Early-stage businesses hit by unexpected expenses

The UK’s entrepreneurs are being stung by unexpected expenses during the first year of starting a business with serious consequences for growth, research finds.

A study from Geniac, reveals the average start-up invests £22,756 in its first year to cover essential business administration costs, including accountancy, company formation, HR and legal services.

Yet those thinking of starting a business underestimate these expenses by £2,525 on average.

When looking at how administration costs vary across the country, London is the most expensive place to start a business.

The average London business spends £30,211 on essential business administration in the first year alone.

Businesses in Wales are able to run at less than a third of the cost at £8,096. The North of England is the second most expensive area in the country for new businesses, with the average small business shelling out a third more compared to those in the South East.

The largest business administration outlay is associated with ‘company formation’ (including company set-up, drafting articles of association, board minutes and shareholdings).

This reaches £6,378 on average or 28 per cent of the total amount.

However, the cost would-be entrepreneurs are most likely to underestimate is accountancy fees, with those surveyed budgeting £1,723 less than the amount existing business owners actually incurred in their first year.

The government estimates that more than 350,000 new businesses launch in Britain each year, but around half will fail in the first five years.

The study shows that nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of small business owners say they get hit with unexpected costs, the negative consequences of which include experiencing profit losses (23 per cent); being forced to readjust growth targets (21 per cent); and having to let staff go to free up funds (7 per cent); all factors that increase the likelihood of business failure.

The cost of starting up

Mike Galvin, co-founder of Geniac says that it is concerning that start-ups and small businesses are not only losing profits and staff but are readjusting growth plans because they’ve underestimated the cost of starting up.

‘It’s even more worrying that they are over-paying in nearly every area of business administration; in nearly every part of the country,’ he adds.

‘It’s a case of forewarned is forearmed

Geniac is on a mission to make sure entrepreneurs and business owners don’t waste unnecessary time or money on business administration. Using a single business platform gives businesses an edge, helping them make better decisions and grow their business more quickly.’

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Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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