Setting up a business doesn’t have to take long – businesses can be set up in as little as 30 days. We’ll give you some business basics to help you choose your idea, tick the right legal boxes and make a plan to get you off the ground.

Discover a week-by-week breakdown of key milestones to check off as you’re getting set up and start trading in no time. 

Whether you’re entirely new to the world of business or are looking to transition your freelance business into something established, find out how Countingup can help you run your business below.

Week 1:

Your first week should be spent deciding what you want to offer and who you are as a business

If you’re reading this article, you might already have an idea of what you do, but if you don’t – don’t worry. Small business ideas can come from anywhere. If you have a hobby or side hustle you enjoy, can you make money from it? Have you noticed a product you can improve on or a service you can make faster? 

Not every idea is profitable. If you’re to be successful in business, you’ll need to be able to identify viable and lucrative business opportunities. To do this, research a number of different ideas: examine why existing industries operate and cost their products as they currently do, and consider where/how your business can add value. 

Once you have an idea, the rest of week one should be spent planning and developing your new business offering. If your business is tied to a product, you’ll need to source things like suppliers for your raw materials and packaging for transport. If your business is in providing a service, develop your process from start to finish.

Week 2: 

Your second week should cover some of the more technical aspects of your business. 

You’ll need to decide how your business will operate: typically either as a sole trader or limited company. If you’re looking to set up a business in a short amount of time, operating as a sole trader may be more suitable as it can be done quickly online. Find out why in our article explaining What is a Sole Trader?

During this week, you’ll also have to source a business bank account, premises and sort out any permits or insurance you may need to operate legally. This can take some time to complete fully and may therefore last into the coming weeks, which is why it’s important to start early on. As many businesses can be run from home with minimal oversight, the latter steps will depend on what type of business you’re running. 

With these important details now established, you should begin to try and find any funding you may need. If you haven’t been able to already, you should order stock when the funds are available. 

Depending on your business idea, you may need to seek significant investment and may need to apply for a number of different funding sources before you’re successful. 

You can increase the likelihood of your applications for funding being successful with this final step: creating a budget and business plan. Having an idea for how your business operates on paper will help you understand what’s best for your business to get started and how it can grow. Having this understanding to communicate to lenders and investors is key for securing funding. Find out more in our articles How to Budget for Starting a Business and How to Write a Business Plan.

Week 3:

With your business’ location and product/service now available, you should begin drafting some initial marketing materials, including a logo, colour scheme, and selling points about your business. Use these same elements to build a website and create invoices you may need. There are various online resources, including easy-to-use website hosting platforms and freelance graphic designers, to help with early marketing materials and invoices.

Depending on the needs of your business, you may still be handing licensing applications and funding pitches during the next two weeks. These aspects of business can take time so if you’re not actively working on this side of your new business, you should work on its marketing and advertising.

At present, your business is only 2-3 weeks old. You’ll need to be able to quickly and effectively raise your business’ brand awareness and start selling. Creating successful marketing campaigns takes time and consideration, whether you’re looking to market online or in-person within your local area. For more information, read our article What is Small Business Marketing?

Week 4:

If you’ve followed the main steps outlined above, your stock will be ready, your website will be built, and you can begin to market your business.

Across this week, try to generate as much buzz and excitement as possible for your new business’ launch. If you’ve received funding from a lender or investor, consider using some money to advertise your business using high-profile and attractive marketing strategies. 

As you start out, it’s important you make yourself as established and memorable as possible to your customers. Beyond effective marketing, other avenues to communicate your value can be used such as offering attentive customer service and early-bird discounts. For more information, read our article For more information, read our article How to Create a Marketing Strategy.

How Countingup can help

As you can see from much of the above timeline, starting a business in 30 days means managing lots of different tasks.

We didn’t get around to keeping on top of your financial admin. That’s where Countingup comes in. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates financial admin for business owners, meaning you can spend more time doing what you love and building your business.

With our automated invoicing tools and handy receipt capture feature, you can make sure your books are accurate and up to date. We also offer expense categorisation and real-time profit and loss reporting, so you can have an idea of how your business is using its money and where your marketing and sales strategies have been successful. 

Find out more here and sign up for free today.