By Dan Matthews; Liz Barclay; et al

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Raising the money Two fundamentally different types of money that a business can tap into are debt and equity: ߜ Debt is money borrowed, usually from a bank, and which you have to repay. While you are making use of borrowed money you also have to pay interest on the loan. ߜ Equity is the money put in by shareholders, including the proprietor, and money left in the business by way of retained profit. You do not have to give the shareholders their money back, but they do expect the directors to increase the value of their shares, and if you go public they will probably expect a stream of dividends too.

Limited companies have ‘Limited’ after their names and some people like the status that gives and feel that customers will be more impressed or confident in the organisation they’re dealing with. But many limited companies are no more than a one-person organisation run from the spare room in the same way as sole traders operate. Basically, if you set up a limited company, you and your business partners are directors of the company. You can buy a company that’s already registered with Companies House ‘off the shelf’ with an existing name, but you Chapter 2: Being Your Own Boss may want to start from scratch and come up with your own name.

You don’t want to be in the position where you have to charge interest or chase it up because you run the risk of losing your customers. You certainly don’t want to go to the time and expense of chasing your debts through the courts. You may be throwing good money after bad. The best way is to have very clear payment terms from the minute you start up. If you do a good job, give your customers that little bit extra care and attention and form a good relationship with each of them, they’re more likely to stick to those payment terms for fear that you won’t be available next time they need your services.

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