No BS guide to Setting up a Company – the right way

First and foremost let’s cut the crap.

Having gone through this process more times than I can remember, the online guides will walk you through the 8 key steps to set up your business. Usually a pretty soulless and unhelpful regurgitation of the registration process.

Here they are…

  1. Choose a company name.
  2. Company address.
  3. Appoint directors and a company secretary.
  4. Shares and shareholders.
  5. Memorandum and articles of association.
  6. Register your company.
  7. Register for Corporation Tax.

But that really isn’t what you need.

There is a big difference between registering a company and setting up a business.  Registering your company creates an entry in the Companies House business register (UK)… but it does not produce a functional or profitable Business.

That is much harder.

Registering your business will take 1-2 hours (plus the standard 2 weeks to deliberate and finally agree on a name).   Setting up your business will take 1-2 years of hard graft, late nights, stress, sweat, highs, lows, progress, setbacks, thankless toil and (definitely) tears.

(Don’t spend too much time on the name, you can trade under any (or even multiple) different brands once registered and the official name won’t affect trading in the slightest.)

As an experienced setter upper of successful businesses, I have listed an off-the-top-of-my-head guide to setting up a business, detailing the real building blocks of a trading entity.

I tend to find checklists are an effective and manageable way to reduce large strategic programmes or sets of activity into workable milestones.  Filling out a template doc can take five minutes but if the document requires a detailed marketing plan, one must first create a full marketing strategy.  In this way our checklist of strategic templates are a great framework to ensure a reliable  setup plan is adhered to.

So once your business is registered.  Work through the checklist below, by the end of it you should have the bones of a working business.


Finance and Forecasting

  • Set up monthly P&L Format
  • Complete a 3-year P&L Forecast
  • Set up Xero (or preferred) online accounting platform
  • Create invoice templates



  • Adopt a board meeting agenda format
  • Create and start using a board meeting minutes template
  • Document your company vision, mission and values
  • Create a business plan
  • Document a clear and effective product strategy
  • Plan and document your commercial strategy (pricing, fee structures, etc)
  • Plan and document your sales & marketing strategy.  (Decide where to focus your sales efforts first).



  • Brand & logo pack
  • Register a domain, install WordPress and a modern website theme package
  • PAY a professional to produce your website
  • Set up professional email signatures and company stationary
  • PAY a professional to produce your business card template (and do not order cheap business cards)
  • Webchat setup


Sales & Marketing

  • Plan and document your sales process
  • Create a sales deck (Don’t get this professionally made initially – it will change drastically in the first few weeks. Once stable pay a freelance pro to work their magic.)
  • Create a proposal document
  • Create a service order document or web process
  • Set up Hubspot or other pipeline management system
  • Open account with an e-contract service provider (I.e. docusign, hellosign, etc).


Compliance & Contracts – you will need all of these.

  • Privacy policy
  • Cookie Policy
  • Terms of Service
  • Various Other GDPR docs
  • Services Agreement
  • Partnership Agreement
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • Shareholders Agreement
  • Assignment of Intellectual Property



  • Plan and create system architecture diagrams
  • Plan and implement a communications infrastructure (email, phone, webchat, Skype, Slack, etc)



  • Create job descriptions for all existing and forthcoming roles
  • Agree and document a recruitment strategy
  • Set up standard employment contracts
  • Register for PAYE if needed
  • Employee handbook
  • HR policies



  • Start selling
  • Start delivering products/services
  • Start hiring


It will take at least six months to do all this, possibly longer.  But get this stuff boxed off and you are officially on the right track.  You have set up a business.

To make things easier… Since these steps are very similar to the process we employ across all businesses in the G33K incubator… We are happy to provide the full document set for free to small businesses.  No questions asked.

Please contact me if you would like a copy ([email protected]).