Six easy steps to set up a business – Part One

Many years ago I came back to the UK after a long time on the road to a Thatcherite revolution where the markets had been unleashed and poor little wannabe Commies such as I were yesterday’s news.

It was a nightmare. Mammon ruled OK and the country’s assets were being sold off to investors. What was even worse were that previous friends of mine who couldn’t hold a decent conversation three years before were now running their own businesses.

I couldn’t compute. How on earth could these people have their own company? It was much too grown-up for me and while their operations revolved around selling sandwiches and printing T-shirts it was all a bit entrepreneurial for me… and believe me, describing them as entrepreneurs was a stretch.

How things change. Twenty-five years later my Communist Utopianism was exactly that and you can’t move for start-ups who can truly be described as entrepreneurs, not chancers who used their experience as benefit cheats to set up businesses.

So, it was time for me to join them and after much uming and ahing I finally incorporated my company this year on 28th July and while I’m not selling sandwiches, I’m selling strategy, it has proved to be much easier than I expected it to be.

I had envisioned red tape, the need for friends and family to be company secretaries and board members and a process that would be taxing (boom-boom) and time-consuming.

As is usual in these situations, I let social networks take the strain. My presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is strong so I crowdsourced my questions and asked for recommendations for an accountant or a portal that could help me.

The overwhelming response is that it was a piece of cake and I should leave my comfort zone. My needs were not huge. I was setting up a content strategy consultancy/start-up that would be just me and my clients, no payroll and I already had an office where I worked from.

The first step was to incorporate the company, something that I thought would cost hundreds of pounds. Instead I went to GoLimited and it cost me the price of a London pint… £4.50.

Furthermore there were no solicitors letters pinging backwards and forwards for weeks. It took less than a morning and at lunchtime I was the founder and CEO of Mob76 Ltd. I’d give you a link to the company web page but I’m using Twitter as my contact channel and that’s working out for me.

There was also the thorny problem of finding an accountant. My wife was keen for me to use hers, but I wanted to use a digital accountant. It seemed daft for me to be setting up a digital consultancy using old-skool techniques so I crowdsourced and researched and finally decided to use the this online accountancy service.

Again I was amazed that it could all be done so simply. I could send out invoices, I could run everything from one place for £70 per month, I could do all my expenses and ensure that I was running my business as effectively as possible.

However, even though it was so simple, I still couldn’t make my way through my self-imposed forcefield, I still couldn’t quite make the break to act like a real entrepreneur.

Why was this apart from the fact that I’m an idiot? Well, I’ll have to let you know next week in part two of this guide in setting up and running your own business.

Monty (664 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.