you don't waste time and money on an unprofitable venture.