Starting a new business is daunting. You have to worry about funding your business, growth, ensuring you stay within the various laws and regulations and obviously, you need to make a profit too.
So it’s not surprising that business owners, especially new ones, will turn to Google now and then for quick answers.
But some of the questions new business owners and founders are asking might surprise you.
From questions about tax, leasing a car to queries about when a business will appear in Google search results - the sheer variety of things that need answering is quite telling.
Using Google’s autocomplete function, we’ve been able to uncover the most Googled questions relating to new businesses and startups.
“Can my business by my house” appears to be the most searched query starting with ‘can my business.
The answer to that is, yes. Although, as Matt Haycox, consultant at Access Commercial Finance explains, it may not be the best way to purchase a property.
“It’s not illegal to purchase a property through a business, in fact, property developers do this a lot. But if you’re thinking about acquiring your own home through your business, your home will become a company asset and will be at risk if anything happens to the business. Also, the taxes you’ll need to pay may be higher as your home will no longer be classified as your principle private residence.”
Questions of law were also common. The most common suggestions Google made for searches starting with “is it legal for my business to...” were concerned with handling cash.
“Yes and no” explains Matt.
“Amazon doesn’t accept cash, after all. In fact, it’s the legal right of any business to refuse service. So, you don’t have to accept any form of payment, but you also can’t therefore force someone to use an alternative form of payment either. But if you’re prepared to lose a sale, that’s your call.
“However, if the cash is being offered to settle a debt, for example a restaurant bill or a hotel stay, it’s not legal in the UK to refuse cash.”
Some of the other questions being posed by business owners and founders were more existential.
Some sounded more like cries for help than questions...
But some of them were a little more pragmatic.
“Does my startup need funding?” was the top Google autocomplete suggestion for searches beginning with “does my startup...”
Matt has this advice for any founder asking themselves this question.
“It’s a complicated question to answer for a number of reasons. If the business can’t grow without funding, for example you need more equipment to fulfill orders, or larger premises, then your business may benefit from an unsecured business loan or bridging finance.
“But if you’re thinking of applying for funding to make up for missing revenue, pay staff or otherwise allow your business to function normally, you may want to consider cost-cutting rather than finance.”
A number of the questions were related to Google itself. For example, “when will my business appear on Google?”
This is most likely from the owner of a newly established businesses trying to find out when their business will appear in the Google search results.
“Given how influential Google is in sending customers to ecommerce websites, it’s not surprising that this is a common question” explains Matt.
Most commonly Googled questions by business owners
Can my business...
- buy my house
- buy a property
- pay my mortgage
- claim VAT
- lend me money
- pay my rent
- buy a car
Does my business
- Need a VAT number
- Need a license
- Need GDPR
Is it illegal for my business...
- to close early
- to refuse large bills
- to refuse service
- to refuse pennies
- to keep tips
- to record phone calls
Can/will my startup...
- be successful
Is my startup...
- idea good
Will my business...
- idea work
- be successful
- be profitable
- make money
- get a tax refund
- rates go up
- be worthwhile
Has my business...
- name been taken
- name been registered
- name been used
Does my startup...
- need funding
- need insurance
Will my startup...
- be successful