New Year, new business goals We can help you reach themAre you contemplating the leap into self-employment this year? It’s a huge step when you’ve been used to a monthly or weekly pay cheque and the security of a permanent job, but with over 600,000 start-ups launching in the UK last year, the statistics confirm that our love affair with working for ourselves is still in full swing.Perhaps you want to start off as a freelancer or sole trader, keeping your costs low and working from home while you establish your reputation and customer base. You’ll be in good company – according to Consultancy UK, there are over 2 million freelancers (of the 5 million self-employed) in the UK. Freelancers generally provide work for other companies – so, for example, you may be a freelance copywriter and hire your services out to PR consultancies – whereas the self-employed will usually have their own customer base of end users. If you have the skills to offer, being part of the so-called ‘gig economy’ has its benefits: you can learn about working for yourself, understand your sector better and hone your offering to meet demands.Provided your venture is successful, there may come a time when your accountant – yes, you should have one – will suggest that you form a limited company, which can be beneficial for tax purposes and will certainly help protect your personal finances should the business fail for any reason. And if your turnover reaches £85,000 you will need to register for VAT.Making the moveWhile keeping things simple as a start-up is a good strategy, it’s important to consider where you want to be in, say, five years’ time in terms of turnover, customer types and when compared with your competition. And with that in mind, it’s worth investing some time and money in building your brand from day one.Even if you work from home, a professional address can help make the right impression with customers, prospects and other business contacts, and a business mailbox is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to go about it.From as little as £40 per month, a business mailbox from Mail Boxes Etc. gives you a business-district address with a real, physical mailbox where you mail and parcels will be received on your behalf and securely stored until you’re ready to collect them. More than that, though, a professional address lets everyone know you mean business.Once you’ve chosen your address, which will probably be at your nearest MBE centre (although you can choose from over prestigious 150 locations around the UK), you’ll get to know the team and the back-up services they offer – from design, print and copy to post and parcel services. Even if you only need a book of First Class stamps and a few photocopies every now and then, it’s good to know where you can get them without queuing for ages. And there’s always someone on hand if you need advice on any other services.As your business grows, even if it’s still basically you in your back bedroom, you may want to branch out into other geographical areas. People prefer to buy from someone they know, and buying from a local business is the next best thing. So if they’re searching on Google or Yell.com for a painter and decorator, they may choose the one with a local address. Dip a toe in the water and expand without investing in expensive premises, by taking a business mailbox in your chosen areas: minimal outlay for maximum potential benefit. Expert helpWhen you come to register your company, or to form a limited company, the go-to place for advice is the government’s website. This excellent resource has all the information you could possibly need, and it will guide you through company incorporation, step by step. You’ll find that your mailbox will come in useful here, too, because you’ll need a business address to register the company.As well as registering your company at our address, we can also help you with company formation– we’ve registered many thousands of businesses so you’ll be in good hands. And, as a company director, you can file your business address as your director’s service address and protect you privacy by keeping your personal details off the public register.Because we specialise in services for small businesses, we’re always happy to help with advice and tips on starting up, growing your business and company formation, so just ask next time you’re passing. And good luck with the new venture!