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How to start your own business

Starting your own business brings challenges. Where do you start? What do you need? And how can you be visible online? In this article, you will find helpful information and steps to start your own business.

Why start your own business?

Starting your own business gives you many advantages. One of the main advantages is that you are independent. This means that, among other things, you have the freedom to make your own decisions and can control your time and circumstances.

However, there are more advantages. For example, you can:

  • taking on a new challenge;
  • earn more than in salaried employment (if your business is successful);
  • marketing your idea or invention;
  • develop you personally and career-wise;
  • expressing your creativity.

Why not start your own business?

Starting your own business also brings disadvantages. For instance, you have to take responsibility for the performance of your business and manage it yourself.

Other disadvantages of owning your own business:

  • financial risks 
  • You have to take risks to grow.
  • uncertainty 
  • The market is constantly changing, so you never know exactly where it will go.
  • stress 
  • Due to the risks and uncertainty, you may experience stress.
  • long working hours 
  • You must spend much time on your business, especially in the early stages.
  • irregular income 
  • No month has the same income, which is the case with salaried employment.
  • additional tasks 
  • Such as keeping records and arranging insurance.

Starting your own business, but in what?

So you want to start your own business. You may already know precisely what you want to do. But what if you have no idea? Fortunately, there are many options based on your interests and expertise. Below are some questions to help you come up with an idea:

  1. What do you enjoy doing?
  2. What are you very knowledgeable about?
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. Where can you stand out?
  5. What are your reasons for starting a business?
  6. Who or what are your sources of inspiration?
  7. What is the market asking for?

Starting your own business, ideas

Need some inspiration? Here are some business ideas:

  • online shop
  • physiotherapist
  • daycare
  • catering
  • hairdresser
  • interior designer
  • software developer
  • consultancy firm
  • restaurant
  • PR agency
  • childcare
  • beauty salon

Starting your own business: costs

It makes sense that starting your own business is not free. The exact costs depend, for example, on the type of organisation, its size, and in which industry and country you operate. So we cannot give you a precise answer.

Depending on your business, consider the following cost items. Note that this varies by country and type of organisation.

  • Start-up costs
    This includes registering with a registry. Opening a business account at a bank is also often mandatory.
  • Fixed charges
    Consider renting office or retail space, for example. But also phone and internet costs, equipment, travel expenses, and hosting costs.
  • Tax
    A company pays taxes, including corporate income tax.
  • Insurance and permits
    This includes business insurance and licences to run a business.
  • Administration
    Think about hiring an accountant and accounting software.
  • Inventory
    This includes buying raw materials or ready-made products. Or buying equipment to do your job correctly.
  • Marketing
    Think about creating a website, (online) advertising, events and social media.
  • Transport costs
    This includes packaging materials, a payment system and a shipping courier.
  • Financial buffer
    A buffer comes in useful if, for example, you go on holiday, have an unexpected (long) illness or a business partner withdraws.
  • Staff
    Are you going self-employed? Or will you hire employees? If so, you need to consider wages and various insurance.

Starting your own business, what do you need?

When you start your own business, you need a few things to get off to a good start. Below you find a list with examples:

  • a good idea
  • a business plan
  • financial plan
  • licence(s)
  • insurance(s)
  • business area
  • inventory and equipment
  • marketing
  • optional: staff

Starting your own business step-by-step

Now that you know more about starting your own business, you want, of course, an answer to the question: how do I start my own business? We will help you. Below, you find a useful step-by-step plan to get started.

Please note that the plan below is a basic plan. This means the steps may vary by company and country. Do you need help? Look for an expert to advice you on starting your own business.

1. Do research

Doing research is the first important step towards a successful business. By researching what is going on in the market, you determine whether you can turn your idea into a successful business. You can gather information about potential customers, competitors and the market.

You may discover that another organisation is already selling the same thing as you are planning. How will you differentiate yourself? Which target group do you want to focus on? And in which country or region will you operate?

2. Write a business plan

A business plan is a crucial role in starting your own business. It structures your business to (hopefully) run it successfully. 

A business plan includes your goals and how you will achieve them. You can think of the following components:

  • organisational structure
  • market analysis
  • target group analysis
  • products, services or activities
  • financial plan
  • marketing plan
  • legal affairs

Tip: You can find 2 examples of a business plan on the SBA website.

3. Make a financial plan

Of course, you need money to start your own business. To manage this, creating a financial plan is a good idea. What amount of money do you need to get off to a good start? What are the expected revenues and expenses? And how will you finance your business, by yourself or through a loan?

Tip: you can find helpful information on how to write a good financial plan at Business.gov.co.uk.

4. Come up with a company name

You want your business to stand out. A good business name is a must. This should be a name that is easy to remember and reflects your business. But be careful: your business name should not be misleading, shouldn’t resemble your competitor’s name, shouldn’t contain someone else’s name or shouldn’t already exist. So, research carefully to see if your name is already in use. 

5. Register your domain name

The next step is to buy a domain name. A domain name is your unique business address on the internet. It offers you opportunities to grow beyond offline.

You buy a domain name from a domain registrar, such as one.com. Just like your company name, make sure your domain name is short, recognisable and easy to remember. Need help? We have some tips for finding the right domain name.

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After you came up with a business name and you register your domain name, you choose a legal form. This legal form affects your business registration, taxes, licences and liability, among other things.

Have you chosen a legal form, and are you required to register your company? Go to the business registry of the country in which you will be doing business. The following links provide an overview of European business registers and business registers outside Europe.

7. Check laws, permits, regulations and taxes

You must comply with specific laws, licences, regulations and taxes as a business. Some professions, for example, are protected. Which ones these are in Europe can be found in the EU’s regulated professions database

You may also have to deal with permits and regulations surrounding your business space. And what about various taxes in Europe? For example, VAT, excise duties and business tax. So always research what your business needs to comply with.

8. Arrange insurance

Starting your own business involves risks. Therefore, research the risks and whether you can insure yourself. Examples of insurance are: 

  • corporate and professional liability insurance
  • legal expenses insurance
  • health insurance

Tip: Create general terms and conditions. So you are immediately clear to customers about what rights and obligations you and they have.

9. Set up the administration

Keeping the administration of your business is a challenging job for many entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, it has to be done. Good administration ensures that you have an overview of your income and expenses. As a result, you are well prepared if anything changes financially. Moreover, you are often obliged to keep records for several years. So think carefully about whether you will do the accounts yourself or hire an accountant.

10. Find a business location

A business loaction seems to be just a location. This is not entirely true. The location affects such things as income, taxes, laws and regulations. 

Are you going to start a shop? It makes sense to be located in a city or village’s (shopping) centre. Do you sell large products such as cars or create your furniture? Then you will have more space in a business park. Or do you offer online services? Then you can start your own business from home or work in an office.

11. Purchase stock and/or equipment

You obviously won’t sell anything without products and/or proper equipment. So make sure you stock up and/or buy good equipment to do your business correctly.

For example, are you going to sell physical products? Think about where you will store the products. Don’t you have a location? Then you can choose for drop shipping. You sell products without stock and he supplier will deliver the product directly to your customer. Do you want to get started online? Think about equipment such as a laptop, desk, chair and online software like Microsoft 365.

12. Create a website

A business website is nowadays a must if you are going into business. After all, it offers you many advantages:

  • Online presence
    You will increase your brand awareness and acquire more customers.
  • Visible 24/7
    You offer visitors extra service when and where they want it.
  • International
    You can easily reach a larger (international) audience from your location.
  • Information point
    You make it easier for people to find information about your company. Or it’s easier to contact you. 
  • Point of sale
    You can open an additional sales channel alongside your physical shop and thus sell more.
  • Presentation channel
    A website is your online business card showing what you have to offer.
  • Collecting customer data
    You gain insight into interests, behaviour and purchase history. This makes offering products or services that suit your target audience easier.

The benefits show that making a good website is essential. It sounds difficult; however, it is not. All you need is a domain name and hosting. You can buy this from a provider, such as one.com.

Creating a website at one.com

At one.com, you can easily create a website even if you have no technical knowledge. With our website builder, you can build your professional site in just a few steps. Are you planning to sell online? You can quickly start your online shop with us, too.

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  • Choose from 140+ templates
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13. Promote your business

It is time to promote your business so that you attract customers. You do this by advertising through marketing. For example, promote your business through the following:

Need more tips? You’ll find them in our article about customer acquisition.

14. Evaluate

Finally, regularly evaluate how your business is doing, whether you have been in business for a few months or have been around for 10 years. Which goals have you achieved and which haven’t? Do you need to adjust them or set up new ones? Is the strategy you came up with work, or do you need to go in a different direction? How is the market developing, and how are you growing? You ensure a healthy business by regularly evaluating where you stand and where you want to go.

It’s time to start your own business. Get started today at one.com.

Easily build a website you’re proud of

Create a professional website with an easy-to-use and affordable website builder.

Try 14 days for free
  • Choose from 140+ templates
  • No coding skills required
  • Online in a few steps
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Mobile friendly
  • 24/7 support