05 November 2015
Do you have a Christmas cracker of an idea for a new business?
With Christmas just around the corner, there are plenty of lovely goodies to buy for family and friends.
Sweet-smelling soaps, hand-made jams and chutneys, hampers brimming with cakes and treats - how many of us have looked at the beribboned and bedecked packages and thought “I could do that”.
There are plenty of home-grown ideas which have captured the imagination of the High Street - global baby and toddler food brand Ella’s Kitchen came from a parent’s passion for his children to eat healthily; while the founders of cosmetics retailer Lush originally started by mixing beauty products in their kitchen.
Good business ideas are often shared with partners, other family members or friends, but be wary - for every success story, there are many more ventures that fall by the wayside.
If 2016 could be the time you’re going to set up a new business, then Vicky Holland, corporate partner at Buckinghamshire law firm B P Collins LLP, has a few seasonal tips to help you start the New Year on the right note:
Happy families (and friends) - a working relationship with someone you are close to is very different, so make sure you set clear boundaries on roles and expectations.
Is the price tag too high? - if you have to invest in stock and premises, then talking finance with your nearest and dearest can be difficult. You need to be clear from the start how investment cash will be spent, who benefits and when, and what happens if the investment doesn’t succeed.
Festive fun or winter blues - decide if your relationship is strong enough to handle the low points as well as the highs. Setting up your own business won’t be plain sailing and you need to understand your respective strengths and weaknesses and how much time you need to invest. It’s no good if one half of the team is heading out to next year’s Christmas party when the other has a long list of orders to fulfil.
Tinsel or turkey - if the business is going well and the future looks sparkling, then some big decisions will have to be made to take advantage of its potential. How quickly do you expand, can you afford to pay yourself a wage, do you need to take on extra staff? On the other hand, if the idea has turned into a bit of a turkey, you need to decide how and when to cut your losses.
A Christmas message - if there’s one essential and timely plea, it is to talk to a professional adviser before you start. Someone who can explain the legal and business intricacies of everything from the company structure to supplier contracts; from shareholder agreements to sales; investments to national insurance payments.
Goodwill to all men (and women) - if you get it right, working with trusted family, friends and colleagues can be a joy. But remember that if you get it wrong, it can ruin relationships for a very long time.
And lastly, much like remembering to make the Christmas pudding in plenty of time, good preparation is the key to success!