Saturday, 31 March 2012

Startup: Leases, Accountants and Utilities ...

On the first of March we viewed the shop at 10 St James Street. It's small, but a lot bigger inside than we had expected. It took all of half an hour in the afternoon to negotiate heads of agreement - very sensible estate agent at Mayfair Town & Country, but we delayed making a firm offer for a week so we could consult with our accountants and make sure our business plan made sense.

That was perhaps a bit cheeky as at the time we didn't have an accountant and we didn't have a business plan either! Could be a tricky month.

Time to get an accountant then. Arranged a meeting with John Mayer at TaxAssist which is just down the road, that gave us a bit of time - about a week -  to work out some numbers and sound relatively sane.

The rest of that week went in something of a blur. Ann was busily drafting out orders online so we could see how much things would cost, Paul was busy telephoning, websearching, wandering into local suppliers and otherwise guessing at all the other costs that might be involved and bunging it all in a spreadsheet that sort of made sense.

Initial meeting with John on the 8th went reasonably smoothly. We hadn't missed much (but my had we underestimated some stuff!). But by the following day we were confident enough that we could proceed with the business and kicked off formal negotiations for the shop lease. And of course all of the other things that go with it, like insurance, telephones, water, electricity and so on.

The rest of the month was even more of a blur, with Ann polishing off orders and Paul chasing up utility suppliers, insurers, and trying to find people to handle importing, rates relief, advertising and so on. Oh, and building a model of the shop from foamboard so we could work out what went where. And signing up trade accounts with candidate suppliers.

On 23rd March we signed the shop lease. Point of no return.

Actually, there was an earlier point of no return. We placed a massive order with a Chinese supplier on 14th March. Had to do that as boats take a long time to get here from China.  More of that next time.

Then a week of relative relaxation sweeping up loose ends until we got the shop keys on 31st March.

This is all very exciting!

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