Starting a new business is hard. Regardless of whether you have an innovative new idea or if you are looking to turn your hobby into a money maker, it can be difficult to start and grow your business. Every new venture differs from the next, and each startup has a unique set of challenges to overcome.

To make your life as an entrepreneur just that little bit easier, we put together a list of things that are often overlooked but are essential to making your next enterprise a success. Make sure you have these ticked off as soon as possible!

Create a style guide early

This tip comes straight from our Founder. When starting his first business, creating a brand style guide never even crossed his mind. By the time he started Countingup, it was one of the first things he did. This meant that from the very beginning we had a consistent look and feel on our website, app, and presentations. Many entrepreneurs rush through this stage, or never even fully consider it in the first place. Remember, you can only make a first impression once, so make sure it is well thought out and consistent. For some inspiration, you can view our style guide which is available publicly from our press kit.

Write a business plan

The old adage of ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ applies here. Writing a business plan might seem daunting (especially if you have never written one before), but the act itself provides a huge amount of value. While a business plan is an essential document for seeking investment, amongst other things, actually writing your idea down in full can provide insights that you couldn’t see before. Write your plan, pick holes in it, and make it better. Set some targets and deadlines to benchmark your progress.

Consider the ownership structure

If you are completely new to the different types of legal entities your company can structure itself in, we suggest reading this guide. Regardless of if you know a little or a lot, we would recommend getting the advice of a qualified accountant or advisor to help. There are different benefits and drawbacks to each and they can be unique to each situation so unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules here.

Data Protection and other regulations

You may have heard the term GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and if not, you need to learn more about it. In a nutshell, it is a bunch of new data privacy laws being brought in by the EU which means that as a business, you need to know exactly what information you are holding about customers, where it is being held, and ensure that it is being adequately protected. The good news is, if you are just starting out now, it should be a lot easier to comply with these new regulations.

Get a business current account

This may sound obvious but so many people are still using their personal accounts to run their business — especially sole traders. We have previously laid out the reasons why you shouldn’t, such as making your tax returns much easier to deal with. Obviously, we recommend a Countingup business current account because if you are going to get a business account, why shouldn’t it also automate your bookkeeping?

Have we missed anything you think is essential to any new business? Tweet us and let us know.