There are a number of stages to go through – and I would recommend seeing an accountant as early in the process as possible. It may even be the case that you shouldn’t form a company straight away as many small start-ups are better off starting as sole-traders. But the steps are:
- Decide on a name and check it is available with Companies House and not too similar to other businesses;
- Decide who will be directors. You don’t need a Company Secretary but you may choose to have one;
- Decide who will be the shareholders and what number of shares each shareholder will own. It is very common to issue 100, Ordinary £1 shares either on forming the company or very soon afterwards. Again, an accountant might be useful for the tax implications; More information about issuing shares for your new company can be found here
- Consider whether you really want your home address visible on Companies House. This can be avoided if you have an accountant who lets you use their address;
- Find a formation agent on the internet and pay for the company to be formed. Typically this will cost £20-£25;
- Take the two formation documents that the formation agent sends/emails you – the Certificate of Incorporation and the Articles of Association – to your bank (together with ID) to open a bank account;
- If you haven’t already done so, see an accountant to talk about bookkeeping, payroll, VAT, management accounts, tax planning etc. – and think about issues like funding the business. insurance, employment contracts and how to buy any vehicles or equipment that you need.