While many businesses shut up shop during the pandemic, there was also a significant increase in new companies launching. From cake shops and ceramic designers to a high number of tech start-ups, the UK is seeing a sudden rise in entrepreneurs, particularly among millennials. In fact, 49% of new business owners since 2020 are between 25 and 40 years old.
It’s clear setting up a business is becoming more popular, even with barriers like Covid and Brexit getting in the way. However, starting your own company is not without its risks, and there are several things you must do to keep your business running smoothly and your employees and customers safe.
Here, we offer some tips to help new entrepreneurs navigate this unknown territory.
Get the right insurance
A responsible business owner will ensure they and their business are protected financially against unexpected events like a break-in, theft or fire. Insurance should cover equipment, tools and machinery, as well as any property itself.
You must take out employers’ liability insurance if you employ any staff. This is a legal requirement of all employers in the UK and protects your business if an employee is injured at work. It would also be beneficial to take out professional indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance will cover the legal costs your business faces in the event of a claim being brought against it.
Health and safety
Ensuring your business is safe for your staff, customers and anyone else involved is crucial to being a responsible business owner. You have a legal obligation to meet regulations as set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It’s also important to ensure you meet any health and safety standards within your industry. For example, hygiene standards in a hair salon.
Any employees you hire should be given training on the use of equipment, as well as all health and safety procedures. You must also ensure a certain number of staff are trained in first aid and resuscitation. Larger businesses should also have several staff trained as fire marshals, but this is not necessary for a small company.
Be environmentally friendly
Part of being a responsible business owner is ensuring your company and its work don’t do anything that could be detrimental to the environment, both locally and globally. Take steps to ensure you’re being as sustainable as possible, for example, switching to eco-friendly products, and encourage your staff to do the same.
Introducing carpooling systems or a cycle to work scheme will help reduce unnecessary traffic on the roads. While it may not seem like a big change, if all the businesses in your industry pick up on the trend, it could make a significant difference to the level of air pollution in your city. Car sharing and cycling to work will also help your employees save their hard-earned cash, which can be a strong incentive to get involved.