5 steps to starting up a business in your lunch hour

Do you really take advantage of that precious one hour break in the middle of the day? Thousands of people simply let the time slip through their hands, or snack on a sandwich whilst typing up reports with the other hand. 

This shouldn’t be the case! With a multitude of services and technology at your fingertips it’s never been easier to kick-start that brilliant business idea you’ve been sitting on. Here’s all you need to know for what could be the most productive lunch hour ever…

1. Plan, plan, plan
It’s no surprise that starting a business takes planning. By putting a straightforward and informative business plan, you can document and show off to potential investors why your product/service will be successful. 

Calculate the facts and figures and make sure that they are realistic. Not only will this give you the best chance of securing investment but will also give you a clearer idea as to where your business is going and how it’s going to get there.

2. Set up a website
Setting up a website is the first step to promoting your business and ensures your company is projecting the image and key messages you would like to portray. 

A well-designed and user-friendly website speaks volumes to potential customers – first impressions count. Don’t be fooled into believing that setting up a website is a labour-intensive and expensive task, you don’t need to have any special programming experience, you can find all the advice and tips you need on a website builder platform like Squarespace. 

3. Spread the word
In a world so reliant on social media, it’s easy to forget that sometimes a traditional phone call can be a good way to get the word out there about your new business. 

Pick up the phone and discuss your ideas with friends, family, former colleagues and other business contacts, no feedback is bad feedback so listen and learn. A set of branded business cards is also a useful tool to get your name out there. If you’re feeling creative, Vistaprint or Moo.com have some great designs and discounts to help get you started.

4. Tax doesn’t have to be taxing
Unfortunately, this part is necessary. Make sure you register your business for tax purposes – you can do so online through HMRC easily. 

Keep all important documents like invoices and receipts organised from the start – if you need extra cloud storage to keep your files safe, Google Drive offers 15GB free. Try to keep all your files in one place so you can refer back to them quickly – this will make it easier when you come to tally up the numbers at the end of every business year. 

5. Final touches
Set up a business bank account. This helps you to maintain a high level of professionalism and keeps your personal and business finances separate for tax purposes, which will make it easier to calculate in the long run. If you have the finances available it might be a good idea to create an event around your launch and invite potential suppliers, customers or retailers.

There you have it! Don’t be afraid to bring into fruition those ideas you’ve been sitting on.

Some of the best ideas are born out of your everyday needs or surroundings, it could be a gap in the market you’ve spotted through work or a problem that seemingly couldn’t be solved whilst running an errand. Look for inspiration in those spare moments on your way to and from work, or even better, during that golden lunch hour which often goes by in an unmemorable flash.

Mark Edwards is general manager at online legal service Rocket Lawyer.

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