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Starting a new brand – An essential checklist

Media Robin - Informative Articles
  1. Every start-up should begin with research. The time spent researching will pay dividends in the future.
  2. Prepare a detailed Business Plan, this should include your initial idea of how things will develop and will look at aspects of business that are key drivers for that development. Consider your finances, start-up capital, monthly costs as you progress. Analyse your personal strengths and weaknesses, there are so many free online courses to assist where required. Consider realistic growth expectations. Competitive advantages should be kept under review. Detail a point in the future when you believe you will finally break even and then move to profit. Be realistic, new start-ups take time to mature.
  3. Do others understand your idea? Find an audience with business experience and pitch to them. (A Dragons Den/ Shark Tank approach). Take on board the positives and negatives, reorganise if you need, tweak business plan if this is required, but if you have faith in yourself continue your journey.
  4. Do you have knowledge of the industry or service? This is a must.
  5. Instruct an accountant who may assist now and in the future. A good accountant can prepare you for the long term and give you some positive guidance.
  6. Select a legal business structure (Sole Proprietorship, LLP etc). Accountants can advise on this aspect.
  7. Identify your competitors, study them and their set up. (Bricks and mortar as well as online).
  8. Identify your (USP) Unique Selling Point. This is the reason customers will flock to your brand as opposed to your competitors.
  9. Have you considered a name, this will be your brand identity and requires time and thought? Short, memorable and cannot be confused with another business.
  10. Check all social media platforms to see if the name is taken. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In etc.
  11. Search for the name on a domain platform. You will notice when searching for names, single word names and two/ letter names are expensive or taken in dot com. They cost a premium for good reason. ( is Facebook,,, Liverpool Victoria Insurance). Top level domains (TLD), dot com, dot io, are best but you may consider one relevant to the industry you are in, dot tv, dot law although dot coms are still the most recognised. The dot com is internationally recognised and the safest option. But difficult to acquire.
  12. Have you checked the name on the internet against intellectual property rights (IP) trademarks, copy right? Google, Apple, Amazon, are quick to litigate.
  13. Is there a company with the same name or a similar sounding name?
  14. If the name is too like a competitor in the same industry this is a problem.
  15. Logo ideas are very important, you can either design one yourself, or hire a designer. This logo will forever be associated with your brand this requires time and patience.
  16. Website ideas (professional help can make a big difference). Off the shelf or custom made, commerce or information based, various options. Again, you need to know what is required for your business.
  17. App ideas (professional help can make a big difference).
  18. Stationary, business cards, letter heads all need to be ordered.
  19. Email signatures the signature will represent your first interaction with a customer. Make it unique. A designer may help here.
  20. Launch ideas (This gives the customers initial awareness of your brand). The bigger the better. If you are limited by a budget, then learn from the content on Google/ You Tube.
  21. Launch timescale, be realistic. Delay if you need to, never rush.
  22. Business address options, rented office space, serviced office, post box so many options, you can have a postal box in major cities or access to serviced offices in most towns or cities. Start small and build.
  23. Register your domain name with a domain registrar like Go Daddy. This should only be done in your name only.
  24. Register the name with Companies House in the UK or with relevant body in the US and Europe.
  25. Trademark in required industry.
  26. Copyright Logo and design.
  27. Search Engine Optimisation maybe helpful at the outset this will help your website get visibility online. A typical website takes months to show up on google and is competing for page one.
  28. Google ads also helps get online visibility quickly.
  29. Recruit staff or have some idea of a point in your businesses development when you will recruit.
  30. Open Business bank accounts. Allows for Direct Debits, Standing Orders, online payments.
  31. Look at payment methods for customers such as PayPal, Escrow for international transactions. Card Payment system required may be required.
  32. Register with the tax office (HMRC) in the UK
  33. Business Insurance this is required for your business.
  34. Set up systems and record keeping.
  35. Monthly Budget, keep an eye on finances for set up and ongoing costs.
  36. Anti-Money Laundering systems (AML), you need to have knowledge and be able to perform checks.
  37. Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, Snap Chat set up accounts in your chosen name or reserve them.
  38. (ICO) Notify Information Commissioners Office
  39. Obtain relevant funding. Banks are supportive.
  40. Marketing strategy this needs to be considered at the outset and developed as you grow.
  41. Remember new start-ups take time to grow, patience is essential.
  42. Notify regulatory authorities.
  43. Obtain all relevant licences for your industry.
  44. Ensure you have relevant qualifications to provide services,
    Lawyers and Doctors require specific qualifications for example.
  45. You do not need to re-invent the wheel; you simply need to improve the delivery of what is. Of course, some pioneers do come up with fresh ideas that no one thought of.

Finally try and enjoy every moment when building your dream start up. Every start up begins with an idea that challenges convention and eventually becomes the norm.