Before your business can start earning money you have to get the basics right, such as choosing a trading name...

The decision having been made to start your own business, the mood in the household is on the up. Your other half has reinstated next year’s holiday into the family budget; the children’s Christmas list now contains presents of a more ambitious nature and even the dog, who has in recent weeks spent long periods slumped in his basket, has been affected by the change in atmosphere and can be seen strutting round the house furiously wagging his tail; and so far you haven’t earned a bean.

A to do list is a first priority, with choosing a trading name right at the top. Do you go for a name which describes what you do; an abstract name perhaps, or one which represents the area in which you live, or a favoured beauty spot. Using friends as a sounding board, produces more ideas that pebbles on the beach and the thought of paying for advice is soon abandoned. In the end you go for using your own name. If it is good enough for Ray O’ Rourke to trade under his own name, it must be good enough for you.

Back to the to do list; as the selection of a trading name is behind you, this unlocks the tasks of ordering stationary, visiting cards and all the other matters which have been on hold awaiting a name. When deciding whether to rent an office, or run the business from home, you opted for the hybrid; basically working from home, combined with a virtual office. The provider of the virtual office takes phone messages; provides a business address; rooms are available to rent for business meetings, and it all gives the feel of a firm which is going places. You were surprised at how cheaply you could barter down the price.

The thorny question of IT raises its head. A decent PC, together with a combined printer, photocopier and fax is usually sufficient to get you going. But most important of all, you need somebody on call to get your IT up and running when there is a crash. Unanswered emails send out the completely wrong message.