Staff at Clärchens Ballhaus, Berlin

Starting a new business: A six-step guide

As we emerge from a series of lengthy lockdowns, the pandemic meant hitting pause on any greater ambitions for many, including those wanting to open their own business. Opening a business is a huge task, but knowing where to begin can give you a great head start. Check out our six-step guide on how to go about your big launch. 

1. Set a timeline 

Setting up a new business requires a huge amount of pre-planning. This includes specifying timescales and lining them with your short-term goals to ensure you stay on track with a structured and time-sensitive programme. 

Your plan should cover a minimum of 12 months, offering up as much detail as possible and working in some extra time for potential errors and unexpected delays.

2. Put together a business proposal

There is no shortage of tasks you'll need to complete when opening your business. A great way to prepare your plan of action is by pulling together a business plan. This will cover anything from investors, budgeting and brand concepts to staff hiring, management structure and more. This will be a vital way to prepare before you launch your business. The business plan will function as your customised checklist to expand on and refine, covering an executive summary, description and market analysis and can also be useful when promoting your business to future investors.

 3. Secure financial backing

If you require financing when setting up a new business, you will need to figure out how much funding you’ll need, where you’ll source this from and whether the payout is guaranteed. It’s a good idea to have backup options in place in case your initial investors fall through.  

The capital needed to open a business is often more than many expect. It’s important to consider that your budget will have to account for property, equipment, marketing, staff and upkeep. It may take at least 1-2 years for your business to break even, so you will want to acquire a sizable budget to cover the necessary expenses.

Investors are therefore key in providing you with the cash you need, and your fleshed-out business plan will provide further security for those interested in partnering with you — whether that is a bank, private investor or a company. 


You will need to identify the category your business type falls under which will determine how your business is structured and taxed. The most common business start-ups opt for a limited company or sole trader status where you will be responsible for any debt you may build up as well as obligations stated. Alternatively, a partnership will allow you to share that responsibility, covering profits, risks and costs.


Once decided, you will need to register with the HMRC. As a sole trader, completing a self-assessment will help you set up your income tax payments. 


If you’re working in the UK, you will need to purchase Employers’ Liability insurance to compensate for costs when an employee gets sick or injured, caused in some way by the work they provide your business.


Taking care of your accounts can be a lot to get your head around. Many outsource such work to an accounting firm. As a startup however, you will be able to automate this at a fraction of the cost using a dedicated point of sale system. 

5. Concept and branding 

Your branding will be a key element of your business and a way to implement your creative ideas. There are several things to keep in mind when coming up with your business name and fine-tuning your brand: 

  • Scout the industry landscape and ensure your name or logo is easily distinguishable from your competitors to avoid confusion and protect yourself from possible trademark infringement

  • Ensure the domain containing your business name is still available

  • If the name or branding includes your geographical location, you will need to undergo a significant brand redesign when scaling internationally — if growing your start-up is in the books, make sure you don’t limit yourself in the long run

6. Consider a POS system

A Point of Sale (POS) system is a till run on powerful software dedicated to improving the service and capabilities of retail and hospitality businesses. This will allow you to automate a range of processes across your business, making things easier with stock management and a range of third party integrations to boost your front-end operations through speedier service, higher turnaround and providing an elevated customer experience. 

A dedicated POS allows merchants to access performance insight, covering staff, sales and stock through consolidated reports. With the necessary POS integrations, merchants will be able to get their accounting taken care of, staff rotas scheduled and tedious and time-expensive tasks automated. 

SumUp Point of Sale

Whether you’re running a hospitality or retail business, navigating all of the different elements of your day-to-day operations can be tricky. With a flexible, all-in-one point of sale system, you can make it simple. Manage your stock, menus, employees and customers and always accept safe and secure payments. You’ll also have access to useful insights that can help you pump up your sales.

If you think SumUp Point of Sale could be a fit for your business, get in touch with us via the form below. 

SumUp Team

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