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May 8, 2024 · 8 min read

I’ve opened a company; what now? The ultimate cheat sheet

You’ve opened a company, but what’s next? Find out a few essential steps in this cheat sheet.

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Your entrepreneurial journey has officially commenced with the incorporation of your new venture. Amidst the exhilaration, it's crucial to prioritize specific tasks that will fortify your business's foundation and steer you towards sustained success. This comprehensive guide will illuminate the path forward, equipping you with invaluable insights to navigate the intricate landscape of company management seamlessly.

1. Verify your eligibility to operate

Before embarking on your commercial odyssey, it's imperative to ascertain whether your intended activities are permissible within the target market. Certain industries or sectors may necessitate licenses, patents, or permits to operate legally. Consult the relevant local laws and regulations to identify any specific requirements applicable to your business domain.
The European Union comprises 27 member countries, each governed by its own set of national regulations concerning business establishment. It's crucial to grasp the specific legal framework applicable to your business in the country of registration and any additional jurisdictions where you conduct operations. Depending on your residency, you might discover that registering and operating your business in a different member state could offer more favorable financial prospects - for instance, a lot of entrepreneurs find themselves getting an Estonian e-residency with Enty.
If your operations mandate licensing, you can allocate resources towards acquiring the necessary credentials, modify your business model, or explore alternative markets altogether. This proactive approach will mitigate potential legal entanglements and ensure a smooth trajectory.

2. Open a company bank account

After successfully registering your company, the next step is to set up a dedicated company bank account for managing financial transactions. As you might remember, one should always have a separate bank account - it’s a bad idea to use your personal account for business purposes.
To initiate the process, ensure you have all the necessary documents ready (they will vary depending on the country). In general, you will also need details of all company directors, secretary, and members, along with their appointment dates.
If you’re unsure of which bank to choose, you can always contact us or open a Revolut bank account using Enty referral link. In addition, check out our starter pack bundles for business - you will find more information on which payment services (and more) you might need here.

3. Streamline financial management

Establishing a dedicated business bank account is a critical step in separating your personal and professional finances. Explore various options, considering factors like account fees, business support services, and banking conveniences.
Maintaining accurate bookkeeping is imperative not only for tracking financial progress but also for facilitating tax compliance and expense claims. Implement a cloud-based accounting software solution or maintain meticulous records manually, depending on your transaction volume. Alternatively, benefit from Enty’s Finances service to get a clear visualization of your company's bank accounts, select certain periods, and look for specific transactions.
Take control of your Finances with Enty

4. Take care of the legalities

With the affirmation of your business's legitimacy, it's time to solidify your legal framework. Meticulously review your terms of service, terms of use, and policies to ensure they align with the target market's regulations and industry best practices. Incorporate the following essential elements:
  • Clearly stipulate that access and utilization of your services constitute acceptance of the terms and conditions.
  • Explicitly state that your services operate on an "as is" and "as available" basis, unless tailored solutions are offered.
  • When integrating third-party services, clarify that you hold no control over their operations.
  • Grant users a limited, non-exclusive, revocable, and non-transferable license to access and utilize your services for non-commercial purposes.
  • Assert your ownership over intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights, and the prevention of reverse engineering.
Moreover, evaluate your offerings for compliance with regional laws, and schedule periodic reviews to adapt to evolving regulations. For instance, the Regulation on Promoting Fairness and Transparency for Business Users of Online Intermediation Services mandates providers to notify users of any changes to terms and conditions or similar documents within at least 15 days.
Ensure that your terms, policies, and user communications are concise, transparent, intelligible, and easily accessible, drafted in plain language. Pay special attention to information intended for minors or vulnerable demographics.

5. Secure your intellectual property

Before venturing into foreign markets, meticulously examine your company's contracts, licenses, copyright agreements, model releases, and other intellectual property (IP) documentation. If your product incorporates IP, verify the chain of custody from its creator to your enterprise.
Scrutinize your agreements with contractors to ensure the transfer of IP rights. Assess the scope of rights, the moment of transfer, and whether the author retained any means of monetization. Without proper IP transfer, you may be unable to sell or distribute your software or other proprietary assets.
Additionally, prioritize copyright protection, as registered copyrights significantly facilitate proof of IP rights violations in legal disputes. Conducting an IP audit can streamline export audits when dealing with international customers, and registered copyrights may be a prerequisite for protection in certain foreign courts.

6. Safeguard your brand identity

Registering your trademark (TM) is a crucial step in safeguarding your brand identity, especially when expanding into the global market. While it is permissible to use a TM without registration, doing so exposes you to the risk of others creating similar marks, registering them, and capitalizing on your reputation.
Worse still, competitors could potentially hijack your business through tactics like cybersquatting (domain name interception) or domain arbitration. Registering your TM provides robust protection against such encroachments and serves as an invaluable tool for business security.
Legal protection for trademarks is granted on a country-by-country basis. You can opt for a single EU trademark or leverage international procedures like the Madrid Protocol. Remember, the territory in which your TM receives legal protection is limited to the regions specified in the registration certificate, and the registration process and associated fees vary accordingly.

7. Find a reliable automation tool

Discovering a dependable convenient solution is fundamental to streamlining back-office operations and enhancing overall efficiency. Enty offers a robust suite of tools designed to automate various administrative tasks, including issuing customizable invoices, generating contracts tailored to your needs, and facilitating the hiring process. With Enty, you can optimize financial transactions by customizing invoices to reflect your brand identity and preferences seamlessly. Additionally, Enty simplifies contract creation with customizable templates that ensure compliance and efficiency. Whether you're managing finances, legal documentation, or human resources, Enty empowers you to automate key processes, saving time and resources while maximizing productivity and accuracy.

8. Ensure data protection compliance

Entering the European market necessitates aligning your business processes with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If your company is registered in the EU, conducts activities within the region, or processes personal data of EU citizens, the GDPR requirements will apply.
Compliance extends beyond merely displaying standard documents like cookie policies and privacy policies; it demands a comprehensive approach. Develop and implement internal policies, such as an Information Security Policy, and provide staff training on data protection practices.
Maintain essential registers, such as a Personal Data Breach Register and Records of Processing Activities, and promptly respond to data subject requests. Regularly review and update your documentation to ensure GDPR compliance, reflecting the latest standards and best practices.
Pay particular attention to the processing of sensitive data, as it warrants additional organizational and technical safeguards. Furthermore, consider the data protection standards and requirements enshrined in the national legislation of specific EU member states, as they may extend beyond the GDPR provisions.
Engaging a Data Protection Officer (DPO) can facilitate company audits, document development, and other actions required for GDPR compliance. A DPO is a designated professional or contractor who assists organizations in introducing and maintaining data protection law adherence across the European Union and European Economic Area.

9. Adhere to advertising regulations

Advertising is an integral component of business operations, but it's crucial to navigate the intricate web of EU and national advertising regulations to avoid inadvertent violations and legal complications.
In the EU, advertising practices are governed by several laws, including the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. This directive prohibits unfair commercial practices that are contrary to professional diligence or materially distort the economic behavior of the average consumer.
Specific areas of concern include misleading or aggressive practices, targeting for social media advertising, and compliance with data subject consent requirements for direct marketing activities. Additionally, mailing lists and opt-out mechanisms must adhere to GDPR guidelines, granting individuals the right to withdraw from direct marketing processing at any time.

10. Adhere to tax obligations

As a registered business entity, you'll be subject to various tax requirements and deadlines. Familiarize yourself with the following:
  • Annual return to the relevant regulatory body (e.g., Companies House in the UK) is a statutory requirement, and failure to submit may result in company deregistration.
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT) returns, reflecting the VAT charged, must be submitted to the tax authorities on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
  • Income or provisional tax returns must be filed annually, typically one year after the financial year-end.
Consult with tax professionals or accountants to ensure compliance with all applicable tax regulations and filing deadlines.

11. Establish an online presence

In today's digital age, establishing an online presence is paramount for business success. Fortunately, creating a professional website is no longer a tedious or expensive endeavor. Follow these steps to launch your online platform:
  1. Register a domain name: choose an ideal website name that resonates with your brand and makes it easy for customers to find and identify your business online.
  2. Secure website hosting: website hosting services store your website's data securely on a server, ensuring 24/7 availability and accessibility.
  3. Create your website: leverage user-friendly website builders or enlist the services of a professional web developer to create a visually appealing and functional website that aligns with your brand identity.

12. Maintain compliance with annual requirements

After incorporation, it's crucial to understand and adhere to the annual filing requirements mandated by regulatory bodies like Companies House in the UK. Failure to submit the necessary documents on time constitutes an offense and may lead to the assumption that your company is no longer operational, potentially resulting in its removal from the company register.
The primary compliance requirements include:
  • Confirmation Statement: an annual snapshot of your company's information, including name, number, address, and shareholder details, must be submitted to a responsible body.
  • Annual Accounts: These financial reports detail your company's performance and activities during the fiscal year and are required upon commencing trading operations.
Additionally, any changes to your company's existing information must be promptly reported to the relevant bodies through the appropriate documentation.
If you are VAT-registered, remember to submit VAT returns to the relevant tax authority at least quarterly. Furthermore, if you have employees, you'll need to make monthly contributions for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance (NI).

14. Foster collaboration with Enty

As a newly incorporated business, navigating the intricate landscape of legal and operational requirements can be daunting. Enty, a trusted partner, offers comprehensive solutions to streamline your journey. Our expertise spans a wide range of services, including:
  • Incorporation assistance: Enty's knowledgeable professionals can guide you through the company formation process, ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.
  • Filing and Reporting: stay on top of your annual filing obligations with Enty's efficient support in preparing and submitting the required documents to regulatory bodies.
  • Bank Account Setup: Leverage Enty's partnerships with leading financial institutions to establish a dedicated business bank account seamlessly.
By collaborating with Enty, you can focus on driving your core business operations while entrusting the intricate details of back-office management to experienced professionals.

15. Embrace continuous learning and adaptation

As your business evolves, it's essential to remain vigilant and adaptable to changing market dynamics, regulatory shifts, and emerging best practices. Regularly review and update your policies, procedures, and operational strategies to ensure alignment with industry standards and legal requirements.
Foster a culture of continuous learning within your organization, encouraging professional development and staying abreast of the latest trends and innovations in your field. Embrace a growth mindset, and don't hesitate to seek guidance from subject matter experts, mentors, or industry associations when navigating unfamiliar territories.

Last thoughts

Congratulations on taking the first step towards building your dream business! As you move forward, remember that success requires more than just incorporation. Now that your company is officially registered, it's time to focus on what comes next. By prioritizing tasks like legal compliance, financial management, and brand protection, you'll set yourself up for success in the competitive business landscape. Stay adaptable, keep learning, and remain committed to your vision – the journey ahead may be challenging, but with determination and support from Enty you can achieve your entrepreneurial goals.
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