Hosted by: Russell & Mike

BSS3 – Thank you for the music, business operations setup

Diving into launching the business, by starting in partial competition with her father, Zelda considers some brave steps. However, striking up a business relationship with Jakob means having to make some sacrifices.

Mike and Russell, from Gydeline discuss how to prepare for starting a business and what skills are needed to do it well. The tools and support required are covered along with some ideas on naming an organisation.

Blue Sky Stinking
Blue Sky Stinking
BSS3 - Thank you for the music, business operations setup


Useful Information

Company naming, structure and business operations setup (@6:02)

Social Media Courses (@12:20)

Recommended Books and magazines (@14:30)

Other places for Advice & Guidance (@17:17)

Business Networking Groups (@17:45)

Episode script

Business Operations Setup Discussion Transcript

MIKE: So this week, Zelda has prompted us to talk though some of the basics of setting up a new business and has, quite rightly, decided that a company name is important

RUSSELL: And the name Sideline was a bit of a flash of inspiration… I think.  It’ll be interesting to know whether that sticks because picking a company name is not as easy as it seems

MIKE: No, if I remember correctly I think we went through over, well, hundreds of names before settling we finally settled on Gydeline

RUSSELL: And that wasn’t the one we started with- we incorporated with a different name!  You have to consider whether it is available first and doesn’t clash with another organisation on company registers.

MIKE: And then you have availability of domain names, which are available and which domains you wish to register – whether it’s a, .com, .org, .biz, or .just about anything you like nowadays.  Does it fit your product, your style and your values.

RUSSELL: A further issue to cover, especially if you make a word up, is that it doesn’t mean something somewhat inappropriate in a different language.

MIKE: And then you’ve got to make sure you do checks on Trademark registers.  You might be able to get your name at Companies House and that might be available along with the domain, but someone might have registered the name as a trademark – and you have to think internationally as well

RUSSELL: And that depends on the market you’re targeting. Trademarks is bound to come up with Zelda and Jakob at some point in the future, so I think we can talk about that then

MIKE: No doubt!  We found a few interesting articles on company naming and we’ll put the links on the episode page on the show notes.  So, you mentioned company registers, you do need to decide what structure of organisation you want to setup.

RUSSELL: Yeah. There’s a range of different organisation you might consider setting up.   There’s Sole Trader, wouldn’t necessarily have you registering with Companies House. Limited company, Limited Liability Partnerships or Business Partnerships.  Even social enterprises and charities; all have different requirements. They all have different considerations. They have different benefits and different drawbacks.  So we’ll also point you to guidance on that as well, because picking your structure is a key stage of forming the business..

MIKE: One thing Zelda seems to be lacking, though, is a product or service

RUSSELL: Which could make forming a price list coming up with an ‘offer’ and finding potential customers a very tricky challenge indeed

MIKE: Quite. So, she has no basis for undertaking any market research into her venture.  She does need to decide what exactly she is going to do.  Her natural conclusion, and based on experience, was to compete with her dad.

RUSSELL: Obviously, it’s an industry she’s has worked in and hopefully she understands, but again, crushing her father in business is a somewhat unrealistic stance.  I think Jakob said that if she wanted to do that she’d have to have a pretty robust strategy as to how she was going to attack it… And what is her problem with Strategy?

MIKE: Well it seems to be something we’ve seen with lot’s of people we’ve worked with, that it seems to be difficult, it seems to be burdensome something that’s been struggled with before.  Perhaps Zelda’s seen her dad angst-ridden over what the strategy should be.  So her approach is much more laissez-faire, she’ll make it up as she goes along and everything will be alright.

RUSSELL: There’s also an element where the strategy could be seen as a great big wall of work.  And it could be unrealistic, People think of a strategy, Oh no, that’s just sitting around talking and creating a report and they don’t need to do that

MIKE: And as we know, and as we’ve seen with start ups, they want to get on, they want to do things, they want to be out there selling and promoting and branding and logos without putting some foundational pieces in place and having a strategy, is one of those foundational pieces.  But one of those foundational pieces that really needs attention is her work place

RUSSELL: Very much so. She’s ended up in the pub having a discussion with Jakob and we’ll have to see where that goes.  You need somewhere comfortable to work and quiet to work. It’s not good to be clearing a space on the kitchen table among the morning’s breakfast dishes isn’t going to set you up for a productive and inspiring day. Imagine the sight of piles of ironing or half-done DIY to distract you.

MIKE: Says the voice of experience?

RUSSELL: Maybe.  Probably worse would be working out of a public place like a coffee shop or pub

MIKE: Especially when there are good co-working spaces that are usually available for short term rent.  There are some government funded buildings that offer great spaces at competitive rates

RUSSELL: Yeah, we work in a new one.  It’s great, unless you’re trying to record a podcast.  Which is why we’re sitting in my lounge.

MIKE: No echo and good coffee machine.  Which brings us to another key consideration, equipment

RUSSELL: I think we’re going to have to wait and see what Zelda is going to do before deciding on equipment; What kind of product will she produce, what kind of service is she going to provide.  Suffice to say there will likely be a need for a computer, software and a phone at least

MIKE: Well let’s leave equipment for another time and talk money. Specifically the need to get a bank account and, possibly an accountant

RUSSELL: Yes, because getting a business bank account is harder and takes longer than you might imagine

MIKE: And even in this online digital world, the need to demonstrate you are who you say you are still tends to rely on some paper going to one of the dwindling number of bank branches

RUSSELL: I don’t think anybody should think it will be quick and easy to set a business bank account up.  They need to plan ahead, You can’t expect that to be done quickly… once you have a name and company structure of course.  Zelda mentioned social media marketing… In marketing terms, is that all that’s needed?

MIKE: Not really, no.  Social media is a key aspect in marketing and sales today.  As is a really good website.  But nothing can beat, and there’s been a resurgence in face to face networking, so some other things like business cards and promotional material remain important in that battle to be noticed in the crowd.

RUSSELL: And the amount of effort required to make social media a productive source of leads should not be under estimated

MIKE: The biggest benefit of social media is it can be used for free.  However, you need to money on the right bits of promotion to accelerate your growth.  The number of people that spend a vast amount of time on social media for no return.  So that’s something to be aware of. It’s an area that Zelda could with some training in, I’m sure about that.

RUSSELL: Yes and there’s lots of people training in social media, We’ll put some of those on the episode page.  The final thing I thought we could mention, with regards to starting up a business is Passion.  Starting a business is an amazing and rewarding experience, as we’ve had – it’s also the beginning of a journey that’s likely to have its fair share of frustrations, disappointments and late nights. If you’re going to make your business a success, you need to have the drive and self-belief to make it through the tough times.

MIKE: And sometimes the difference between business failure and success is simply that drive and passion to see it through and the tough times.  Having said that, I think Zelda does seem to have some passion

RUSSELL: She’s certainly got some passion about her abilities.  Whether they’re founded or not is yet to be seen! Do you think Jakob is handling that passion?

MIKE: Not sure what Jakob is doing at the moment.   He’s clearly going to back Zelda’s venture but her motivation is to become “rich and respected”.  That’s not really the, for example, the “Why” Simon Sinek what talking about.

RUSSELL: Yes, Zelda mentioned she’d read that, what core understanding did she miss in that book?

MIKE: I think it’s a mistake a lot of people make. They they focus on an outcome “to be rich and respected”, “to earn money to grow your business”. That’s not really the why that he’s talking about.  He’s talking about the the underpinning emotional driver that says “why am I doing this”.  Am I doing this because I really care. Am I doing this because I want to make people’s lives better. So that why that really matters to you is the thing that will keep your motivation going through those tough times and that’s really what she wants to. Not focus on the outcome.  So,  that’s a good example of a book about starting or improving a business.  Is there anything else that you think we should recommend on that note?

RUSSELL: Well, as you know, I’m not the biggest fan of reading and tend to fall back on audio books and snippets – I’m a bit of a snippet monkey, but I’ve always been drawn to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and his Eighth Habit book as well.  It’s not everybody’s cup of tea.  It’s not specifically about start-up business.  It’s more about you being a more effective individual and that obviously translates into a better business.  I think it’s what works for you and you have to try a few before you find advice that sits well with you and aligns to your way of thinking.  You’re a bigger reader.  Have you any reading recommendations?

MIKE: Yeah, I am a big reader of business advice books and I think the advantage and challenge of these books is that there is a lot of them out there.  They cover a lot of different areas.  Such as, entrepreneurship or money management or investment or the practicalities of running a business, or stories about the growth of a certain business whether it be Google, Facebook or Walmart or whatever, or Stories about an entrepreneurs life.  So it’s very difficult to say here’s one book that will answer or sit with the needs that you have.  What I will do, in the show notes we’ll put a list of the books we think are really useful.  We’ll give you some clues as to the areas that they’ll help with and, it’s not just books.  There are places you can go for inspiration and guidance.  So maybe we’ll post some of those in the show notes as well.

RUSSELL: Yes, and some of those other places are government funded, at least in part EU funded currently in the UK.  There are places like Growth Hubs all over the country which can act as signposts to other funded help. 

MIKE: These are great, especially if you’re on your first venture and learning the business ropes.  Business planning, market analysis and skills development and training are usually available.  It’s also worth hunting out your local business networks

RUSSELL: Very much so.  We are involved in a number of networking groups which provide access to arranged events, usually free.  Some of these groups require some kind of fee to join, nothing too hefty but you can usually go to a few events before needing to join or anything like that.  We’ll list a few in the link area as an illustration and if any networking groups want to add to that list, please comment and we’ll ad them on.

MIKE: Yes, let us know. And if you’ve got any other comments about what you’ve heard .  About where you think Zelda, Jakob and Nero are going.  Please post them, we’d be so delighted to hear your comments and get your feedback.  Share this and review this and we’ll keep, hopefully, keep bringing you some fun and some educational content.  So, until next time…

RUSSELL: Thanks very much for joining us

MIKE: Thanks for listening.