You have decided to undertake the professional dream, to stop working for others and start working for yourself.
You have what it takes, the idea, the passion, the vision for your business and “the attitude” for success but as a migrant entrepreneur … the challenges of launching a business can be even tougher than normal so … where do you start?
Perhaps these 6 steps can help …
1. What is the first step, document some of the vision that describes your business…the business plan?
Business plans are important to map out your vision, particularly if you’re trying to raise money. They also help you think through the idea, the model and how you plan to launch and market the product or service.
Make sure that your idea will add value to people’s lives.
Define your purpose, your goals, the opportunities, how you are going to make it happen, your financial and marketing plan, don’t forget to do market research, it is key to find out where you would be in the market and who you are competing against.
Don’t make the business plan too heavy … a regular problem with new entrepreneurs. Get the vision, the idea, the model and the basic financials in place. Then get out there and sell it …
2. You have your business plan ready, but you are a non-UK citizen.
If you are a migrant entrepreneur, you will need a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
There are some requirements to consider:
- Having at least £50,000 investment funds or £200,000 of personal wealth.
- English equivalent to level C1of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages(CEFR)
The fees can vary between £908-£1,204, depending where you are from and how you apply.
3. Now that you have the right to set-up a business in the UK, you will need to protect your intellectual property.
Trademarks. You can protect it only in the UK or internationally. The cost starts from £170 and the registration takes 4 months.
Patents. This is a complex process that requires expert advice and legal documents. Have in mind that the registration takes 4-5 years so make sure you apply adequately from the beginning.
The application fee costs between £230-£280, and filing the application between £3,000-£5,000. Once the application is filed, the complexity and expensive decisions will emerge (e.g. international patent).
Register designs. You will need to provide illustrations, photos, drawings and additional information of your design. Fees are £60 and registration takes 1 month.
Copyright and design right are automatically protected. However, you should keep supporting evidence that the work is yours. You can send a copy to yourself by registered post (do not open it) or email. Another option is using online copyright services.
4. Now that everything is protected, it’s time to choose a business structure, this will depend on your personal financial liability.
Sole trader (self-employed). It could be the easiest and cheapest way to start up a business, however, there is the risk of unlimited liability and the difficulty to raise funds.
Limited company. The biggest benefit is limited liability, the costs to set it up and the accounting and administration requirements makes it not the best option for an entrepreneur.
Partnerships. Despite the unlimited liability, it is easy to establish and easier to raise funds than solo trader.
5. Opening a business bank account.
You will need to distinguish personal and company’s finances to keep a clear and transparent record of all your transactions. Some banks have a special account for start-ups. Read the small type carefully and study which conditions better suit your business needs.
- RBS Business Current Account for Start-Ups
- Lloyds Business Switcher Account
- HSBC Business Bank Account
- Santander Start-up Business Current Account
6. Find good quality, affordable advice
The UK and London in particular, have an amazing range of support services and cost effective channels to great advice.
There are business support agencies across the country who can offer valuable support and advice, often free of charge, to start-up and growing businesses. These agencies will help you with any of the more straightforward legal documents. One such organisation is Cavendish Enterprise which has agencies across England. You can find out more about the support and advice on offer, and the agency in your regionhere.
Mi-hub is a co-working space and funding advisory service for migrant entrepreneurs.
Need help with legal services? Send us a message.
LawyerFair is a free service set up to help migrant entrepreneurs like you find the right legal experts, at the fairest price.
Being an entrepreneur is an amazing experience and a fantastic journey. Be armed with the best advice and go for it …
This article was written by the LawyerFair team. It is written generically and should not be taken as advice for your individual circumstances, where we always recommend speaking to an expert and/or advisory service for further information.