Do you want to set up as a self-employed person or establish your own company?
There are two quite distinct ways of conducting your activities:
- either as a physical person: no clear distinction is made between your private property and the property of your company. This means you cover the business risk with all your property, including your private property;
- or by establishing a company (i.e. a legal-person company): a company with a legal personality is (from a legal perspective) a subject that independently has rights, duties and property that is distinct from the property of its associates.
Before starting up and taking action, ask yourself the right questions. Here is a non-exhaustive list which should nevertheless able you to fine-tune your project.
- Describe your project
What activities are you going to carry out? What is your main idea?
Describe your project clearly in writing.
- Analyse your environment
There is a high risk that your idea is not unique. That need not dissuade you, but nevertheless take the time to analyse your environment.
What does your market look like?
Who are your competitors?
What services do they provide?
Draw up a list of these with their strengths and weaknesses.
What can you offer that is better?
Who are your potential customers?
What are the potential trends in your field of activities?
- Market your idea
What products and services are you going to offer?
What products and services do you not want to offer?
What pricing policy are you going to adopt?
Where will your products be available (in a shop, on the Internet, etc.)?
How are you going to publicise them?
How are you going to handle orders, delivery and any complaints?
- Organise your company
What type of business are you going to choose? Are you going to be self-employed or have a company?
How are you going to organise your company? Who is going to manage the company?
What sites will it have?
Will you hire personnel?
- Finance your project
Don’t embark on this stage before completing the four previous stages.
Prepare a financial plan. It should take into account the following questions:
- What is the initial outlay? What investments do you have to make?
- What amounts are involved in the investments?
- What will your fixed costs be?
- What will be the cost of your raw materials?
- What profit margin are you going to adopt?
- What is the minimum margin to cover your costs?
- What type of financing are you going to choose: your own funds or external sources of financing?