Starting a business at any time is daunting but starting a business in difficult economic times may seem to be the worst possible idea. During the current recession many traditionally “safe” jobs have come under threat. The banking sector has laid off large numbers of workers and the public sector, that last bastion of the ‘job for life’, has seen cuts and will see many more. For many the prospect of working for themselves can seem an attractive prospect. There are opportunities to be found in the type of climate we are experiencing and learning to run your own business in difficult times can develop not only your business skills but stand you in good stead for the future. Businesses owners that start up during bad times learn to take nothing for granted and often go onto to create long lasting and highly successful firms. So it’s not all gloom!
The first step to getting it right when setting up your business is in the planning stage. There has always been considerable support for start-ups and the government is consistently keen to support business entrepreneurs. Business Link should be your first port of call and they can advise on the sources of funding, grants and provide invaluable advice and support in the pre and post launch days. Whatever business you choose to run you will need to keep a close eye on accounts. For new start-ups and the self-employed one important matter to pay attention to before you begin is how you will deal with accounts. Taking professional advice from an accountant is essential and using accounting software will in most cases also be essential. This latter may seem like an unnecessary cost but it can make a great deal of difference in both the long and short term.
Time saving skills
Possibly the single most important factors in creating a successful business in a hard economy is to minimise the costs of running your business and to work as efficiently as possible. Small businesses or self-employed enterprises need to take these matters seriously from the start. If you work for yourself and have no employees you’ll need to manage and run every aspect of the business yourself. Your product or skill is the most important part of the business and you need to be able to give as much time as possible to this part of your business. Meeting, greeting and persuading new clients will also be crucial. Accounting software allows you to get the all-important accounting out of the way without impacting heavily on the time you have to produce your product or build an ever bigger client base.
Cost and efficiency
Keeping costs under control in the early (or any) stages of running your own business will prove to be a useful skill. Accounting software, whether desktop or online, will cost money but can produce considerable cost savings. There are two aspects to this factor, the first being the time saving it offers. The second is when it comes to the final preparation of accounts for tax returns. If you are using an accountant – and it’s always worth taking professional advice however small your business – a good accounting software package will cut the time the accountant needs to spend on your accounts. This can make a big difference on the bill you receive and you’ll see an immediate return on the original investment.
The other aspect to cost control is managing the costs of supplies. When it comes to monitoring money going out as well as coming in accounting software can play a crucial role in your success. The ability to create reports detailing how much suppliers are costing you over a given period can help you assess efficiency and see where savings may need to be made. In the early days it may be that you have rushed into decisions over suppliers or taken advantage of offers that seemed a good idea at the time. With accounting software this often overlooked area can be easily and quickly managed allowing you to make better management and financial decisions. As your business grows it should also be possible to add new elements to a good software package. These may include payroll software or VAT software. From the start of your business there are many areas the use of accounting software will consistently help you to achieve efficiency savings and allow your business to grow.
Despite the tough markets and competition setting up a business in the current financial climate can havebenefits. Learning early on in business how to use the best tools to manage your time and keep overheads down will be a valuable lesson that will stand you in good stead whatever the economy has in store for us all.
Carlo Pandian blogs about business and payroll software, when he’s not online or cycling around town you can’t get him out of the kitchen for his love of food.
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