For as long as possible, the city of Birmingham has been associated with big businesses in Britain. Being the core of the industrial revolution and the birthplace of well-known establishments like Lloyd’s Bank and Cadbury’s, it is a city with a history in almost all notable sectors of business in the country.
In recent times, it has grown to become a very vital commercial center, both nationally and internationally, and also home to big names, especially in the world of accounting, finance, marketing, and management. Have it in mind that the city’s reputation as a haven for new entrepreneurs is growing every day.
There is a massive influx of aspiring entrepreneurs into the city to take advantage of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and network. For five years straight, aside from London, the city of Birmingham has produced the highest number of new businesses in the UK. With affordable office space, new developments, and a talent base, the city of Birmingham is perfectly suited for new businesses looking to get up and scale up successfully.
Steps to Start a Business in Birmingham
The necessary steps to start a business in Birmingham will surely vary based on the type of business you are looking to start. Nonetheless, here are basic steps to guide you through.
Have a Business Idea
Note that a good number of people eager to start a business will already have an idea of what that business might be, even if the idea is a bit sketchy. Have it in mind that your business ideas can be based around brand new products and services, or making available service or product that’s affordable or better than competitors.
However, you have to also understand that not every business idea just pops out of the blue; therefore if you are struggling to come up with a good concept for your business, start by brainstorming lots of ideas. Focus on finding out what people want and the issues that they have to contend with, and then consider ways to solve these problems or cater to their needs.
Put together a New Business Plan
Truth be told, a business plan is a very vital document for a business of any size. This document ensures you have a good understanding of your strategic goals, financials, market research, and potential obstacles. You will also need to analyze the cost of starting your business and also create a budget.
Agreeably, the cost of starting your business in Birmingham will surely vary based on factors like whether you need to buy specialist equipment, rent a business premise, or if you are running your business from home. With record levels of infrastructure investment, increasing international recognition and countless business expansion opportunities in the region, you will surely find a good place to locate your business in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
Assess Your Finances
Not just in Birmingham, but starting a business anywhere in the world can be costly and you mustn’t overspend. When starting a business, you must keep costs to a minimum and spend only on vital things that will bring in more sales. Have it in mind that a good number of new businesses require finance when first starting.
Howbeit, to seek a business loan through a bank, you are expected to be a UK resident, plan to start a business, and not be bankrupt or in debt. You should also consider seeking angel investors to raise finance, especially since they helped companies like Google and Yahoo grow. Nevertheless, note that they may require around 25% return on their investment.
Register Your Business
After you must have decided on the type of business you want to start, note that the next step is to legally register your company with the Birmingham City Council or the Companies House. The exact place to register your business first will depend on the sort of business you intend to start. For instance, when you start a new food business or take over an existing business, you are expected to register with the Birmingham City Council first.
However, always remember to contact the Birmingham City Council to find out if there are any area-specific or industry-specific permits or zoning restrictions that could limit your business. Also note that the cost of business registration depends on numerous factors, such as whether you complete it online or by post, or if you require same-day service.
You will also be expected to be fully registered on Companies House, and also receive your ‘certificate of incorporation’ confirming that the business is legally recognized. To register with the Companies House, here are things you are expected to present;
- Selected company name (cannot copy or resemble other trademark business names, or include sensitive or offensive words)
- Company address
- The name of one or more directors
- Nominated shareholders and details of their entitlement
- Your SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code
- Details of PSCs (people with significant control) of your company, such as those with relatively large shares in the business.
Choose a Legal Structure
While registering your business, you will also be expected to choose a legal structure for the business:
- Sole trader: This is, without doubt, the easiest business structure, but with no legal distinction between you and your business
- Partnership: if you are starting a business with a business partner or partners
- Limited company: this is a complex structure with plenty of admin, but your business is legally distinct from you as an individual
- Limited liability partnership: This is essentially a business partnership combined with a limited liability company.
Obtain Business Insurance
Business insurance is very necessary when starting a business in Birmingham because it helps to protect business owners and independent professionals against everyday risks like human or software mistakes, stock or premises damage, and legal costs. Here are business insurances required by law:
- Employers’ liability insurance – is necessary to cover the cost of compensating employees who get injured or become ill through work
- Commercial motor insurance – is necessary for businesses using vehicles
- Professional indemnity insurance – is necessary by the regulators of some companies, such as IT consultancies
- Commercial property insurance – is known to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your business premises, or replacing your stock or equipment.
- Liability insurance – sees to the cost of compensation claims following fault or negligence brought against you or your business
- Cyber insurance – handles losses relating to damage from cyber-attacks or online scams
Plan Your Advertising Strategy
After you must have carried out the steps noted above, it’s time to consider how you are going to draw in customers and grow your business. In terms of advertising a new business, you must consider marketing, branding, and how you intend to balance online and offline promotion. Here are a few strategies to guide you through.
- Do competitor research: Note that this will ensure you understand the market, set your prices, and find a way to stand out
- Create a website with SEO: In this modern age, you must optimize your website for search engines to enable people to find your business
- Send emails and newsletters. This is another simple and cost-effective way to stay in touch with your customers and boost sales
- Cultivate a social media presence: According to experts, social media is a good way to buttress your brand’s personality, connect with clients, and also market your products with tools like Facebook Shops and Instagram
- Leverage flyers and print marketing: Another good way to reach potential customers
- Network at industry events: This will ensure that you know your industry and make connections at virtual or in-person events
Put Together a System for Keeping Business Records
As a new business in Birmingham, you must stay organized to enable you to meet your tax obligations. If you fail to put together a reliable record-keeping system, you will invest much time going through paperwork when you have to do your Self Assessment. First and foremost, ensure you keep your business finances separate from your finances.
Have it in mind that tax-deductible expenses can only be for business purposes, and it can be quite challenging to differentiate money coming in and going out when you are using one account. Remember that you are required to keep business records for some years. If HMRC asks for them, accurate and organized business records can help ensure you stay out of trouble in case of a tax investigation.
Birmingham has witnessed massive transformation in recent years and has grown to become a hub for investment. However, before starting a business in Birmingham, seek advice and guidance to ensure you don’t make business-wrecking mistakes.
Note that business mentors can offer advice perfectly ideal for the type of business you are running. Also note that there are loads of help available for new businesses in Birmingham, from mentoring networks to government schemes.