The Dos & Don’ts Of Financing A Start-Up Business

Let's not beat around the bush here – starting your own business can involve a lot of hard work.

From the meticulous levels of organisation to creating careful hiring strategies, there are a huge number of caveats to consider and decisions to navigate when trying to scale your business and ultimately, become successful.

One of the most important examples of this is your finances – the money your business has available – to not only get up and running but also sustain it throughout the initial period. Managing finances correctly is imperative to ensuring long-term success, and without taking the time to carefully think about how to correctly maintain the finances of your start-up, you could end up in trouble a lot sooner than you might think. So, to help stop this from happening to you, we thought we’d lend a helping hand. Join us as we run through some of the key things you should and shouldn’t do when trying to finance your start-up business.  

Do: Understand the tax implications involved

Regardless of the size or nature of your start-up business, there is one financial implication you simply can’t avoid: tax. From the income tax your employees pay to the national insurance contributions you make personally, it is vital to understand which types of tax you will be liable for – and why. Corporation tax, for example, is a form of tax payable on the profits your business makes as a limited company. This is typically charged at a single rate of 19% but can vary depending on where your company is registered. If, for example, you were registered overseas in Gibraltar, your corporation tax rate would be lower at 12.5%. Therefore, if you aren’t sure which types of tax you will owe, or how to work out what your tax liability will be, it could be worth getting clued up by speaking to a professional within the country you operate in. 

Don’t: Forget to reclaim your business expenses

Since money will most likely be fairly tight to begin with, the last thing you will want to do is miss out on being able to reclaim any expenses you incur while building up your business. There are, after all, a wide variety of things you can and can’t claim for expenses on, so it’s important to know the difference. Otherwise, you could unintentionally be leaving yourself vulnerable to committing tax fraud. 

Listed below are some of the key things to be wary about, helping you save those precious pennies during the early stages:

  • Pre-setup costs. Did you know that you can claim relevant expenses for up to seven years before the business begins operations? That means things like computers, software, internet, travel and professional services may all be tax-deductible depending on, firstly, when you purchased/used them and, secondly, their exact intended use.
  • Business insurance. Any business insurance policies you have can be claimed as limited company expenses, as long as they are strictly used for business purposes. This includes public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, contents insurance, and many others.
  • Travel & accommodation. Any mileage, food, drink and accommodation costs associated with overnight business trips can typically be reclaimed, helping lower your total Corporation Tax bill. Likewise, parking costs, congestion charges and public transport fares can also be claimed as business expenses.

Do: Draw up a budget

A start-up business often spends more than it earns for the first two to three years. Therefore, the amount of financing you need may continue to increase even after you’ve finally broken even. As such, it’s important to draw up a budget in line with your business plan, outlining your sales forecasts, potential expenditure and capital costs. This should be realistic and allow for contingency funding if the worst were to happen – whether that be your website being hacked or a product launch being delayed.

Similarly, this budget should identify the types of borrowing that suit your business model – both long-term and short-term. From sourcing loans to arranging overdrafts, it’s imperative to know what you can and can’t afford, only ever entering into financial arrangements that are practical.

Don’t: Forget to check the small print

If something sounds a little too good to be true then, in all likelihood, it probably is. Therefore, it always pays to double-check the small print of any loan or financial agreements that you decide to sign up to.

Whether it be the overall term of the loan, the proposed APR after a set period of months or the total number of payments you’re expected to make, the last thing you want is to be caught out by anyone you owe money to. 

About the author: Annie Button is a professional content writer and branding aficionado. 

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