Start me up

I’ve been writing an article on small business for one of the men’s glossies (OK, journalist writing article, it’s not exactly a surprise I realise). The thrust is to ask people …

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30th August 2007 at 2:14 pm

I’ve been writing an article on small business for one of the men’s glossies (OK, journalist writing article, it’s not exactly a surprise I realise). The thrust is to ask people what they wish they’d known when they first started up – hindsight’s a swine but it could help readers thinking of starting up themselves.

The reason I mention it here is the sheer number of people who are pointing to money as their main cause of difficulties as they began. I’ll link to the article in full when it appears (if the mag puts it on the Web) but here are some of the more interesting if obvious-with-hindsight financial tips people are offering:

* Don’t borrow more than you have to. If you do, you’ll pay interest on it and your debt early on will dictate the shape of your business later.

* Keep as much cash in the bank as you can. You might be doing well on paper but if an unexpected bill trips you up you can still be unable to trade.

* Check all the non-obvious routes for finance BUT look out for the catches – if you get a regional award, for example, make sure you know when it’s coming as they can take some time.

I can add one of my own which I’d stress for everyone considering starting by themselves and freelancing (it’s less of a trap for companies) – never, ever, mistake the fact that you’ve done some work and issued an invoice for having cash in the bank. It’s so easy to spend it on stuff you’re convinced you need, in advance – then spend a little more, then a little more…(CONTINUED AD NAUSEAM)

More of these tips next week if any more come in.

Guy Clapperton

Guy Clapperton is a freelance journalist who specialises in small business issues and has written for the likes of The Guardian, the FT and the Daily Mirror. Guy has written about finance and franchising for SmallBizPod. http://www.guyclapperton.co.uk

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