Build your small business

How to run a successful business

When you start building your small business, there are some important things to consider to help you grow to success. From branding your business to taking care of your finances, here are some top tips to get started.

Brand your business

Branding your business will help you figure out your identity. Your brand typically means the name and logo of your business, which should be designed to help you stand out in your market. But, your brand should be much more than this. It’s how people feel when they engage with anything to do with your business, whether it’s your website, store or product. It’s how your company represents itself.

Building your brand is a great way to help your business to success. Here are a few important questions to ask yourself when you’re figuring out your brand:

  • Who are your target audience? What will appeal to them?
  • What makes your business unique?
  • What your company stands for, and what it doesn’t
  • Which values do you want your business to have?
  • What is your brand’s visual identity (logo and name)? If you need to, work with a freelance graphic designer on this, unless you are one!

Find out more about branding your business and finding your tone of voice with our guide

Treat your customers well

Word of mouth is another way of letting potential customers know about your business. The best way of getting recommendations for your business? Treating your current customers well and giving them an experience they want to shout about. Offering good customer service and resolving any issues quickly are a given, but personalising your customer service is another great strategy.

If you work with the same client on a regular basis or are working on a long term project, forming a strong working relationship with them can lead not only to more future business from your customer, but also recommendations to their network or friends.

Start doing marketing and managing your PR

Marketing and PR and other ways of spreading the word about your business so you can grow your customer base and increase your sales.

PR is how to get your business a positive reputation. This could be anything from getting featured in local papers to holding events which encourage a good view of your business.

Marketing is promoting your business with the goal of making sales. Creating a website and social media channels for your brand are two ways for customers to find your business online at a low cost. Other more marketing channels include advertising either on television or local papers, but these will require more of a budget.

Find out more about the different ways to market your business with our quick tips

Take care of your finances

One of the most important things when building your small business is having a good overview of your finances so you know if you’re on budget, when you can invest, and which areas you should focus on.

Doing your bookkeeping and invoicing in the same place by using an easy online accounting solution like Bokio makes it easy to keep track of your finances. Automated reporting means you don’t need to be an accounting expert to get it done quickly and easily. Bokio also lets you track your invoices, so if you have any late paying customers you can send them a friendly reminder to keep your cash flowing.

Know your taxes

Knowing which taxes you need to pay is important to make sure there aren’t any surprises! You’ll be able to plan ahead and set money aside to pay your bills.

There are several different taxes you may need to pay. These include:

  • Income tax and National Insurance contributions
  • Corporation tax
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Dividend tax
  • VAT

It’s important to do your taxes in good time so you don’t have to rush at the last minute! Using an accounting software like Bokio is a great solution. We have everything you need to help you prepare for your Self Assessment tax return. Plus, we’re a Making Tax Digital compatible software, so when you do your bookkeeping with Bokio you can submit your automatically generated VAT Return in minutes.

To find out more about how taxes work, tax rates and whether these apply to your business, read our guide to UK taxes

Get networking

Networking allows you to expand your connections, gain advice and not feel alone as a new business owner. Through networking, you could find new opportunities, partnerships, potential customers and potential investors,

A great way to start networking is through groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, or on websites that offer local group events near you for all sorts of small businesses, industries and interests.

Want to start networking? You can read our top networking tips here

Know when to grow

When you’re building your business alone, it’s natural to try and do everything yourself to save money. But, knowing which jobs you should invest your time in and when you should delegate to someone else becomes really important once your business is well established.

Keeping an eye on your finances means you can budget for hiring full time staff or freelancers to help out and free up your time to focus on other things.

If you want to save time managing your finances, Bokio is a great solution for small businesses and sole traders. With Bokio, you can do your bookkeeping, invoicing and more in one place.

Want to give Bokio a try?

Create your account in 2 minutes

This article was updated January 2021