We understand how confusing it can be starting up a new business. We set up our own business in 2014 and remember how overwhelming it can be. With that in mind we’ve spoken to a number of local experts (in the Huntingdon area) and have pulled together a checklist for businesses which we’re glad to share with you here. If you’d like us to put you in touch with any of these experts, or even if you’d like us to coordinate things for you, just get in touch and let us know what you need.
Telephone number(s) and internet access
If you are a trade or your business is not office based, then a mobile phone number is perfectly acceptable.
But, if you are an office based business, people and prospective clients will expect to see a landline number.
If you start by using your personal mobile or home landline number, you are potentially creating an issue a little further in time.
If you are mobile and you don’t want the expense of two phones then using your personal mobile makes sense – just remember to answer your calls professionally – and check with your accountant about what you can and cannot claim for.
All mobile providers today offer unlimited texts, minutes and data so for a smaller increase in monthly cost, you should never pay for calls and data.
If you use your home phone number, you may well find that this is tied to your home internet connection and also your home TV services.
Depending on who provides your services you may be able to have the number moved, but in doing so you may incur charges and you will definitely enter in a new contract term.
Some mobile operators now also offer a virtual landline numbers so you can have a local number for your clients to call which rings on your mobile phone.
If you are looking at offices, the choice is between serviced and going for your own.
With serviced offices they may offer telephone services and numbers, but always check you can retain the number(s) should you move on.
If you are going for your own offices and you need internet connectivity, be sure to check what services and speeds are available before you sign the contracts!
Next day internet is possible with BT today as is always on internet via 4G mobile data back-up.
However, even in the heart of Silicon Fen here in Cambridgeshire there are areas with slow to no internet and not spots for 4G and 3G.
There are cellular internet options and a growing number of internet providers, but generally speaking the speeds you can expect depend on the Openreach network.
With your own offices and an internet connection the office telecoms hardware is included, you just pay the monthly bills and you can expand this as your team grows.
If you are providing mobile phones and buying IT equipment you should look at “Technology-as-a-service” which spreads the costs out over 2 or 3 years meaning no large capital outlay and a guaranteed refresh in the near future.
Buying your mobiles outside of the mobile contract can save you a few hundred pounds over the course of a 24month contract.
Mobiles can be fully integrated into your business telecoms providing extension dialling, availability, chat and even video calls.
Going forwards, it is all about connectivity, being connected wherever you are, with the device at hand to the data you require.
Ultrafast broadband is here today, 5G is arriving and mobile and WiFi coverage is improving all time, but we’re not quite at wire-free world today.
New technology is not the most expensive, but making do with old technology can seriously hamper your plans.
These days, businesses and organisations are expected to have some sort of online presence, even if it’s just a one-page brochure style site.
Website domain name
When deciding your domain name you can either go for a name which matches your business name or go for one based around the services you offer which will help when people are searching for your site online. UK businesses tend to choose
Website hosting and maintenance
In terms of website hosting, who will host your website and will you be responsible for software updates etc.? It’s important to find out all you can about the hosting before choosing it – what software is provided on your hosting, does it include an SSL certificate, what limitations are there (in terms of disk space and bandwidth), do you have full access to it, is it a shared server, is it based in the UK?
Your logo can be the central focus of your brand so it’s important to get it right. We recommend asking a Graphic Designer to help you design it.
Content for your website
Will you write it yourself or do you need to pay someone to help you write it? Do you have images to use or do you need to buy some? How will you keep the content fresh?
Customised email addresses
We recommend having a proper business/branded email address rather than using one of the “free” ones as it looks more professional. Who will be providing your email hosting? Are there any limitations you need to be aware of? Does it include webmail?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Will your website actually get found by search engines? SEO is about ensuring your site stands the best chance of being found online.
Leaflet / Brochure Design
Do you need a paper copy of the services you deliver to hand out to perspective clients or use in direct marketing?
These are a necessity if you do any sort of business networking. Designed correctly they can be a great way to keep your brand in people’s memory after they’ve met you.
Social Media management
Do you have a Social Media presence (e.g. a Facebook business page) and if so will you manage it yourself or pay someone to do it for you? A Social Media expert can advise which are the best platforms for you to register on for your target audience.