An Insider’s View on Running a Small Business in the UK

At Zervant we’re really passionate about entrepreneurship, and demystifying the murky waters of small business finance. So who better to discuss our 2 favourite topics with than a small business owner with specialist accounting knowledge?

How to Run a Successful Small Business and Get Your Finances Right

We’ve tracked down a successful entrepreneur, and one that also happens to be an accounting guru. A person that specialises in working with freelancers, helping them to understand what’s what in the world of small business finance. Intrigued?

We sat down with Rosie Slosek, the brains behind One Man Band Accounting and EU VAT, to have a chat about what it’s like to run a small business in the UK, the world of cloud accounting, and baking (Rosie also happens to be a cake connoisseur!).

About Rosie

Rosie Slosek -Small Business OwnerRosie is a dab hand at running her own business, having started back in 2012. Despite the odd set back (including caring for her father-in-law full-time for 2 years, following a fall), her business has gone from strength to strength.

She’s even featured in the Daily Mail, the world’s biggest online English newspaper. So what’s the secret?

« It’s so important to prioritise looking after yourself, having good habits, no matter what else is happening. It’s what keeps you going. Being part of a community makes such a difference, whether it’s local or across the world, offline or online.

On Being Your Own Boss

Some people find the idea of running their own business alluring, as it means they get to be their own boss. But is this as good as it’s hyped up to be? Over to Rosie:

« The best part about being my own boss is being my own boss. The most challenging part is being my own boss.

For her the benefits include no office hours, no commute « with my face in a stranger’s armpit on the Tube », and no dress code.  She has her work space just how she wants it, wears whatever she wants to, and even works from a local cafe garden 3 times a week. Not bad!

Small Business

And what about the downsides? Well, self-discipline is paramount, and any outcomes ultimately rest on your own shoulders. Striking a work-life balance is also very important (Zervant can help here!).

On Entrepreneurship in the UK

As someone that is walking the walk, we were keen for Rosie to give us an eyewitness account on what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in the UK. And it was great to hear so much enthusiasm! Her 3 words to describe the UK start-up scene were « world-changing, pioneering, and revolution ».

So does that mean it’s a good time to go it alone?

« Now is one of the best times there has ever been to become self employed. The internet brings the world to your door. It’s about being being driven and disciplined, and as long as you can motivate yourself and work hard, it’s better to have tried, and decided it isn’t for you, than to always wonder and feel disappointed you didn’t have a go.

And what about that dreaded bureaucracy and red tape? It turns out that from a global perspective the UK’s red tape is « pretty good ». Being a tax return coach Rosie is well-versed in the « overwhelming » amount of information that is required by law, but was also keen to point out that running your own business is an endless learning curve.

Small Businesses and Money Management

Seeing as Zervant’s main focus is to provide online invoicing software for entrepreneurs, we were particularly keen to hear Rosie’s thoughts on this topic.

Small Business Accounting

So what’s the main challenge small businesses face when doing their accounting?

« Overcoming fear of the unknown of tax and accounting.  Am I doing it right, what do I need to know, what’s relevant for my business, how do I do my expenses, will HMRC send me to prison if I make a mistake?

So how do you get round this? Well, our cake connoisseur suggested complex, time-consuming tasks such as tax returns should be structured around something you enjoy. Yes, you guessed it, perhaps a delicious slice of cake! You could also try Zervant, specifically designed to address such issues.

Is the thought of doing the books yourself a big barrier for aspiring entrepreneurs?

« It’s the number one reason people put off starting their own business in my experience. My advice is to recognise if that’s you and to do something about it before you start your business.

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