Many of the best-known technology businesses were started by individuals, often working from their own living rooms. If you have an idea you think could meet a need within the IT sector and generate a healthy profit, how do you go about setting up in business?
Write a business plan
Firstly, you need to have a very clear idea about what you are aiming to do. You will almost certainly need funding to develop your idea and the people you approach for money will want to see evidence of viability, including financial forecasts and projections, before investing. Bear in mind that many start-ups fail first time around: although you may have a great idea, putting it into practice will take time, effort and know-how.
Choose the right structure
Next, you may need help with choosing how to structure your company, whether it is as a sole trader or one of the various types of partnership. Forging ahead with your idea will need planning and the paperwork to back it up, however tedious it may seem. You must make sure you have documents to support your type of business and put in place systems for recording tax, income, pay and outgoings.
Protect your ideas
If you have an original idea which you are planning to market, it may be considered intellectual property. There are four main ways of protecting your concept so that it isn’t copied or taken advantage of:
If you’re developing technology, a patent could protect it. Or, you could register the design if it is an original one. A trade secret can be useful if the way your technology has been developed makes it difficult to copy.
Talk to an expert
Don’t underestimate the value of talking through your ideas and plans with others who have experience of the type of product or area of the market you are targeting. If you don’t already have contacts that can help, there are plenty of tech networking events taking place around the UK. You could also make use of business incubators (often linked to Universities), which can offer advice, business understanding or office space. Accelerators aim to kick-start business growth by providing hands-on help from experts in your field.
Find the funds to get started
Approaching a bank, venture capital firm or ‘business angel’ will require you to have a very well thought out plan, with clear expectations of business growth backed up by detailed market research. If successful, securing these types of funding may come with the additional benefit of specialist advice or mentoring support.
If you’re forming a technology start-up which aims to have social benefits, it may be worth researching grants, as there may not be an obvious financial return to attract traditional forms of investment. What about crowdfunding? If your business would benefit from a network of supporters to spread the word, this could be a great way of securing finance from a wide range of different sources.
Contact us to discuss your plans
Starting up in business is never easy but if you’re clear about your aim, can convince others of its potential and are open to advice and support from others, your tech start-up will have a better chance of success than most.
At Arram Berlyn Gardner, we can help you to review your business concept and provide you with helpful and constructive feedback to move forward. Contact us to start the conversation.
Telephone 020 7330 0000