magazine in February 2017 published an article under this title with contributions from a panel of trade mark attorneys who have started out independently. If this has inspired you, here is a more practical checklist (in no particular order). We have covered quite a few of these issues before so its always worth a read of the archives particularly Sally's Moving Series from 2015
Sole trader or incorporate a company. A company keeps your business life separate from your personal life but if you are going to be regulated don't do anything clever with the shares or you may find yourselves a one man ABS. Creating a company is ridiculously easy but maintaining requires a little more effort. It may be worthwhile using a company secretarial service who can help with . I use Goodwille
The article emphasised the value of getting a good accountant you can work with long term. Bookeeping is vital from day one and it makes sense to decide whether you will outsource that - maybe to your compnay secretarial service - or do it yourself. Software is readily available and it helps if your accountant can read your data. After many years using Sage
I have converted to the Clearbooks online system
that can cope with multicurrency accoutants and is very handy for my EU IPO and EPO deposit accounts.
Keeping business money separate from personal money is vital so you will need a bank account. Thats not as easy as it was. A bank with a good online banking interface is useful for avoiding excessive costs. I use Barclays. I've tried Lloyds which was quite helpful in providing a debit card which is useful for paying fees on websites. Business credit cards may not be that easy to get hold of on day one.
You do need some start up funding and not just to live on before you start paying your own salary. Starting softly as a tied consultant to a former employer can minimise the sums required. If you are using your own savings then recording your loans is vital so you can pay yourself back once bills get paid.
If you want to benefit from advertising yourself as Chartered you will need to deal with IPREG
and that means creating your terms of trade consistently with their requirements and creating some policies and procedures.
Even without regulation some professional indemnity insurance is desirable. PAMIA
is the goto service for most pure IP attorneys. Other insurers are available. Don't forget to put a limitation of liability into your terms of trade too.
You need somewhere to work especially if you intend to employ other people. A solo practitioner can work at home with a laptop at least to begin with.
For a trademark or patent attorney having some way of maintaining records is important. I use Marco a system that Filemot licenses to others at very reasonable cost. its based on Microsoft Access. Today folk seem to want web based services like WebTMS
are available. Please comment if you have your own recommendations.
This can be an issue. If you are coming out of employment, restrictive covenants will stop you workign for you old clients, but only for a period. Business networks, contacts of all sorts and advertising will find business. If you look at the number of "agents" names appearing in the UK Trademarks Journal that include the word "trademark" you will appreciate just how much business is driven today by GoogleAds. However these are expensive clients to procure, very price sensitive and seldom provide repeat business. Working all possible work referrers is the best method. Let your satisfied clients know that you would love it if they mentioned you to their contacts. If you dont ask for referrals you won't get them. Some say you need a website or use social media.
The whole object of workingis to generate income so you need to pay yourself and contribute to your pension (even if you dont want to -its the law). HMRC has a lot of helpful information and tools for new employers including free payroll software
to calculate PAYE and NIC.