Setting Up An Office

With more and more of us breaking away from the rat race and choosing to start our own companies, many people want to become their own bosses and dictate the pace of their working lives.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur with a fresh idea you want to progress, or a professional who fancies going solo in your line of work, there are a few things you will need to make sure of when you’re beginning your new venture:

  • Draw up your business plan

You’ve got the idea; now it’s time to plan it out! Work out the potential costs of your materials, premises rent, manufacturing costs and of any equipment and technology you may need to do the job itself.

Then set yourself some short-term and long-term goals for the business going forward. By having an idea of where you want to be and how long it could take you to get there through careful planning you can help prepare yourself for any pitfalls you may encounter along the way.

  • Set a budget

Work out roughly how much you want to spend on your new business venture, and make sure you split this into several areas, including amounts for rent, equipment, technology and even stationary.

Speak with your bank about the possibility of opening a business account to help you along. These will come with helpful advice for startup businesses and may even offer additional perks that can help your business in its early days.

SEE ALSO: The Basics of Business Deposit Accounts

  • Get registered

When setting up a new business you must register your company with Companies House – a government department for the regulation of businesses – and decide what kind of business you wish to trade as:

  • Sole trader
  • Private limited company
  • Limited liability partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • ‘Ordinary’ business partnership

When you’ve decided on a name for your business and registered it with Companies House for a small fee, it’s time to get your URL registered, research into hosting companies and secure your URL quickly before someone steals in there before you!

  • Establish a location

Establishing your base of operations is an essential part of the process, for not only is it where you operate from but it can, in some cases, be close to your customer base.

Sole traders will usually begin working from home, and this can be useful depending on the type of business you are looking to establish. Whether your business is purely on a digital level or you require equipment and materials for manufacturing your products on a small scale – including crafts – starting off from your home base can be a good start as you already have aspects such as computer equipment and an internet connection already.

Look into rental prices of a number of locations before deciding on your eventual destination, then look into the costs of the utilities involved – including electricity and water, for a large part of what you’ll have to pay will go to the landlord or letting company.

  • Get insured

After you’ve found your new location, sorted out the rental rates, and worked out any overheads, it’s time to insure yourself against anything that goes wrong. Office insurance helps to protect your business from damage caused as a result of factors such as flood or fire damage, covering both your premises and the contents contained within.

Basic office insurance will usually come with add-ons to cover against various factors and possibilities, including window insurance or computer system cover, allowing you to get back on your feet as soon as possible – whether through relocation or from replacing equipment.

Remember, when you’re starting small it can be worth keeping your insurance costs small too, look into some office insurance policies before deciding on which one is right for you and your business.

We recommend you read: What is a Business Insurance?

  • Get equipped

After you’ve found your new premises, it’s time to fill it with things to enable you to trade, including amongst other things:

  • Office furniture
  • Lighting
  • Storage space
  • Stationary
  • Computer workstations
  • Telephone line
  • Peripherals (including printers and photocopiers)
  • Fire extinguisher

There are many more items you will also need to get, but that’s dependant on what kind of business you want to have, and how much you’d want to start with. As your customer base grows and more money keeps flowing in you’ll have the opportunity to buy more things to help the business.

Check out our handy Office Supply Checklist for more information on what your business will need to run and flourish.

  • Get comfortable

So you’ve moved into your new premises, and the groundwork for your communications is being sorted, including your phone line and internet connection, now it’s time to make the place feel a little more homely and personalised for your business.

When considering layout, allow yourself both a work and rest area, as well as seating for potential clients to sit while they wait for appointments. It can be worth starting off in an office block with a communal kitchen and dining area to save on space. Allow yourself and any staff you may recruit in the future an area where they can have periods of rest during work and lunch breaks, and if there’s free coffee available, then all the better!

And finally, when you’ve set your roots into the ground of your new premises, it’s time to…

  • Get trading!

Make sure you’ve everything you need to be able to do business – from computer equipment to machines that manufacture – and then it’s time to get your name out there.

Budget for some merchandise and get your name out there, either on social media or in person at events such as trade fairs. Make sure you establish a good website for your business as well. Some companies allow businesses to build websites to start using an online template system, but if you can make your own and get it live soon after establishing your business, you can start drawing in customer intrigue and interest in your product or service.

Keeping an eye on your finances is also important, so review your situation regularly and always look into alternatives when it comes to location so you can give your business an opportunity to get a foothold in the market.

How to Spend Less on Entertainment

In this guide, we tell you how to spend less on the things that you enjoy doing most, as a hobby, on your own, or with friends.

Cut the cost of the Cinema

Get a cinema membership

There are two main cinema chains that grant cinema memberships, Cineworld and ODEON.

You pay for each membership via a monthly direct debit, typically for a 12-month term, and you have the opportunity to watch as many films as you can every month.

If you just go to the cinema once or twice a month at most, then this method may end up costing you more than paying every time you go.

Choose the right day

Many cinemas give discounted screenings at specific times of the week – whether this is an evening of the week or weekday mornings when they are usually quiet such as described on the Vue website and the Empire website.

Save on tickets for live events

Look for cheap tickets

Do not just buy your ticket at face value; there are a lot of sites that will offer the same ticket at a portion of the price.

Once you decide on what or who you want to see, visit the following sites:

  • See Tickets
  • Lastminute.com
  • Theatre Monkey
  • Ticketmaster
  • Seat Choice
  • Ticketline
  • Comparetheatretickets.com

While you are visiting these sites, it may also be a great idea to sign up for their newsletters so that you can be informed of new tickets and deals as soon as they are available.

Remember to consider booking fees and the like when you analyse prices so that you can make sure that you are getting the best deal possible.

Check at the box office

Avoid handling or booking charges by personally going to the box office to check prices.

If you can,  try to book directly as you will usually be charged more in fees when you book using a third party.

Second-hand tickets

Various sites now give you the chance to purchase your ticket as-new, second hand over the internet.

Visit the following sites if you are trying to book sold out tickets:

  • Seat Wave
  • Get Me In
  • Gigantic
  • Viagogo
  • eBay
  • Gumtree

Remember to make sure that you are buying from a legitimate seller.

Save on nights out

Cheap drinks

Make sure that you plan your evening to include clubs and pubs with special offers, like 2-4-1 cocktails and happy hour.

Book in advance

Many clubs will give you a discount if you book with them in advance. You can either visit them directly or call them on the phone to negotiate for a lesser price.

Discount restaurant meals

There are various restaurants that will give 2-4-1 dinner deals or 2-3 course meal for a lower price.

You can visit websites such as Tablepouncer.com, that allows you to reserve last minute tables in selected locations across the United Kingdom for a discounted price.

Bring your own bottle

Some restaurants allow you to bring your own bottle, which can be much cheaper than buying wine there, so verify if this is allowed before you go.

To look for a restaurant that allows you to bring your own, visit the Wine-pages website.

Save on days out

Free days out

You are spoilt for options when it comes down to heritage and culture across the United Kingdom, and the best part about the options is that they are normally free!

You can look and plan a variety of free activities using the following websites:

  • VisitWales.com
  • VisitEngland.com
  • VisitScotland.com

Festivals

Going to festivals can end up being an expensive affair. However, there are ways for you to decrease the cost, from start to finish, in every possible way.

Cheap spa days

There are competing deals that are often available for spa days and weekends. Visit websites such as Wahanda to see if you could save money while pampering yourself.

Cheap and fun nights in

Free TV & films online

You can just sit back and enjoy a broad range of television programs and films from the comfort of your sofa with services administered by services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which require a monthly subscription fee.

Read: Where to Watch Free TV and Films Online

Cheap gaming

If you are one of those that enjoy gaming, then there are various ways to get yourself a console and games without spending too much. Opt for bundle deals, or look to buy pre-owned, to get the most for your money.

Save by eating in

Visit websites like Hungry House or Just Eat for deals at your local takeaway and sign up for their newsletter so that you can find out about special deals and promotions.

How to Write a Budget

Learn to manage your money and find out what you are spending it on each month. Here is a guide on how to draw up a budget to stay on top of your finances.

Why budget?

Drawing up a budget will make it easier for you to manage your money and will make sure that you are not caught out by unexpected expenses.

It will help you examine whether you spend more than you earn, and provide you with a concept of what you can afford to spend.

This should assist you in finding a clear and simple way to spend less money than you make.

Tips for writing up your budget

Before writing your budget, use the following tips to make sure that you have everything you need:

  • Be as accurate as possible: When you have to make an estimate, it is better to overestimate your amounts rather than underestimate them
  • Work out when bills go out: If many of your expenses go out monthly, calculate your income and expenses as monthly figures
  • Take your time: You need to set aside time to write a budget in order to make your budget as accurate as possible and so that  you can give it your full attention
  • Get all your paperwork: You will require all the documents that reveal your income and expenses, for example, utility bills, receipts, and bank and credit card statements.
  • Think about the purpose of the budget: For example, if it is for you and your partner, make sure that you draw it up together and include both of your incomings and outgoings

Step by step budgeting

Follow these steps when you write your budget to ensure that your results are accurate:

  1. Determine exactly what you earn: Make use of your payslips to enter your salary after tax, and include any second jobs that you have. Ensure that you include any benefits that you receive.
  2. Don't duplicate your outgoings: Be careful to only include your bills once. For example, if you pay for your TV, home phone, and broadband together, just enter the total cost.
  3. Include one-off spending: Even if they are not considered as a monthly cost, you need to include one-off purchases like a new boiler or car. Determine how much you spend at Christmas and divide it by 12 to determine a monthly amount.

What do your results mean?

When you have recorded all your incomings and outgoings, you will be provided with a total that reveals how much you are over or under spending every month.

If you have a negative total

This means that you spend more than what you earn, It reveals that you are living beyond your means.

If you have a positive total

This means that you earn more than you spend, It reveals that you are in a good financial position.

It is still worth checking if you could be saving money, since you may be spending more than you need to.

If you have a positive total, think particularly regarding what to do with the extra money that you are not spending. You could:

  • Invest your money
  • Deposit your money in a savings account or ISA