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                            [body] => How to start a business: a 9-step guide7-minute readCatriona Smith and Sam Bromley23 March 2021So you’re thinking of starting your own business? We’ve got some tips for getting started – from writing a business plan to understanding tax, benefits, and legal structures as a new business owner.While it may seem overwhelming, with passion and dedication you could join one of the six million small and medium sized businesses in the UK.Ready to go? Read our nine-step guide on how to start a small business in the UK.Download your guide to starting a business in the UK. Download your free in-depth guide on starting a business in the UK, from writing a business plan to understanding the tax requirements.Your email address will be used by Simply Business to keep you posted with the latest news, offers and tips. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. Simply Business Privacy policy.Starting a new business – ideas and inspiration. Of course, the first thing you need to do is choose your business idea. It should be something you’re passionate about so you’re happy putting your time, money and energy into making it a success.Start by checking if a product or service is viable by looking at Google Trends, conducting market research, or even building a blog or social page to test if there’s interest.You’ll need to find a niche so you can stand out to customers – is there a gap in the market for something? Can you make use of specific skills and experience you have already? Do you have a unique perspective on something?Next, think about whether you want to start an online business or if you need physical premises. If you're thinking of setting up an online shop then it could make more financial sense to start your business from home.Still stuck for ideas? Check out the business trends in 2021 for more inspiration.What do I need to start a business?Aside from a great idea that you’re passionate about, you’ll also need:courses and training – depending on your business, you might need specific training or want to complete a general business qualification – City & Guilds offer a range of vocational courseslicences – check the government website to see if you need a business licence, for example to sell food, play music or trade on the streetspecialist equipment – make sure you budget for any equipment or toolsproducts – if you’re setting up a shop or selling your own creations you’ll need to get your stock together9 steps to starting your own business. Follow our checklist below to get started with your new business:Research new business namesChoose a legal structureWrite your new business planSecure funding and financePlan your advertising strategyBuy your new business insuranceWork out what you need to do for taxCreate a system for keeping business recordsMaintain your business with support guides and templates1. Research new business names. Coming up with a name for your business is an important step as it shows the personality of your brand and helps you stand out. Your name should be unique and appeal to your target audience – and it’s your chance to be creative.It's also worth understanding:how to define your brand so you can stand out from your competitorswhat you need to do to protect your intellectual property, including any patents and trademarksIf you’re looking for some light-hearted inspiration, try our Business Name Generator to get you started.2. Choose a legal structure. Next, you’ll need to choose a legal structure for your business:sole trader – the simplest business structure, but with no legal distinction between you and your businesspartnership – if you’re starting a business with a business partner or partnerslimited company – a complex structure with plenty of admin, but your business is legally distinct from you as an individualIf you’re not sure, this guide explains the difference between a sole trader and a limited company.3. Write your new business plan. A business plan is an important document for a business of any size. It helps you to get an idea of your strategic goals, financials, market research, and potential obstacles.And as part of any new business strategy, you’ll need to create a budget. The cost to start a business can vary widely – it depends on things like whether you need to buy specialist equipment, rent a business premises, or if you’re running your business from home. Have a look at our budget calculator and cash flow forecast guides for help with planning your budget.Our guide on how to write a business plan has a more complete overview of writing your plan – plus you can download a free business plan template there too.4. Secure funding and finance. How much money do you need to start a business? It’ll vary depending on your product or service. But, as mentioned above, you’ll need to think about this question before getting your new venture started.You might not need much initial investment if you’re starting small.But if you’ve identified a number of costs in your budget, you should know how you’re going to fund your project. Will you use savings? Or will you ask for help with starting up a new business (for example, loans from friends, family, or a bank)?Keep in mind you might be able to find grants for new businesses to help lighten the financial burden. The benefit of a small business grant rather than a loan is that you don’t usually have to pay the money back.It’s worth checking for government funding for new businesses. Another government-backed scheme is the Start Up Loan, available from the British Business Bank. You can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of six per cent per year. You also get 12 months of free mentoring.Read more about the small business loans available from different lenders.Crowdfunding is another innovative source of finance. Plus, if you’re a young person looking to start a business, it’s worth checking out the Prince’s Trust, which offers mentoring – and sometimes, funding.5. Plan your advertising strategy. Now you’ve sorted your finance, it’s time to think about how you’re going to attract customers and grow your business.When it comes to advertising a new business, you’ll need to consider marketing, branding, and how you’ll balance online and offline promotion.Here are a few of our top tips:do competitor research – this helps you understand the market, set your prices, and find a way to stand outbuild a social media presence – social media is a great way to showcase your brand’s personality, connect with customers, and even sell your products with tools like Facebook Shops and Instagramcreate a website with SEO – optimise your website for search engines so people can find your business and understand the products or service you offersend emails and newsletters – a simple and cost-effective way to keep in touch with your customers and boost salesuse flyers and print marketing – a tangible way to reach potential customersnetwork at industry events – get to know your industry and make connections at virtual or in-person events6. Buy your new business insurance. The type of business insurance you’ll need depends on your business. Whether you have an online shop or deliver a service, you can tailor your cover and protect yourself from the costs of everyday risks like accidents, damage and legal fees. You can also add specific covers if you need to protect stock or tools.You can select from a range of covers:public liability insurance – this is important if customers visit your premises or you carry out work on client sitesprofessional indemnity insurance – covers you if a client loses money because you provide negligent advice, services or designsemployers liability insurance – this is a legal requirement if you have employeeslegal expenses insuranceself-employed health insurance – affordable insurance which can give you quicker access to health professionalssmall business health insurance – affordable healthcare cover for you and your employees7. Work out what you need to do for tax. Running a business comes with legal and accounting responsibilities, so it’s important you’re clear on what’s involved. There’s a £1,000 tax free allowance, but after that you’re legally required to register with HMRC or Companies House.Sole traders need to:register with HMRCsubmit an annual Self Assessment tax returnLimited companies need to:register with Companies Housepay corporation tax on the profits you make from your businessfile a company tax returnpay VATas a self-employed person, you’ll also need to send a Self AssessmentOne of the benefits of registering as self-employed is you can claim back some of your expenses and reduce your tax bill. Our guide on self-employed tax deductible expenses goes into more detail on the expenses you can subtract from your business turnover when working out how much tax you need to pay.And a good way to test your business venture without as much financial risk is to start a business alongside full-time employment – but make sure you understand everything about paying tax when you have a side hustle first.You may also be able to recoup some of the tax you pay with new business tax relief, such as business rates relief and VAT relief.8. Create a system for keeping business records. After you’ve worked out what you need to do for tax, it’s important to stay organised so you can meet your tax obligations at various points throughout the tax year.If you don’t have a record-keeping system, you’ll spend a lot of time sorting paperwork when you have to do your Self Assessment – valuable time that could be spent running your business, or on relaxing and recharging.Firstly, it’s a good idea to keep your business and personal finances separate. That’s because allowances like tax-deductible expenses can only be for business purposes – it’s much harder to separate money coming in and out when you’re using one account.Many of the major providers offer a business bank account – here are some of the best.What’s more, there’s lots of software available that can make record-keeping much easier. Software can do tasks like create and send invoices automatically, and monitor your income and outgoings:best accounting software for UK businessesbest invoice apps for small businessesFinally, you’re required to keep business records for a number of years. If HMRC asks for them, accurate and organised business records can help keep you out of trouble in the event of a tax investigation. Read more about how long to keep tax records.9. Maintain your business with support guides and templates. For more resources on running your business, from conducting a business health check to hiring employees, explore the support guides and templates below.get a strategic understanding of your business in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with our free SWOT analysis templateselling goods or services means you’ll need to send clients an invoice so you can be paid – read our guide on how to write an invoice and get your free templateIR35 support and guides for contractorshow to calculate turnover for your businessSelf Assessment and tax resourceswhen you’re ready to hire your first employee, download our free contract of employment templateAre you starting your own business? Let us know how you get on in the comments.Looking for self-employed insurance?With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.Start your quoteWe create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimerFind this article useful? Spread the word.ShareTweetPostPeople also liked. 19 November 2020 • 2-minute readLandlords could be targeted in new capital gains tax raid. Landlords could be hit by another massive tax raid, as the Office of Tax Simplification outlines its recommendations for an overhaul of…Read moreKeep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.Subscribe to our newsletterFollow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterSubscribe to our videos on YouTubeFollow us on LinkedInCategories. 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SOLE TRADERS

It’s simpler to set up as a sole trader, but you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities.

Find out more about being a sole trader and how to register [/set-up-sole-trader].


LIMITED COMPANIES

If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities [/running-a-limited-company].

Some people get help from a professional, for example an accountant, but you can set up a company [/limited-company-formation] yourself.


PARTNERSHIPS

A partnership is the simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together.

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 * sell goods online [/online-and-distance-selling-for-businesses]
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BECOMING AN EMPLOYER

There are things you’ll need to do if you take on your own employees [/employing-staff]. You’ll have more responsibilities, including:

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 * paying for their National Insurance - but you can claim an allowance to reduce your bill [/claim-employment-allowance]
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                            [body] => Set up a business What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help. Register your business. Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership. Sole traders. It’s simpler to set up as a sole trader, but you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities. Find out more about being a sole trader and how to register. Limited companies. If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities. Some people get help from a professional, for example an accountant, but you can set up a company yourself. Partnerships. A partnership is the simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together. You share responsibility for your business’s debts. You also have accounting responsibilities. Find out more about being in a partnership and how to register. Rules for your type of business. You may have other responsibilities depending on what your business does. Check if you need: licences or permits, for example to play music, sell food or to trade in the street insurance There are also rules you must follow if you: sell goods online buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad store or use personal information Where you work. Check what your responsibilities are if you: run your business from home rent somewhere to run your business from If you rent or buy a property, you may have to pay business rates. Small businesses can apply for a discount on business rates and some may pay nothing. Check if you can claim office, property and equipment as expenses. Taking on people to help. If you take on agency workers or freelancers you have some responsibilities, for example their health and safety. Becoming an employer. There are things you’ll need to do if you take on your own employees. You’ll have more responsibilities, including: running payroll paying for their National Insurance - but you can claim an allowance to reduce your bill providing workplace pensions to eligible staff Get help and support. You can get help with setting up your business. Related content . COVID-19 vaccinations. Book your coronavirus vaccination and booster dose on the NHS website Is this page useful? Maybe Yes this page is useful No this page is not useful Thank you for your feedback Report a problem with this page
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                                    [3] => 3. Research your business ideas
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                                    [8] => 8. Protect your business
                                    [9] => 9. Create a brand and identity for your business
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                                    [12] => 12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy
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                                    [9] => Find funding for your business
                                    [10] => Be precise when measuring performance
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                                    [13] => How to write a business plan
                                    [14] => How to format and present your business plan
                                    [15] => Keep your business plan updated
                                    [16] => Tools for business planning
                                    [17] => Different types of business structure
                                    [18] => Selecting a structure for your business
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                                    [20] => Register as a sole trader
                                    [21] => Registering a limited liability partnership
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                                    [24] => Hire an accountant
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                                    [27] => Getting intellectual property protection in place
                                    [28] => Make sure you have small business insurance
                                    [29] => Choosing the right business insurance
                                    [30] => Create a professional brand for your business
                                    [31] => You need to create a website for your business
                                    [32] => How to create a website for your business
                                    [33] => Create an e-mail address for your business
                                    [34] => Setting up business broadband
                                    [35] => Getting a business phone line
                                    [36] => Finding office space
                                    [37] => Selecting business stationary and signage
                                    [38] => Your savings
                                    [39] => Friends & family
                                    [40] => Business grants
                                    [41] => Business competitions
                                    [42] => Angel investors
                                    [43] => Venture capital
                                    [44] => Crowdfunding
                                    [45] => Business Loans
                                    [46] => Business credit cards
                                    [47] => Business overdrafts
                                    [48] => Getting a product or service ready for sale
                                    [49] => Positioning your offering
                                    [50] => Understanding your USP (Unique selling point)
                                    [51] => Setting price at the right level
                                    [52] => Choosing a route to market
                                    [53] => Selecting marketing channels
                                    [54] => Build a sales process
                                    [55] => Building sales assets
                                    [56] => Building a sales pipeline
                                    [57] => Create a customer service team
                                    [58] => Brilliant recruitment practices are linked to business success
                                    [59] => Creating a management ethos and system
                                    [60] => Making sure you are compliant with employment law and taxes
                                    [61] => Managing yourself
                                    [62] => Perfect businesses to start in your spare time
                                    [63] => Hide your entrepreneurial intentions
                                    [64] => Only work on your business in your spare time
                                    [65] => Social life on hold
                                    [66] => Maximise the number of hours
                                    [67] => Work on your business every hour
                                    [68] => Make sure to get some rest
                                    [69] => Advice from owners of successful spare time entrepreneurs
                                    [70] => Related topics
                                    [71] => Related Posts
                                    [72] => 15 startup ideas that can change your life
                                    [73] => Top 100 ways you can make money online
                                    [74] => Writing an internal business plan
                                    [75] => About
                                    [76] => Topics
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                                                                        )

                                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Think about a global business. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [8] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Don’t limit yourself to one business idea. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [9] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => If you’re stuck, stop thinking. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 3. Research your business ideas. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Define & analyse your target market. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => See if there’s a demand for your product or service. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Understand your potential customers. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Have a marketing & sales plan that makes sense. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Make sure your business model will work. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Find funding for your business. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 4. Test your business premise. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Be precise when measuring performance. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Different testing methods. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Create a landing page and carry out e-mail marketing. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Build an online store and buy adverts. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Set up a market stall and sell. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Sell over the phone (Telesales). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 5. Create a business plan. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Key elements of a business plan. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Executive summary. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Contents page. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Business model and products/services. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Customer, market and competition. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Marketing and sales. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Finances and projections. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Team. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Business plan summary. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => How to write a business plan. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Keep your writing short. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Make sure everything is relevant. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Check grammar and spelling thoroughly. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Create a simple mission statement. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Set clear objectives. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => State how you are going to get there. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Use a realistic timeline. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => How to format and present your business plan. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Business plan formats. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => How to present your plan. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Keep your business plan updated. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Tools for business planning. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 6. Registering a business. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Different types of business structure. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Sole trader. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Limited company                                               . 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => Private limited company (LTD or Ltd)
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => Public limited company (PLC)
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Limited liability partnership (LLP). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => Limited partners
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => General partners
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Guarantee Company (LBG). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Selecting a structure for your business. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Register a limited company. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Where can I register my company?
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => How much does it cost to register a company?
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Details needed for registering a company. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choosing a company name. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Setting up a company address. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Creating a memorandum and articles of association. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Understanding directors & secretaries. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Getting shareholding & shareholders right. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Register as a sole trader. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => What details do I need to register as a sole trader?
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Where can I register as a sole trader?
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choosing a sole trader name. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Deciding on an address for a sole trader. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Registering a limited liability partnership. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => How can I register a LLP?
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choosing a partnership name. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choosing an address for your LLP. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => You need a general partner and a limited partner. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 7. Setting up finances, accounting and tax. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Opening a business bank account. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choose a bank for your business. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Select a winning bank account. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => It can be difficult to change banks. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Understanding your accounting, tax and filing responsibilities. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Record your financial transactions. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Prepare & file annual accounts. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Filing a confirmation statement. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Register for self assessment. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Register for VAT (Value Added Tax). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Register for corporation tax. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Understanding business rates. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Tell Companies House and HMRC of any changes. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Hire an accountant. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choosing an accountant. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => How much does an accountant cost?
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Choosing small business accounting software. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [8] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 8. Protect your business. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Find a solicitor or law firm. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Getting intellectual property protection in place. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Trademarking a name and brand. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Patenting an idea, technology or process. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => The relevance of copyright law. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Make sure you have small business insurance. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Public liability insurance (PLI). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Professional indemnity insurance (PII). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Employers liability insurance (ELI). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Product liability insurance (PLI). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Key man insurance (KMI). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Landlord insurance (LI). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Trade credit insurance (TCI). 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Director’s and officers liability insurance. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [8] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Business contents insurance. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Choosing the right business insurance. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [9] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 9. Create a brand and identity for your business. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Create a professional brand for your business. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => You need to create a website for your business. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => How to create a website for your business. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Easily build your own website. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 1. Purchase a domain. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 2. Purchase website hosting. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 3. Point your domain name to your server IP address via DNS. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 4. Point your domain to your web hosting company. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 5. Install LAMP & WHM/CPANEL. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 6. Install WordPress. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 7. Purchase & install a website theme. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [8] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => 8. Add all your information. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [9] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Bonus step for eCommerce entrepreneurs: Choosing your eCommerce platform. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Create an e-mail address for your business. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [10] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 10. Buying the business essentials. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Setting up business broadband. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Getting a business phone line. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Finding office space. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Rent a co-working space. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Apply for a business accelerator. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Rent a business incubator office. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Rent from another local business. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Rent a serviced office. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Selecting business stationary and signage. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Choosing a sign for your business. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Office supply and stationary options. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [11] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 11. Find funding for your new business. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Your savings. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Friends & family. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Business grants. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Business competitions. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Angel investors. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Venture capital. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Crowdfunding. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Business Loans. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Getting a Start Up loan. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [8] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Business credit cards. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [9] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Business overdrafts. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [12] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Getting a product or service ready for sale. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Positioning your offering. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Understanding your USP (Unique selling point). 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Setting price at the right level. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Choosing a route to market. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Selling online. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Selling via a retail shop. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Selling wholesale. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Selling through an agent or affiliate. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Selecting marketing channels. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Email marketing. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Online advertising. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Social media marketing. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Content creation. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Posting a letter. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Telesales. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [6] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Build a sales process. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [7] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Building sales assets. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [8] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Building a sales pipeline. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [9] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Create a customer service team. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [13] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 13. Building a team for your new business. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Brilliant recruitment practices are linked to business success. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Attracting great employees. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Create a strong recruitment process. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => In-house recruitment vs outsourcing. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => Outsourcing recruitment
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                                        (
                                                                                            [level] => 5
                                                                                            [name] => In-house recruitment
                                                                                            [tag] => h5
                                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                                (
                                                                                                )

                                                                                        )

                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Creating a management ethos and system. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Set management structures. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Create a positive work environment. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Build a great company culture. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Making sure you are compliant with employment law and taxes. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Knowing employment taxes. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Understanding employment law. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Providing a pension for employees. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Managing yourself. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Build a support network. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Meet the start-up community. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Find a mentor. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                )

                                        )

                                    [14] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => 14. Starting a business in your spare time. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Perfect businesses to start in your spare time. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Hide your entrepreneurial intentions. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [2] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Only work on your business in your spare time. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [3] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Social life on hold. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [4] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Maximise the number of hours. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [5] => stdClass Object
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                            [body] => 15 Steps to start a business from scratch with (almost) no money A step-by-step guide to starting a business, covering everything from coming up with business ideas to business planning, fundraising and more. Editorial team | October 2, 2017 Coming up with a business idea and starting a business can seem overwhelming and complicated. There are so many things you have to consider from coming up with an excellent idea to registering a company, all the way to business planning, fundraising and much more. That is why we have put together this in-depth guide to take you by step by step through how you can start a business. It covers every conceivable thing you could want to know when setting up a business, including: Know yourself as an entrepreneur before you start Generating new business ideas Researching the validity of your ideas Testing your business premise in the real world Creating an initial business plan Setting up the right legal structure for your business Understanding your financial, accounting and tax obligations Protecting your business from a legal and disaster perspective (insurance) Creating an identity for your business including building a brand and website Get your business essentials sorted including setting up internet and stationary Funding options for starting your business including investment, grants, loans and more Devising initial marketing and sales strategies Building your initial team including recruitment, management and company culture Starting your business whilst keeping a full-time job I highly recommend that if you are new to starting a new business you should read this guide from beginning to end, but if you want to skip ahead, there’s a table of contents below with quick links to sections and subsections. This guide is designed for UK entrepreneurs but most of it relates to entrepreneurs starting a business anywhere, only the financial and legal sections will differ significantly. 1. Know yourself as an entrepreneur before you start. Starting a business is a process that requires an enormous amount of thought and careful examination. First, you need to take a good look at your strengths, weaknesses and skills. This will allow you to start thinking about what you can do and what you cannot do. It is important to start here even if you already have world’s best business idea, because you might not have the skills or personality traits to enable you to make it into a successful business. You want to come up with business ideas where you are naturally best suited to be successful, for example: A person with a decent level of programming skill is well adapted to starting a web development agency. A person that has a short attention span might not want to consider accountancy related businesses. An person that doesn’t enjoy speaking to new people wouldn’t consider a heavily client facing business. These are just three general examples, but it gives you an idea of the thought process. The crucial point is to understand yourself and your team, and if you are well suited to any business ideas, areas of business or specific types of business. It allows you to start coming up with ideas and narrowing down what businesses you could start. Discover your motivation for starting a business. Before you start a business, you should be absolutely clear about why you are doing it. That may sound obvious, but there are actually many reasons why someone should choose to turn their back on the security of a job and career for the uncertainty of starting a business. So the clearer you are about what exactly you are trying to achieve, the better chance you have of achieving it. Wealth, power, fame, saving the world? Most entrepreneurs are motivated by a mix of the above although most wouldn’t like to admit it. Understanding what is driving you to start a business is a major factor in determining what type of business you should start. Why? Because when a business you start isn’t aligned with personal ambition, it is much more likely you will fail. You should make sure from the beginning that your personal goals and drive are compatible with your business, for example: Someone who seeks wealth might want to look at companies in the financial services industry, where Fintech valuations and revenues are typically much higher than other start-up businesses. Someone who seeks power and influence could achieve this through any form of media business. Someone who seeks out fame might be best suited to an entertainment related business. Someone who wants to save the world might start a business tackling climate change through renewable energy. It is important to understand why you are starting a business so you can focus on business ideas that will help you get to where you want to go. Make sure it’s a good reason to start. In reality, you are unlikely to have just one reason for starting a business; it is likely to be a combination of several of them. So be aware that the aims may conflict with each other. Creating a long-term family business to pass down the generations, for example, may well be incompatible with making a serious fortune, because you may find you need to sell the business in order to realise its full worth. While it is possible to create a successful business solely to make a lot of money, in reality, it will be hard work if there isn’t at least one other factor acting as a motivator. This is because it can take many years between starting a business and receiving any money from it – if ever – and along the way the hard work required is immense, and the possibility of failure is very real. Simply pinning your hopes on a future possible pot of gold is unlikely to be enough to sustain you through the difficult times. So make sure you have a good reason, work hard and enjoy the ride! Understand your entrepreneurial passions. When it comes to starting a business, if you are passionate about it, you will be more likely to be successful. The main reason for this is simple: you will work harder and persevere more on a business you are passionate about, thus be more likely to succeed at it. Often the only difference between an entrepreneur who starts a successful business and an entrepreneur who fails is passion. Logic dictates that if you want a successful business then you should begin in an area that you already have a passion for. To start figuring out what businesses or areas of business you are or could be passionate about start by thinking about the areas, activities, and things you are passionate about, that is, that interest you and you have strong opinions on, for example: Someone who loves to hike might consider setting up a travel business. Someone who loves Lego might think about a toy or construction business. Someone who spent their whole life with a passion for music might start a company related to sound When thinking of offline or online business ideas keep in mind that starting any business is hard enough, if you make sure it is one you are passionate about you are much more likely to succeed. Are you the right age to start a business? Questions such as what is the average age of a startup founder, what is the optimal age to be a founder and is it possible to be too old/ too young to start a startup, are all often asked. The graph from HBR shows the distribution of ages of the founders of billion dollars, venture capital-backed private companies. It’s an interesting distribution that undeniably favours those between the age of 20-35.  Of course, these $1bn companies are huge outliers and represent a very small dataset of total startups.  Having said that, it’s an interesting graph to note as after all, for those of us that start startups, isn’t this the ultimate dream that we’re all swinging for in the long run?  For those that fall into this age bracket, the signs are good. Even Fred Wilson, prolific New York based Venture Capitalist was quoted as saying that “tech is biased toward the younger generation” as the article notes. In contrast to the graph above, the Kauffman Foundation conducted a study and released a report entitled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur“. They found the average age of a founder to be 40 years old. Of course, I can think of a number of benefits of waiting until this age to start a company; the most obvious being years of experience under your belt. Ultimately, age should not be a limiting factor in success. There are pros and cons about certain ages, and some people might have biases one way or the other.  Regarding starting a startup often it is down to the circumstances and thought process of the individual. There will always be reasons to not take the plunge but in reality are these reasons even valid? Your age should be way down the list of factors that you consider if you’re thinking of starting a startup.  With startups being the roller coaster that they are, the range of emotions from almighty highs to deep lows experienced by any founder on a day to day basis will dwarf the benefits or negatives caused by the founder’s age. There are many metrics that startup founders can pay attention to at any one point in time.  In my opinion, age should not be one of them.  What’s your opinion? 2. Coming up with great business ideas. Coming up with a business idea is relatively easy, coming up with a great business idea is hard. It is critical to your success that when starting out you explore as many ideas as possible before deciding on the final one you will take forward. In this section, we will guide you through the process of finding a great business idea that you can turn into a successful, profitable and valuable business. Start generating business ideas. It is now time to start coming up with ideas, this is often a long and time-consuming process but have some patience and you will bring to life some fantastic ones. Below you will find advice on how to get started in the ideation process and come up with great business ideas! Solve a problem that prospective customers care about. Start by thinking about what significant problems you could solve and how. Many successful companies started out on a mission to solve real problems that affect millions of people and provide a solution through their products and services. For example, Tesla started with the objective of making the world’s cars purely electric and they are well on the way having built a hugely successfully multi-billion-dollar business in the process. Identify where you provide a better solution. Look for areas where solutions are already available but you can do better than existing companies either regarding efficiency, innovation or cost. For example, Apple entered the mobile phone market more than a decade ago as an underdog with a new innovative product and are now a market leader. Despite the fact the technology had been available for years no one had brought the level of innovation the iPhone did to the market. Be cheaper than other businesses. You should look for areas where you can provide significant savings to the customer vs competitors. These types of businesses grow incredibly fast, particularly during recessions. For example, Poundland is a great example of this kind of business, since its inception its used price as the primary differentiator to its competitors. Through offering the lowest price possible on a big range of consumer products the business has grown to a highly successful high street chain. Innovate in a traditional slow changing market. Is there a field of business or industry that hasn’t seen much innovation in the last 10-100 years? This is often the case in non-tech industries that are slow to push forward change while the status quo remains profitable. These industries often have tremendous opportunities to disrupt them with new technologies, innovations, systems and methods. For example, only recently has the taxi industry rapidly changed with the introduction of Uber innovating how we find and hire taxis. Build a business for a future need or market. Try to think into the future, what will the world look like in 5 or 10 years? Thinking about the future will allow you to think about new markets and niches that may open due to innovations and new technologies. For example, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in the last few years have grown to be significant markets by themselves with a whole eco-system of technology and infrastructure providers developing around it. Copy other businesses and be better. It is unlikely, unless you are on the forefront of technology, that your business ideas are unique. Plenty of the world’s biggest companies were not revolutionary, yet they came into markets with developed players and just outperformed everyone else. You do not have to have the most original idea to create a brilliant business, you just have to do it better than anyone else! For example, Microsoft came out of nowhere and beat every other competitor to become the dominant operating system provider in the early 1990’s. Turn your hobby into a business. A logical jump is to take a hobby and turn it into a real business. Why? A hobby is something you already know a lot about, clearly have a passion for and you will know where to start. For example, it is logical to go from collecting models to selling models. Think about a global business. The world is now a very global place, you can have a business in China and operate it from New Zealand if that is what you want. Globalization and technology offer immense possibilities to run businesses in new and emerging markets around the world. If the conditions are not right for your business model in your home country market look for a country where they are. For example, Rocket Internet built their multi-billion-dollar business by copying innovative business models from developed markets and taking them to less developed markets where they were the only company. Don’t limit yourself to one business idea. It is easy to settle on one idea but to give yourself the best chance of coming up with a great idea it’s best to pick a few to explore and compare. If you’re stuck, stop thinking. You can overthink it when it comes to ideation, so if you are stuck stop thinking about it. Many times, when you stop actively thinking about something the solution or idea will come to you later. 3. Research your business ideas. This stage is all about researching your business idea as much as possible to decide if your idea or ideas could turn into a great business. To assess and compare each, you want to have a clear understanding of the points below. Define & analyse your target market. Is there a market for the business, product or service and is it big enough to support your goals? You should also consider the competitive landscape and know who your main competitors are. Analyse what their and your weaknesses and strengths are, as well as market opportunities and threats. You want a clear idea of the overall market and how your business would fit into it. See if there’s a demand for your product or service. Is there a direct demand for your goods or will you have to educate customers about the need for your product or service? Understand your potential customers. You should have a clear idea of who your potential customers are, including demographic data and business details if you are selling B2B. Have a marketing & sales plan that makes sense. Having a good understanding of how you would reach your potential clients and grow your market share is critical to success. Specifically, understanding what marketing and sales activities and channels will you need to pursue and how. Make sure your business model will work. Can your business model work given the current market and potential customers? This is often an overlooked point, but many start-ups fail because their business model does not operate. Find funding for your business. Is it going to cost a significant amount to set up your business? This is a key factor on whether your business could work as it depends on your resources and your ability to raise finance if needed, i.e. Small business grants, business angels, venture capital, invoice finance or bank business loans. 4. Test your business premise. Once you have a few thoroughly researched business ideas it’s time to test quickly and validate if the premise of your proposed business works in the real world. Many entrepreneurs who skip this stage, end up wasting much time chasing ventures that would never work. So now that we have established it is a good move to test your ideas and research, this section explores the different routes to market for testing different ideas. Be precise when measuring performance. When testing a proposed business, you can assess the performance of any venture in different ways, so it is important to initially work out what you want to measure to gauge success or failure. Here are some suggested measures to get you started: How much revenue could you generate/ How many products can you sell? How much customer interest can you generate? How much press/notoriety can you generate? Different testing methods. As per the title of this section, you should find and deploy the fastest, cheapest, and most robust way possible of testing your business premises. How you choose to do this largely depends on your business idea, below are some of the most popular methods that fit the above criteria. Create a landing page and carry out e-mail marketing. If you have services or a specific solution based business and your primary sales channel will be online, this is often the quickest way to test: Set up a quick one-page website (for non-technical people Wix is a good solution). Make it seem and feel professional (you can get a 5 dollar logo/brand off Fiverr). List your services/solutions. Add a contact email. Find the e-mails of ideal potential buyers and contact them about your service. Then manage communications and see if anyone is interested, if not ask why and be persistent. Build an online store and buy adverts. If your idea involves selling products online: Create a quick online store (WordPress, Shopify or BigCommerce are good options). Add a brand and make everything look professional. Add mocked up graphics of your products. Add contact details and sort an email. Spend £25 on Facebook ads and see how many clicks, sales and how much revenue you can drive. Set up a market stall and sell. If you are starting a product based business and your primary sales method will be face-to-face, a cost-effective way to test your business is to build initial versions of your product and book a table at your local market or festival. You can gauge via sales and customer feedback if the premise is a success and gain valuable feedback as to how you could pivot the premise to success if it fails. Innocent Smoothies started by testing their products at a festival before becoming a business (and later being acquired by Coke for hundreds of millions). Sell over the phone (Telesales). One of the best ways to get meaningful qualitative feedback is to find the ideal buyer of your product on LinkedIn for example, track down their phone number and call/pitch as much as possible to gather as much feedback and as many pre-orders as you can. 5. Create a business plan. At this point you have chosen the business idea you are going to turn into a business and tested it, now it is time to put together a business plan to outline in detail the objectives of your business and how you are planning to achieve them. A business plan is a great exercise for sorting out your thoughts and it allows you to plan your business in a structured way, for yourself and so outside parties such as investors or partners can understand what you are trying to achieve and how. Great planning from the start can be the difference between a business that is successful and well executed and a business that fails. In this section, you will find guidance on how to create a great business plan. Key elements of a business plan. Your business plan should include many key elements and follow a simple and clear structure. Always aim to create a business plan that anyone could pick up and understand what your business is, what its objectives are and how you are planning to get there; this means breaking it up into clear sections. Executive summary. An executive summary is an introduction to your plan, its content, and an overview of everything in your business plan. It should provide the reader with a short, concise and clear overview of what your business is and what you are trying to do in no more than two paragraphs. Contents page. The readers of your plan will often want to skip to specific parts that interest them; a contents page allows them to navigate quickly to the appropriate section. Business model and products/services. Here you need to outline your business model and what are the products, services and solutions you provide. Customer, market and competition. In this section, you need to show a clear understanding of your ideal client, the market for your product, service or solution (also have your market clearly segmented) and an understanding of the competitive landscape, including who your competitors are and where you are in the market in comparison to them. Marketing and sales. This section is about demonstrating a clear plan from a marketing and sales perspective as to how you intend to achieve your objectives, whether that is scale, revenue generation or some other tactic. Finances and projections. You want to show your current finances and any projections you have for the business moving forward. Always make sure to be realistic with financial projections, you will have to back them up at some point! Team. Include a short section about your current team, who they are and their qualifications/experiences. If you have expansion plans for human resources, you should also include them here. Business plan summary. This section should should showcase the entirety of your business and your business plans, through key points in bullet point format and provide contact details so a reader can easily get in touch with you. How to write a business plan. Writing a business plan when you are starting out is often a new, complicated and sometimes overwhelming task. There are however some golden rules you should take into consideration when writing that will make your life a lot easier! Keep your writing short. Make sure to summarise and keep your writing as short as possible as this will help your plan be very clear. It helps you organise your ideas but most importantly, it makes it much easier for external parties to understand. Make sure everything is relevant. It is very easy and tempting to include irrelevant information in your business plan. This extra information usually makes your communication less efficient and makes the idea harder to understand. To get rid of any irrelevant material, once you have finished a section do a quick review and get rid of anything that doesn’t support or add to the main point you are trying to make in that section. Check grammar and spelling thoroughly. If there’s even a chance external parties will at some point read your business plan, then make your spelling and grammar excellent. As with any document, you lose much credibility and sometimes meaning if there are spelling and grammar errors. Create a simple mission statement. A mission statement should concisely explain what the overall purpose of your business is, for example, the mission could be: to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. Set clear objectives. Set SMART objectives by being very specific on what you are trying to achieve across the business and in individual areas. State how you are going to get there. It sounds simple but many entrepreneurs are not very clear about how they are going to achieve their business objectives, make sure you thoroughly think and create a way for your business to get from point A to B. Use a realistic timeline. Setting a realistic timeline alongside your activities and objectives is a critical factor when composing any business plan. How to format and present your business plan. Making sure you have created your plan in the appropriate format can be very important to how it is perceived or used. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve the best format. Business plan formats. Create your initial document in Word, Google docs or Open Office, these tools are easy to use and you’ll end up with an easily editable file. You can also use Excel to create and update a clear structure, this helps to give you a good overview of the plan. Make sure to use a theme that is consistent throughout the document regarding fonts, colours and design features. If you must give a copy to an external party, always export the file to PDF, and make sure to have professional graphics in place if desired (if you want to design something graphically complex, Adobe InDesign is perfect for this). How to present your plan. If you are going to make a presentation of your plan, you need to create a PowerPoint/Keynote version. The presentation format will differ from your business plan in that each page should make one key point with a maximum of other three supporting ones. Make sure to use simple graphics and focus on what you are trying to communicate (remember you can always provide a full business plan at the end of a presentation to any parties). Keep your business plan updated. Your business plan should be updated as circumstances and objectives change. If your business is now running, it’s impractical to continually update this document but it should be reviewed and kept up to date over time. Apart from anything else it is a good reflection on where you started and where you are now. If you are looking for a way to track your progress against objectives, it is best to build a tracker/planner on Excel or use tools like Asana or Trello. Tools for business planning. Usually, Excel, Word or even a whiteboard is sufficient, but if your business is a little more complex or you struggle with organisation, then using a business planning software makes sense. The best and most popular solutions out there are Asana, Trello and LivePlan. 6. Registering a business. The structure you select for your business depends on your specific needs. In this section, we will take you through the various business structures, their advantages, disadvantages and how you can set them up. Different types of business structure. There are several types of legal structures you can choose from when setting up a business, we have detailed them further below. Sole trader. A sole trader is a business-type where one person owns and runs the entire business. It is the simplest business structure you could adopt. It is very suitable for any one-person businesses; this includes independent accountants, web developers and gardeners among others. Being a sole trader means the individual is entitled to all/any profits of the business but is also liable for any debt/damages incurred. In the UK, there are currently over 3 million registered sole traders, and the number is growing with a massive influx of skilled freelancers. Limited company                                               . A limited company is a structure that means a business is a separate entity from its owners. This means the owners are only liable for any business debts to the extent of the amount of money they have put into the business, thus limiting any exposure for business owners beyond their total investment. There are two types of limited companies you can incorporate in the UK. Private limited company (LTD or Ltd) In a private limited company, the owners privately hold shares. This is the most common and preferred incorporation structure for most small businesses in the UK. Over 5.2 million limited companies are operating in the UK now. Public limited company (PLC) In a public limited company, shares are available to the public for ownership and purchase. A public limited company must have a value of at least 50,000 pounds before it can trade as a PLC. PLC is commonly used as a structure for major companies after they make an initial public offering (selling a large portion of their shares in the capital markets). Limited liability partnership (LLP). An LLP is a partnership structure used by many businesses including vets, dentists, law firms or accountancy firms. An LLP is made up of at least one limited partner and one general partner (there can also be more than one of each), and these partners have different responsibilities and exposure regarding the business. Limited partners On formation provide property or money to a Are liable for all debts up to the amount they have They have no operation control and can’t actively manage the business. They cannot remove the initial investment (property or money) they put into the partnership. General partners Are liable to pay any debts the partnership cannot pay off. Actively manage and control the operation of the business. Can make binding (irreversible) decisions on business matters and for the business. General partners can apply for ACS; this is where assets and money are put together and managed on behalf of the partners. The partners end up co-owning the assets but only must pay tax on their share of any profits. Guarantee Company (LBG). LBG is a structure used by not-for-profit businesses such as social enterprises that seek a legal structure to operate. This structure is somewhere between a charitable status and a limited company. In an LBG no share capital is issued, instead, the members act as guarantors for the company. It’s commonly used by trade associations, schools, and other businesses. Selecting a structure for your business. There is no simple answer to which structure is best for your business, it depends on your business operation and needs. For example, if you: Plan to grow your small business beyond yourself (one person) and then sell it, then a Private Limited Company would likely be the most suitable structure. Plan to only operate as a one-person business for the near future, then a Sole Tradership would probably be the best structure. Plan to start a business that has a significant amount of senior management, capital and that deals in services, then a Limited Liability partnership would be the best choice. Setting up a structure for your business is not something you do every day, do some more in-depth research and decide what legal structure is best for your business. Register a limited company. Forming a limited company can be a simple process, but it is also something that should be done very carefully (if you are unsure about something, seek legal advice). Below you will find an overview of what you will need to register a company, where you can register and other useful details on company formation. Where can I register my company? You can register your new company at Companies House on GOV.UK, this process will take you about 30 minutes if you have all the required details ready. How much does it cost to register a company? It costs £12 to register a company online (you can pay this fee via PayPal, debit card or credit card). It takes on average 24hrs for your company to be registered. Details needed for registering a company. To register a company, you will need to have the details below ready: A company name (You can find more information on naming your company below). Address for the company. One or more directors’ names and details (if it is just you that is fine). Details of the company shares, shareholding, and shareholders (with at least one shareholder). A Memorandum and articles of association. This is a standard document that shareholders create and agree to that outlines the company’s written rules, it’s usually very standardised unless you have specific needs. Detailed information on anyone who owns a significant interest or control in the company (this means anyone who owns 25% or more shares or voting rights in the company). Choosing a company name. When choosing a company name you need to consider legal requirements but also apply common sense: Make sure the name you have chosen isn’t trademarked by another company, you can check this via the Intellectual Property Office search on GOV.UK. Your name cannot have any profanity in it (that is, rude language). Your company name does not have to be the same as your trading name, for instance: your company name could be “Generic media group Ltd” and you might trade under different names for various products the company owns such as “Business magazine, Agriculture magazine…” It depends on your plans, but it can be useful to have a name different from your product or service if you intend to launch other areas of the business, products or services. Your name cannot be to the same or too similar to another company that’s registered at Companies House. Your business name should be something that’s simple to say, spell and remember. Be creative and try brainstorming as many options as you can. Test your name and get feedback from your social group. Ultimately, you should take some time before you decide on a business name. Setting up a company address. To start a limited company, you need to have a registered business address. A registered address will appear on your Companies House listing and it is where the official post is sent including corporation tax and annual return requests. You can use your home address, office address or even a PO box. A PO box can be bought from a virtual office provider and is usually a good option if you want a more formal business address from the start (virtual address providers will forward any post onto your home or selected address for a fee). Creating a memorandum and articles of association. The standard articles of a memorandum document are usually sufficient for most new companies, all you need to do is have all the shareholders read, sign the document and submit it. If you have more complex needs regarding your company’s rules, you should consult a lawyer. Understanding directors & secretaries. Every company needs at least one director to start, this director or directors form the initial management team of a company. If you are starting a company by yourself, you would need to be listed as a director. You will also need to nominate a company secretary, which would also be yourself if you are the only founder. Getting shareholding & shareholders right. You want to get shareholding and shareholders details right from the let-go, it can cause a painful situation later if you submit this poorly or even incorrectly, particularly if you take on investment. A new company with only one director and one shareholder (who are the same person), and a shareholding of 100 ordinary shares owned by this director/shareholder would work well initially. Register as a sole trader. Registering as a sole trader is a simple process, it just requires you to fill out and submit several forms to the HMRC registering yourself as self-employed. What details do I need to register as a sole trader? You only need your national insurance number, a home address and a business name. Where can I register as a sole trader? You will need to register as self-employed with the HMRC by filling in the appropriate SA form and submitting it. Choosing a sole trader name. Being a sole trader, you can trade under your name or a business name of your choosing. If you want a separate business name, it cannot conflict with any existing trademarks, and you will also need to use your name and the business name on any official paperwork. Deciding on an address for a sole trader. Usually, a home address is fine as this is not made publicly available and many self-employed people operate from home. If you are going to list your business address on a website or anywhere else though, you could consider getting a virtual office or PO Box if you do not have a fixed office address. Registering a limited liability partnership. Registering a limited liability partnership (LLP) is more complex than most registrations. The details below provide a helpful outline of how you can go about registering an LLP with practical advice. How can I register a LLP? You will need to download the LP5 application form from GOV.UK and send it by post to Companies House. All partners in the company must sign this form and it typically takes five days for your limited partnership to be set up. You will also need to send in a fee of £20 via cheque or postal order at the same time (payable to “Companies House”). As an alternative, you can incorporate the company online through a third-party software. Choosing a partnership name. The same rules apply to selecting a partnership name as with a company name, see advice in the above, limited company registration section. Choosing an address for your LLP. The same address rules as for a limited company apply only that your registered business address, for official mail and public listing, must be in the territory where you incorporate initially. For instance, if you incorporate in Wales your registered partnership address must be in Wales. You are free to change this after registration though. You need a general partner and a limited partner. You must have a general partner and a limited partner to start a limited liability partnership. This cannot be the same person, so the minimum founding team is of two people by default. 7. Setting up finances, accounting and tax. Once you have set up the legal structure of your business, there are several important financial and tax responsibilities you need to figure out. Opening a business bank account. Before you can start generating any revenue or making purchases, you are going to need to open a business bank account to send, receive and securely store your businesses capital (money). It is essential to select a bank and business account carefully as it is very likely you will be with the chosen banking provider for the life of the business. Choose a bank for your business. There’s no simple answer for this, it is best to gather some information on each bank and their offerings and compare to see who’s the best fit. You should look for details such as: What’s their track-record in working with small businesses? Do they have a range of products and information specifically for small businesses? What do other small business customers think of the bank? Is the bank respectable, have they engaged in any illegal activity recently? Once you collect all this information, which you can find online; you should have a good idea of which bank is best for your business. Select a winning bank account. You also must decide what type of business account or accounts your set up. If you have the wrong type of account, it can significantly affect the cost of business banking. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a business account: Do they charge fees based on different transactions, is it a flat monthly fee or is it even free? If transaction fees are applied, what charges are applied to each type of transaction? Do they provide transaction fee free accounts for certain types of transactions such as online or retail? Does the bank offer any complimentary benefits such as insurance, software, or other benefits if you open a certain account with them? Do they offer free business banking and accounts for a period? For new ventures, banks tend to offer from 6-24 months free banking. It will take you a bit of time to gather information on bank accounts and compare it, but it is worth doing as it can save a lot of money, time and headaches in the future. It can be difficult to change banks. Once you are a few months or years into trading, it can be challenging to change banks and even to change your accounts, as you will likely be processing many payments and purchases through your bank and accounts at any one time. If you change banks or accounts you will need to update individual partners, suppliers and customers, which is a very time-consuming task. It usually ends up being severe enough that many businesses do not switch banks even if they have an unpleasant experience. Understanding your accounting, tax and filing responsibilities. As a shareholder, owner or director you will likely be responsible for filing some form of accounts, filing paperwork and paying various business taxes to the HMRC on an annual or more regular basis. Understanding your basic accounting, tax and financial responsibilities from the start is essential to running your business properly, being legally compliant and avoiding hefty fines from the HMRC. Record your financial transactions. Most businesses are legally required to keep an accurate and up to date record of their finances, this means recording expenditure, income and any other financial transactions of the business. Having up to date records helps to make financial plans and enables you to file your accounts relatively quickly as you have all the relevant data ready for your accountant. Prepare & file annual accounts. Limited companies and limited liability partnerships are required to submit accounts annually. These accounts are a record of your businesses expenses, revenue and financial transactions across the accounting year. Your corporation tax bill will also be worked out based on these accounts. It’s typical for an accountant to prepare these accounts based on your accounting records from the year, depending on how organised and up to date these records are this can be a simple or complicated process. Filing a confirmation statement. Limited companies and limited liability partnerships need to submit an annual confirmation statement. This statement is simply to check that the information that Companies House has about your business is correct and if any is incorrect or out of date, you will need to update these details. Register for self assessment. Self-assessment involves the annual filing of a set of simple accounts covering your income during the year. The HMRC uses this to assess the tax you need to pay personally. Sole traders, company directors and limited liability partners will need to register for self-assessment (company directors will also need to know about PAYE and dividends). Sole traders can also use any business-related costs to reduce their income and overall tax bill. One final exception is that if your limited company is not-for-profit, then you do not need to file self-assessment. Register for VAT (Value Added Tax). If your business is likely to have more than the VAT threshold in annual sales, you will need to register for VAT. This is a flat rate tax you must charge on top of any goods or services you sell. On the positive side, once you’re VAT registered and have your VAT number you can purchase products from other businesses VAT free. Register for corporation tax. If you have a limited company and it is trading (this means making any financial transaction), you will need to register for corporation tax within three months of starting your business or beginning to trade. You will be assessed for corporation tax through your annual accounts and will need to pay a flat rate tax based on the profits generated by your business. You can find more details on paying corporation tax here and further details on registering for CT here. Understanding business rates. Business rates are a tax levied on business premises by the UK government and delivered by local authorities. They are charged annually on business properties including shops, factories, offices, warehouses, bars and more. If you own or rent commercial premises, it is likely you will need to register for and pay business rates. However, if you are running your business from home it is unlikely you will need to pay business rates. Tell Companies House and HMRC of any changes. If your business details significantly change you will need to inform the relevant authorities, for instance, for instance; if your registered address changes you will need to tell Companies House/HMRC straight away. Hire an accountant. When it comes to starting any small business, it is advisable to have an accountant. A good accountant will save your business substantially more money than they cost to hire. Specifically, an accountant will ensure: You pay the right amount of tax. Ensure you meet, file and pay any major tax deadlines,e. annual statements, accounts, corporation tax… Have expert financial advice and information at your service. Ensure your annual accounts are correctly compiled and submitted to the HMRC. In summary, a good accountant will make the financial aspects of your business much easier to handle and save you much money in the process. Choosing an accountant. The ideal accountant for a small business that’s just starting up is a local independent accountant who will give your business finances the time and attention it needs and probably be less costly than a major firm. How much does an accountant cost? Accountants will either ask you to pay a lump sum annually or more commonly a monthly fee that will cover the ongoing work. The amount typically depends on how well you can negotiate, but it will likely be between £30-150 a month depending on the complexity of your business financial matters and filing needs. Sole traders however, probably only need an accountant once a year for self-assessment and this should cost between £80 -200. Choosing small business accounting software. Unless you are a sole trader with a few transactions going through your business each year, yes, you need small business accounting software, and there are two primary reasons: If you are a limited company or partnership, your annual accounts, which you must legally submit to the government yearly, require all your records from the annual accounting period. So you can accurately track all your financial transactions and the financial health and future of your business (including costs, revenue, and profit). It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep up to date and accurate financial records from the start. Failure to do this can result in losing a lot of time, money and in some cases criminal prosecution. 8. Protect your business. Once you have taken care of all financial matters, it is necessary to protect your business from the unpredictable by taking care of certain legal and insurance issues. Find a solicitor or law firm. Most companies will not need to hire a legal advisor initially, except if they want advice on company set up or have some specific legal matters that need attending. However, at some point in your businesses life-cycle, you will need some form of legal support, whether that is drawing up contracts or protecting your business interests in court. Make sure that if you hire a legal advisor at some point, you always agree on an hourly rate and on the amount of time required in advance for any work. Getting intellectual property protection in place. Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is the result of creativity. Protecting your IP as a business can be critical to protecting your business, brand and products from damages that come from people using your intellectual property without your permission. This section explores intellectual property rights and protections you can put in place to protect your business’ intellectual property. Trademarking a name and brand. A trademark is a legally registered symbol, word or words representing a business that legally owns it, protecting the business from anyone else using this name or symbol. For new ventures, you will want to trademark your company name and brand, this makes sure you legally own your brand and company name, and prevents anyone from misusing it. Patenting an idea, technology or process. A patent is an exclusive right granted for a product, invention or process that provides a new way of doing something or provides a new technical solution to a problem. Applying for a patent is only relevant for new businesses that have invented innovative technology or product that could be copied by others. A patent grants your legal ownership of this invention and the exclusive right to it, thus providing your business with protection. The relevance of copyright law. Copyrighted work means that other businesses cannot use your written or creative work without permission. Copyright is primarily employed by book publishers, theatre companies and other types of entertainment/information based companies who need to ensure works are not reproduced without authorisation. Make sure you have small business insurance. Business insurance for a new business can be an absolute lifeline that provides much-needed financial and legal support when the unexpected happens. Whether you must recall a dangerous product or have an employee endure an accident at work, having the right insurance can be the difference between a business being able to cope with a disaster or having to close. With that in mind, this section gives a quick overview of the major types of insurance you might consider for a new business. Public liability insurance (PLI). PLI protects businesses against losses suffered by people or customers injuring themselves or sustaining property damage due to the activity of business, it is one of the most common types of small business insurance. It is of particular importance if you operate physical premises and regularly interact with customers in a third party or business owned premise. Professional indemnity insurance (PII). PII is for businesses and professionals that provide advice or services to customers. It protects your business against any claims for damages or legal costs which arise due to act omission or breach of professional duty in the daily course of operations. It actively protects your business if advice or a service provided negatively affects a customer. Employers liability insurance (ELI). ELI protects a business that employs staff from financial losses incurred when a staff member experiences a job-related illness or injury. Workplace injuries can be extremely costly for an employer if they are liable. ELI offers protections against this and it’s particularly relevant for business who have many staff involved in physical work on their behalf, i.e. manufacturing, event running… Product liability insurance (PLI). Product liability insurance protects your business from damage to property or personal injury caused by products your business/company has supplied or sold. Key man insurance (KMI). Key man insurance protects businesses from the loss of a key employee such as a CEO by paying out a large sum on the event of their death or incapacitation. It is effectively life insurance against anything critical happening to a key employee. If your business is entirely reliant on one employee or a small group, this insurance can often help save the business from bankruptcy in a disaster situation. Landlord insurance (LI). Landlord insurance protects business owners who own property from losses sustained as the result of renting that property. If a business owns its office and rents it out to other companies, this type of insurance will protect you from damages caused by a tenant. Trade credit insurance (TCI). Trade credit insurance is insurance that protects private companies from their customers being unable to pay back a debt due to bankruptcy, default or insolvency. It’s most relevant for companies that operate under a B2B model and have a range of key customers who use offered credit facilities. Director’s and officers liability insurance. D&O insurance policies can protect management from personal liability in the event a claim is made against them for wrongdoing. For example; if a director knowingly or unknowingly communicates incorrect financial information that leads an investor to lose money or make a poor decision, resulting in a claim against the director. Business contents insurance. Business contents insurances provides coverage for your equipment, tools and even stock on your business premises (you can also get specialist stock insurance if you carry high volumes of goods), to cover the cost of replacement or repair commonly in the event of fire, flood or theft. Choosing the right business insurance. As with buying any product or service make sure to shop around and compare prices and clauses. With insurance, you will want to read the small print very carefully and clarify the conditions around your insurance policy (to make sure you a policy covers losses or damages thoroughly). Regarding selecting an insurer, look for firms who have an excellent reputation and long record of accomplishment in insuring small businesses. 9. Create a brand and identity for your business. Now that you have protected your business adequately, it is time to create a public facing identity. This is how you present your company to the world including branding, setting up a basic website and creating a business e-mail address. Create a professional brand for your business. Having a professional brand is critical to any business that wants to stand out in today’s competitive environment. That does not mean the branding process needs to be costly or time-consuming, there are just a few key things you should consider for creating a professional brand: Create a logo (Keep it simple and hire a designer on Fiverr, online logo maker, or a cost-effective design agency). Create a colour scheme for your business that will be used across all promotional and company assets (you can use a colour selector to find a palette and it’s also a good idea to look into basic colour psychology before you choose). Come up with a slogan for your company if you think it is useful. You can also create a symbol that can be used as a recognising mark of your company when you do not want to put your full dress logo, such as on a product (it is typically included in your logo). It is important to take your time though and explore a few different branding options before settling on an initial brand. You need to create a website for your business. Whether you are a retail store, a chemicals company or a modelling company having at least a basic website is a requirement for business in the 21st century, customers expect you to have a website and expect to be able to find it easily. Your website should: Include and show your company/business details including address, phone number, name, and logo (if you have a limited company number it is also a legal requirement to list it here). Provide a clear description of what your business is/does. Provide details of your products, services, and Provide a business e-mail or contact form that enables prospective customers/outside parties to reach you easily. You can add many more things to your website, this is just the basic information you need to include. Now, how do you create a website? How to create a website for your business. Creating a website is not nearly as complicated as you might think it is. There are many different types of software, website builders and helpful information that allow you to build a simple website for your business. Easily build your own website. If you do not want to take on this task or are unclear on how to do it, you can always outsource it to a freelancer, but there is a far better and cheaper option available. Website builders have come to the stage where you can build your entire website quite simply through one provider with no prior experience. Companies like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Shopify or BigCommerce offer very simple to use tools so that you can often have a simple website up and running in under an hour. However, if you decided to explore the possibility or even build your own website, we have outlined the main steps you will need to accomplish this with helpful tips. 1. Purchase a domain. A domain name is your public address on the internet, it is the URL that appears at the top of your browser on any website, for example: www.cocacola.com. The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain for your business. Typically this domain would be your business name, if this taken, try different variations. You can buy a domain name from popular domain registers such as GoDaddy or Name Cheap (try to make sure you purchase a .co.uk or .com domain, these are important trust indicators for anyone visiting your website). 2. Purchase website hosting. Web hosting involves renting all or part of a server (online computer) where your website will be stored, think of it as renting virtual land for your office. When looking for a reliable website host, you will want to review a few things before choosing a hosting provider: What’s the reputation of the hosting company? What’s the cost of hosting compared to other providers? What’s the host’s uptime compared to other vendors? (% of time their servers are live.) Do they provide one-click installs of LAMP/LEMP and CPANEL/WHM and WordPress (Read further on for descriptions.) If you are in a hurry, popular and cost-effective web hosting companies include Bluehost, GoDaddy and 1&1. 3. Point your domain name to your server IP address via DNS. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the internet’s mail routing system in a way. When someone types the domain genericmedia.co.uk, your hosting company’s server will respond by telling the computer that genericmedia.co.uk website is stored on a particular server with the IP address of xxx.xxx.xxx. Many hosting providers will automatically generate the correct DNS record, pointing your web address to the server IP address when you install your website, but a number do not. If you need to set this, you will need at an elementary level to add an A record pointing your domain name to your correct server address (you can typically find your DNS panel in your hosting provider’s portal). 4. Point your domain to your web hosting company. Now that you have set up your domain, hosting and correct DNS records it is time to point your domain at your web hosting company. This is done by changing your domain’s nameservers. Start by looking for the nameservers/DNS in the domain company’s portal. Once you have found it, you will want to swap out the current nameservers for the ones your web host has given you and click update (if you do not know what these are, do a Google search on “nameservers” and your web host’s name, they usually pop up!).You now need to wait 5 – 48 hours for the nameserver change to propagate across the internet. 5. Install LAMP & WHM/CPANEL. Depending on your hosting company this may already be set up, if you see anything that says ‘enter cPanel’ or ‘cPanel’, it likely already is and you do not have to do anything! For other hosts, you will need to install a LAMP stack (the underlying technology used by the server) and WHM/CPANEL, the web hosting software that allows you to set up your website. There are many steps by step guides providing information on how to do all this for different hosts across the web. 6. Install WordPress. WordPress is often the go-to choice for flexible content management systems that allow you to build and manage websites with little technical skills. Installing WordPress usually requires a one-click install from cPanel under Softaculous or another auto-installer (if you do not have an auto-installer you will need to download and transfer WordPress via FTP, this gets a bit more technical). Make sure to note down your login details as well! 7. Purchase & install a website theme. Login to WordPress at yourwebsite.co.uk/wp-admin. You should have a new up and running website, now you need a design in the form of a WordPress theme. These themes (designs) give different aesthetics, structures and control options depending on which one you get. You can find a free theme or purchase a theme to suit your needs. There are particularly good paid options built for many types of small businesses including blogs, restaurants, builders, and many more. You can find themes to download via WordPress or go to paid providers like Themeforest. Once you have one, you will need to upload and activate your theme via the appearance-themes panel in WordPress. 8. Add all your information. Now it is time to create pages and add all your business information. Create your pages (Home, about, contact us). Add your logo. Add your product, service, or solution listings/details. Add a menu. Congratulations you have built a basic website, now it’s time to get a professional e-mail address. Bonus step for eCommerce entrepreneurs: Choosing your eCommerce platform. If like many new entrepreneurs your wading into the eCommerce waters, then choosing a platform is potentially the most important facet to get right before you start a site build. There are many eCommerce platforms available out there that promise to provide the best online experience. To keep you guided on what eCommerce platform to choose, it pays off knowing their different categories. Web-based eCommerce platforms: Web-based platforms provide eCommerce software or shopping cart service directly to the end users. Some examples of these platforms include Commerce Server, Drupal, and Joomla. Web-based platforms offer the user a fully-functional online store while others give limited functionality. On-premise eCommerce platform: A lot of businesses prefer to use an on-premise eCommerce platform for their eCommerce needs. These platforms have been designed for small businesses and are highly customizable. They also provide a hosted service that includes full-customization options for customers. Off-premise eCommerce platform: An off-premise eCommerce platform is designed for larger businesses or companies. They also offer the user greater customization and features that come with the hosted services. The main benefit of using off-premise platforms is that they are able to offer the full features and security level offered by the hosted services without the additional cost. The downside of using this platform is that it does not provide any of the same options that the hosted solutions do. Hybrid or multifunctional eCommerce platform: This platform allows you to choose from many different ways to manage your business. The main advantage of using this type of platform is that it helps reduce operational costs and improve the overall operational and business performance. Some of the features of this platform include automatic submission of orders, automatic replenishment of stock, automatic inventory management, and customer management. They also offer customization for custom logos, themes, and colour schemes. As you can see there are many factors to consider when choosing a platform for your eCommerce website. If you want a platform that will help you make better use of your resources and get the maximum return out of your investment, you should opt for an eCommerce hosting provider that has all the features that you need. The right platform will help you increase your profits as well as the profitability of your business. Create an e-mail address for your business. Once you have a website, you are going to need a professional e-mail address where prospective customers and external parties can reach you, this means that instead of using: [email protected]/outlook.co.uk or [email protected] you will be using [email protected] or [email protected] Having a business branded e-mail address is critical to engendering trust and is a general standard for most businesses in the UK. Fist set up an email address using G Suite or another third party email service. Then you’ll need to make sure your email is routed correctly which is done by updating your MX records. To change your MX records you will need to look for your hosting company’s DNS panel. Once your MX records are updated any email received by your server for your domain will be sent to Gmail (or the email service provider you’ve chosen) i.e. any mail received by genericmedia.com would be forwarded to your email. This is easier to do than it sounds! Initially, unless you have more team members, you will want one generic email address: [email protected], [email protected] and one personal address such as [email protected] or [email protected] 10. Buying the business essentials. Getting the basic essential setup for any new business is not glamorous, but it is very necessary. Whether that is sorting the internet, phone, utilities or purchasing technology among many other things, here’s a quick guide to getting the essentials right. Setting up business broadband. Fast and reliable internet is a necessity. Whether you need to sell online or communicate with customers, the internet is a vital component for most new businesses. Here are some guidelines for choosing a secure, reliable and fast internet provider and package: Make sure your connection will have a minimum of 20mbs download speed and 6mbs upload speed (Broadband or Fibreoptic). Check reviews online of each company and the different tiers/types of internet packages they offer. Make sure the contract length is no longer than 18 months (you usually negotiate heavily when your contract comes up for renewal, lowering the cost). Verify that the company has a responsive customer service team rather than an automated machine or poor customer service. This can be a nightmare when internet problems occur and has a been a big problem over the last year, particularly in the UK. If you live or work in an area where broadband or fibre is weak regarding internet connectively or it doesn’t connect at all, consider a 4G internet contract and an antenna as an alternative solution to get fast and stable internet. Most of the above is quite logical, but it is easy to miss things in the hubbub of starting a new business. Getting a business phone line. Having a landline number for your business is still a necessity for having a legitimate business image from the start and for having a fix and reliable number where customers can reach you on. If you own or rent a private office, it is easy to set up a business line with your phone package. However, if you do not, you can still purchase a business landline in London and many other cities that will route to your mobile phone, allowing you to take calls via that number and make calls online using that number. Finding office space. Apart from working from home, there a few different options for entrepreneurs looking for space to start and run their businesses. Rent a co-working space. Co-working spaces allow you to flexibly rent office space or an individual desk at a relatively low cost compared to traditional serviced or private office options. They also offer an environment designed for start-ups with a great community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Apply for a business accelerator. Accelerator programs provide seed investment, mentorship and office space for a limited time to start-ups and other small companies. If you are a technology business there are many accelerators where you could apply for in many major cities in the UK. Rent a business incubator office. Incubators are effectively low-cost office space that offer some level of community and network. Non-for-profit companies, charities or universities typically run them. Rent from another local business. Many large to medium sized businesses that find they have excess space are often open if approached by a smaller company about renting unused space in their premises. It is a great source of extra income for the landlord business and often a flexible renting agreement for the tenant business. Rent a serviced office. If you are starting with a large team and have investment ea serviced office is probably the best option for you. A serviced office will not be cheap but you can usually choose the layout that best suits your team on a particular floor or area of the building. Selecting business stationary and signage. It may be hard to believe but for limited companies there are specific laws you must obey regarding the details you include on signage, stationery and promotional material. Choosing a sign for your business. It is a matter of British law that you must display a sign showing your company name and your registered business address as well as any other address where your business operates in your business premise (if your home address is where your business is based you do not need to display a sign). Office supply and stationary options. When purchasing official company stationary or producing promotional materials such as letters, forms or your website, you must display your company name, company number, registered address, and the country your business is registered in (Scotland, Wales, England, or Northern Ireland). If you also decide to list a director’s name on materials, you must include all the directors’ names if there are more than one. 11. Find funding for your new business. Most businesses require some source of funding to start. This section covers the primary sources of financing available to small businesses with the relative advantages and disadvantages. Your savings. Some of the world’s most successful companies have been initially self-funded. The upside of this option is you do not lose any control by involving any outside party. The downside is that depending on the business you are starting, you may need more capital than you have or it may run out very quickly. Friends & family. Many entrepreneurs receive their initial funding from friends and relatives in the form of an investment or loan. This is because in many cases you will not have to pay this money back if something goes wrong or you can agree on preferable terms when dealing with friends and family, usually both! The upside is that your family or friends are unlikely to try and bankrupt your business to retrieve their money if you cannot pay them back within the terms set. The downside is you can put relationships in jeopardy if things do not go to plan and you cannot pay the money back or if expectations are poorly managed. Business grants. Business grants are free funding (money) awarded to qualifying businesses. A significant amount of public and private grants are available for new businesses; typically they are designed to support businesses starting up in impoverished areas, to boost the economy or to promote technological innovation and research. The best place to start looking for small business grants is your local Council website. They typically will have all the details of local grants available and of some national ones as well. Grants tend to range from £1,000 up to £5,000,000 in size, the amount depends on the grant (it is also common for payment to be made in stages based on achieving certain conditions). The plus side of grants is it’s free money with the downside being that applying for grant funding is often a complicated and time-consuming process, and the probability of obtaining one is not very high. Still, many businesses in the UK receive grant funding each year, it is still worth a shot! Business competitions. Business competitions offer the chance to win free funding for your business, typically between £500 and £50,000. Large corporates, universities, or local councils usually run them to gain exposure, support the local economy or as a PR and marketing stunt. Competitions are often underapplied for and applying is usually far less time-consuming than applying for other funding sources like grant funding. The downside is you might not win and lose a lot of time and energy in the process, depending on the requirements and conditions of the competition. Angel investors. An angel investor or business angel is a wealthy individual (commonly a former entrepreneur) who is willing to provide money for your business in exchange of a percentage shareholding in your business. A business angel is usually a good option for businesses who are a little further along than just starting out, as these investors typically want to see some growth/traction in your business before investing. However, some entrepreneurs do raise business angel finance initially ranging from £30,000 to £150,000 (typically under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme or EIS). The downside of this option is you’re losing some control at an early stage. The upside is that it’s a much quicker way to raise money than through VC or grant funding. Angel funding usually has few requirements and angel investors at this stage are primarily investing in people much more than they are in the business! Venture capital. Venture capitalists are professional investors who invest significant sums of money into many companies with the aim of making a return on their overall portfolio. At this early stage, venture capital unfortunately is only applicable to highly technological companies that operate in fields such as life science and biotech. These types of companies require huge initial investments from the start and can justify this funding by the promise of massive innovations and breakthroughs in technology and science that could yield considerable returns. The relative downside of venture capital is that it is hard to raise and, as professional investors, they will actively take ownership and control of part of your business. The upside is that you can raise a considerable amount of money very quickly (if your business already has much traction, venture capital could also apply to you). Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a relatively new form of investment, it allows you to raise small amounts of funding from many people. This can be done by selling equity or offering a reward or product in a presale crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding campaigns typically require an enormous level of marketing to be successful in most cases. The upside is that a campaign gives you the chance to test if people are receptive to your business and if you crowdfund goes well, in some cases, you can raise your funds in 48hrs (of course, after having prepared for months). Crowdfunding platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube offer equity solutions, and Kickstart and Indiegogo are the go-to choices for pre-ale/rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns. Business Loans. A simple business loan means you borrow an amount of money from a bank, person or lender and agree to pay it back over time, such as in a timeline with interest. Although loans offer a flexible way for businesses to raise capital, in most start-up situations they are not an ideal form of funding as you’re immediately taking on a risk where if you cannot pay back the loan you could lose your business and any personal wealth you have (depending on the liability). Given that banks do not lend as much as they used to to new businesses, the start-up loans scheme detailed below is likely the best option for anyone starting up if you want to raise finance this way. Getting a Start Up loan. The Start Up Loans Scheme was launched in 2012 by the British government. It made available £150+ million pounds of public money to entrepreneurs in the form of a favourable, low-interest loan up to the amount of £25,000. Eligibility and facilitation of a start-up loan are carried out by delivery partners who assess each business plan or business case. The loan is typically payment free for the initial year where you only pay nominal interest payments each month, with the bulk repayment starting on the second year and being paid back over as much as five years (be aware that although the loan terms are very favourable the actual debt obligation lies on you). Over the last few years, many businesses have been successfully launched by entrepreneurs who took startup loans. It can be a good funding option depending on your situation. Business credit cards. You occasionally do hear stories about entrepreneurs maxing out business credit cards to fund their new business that quickly becomes successful. What you do not hear a lot is about most entrepreneurs who max out their credit cards and go bankrupt. A business credit card is one of the worse forms of finance to use for starting a business. The interest rates, penalties, and complexity of this kind of short-term finance only make it useful to trading businesses which are profitable and need a flexible credit facility. Business overdrafts. A business overdraft is a flexible lending/credit facility you will agree with the bank or another financial institution. An overdraft allows you to borrow a set amount of money on an ongoing basis or until the bank withdraws the facility. You pay an agreed monthly rate of interest on top of anything you borrow. It is not a good form of finance for starting a business and should only really be used by trading profitable companies. It is specially useful for businesses who have seasonal businesses or cashflow issues due to longer client payment terms or other reasons. 12. Creating a sales and marketing strategy. Sales and marketing are the beating heart of any new business, for a business to be successful it needs to be innovative at marketing and effective at selling. When it comes to starting a business, this means thinking about preparing your product or service for sale, how you plan to go to the market and what channels and systems will be employed to reach and close customers. Getting a product or service ready for sale. Once you have a product or service ready to be sold, you need to start packaging it for the market, this means considering differentiation, positioning and pricing. Positioning your offering. Positioning is all about identifying your product’s/service’s key attributes and how you are going to communicate them to the customer. It is about defining who you are and what you are offering in a way that resonates with your prospective customer. Understanding your USP (Unique selling point). Differentiating your offering from your competitors is all about identifying and showing your USPs (Unique Selling Points). This means thinking about where you offer superior functionality and value over your competitors and how you can communicate this through your marketing message. Setting price at the right level. Pricing a product or service is tricky, it is often unclear for new entries into a market what pricing strategies you should implement, so here are few ways that will help you to calculate a fair price: Work out your costs per unit. Work out the profit margin you will be making per unit/per hour. Gather pricing information on your competitors’ products or services. Find out what the customer is willing to pay. This will require market Once you’ve done your research and pricing analysis, it comes down to what you think the market will bear combined with what you want to make per unit or per hour for any product or service respectively. Choosing a route to market. Once you are ready to go to market, you need to figure how you will get there. This means choosing the best route to market; this could be online, through fixed retail, wholesale, even selling through a third party or a mix. Selling online. Selling online could be in the form of an online shop or a subscription software platform (SAAS). The internet offers small businesses complete control over their route to market. Many new businesses will choose to sell directly to their customers through the web as it provides fantastically low overheads with little required investment compared to starting a physical business location. Selling via a retail shop. A retail store is a public place where customers can go and purchase from your business directly. Retail stores give you a guaranteed audience of passing customers depending on the site. This type of sales route is perfect for high-volume product-based businesses, but it also works for services, i.e. travel agents, insurers… Selling wholesale. Wholesaling offers businesses the chance to sell their products in bulk to suppliers or retailers who will then go and sell directly to the public through their own sales channels. The profit margin from this model is usually smaller given that there’s another party involved, but it does offer the potential for selling substantial orders and generating significant revenue. Selling through an agent or affiliate. Hiring an agent or affiliate on your behalf means they will find and connect you with potential customers, thus doing most of the marketing and some of the sales work for you. You will however usually have to pay a hefty commission to the agent when a customer they refer converts or a fixed fee on a per lead basis. Selecting marketing channels. Once you have chosen a route to market, selecting the correct marketing channels to generate interest and customers is critical. There are many different channels and you have to find the most cost-effective and high-return channels for your business. It can take some time and testing. Email marketing. Email remains the core way people and businesses communicate online. Thus, email marketing (reaching potential customers via email) is one of the primary marketing channels for generating customers and sales. This type of marketing could be done through newsletters or cold sales emails, and it is one of the online marketing channels available with the highest return on investment. Online advertising. Pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the most popular forms of online marketing. It typically involves using paid display and search advertising via Google and other networks to reach potential buyers and drive them to your website or landing page. If PPC campaigns are well targeted and managed, it can be a highly efficient and reliable method of generating business. It is important to note that social media and Facebook advertising also now accounts for a huge amount of marketing budgets for many businesses. Social media marketing. Social media is one of the newest and best ways to reach potential customers. Whether it is Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn or others, there is a range of social media platforms that are useful for effectively targeting and reaching your ideal customers. It is time-consuming to build and maintain an account, but in the long term it has proven to generate a significant return on investment for many brands. Content creation. Written content can be an excellent way to reach customers via online search. If you have access to a good writer and your business is primarily online, one of the best and cost-effective ways to reach your customers is through organic search. Out of all forms of online promotion, natural search traffic is the highest converting regarding sales, it is particularly useful for promoting your website to potential customers. Posting a letter. An old-fashioned method, direct mail marketing is still used by many companies today to inform potential customers about their offering and drive sales. It is particularly useful for service-based companies who have complex offerings that need to be described well, i.e. pensions, life insurance… Telesales. In the UK you may be asking yourself ‘how can telesales even be a marketing channel anymore? No one has a positive experience’. However, you might be wrong, many businesses still rely heavily on telesales for large swathes of their marketing and sales budgets, and the return is still substantial, particularly in the telecoms industry. Build a sales process. Creating an effective sales process is about taking potential customers generated by your marketing efforts and turning them into paying customers. With sales and marketing inextricably linked, it is important that your sales process will highly convert the leads that your marketing delivers, otherwise marketing is a waste of resources. This section covers the assets you will need, the pipeline you will need to set up and how to create a great customer service team. Building sales assets. Sales assets are the documentation and document-based promotional material used in the selling process, for example, this could mean leaflets, brochures, PDFs, pitch decks and much more. These materials are critical to a salesperson as customers will often ask for a presentation or written document during the sales process. These assets demonstrate key features and advantages of any product or service. It is imperative to have these assets ready, looking professional and well-structured for your sales team to use. Building a sales pipeline. A sales pipeline is at the core of any sales process, it is a system that continuously tracks the stage of the customer. This pipeline allows sales teams and managers to see where prospective customers are regarding the sale and to look for efficiency gains and problems that need correcting in the sales process. A typical sales pipeline is just a set of stages going from A to Z, A being the first contact, Z being when the sale closed (there can be further steps if you include cross-selling or up-selling as part of the same process). To manage this pipeline businesses will typically use a software-based CRM (customer relationship management) system. It is crucial to the sales process to have a structured pipeline set out so you can ensure every potential sale is tracked and there is maximum conversion. Create a customer service team. One of the most overlooked areas of sales is customer service, with many organisations seeing sales and customer service are separate functions. This leads to a lack of focus on proper customer service will dramatically increases the amount of customers lost and thus the long term profitabilltiy of any sale. This means that from the start it is critical to building a strong customer service framework and team to minimise the loss of any clients and maximise the longevity of clients or repeat purchases. This all contributes to the sales bottom line. 13. Building a team for your new business. Most new businesses will start with a small team or begin to grow one very quickly. Thus, businesses and entrepreneurs need to learn early on how to effectively recruit and manage their team, while developing a great company culture and themselves as leaders. This section is here to guide you through the initial setup of what will become your business’ human resources department, covering recruitment, management, company culture and self-management. Brilliant recruitment practices are linked to business success. Don’t hire anyone until you absolutely need to. The work and responsibility that come with employing another person is tremendous. When you do get to a stage when you need to recruit, it is important to make sure you take the right approach to finding and employing the best person or people for the role and for your business. Attracting great employees. The start of a recruitment process is about finding and getting the best potential candidates to apply for the position you have open. Companies who want to attract great candidates should: Offer a competitive remuneration package (salary, benefits, share options). Use their company’s vision to inspire a candidate to want to be part of the enterprise. Show career progression possibilities for the candidate. Demonstrate a progressive, diverse and exciting work culture to the candidate. Beyond the basics of attracting great employees, it is often about highlighting how your offer is better than other organisations’ offerings, i.e. if you cannot compete on salary, compete on offering responsibility and progression. Create a strong recruitment process. Once you have attracted a good pool of potential candidates having a strong recruitment process is key to making sure you end up hiring the best candidate. At a minimum, this means having a process with: A clear timeline and stages for candidates. Unambiguous criterion for what you are looking for and how you will be assessing candidates. At least 3 interviews (ideally with different members of your team). A step for checking previous work references and thoroughly vetting candidate claims. A poor recruitment process may leave you with the worst candidate. A strong recruitment process will enable you to work down to the best candidate efficiently. Companies who choose to invest time and resources into the recruitment process will always outperform those who do not! In-house recruitment vs outsourcing. Outsourcing recruitment to an agency and in-house recruitment both have advantages. When it comes to choosing there is no easy answer, the best method depends on your business situation. However, to help here are some the key advantages/disadvantages of each. Outsourcing recruitment A professional agency will find candidates that exactly fit your profile. It eliminates the need for an extensive in-house recruitment team. It can be very expensive (the agency will usually take a fee between 15% and 25% of the candidate’s total first year annual earnings). In-house recruitment It enables you to control and optimise all aspects of the recruitment It’s usually cheaper than hiring an outside agency. It will require the use of an internal team and resources. When it comes to choosing, smaller companies who are profitable will often choose to initially outsource the first steps of the process to attract candidates and then do in-house recruitment and asses the candidates themselves. Creating a management ethos and system. Excellent management is essential for the success of any business. From the very beginning your management team or even just you as an entrepreneur need to create a clear management structure, a positive work environment, and build a company culture that will support the business and its people as you grow. Set management structures. Getting a management structure in place early on is critical to any small business that hopes to grow. This ensures that business’ policies and objectives initiated at the top will be carried out throughout the structure and that there will be accountability for their progress. In practice, this means having clear structures, roles, objectives, roadmaps and responsibilities, tracking employee performance, having team building exercises and feedback sessions, among other areas. Create a positive work environment. Having a productive workforce is inextricably linked to creating a positive and supportive work environment. This means that from day one, managers and CEOs should make creating and maintaining a positive work environment a core company objective. This could mean holding office social events, providing large desk spaces, having clear HR policies and career progression, offering flexible holidays or any other initiatives that employees would value. Build a great company culture. People are the primary resource of any business. Your founding team may work hard, be passionate and close-knit but how do you make sure that culture of excellence and responsibility scales with your business? Very simply, by clearly outlining and documenting your company culture and making sure it is one of the main objectives of your business. Company culture should be considered in the hiring process and each new employee should be introduced to it. It should not be something unspoken but something at the core of the business. Making sure you are compliant with employment law and taxes. Building a great team can be complicated and not just regarding recruitment and management, but also regarding understanding and adhering to your tax and legal responsibilities when hiring. You need to be aware of the legal, tax and pension responsibilities that come with employing people. Knowing employment taxes. When hiring anyone in the UK, you will need to pay several monthly employment taxes on their behalf including national insurance contributions for each employee. These taxes are typically paid via PAYE; this system is the primary mean of collecting employment taxes from UK companies by the government (speak to your accountant if you need to register for PAYE). Understanding employment law. Employment law in the UK is strict and well set up to protect both businesses and employees; there are several key areas all employers should be aware of: You must pay each employee at least the minimum wage. After two years of continuous service, employees are entitled to a redundancy package if they are forced by your organisation to leave their job without cause,e. workplace closure or need to reduce workforce. Females employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and men up to 2 weeks if they have worked longer than 26 weeks for the business. The maximum number of hours anyone can work for an employer in a week is 48 hours, unless they agree to work further and sign a release. Employees are entitled to at least 28 days paid holiday a year (this is prorated for part-timers). You cannot unfairly discriminate by race, gender, disability, or any other factor regarding recruitment, pay, promotion, access to training, or termination. Unfair dismissal applies after two years of continuous employment and companies can be fined by having to provide compensation to employees wrongly terminated. It is important to be aware of employment law and the aspects that affect you as an employer. Providing a pension for employees. As of 2018 the Pensions Regulator has made pensions mandatory for all employees who work in the UK, are aged 22 years or over, and earn at least £10,000 a year. This means that as a small business and employer, you are legally required to provide a pension scheme for all staff that meet the above requirements. Note that to contribute to this payment scheme you can choose a private business pension provider. Managing yourself. As an entrepreneur, one of the difficult things you will often face is managing stress, fatigue, and pressure while balancing work and life. This is common as there is an enormous level of responsibility upon you as an entrepreneur and leader. In this section, we cover how you can mitigate this by creating a support network, engaging in the community and finding mentors to guide you through the perils of entrepreneurship. Build a support network. Whether it is friends, family or colleagues, having a strong support network around you is critical. This system will help to support you and keep you going through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial path, make sure not to neglect this network! Meet the start-up community. Start-up communities and networks in the UK and across the world are prolific and well established. Engaging and becoming part of these communities in your local area is an excellent way to meet other entrepreneurs, share stories and exchange ideas and advice. Find a mentor. Finding an industry relevant mentor is one of the best things you can do when starting any business. If your mentor is knowledgeable in your sector, he or she will be able to provide advice and guidance. It is true what they say, great entrepreneurs learn from other people’s mistakes. 14. Starting a business in your spare time. If like many reading this article you have a full-time job and can’t afford to quit your job to start straight away, have no fear. In this section, you can learn how to start a business and make it successful in your spare time without having to leave your job. One way of reducing the risk of starting up your own business is to hold onto your day job in the early days and work on your business in your spare time at evenings and weekends. It’s an appealing idea because if your business venture fails then you still have your job, and if it succeeds then making the transition to being your own boss will be a lot less risky. In fact, there are now so many people running businesses from home in their spare time at evenings and weekends that there is even a name for them – the 5 to 9 ers. Perfect businesses to start in your spare time. An internet-based business which does not require your constant physical presence for it to function A business that can outsource many of its functions. Husband and wife Brent and Marilena Shaw run their online luggage business Swiss luggage.com in their spare time while both do full-time day jobs. They outsource the packing and posting of orders to a fulfilment company, which takes delivery of their stock and stores it in its warehouse. During the day a call centre handles their customer enquiries. One that allows you to communicate with customers by email rather than by phone, so you are not limited to conventional office hours Don’t start a business that will be in competition with the company you work for, and don’t start one that uses information or data provided by your employer, as you will quickly run into legal issues. Hide your entrepreneurial intentions. Downplay your entrepreneurial intentions in front of your boss. No matter how well you get on, no-one likes to feel that their employee’s attention and focus is elsewhere. Provide information solely on a ‘need to know’ basis and never bring up your business venture in conversation unless you are specifically asked about it. Only work on your business in your spare time. Don’t give your boss any reason to clamp down on your business venture. Be scrupulous about doing your day job competently. Only work on your business in your own time and never use your employer’s resources for your business – don’t take stationery, don’t use the office phone for your business phone calls. Social life on hold. Put your social life on hold, and try to get the support and understanding of your family – you can’t do a full-time job and start a business AND see as much of friends and family as you used to. Maximise the number of hours. Make the most of every hour you have available to you – When Chris Orrell was starting up his company Hotelstayuk.com offering cheap hotel rooms to employees of large firms, he would go down to the car park every lunch hour to make calls to potential clients on his mobile phone. His business now has a turnover of millions. Work on your business every hour. Don’t underestimate how much time you still have available – there are 168 hours in the week, so even allowing for a 40 hour a week full-time job and eight hours sleep a night, that still gives you a potential 88 hours left in which to work on your business. Make sure to get some rest. But don’t sacrifice sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep every night as over tiredness will make you feel ill, run-down, grumpy, short-tempered and lead to poor judgement and bad decisions. Advice from owners of successful spare time entrepreneurs. Janan Leo, is a typical 5-9er. During the day she works as a product development manager for Virgin Trains. As soon as she is finished there, she switches to running Cocorose, which makes folding shoes for women to wear while commuting. She started the company, which she runs from the spare room of her home in north London, in 2008 with £3,000 of savings. She works every evening from 5 pm until at least 11 pm and every weekend and now sells hundreds of pairs of shoes a month in boutiques and through her website. She may never see her boyfriend and barely get any sleep but for Leo, starting a business this way and running it at home has one huge advantage – it has minimised the financial risk. She says: ‘I lie in bed at midnight watching the orders come through on my BlackBerry.’ Steve Emecz, runs his own book company, MX Publishing, in his spare time from home while holding down a demanding full-time job as the business development director for Venda.com, an e-commerce support company. Steve, whose business publishes around 50 titles, including books on Sherlock Holmes and neurolinguistics, says: ‘I process urgent orders in my lunch break and regular ones in the evening. I have an outsourced warehouse that picks the books and ships them — it is all technology-driven and web-based. The authors all have day jobs themselves and so want to talk to me in the evening anyway, and the distributors do everything online. I have my e-mails sent directly to my BlackBerry, and I use Skype a lot.’ 15. A little bit of entrepreneurial inspiration. If at this stage you’re feeling a little overloaded you should be but don’t worry every one of the worlds most successful businesses started from the smallest of to-do lists. to remind you that’s its entirely possible to do here are 10 case studies of extremely successful businesses that came from very humble beginnings. Johnny Cupcakes This business started by selling t-shirts, sweaters, shorts and undergarments in a bakery-themed retail shop. The initial investment was $6,700. The firm is now worth $3.8 Million. The first store opened in 2005 and the founder, Johnny Earle, soon found himself on the list of ‘Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under’ in 2008. Adventure Life Adventure Life offers group tours and vacation packages for its customers. In 2008, it had revenue of $11 Million; the start-up costs, however, were very low. These included $3,000 for brochures, $11,500 for ads in 1999 and £33,500 in 2000. Paragon Space Development Paragon Space, which is now worth £8 million in 2008, started with an initial investment which includes $30,000 for computers and lab equipment, £600 per month for office and lab premises, and $20,000 for yearly travel. Chobani Yogurt The #1 selling yoghurt in the United States was founded in 2005 by Hamdi Ulukaya. However, his ex-wife claims that he stole the recipe and paid $40,000 for it. The founder used a loan of under $1 million to buttress the initial start-up costs. The company is now worth $1.1 billion. Sweet Leaf Tea With its current value of $12 Million, Sweet Leaf Tea was founded in 1998 with a $100,000 initial investment. The company broke even in its third year and reported revenue of £300,000. Tokyo Joe’s Earning revenue of $22 Million per year, Tokyo Joe’s was started off in 1996 with an initial cost of $330,000. Tokyo Joe’s is famous for consistently bringing nutritious and delicious food to customers’ tables. Tarte Cosmetics Tarte Cosmetics offers a wide variety of make-up products including brushes and body products. It was established in 1999 by Maureen Kelly in New York. The start-up cost was $18,000 and now the company grosses $12 million (2008 figures). Edible Arrangements This company changed the way people send gifts. They specialise in fresh fruit arrangements and offer a wide variety of speciality fruit gift items and gift boxes. Tariq Farid founded this company in 1999 with an initial investment of $100,000 and the company is now worth $19.4 million. Facebook Now worth over $200 Billion, Mark Zuckerberg started the world’s biggest social network when he was still in university. According to various reports, the idea was allegedly stolen from twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who eventually sued Mark. ZARA We have saved the best for last: ZARA. It was founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega. The big retail giant opened up several stores across the globe. The founder’s estimated worth is reported to be $65 billion. Now that you have made it to the end, hopefully, you’re well on your way to starting and beginning to build a successful business, good luck! Related topics. Tags: Business ideasBusiness planCompany formationNaming a business Related Posts. Start a business 15 startup ideas that can change your life . Are you happy and satisfied with your work? Your commute is short, the salary is quite big, and colleagues are ... Published by Editorial team 27th July 2021 Start a business Top 100 ways you can make money online . Whether you want to generate a passive income, earn some fast cash or launch a multi million-pound (or dollar) business ... Published by Thea Graves 6th May 2021 Start a business Writing an internal business plan . While all of the reasons for writing a business plan are usually described as external, such as landing investors or ... Published by Thomas Evans 27th July 2021 About. Advertise with us Privacy policy Terms of use Contact us Topics. Finance Insurance Technology Marketing Human resources Legal eCommerce Leadership Procurement Luxury Start a business Advertise with us Contact us Cookie list Home Alpha Join the Entrepreneur Handbook community Notifications error Privacy & cookie policy Terms and conditions of use Thanks for subscribing! Copyright © 2013 - 2022 Entrepreneur Handbook Ltd. All rights reserved. Registered offices at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU, United Kingdom. Finance Insurance Technology Marketing Human resources Legal eCommerce Leadership Procurement Luxury Start a business Advertise with us Privacy policy Terms of use Contact us Copyright © 2013 - 2022 Entrepreneur Handbook Ltd. All rights reserved. Registered offices at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU, United Kingdom.
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                            [body] => Setting up a small business – The complete guide ← Back to Business AdviceBusiness PlanningFinanceStarting Up If you’re thinking of setting up a small business, it’s essential that you know exactly what’s involved.Our seven step guide covers everything you need to consider when launching a start up and running your own business.Launching a new business can be daunting, but nearly half a million new businesses start up in the UK each year, with many operating successfully and profitably.Setting up your new business involves lots of tasks, so it helps to have a working plan of everything you need to do before you start.The seven factors of creating a business. Business idea – Spend time carefully thinking through your business idea to ensure it’s feasibleAssess your situation – Understand what commitments running your business will involveBusiness plan – Create a detailed plan for your business, including how it will generate moneyResearch your business – Research potential customers and competitorsRegister your business – Choose the right business structureSort business finances – Decide if you need external investment or a small business loanGet business advice – Learn where to find business advice and mentoringWhatever the reason for setting up a business – from being your own boss to turning a hobby into a business – here are the steps to follow to give your start up the best chance for success.Step 1. Get your business idea right. Business ideas can be based around brand new products and services, or providing a service or product that’s cheaper or better than competitors. Not every business idea just strikes you out of the blue, so if you’re struggling for a good concept to build your new business around, start by brainstorming lots of ideas. Concentrate on identifying what people want and the issues that they face, then think about ways of solving their problems or satisfying their needs.Virtually all businesses have some form of online presence, so when you think about how to start up your own firm this should be at the forefront of your mind. In 2015 77% of UK Internet users made a purchase online, so you should be thinking about this from the start. Online businesses are easily scalable and can be tested before fully committing yourself. The most popular forms of online company models are stores, advertising, subscription and brokerage.Step 2. Assess your situation. Consider carefully whether you’ve the time and flexibility to start a business. Will starting a business fit in with family and other commitments? Will you run it full time, or part time alongside another job? Answering these questions will help you choose the right type of business for you.Launching and growing a start up takes time, hard work and resilience, so it’s important to be realistic about your situation. If you are running a business part time, for example, you may need to consider employing staff to help you when you’re busy or to take on the less demanding jobs.Perhaps circumstances will mean that you want, or need, to work from home. Businesses that you can run from home include childminding, selling cosmetics, tutoring, selling products and web design.Step 3. Plan your business. Create a detailed plan of the first five years of your business, including your strategy and marketing plan. Planning your business lets you understand business assumptions – how many customers you’ll need, how much you need to charge, and how much the business will grow. Those assumptions can be tested when researching the market to check they hold water.In your business plan, describe the market and your target audience, and outline your competition. Plan your pricing, production costs, marketing and advertising spend so you can roughly predict your profits. Learn more about market research for small businesses.Don’t think of a business plan as a rigid document – markets can change and you’ll need to be flexible – but it’s a good way to keep your business organised and on track. You can predict where you want your business to go and when, or indeed if, you’ll need to expand operations. For example, you may need to hire staff in the future or rent office space.Planning your business is a great way to foresee potential pitfalls. Many start up businesses don’t succeed in the long term, but by creating a detailed plan you will help to ensure the validity of your business and increase your chance of success.You’ll also need a comprehensive business plan if looking for a business loan to finance your start up. Download our free business plan template.Steps to creating an online company:. Come up with a business idea, name and plan: this will involve extensive research to find out what people are searching for, and therefore the likely popularity of your idea. Is it something people are looking for? Is it unique? What are competitors doing?The name should be easy to recall. One way of narrowing down the options is to brainstorm a few ideas, and then see if you can register the domain name at the same time. Try to find something that contains your business name and check that it is available. Aim for .co.uk or.com if possible.Host your business online: Find a reputable web hosting company. You can do this for free, but it might benefit you to use a company such as GoDaddy and pay a small amount per month to help you in the early days. The reason for this is that the host can help you grow and scale upwards if and when you wish to progress to the next level.Create a business website: The key for an SME is not to spend more than necessary. You’ll probably want a website with all the bells and whistles, but that can come later. As long as it looks good and performs basic functions well (i.e. you can take orders), that will suffice for the start. Save your money for marketing and running a good company.Know the regulations: These include The Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations. You can find more detailed information about online selling regulations at Gov.uk.Find out more about setting up an online business.Step 4. Research the market. Research is vital when it comes to understanding your target market, your competitors and your industry. The results of your research will shape your business structure, resources, customer demographics and pricing.Interview your target audience to test if your product or business idea creates interest. It’s best to ask people you don’t know, as a personal connection may prejudice the answers. Focus groups are a good way to get feedback on your product and service: select a small group of people based on certain attributes – for example age, career, gender – that you think matches your target audience. Alternatively, ask potential customers to fill in a survey online or visit potential customers to discover what they would like to see from your product or service.Be sure to research your competitors too; you’re looking for a gap in the market that your business can fill. Go through their ordering service – how did they deal with you, how much did they charge, and how would you improve on their service? Consider how your business can stand out from competitors. For example, if your competitors are well known chains, you may need to offer something different to make your business more appealing.Start up businesses which have researched their idea and market are more likely to succeed as their business model will be more feasible.Step 5. Choose a business structure. Once you’ve decided on your business concept and business name, you’ll need to register your business. There are different business structures you can use – from setting up as a sole trader to registering as a limited company. All have their pros and cons, so it’s worth ensuring that you choose the best structure for your business.Setting up as a sole trader – Most start-ups are registered as sole traders as it’s the easiest and cheapest way to start a new business. You must register with HM Revenue and Customs as soon as possible after starting your business. Find out how to set up and register as a sole trader.Setting up as a partnership – If you plan to work alongside people you know well, for example with your spouse or a relative, you may want to set up as a formal partnership. With this business structure, you share responsibility for your business with your partners and must agree how liability and profits will be shared. A business partnership is unlimited and so is different from a limited liability partnership.Setting up a limited liability partnership – This is essentially a business partnership combined with a limited liability company. This means, like a limited liability company, you’re responsible for business debts only up to the amount you invested in the partnership. Your tax situation is, however, the same as with a business partnership.Setting up as a limited company – A limited company is a private company owned by its shareholders, where you as the owner are responsible for business debts up to the value of your shares. The limited company’s finances are separate from your own, and tax is more efficient for a limited company than for a sole trader. You’ll have to submit full accounts and pay Corporation Tax every year. Profits from a limited company can be drawn as a salary or as dividends and you’ll have to pay income tax on this too.The advantages of forming a limited company include the fact that liabilities such as debts or legal action are limited to the company, meaning that you are protected from going personally bankrupt in the event the business fails. Limited companies can appear more professional, and they’re also easier to sell on should you wish to change direction in life later.Setting up a limited company – the steps:. Choose a name: There are certain restrictions on what you can choose as your name. For example, it cannot be too similar to other company names. Search the Companies House Register to find out more.Choose company officers: All limited companies must have at least one company officer who is responsible for the business at all times. These manage the company in accordance with its articles of association and the law, and ensure annual accounts and annual returns are completed. Larger businesses might also require a company secretary.Register the limited company: You can either do this yourself at Companies House (which takes 24 hours) or use a company formation agent. You’ll need a registered office address and several other registration documents including a memorandum of association which details directors and shareholders’ details. After you’ve registered the company, you’ll be sent a certificate of corporation confirming the company’s existence and you’ll be expected to meet certain requirements such as submitting your company’s annual accounts.Find out how to set up a limited company.Step 6. Assess your finances. Starting a business can be costly so it’s important not to overspend. Aim to keep costs to a minimum and spend only on important things that are likely to result in more sales.Many new businesses require finance when first starting. To apply for a business loan through a bank, you must be a UK resident, plan to start a business and not be bankrupt or in debt. Angel investors are another great way to raise finance, and have helped companies including Google and Yahoo. However, they typically require around 25% return on their investment. Alternatively, you can source from the Start Up Loans Company. You can borrow up to £25,000 as an unsecured loan.Find out the difference between a secured vs unsecured business loan.Step 7. Get help starting a business. Finally, before you take the plunge, seek advice and guidance in starting and running a small business. Business mentors can offer tailored advice suited to the type of business you’re running. There’s plenty of help available, from mentoring networks to government schemes. Schemes such as those from Start Up Loans include free mentoring support, offering a range of advice to successful loan applicants. (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) Feeling Inspired? Register You might also like: Start-up success – how to avoid 8 of the biggest risks for start-ups Overcoming adversity – how Valiant Lingerie transformed post-surgery underwear Innovate or improve – how to develop a successful business idea
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                            [body] => How to start a business in the UK Home Working in the UK Self-Employment How to start a business in the UK Last update on October 01, 2021 Written by Stephen Maunder Share The United Kingdom encourages and promotes entrepreneurship, with millions of self-employed company owners, sole traders, and freelancers. The processes and documentation for how to start a business in the UK aren’t immediately evident to the budding entrepreneur, though. Starting a business in the United Kingdom can be a complex business, especially if you’re from outside of the European Union. This guide offers advice on starting a UK business, including the different types of company structures, tax, administration, and whether you need a visa. It includes advice on the following: Business culture in the United KingdomWho can start a business in the United Kingdom?Legal structures for businesses in the United KingdomHow to start a business in the United Kingdom as an expatHow to obtain a business visa in the United KingdomForeign companies opening up a branch or subsidiary in the United KingdomStarting up a non-profit company in the United KingdomAdministering your business in the United KingdomBusiness banking in the United KingdomTaxation for businesses in the United KingdomBusiness insurance in the United KingdomEmploying staff when starting a business in the United KingdomSupport and advice when starting a business in the United Kingdom 1st Formation. Looking to give your business the kick-start it needs? 1st Formation can help. One of the UK's leading online company formation agents, their team of experts can help with online company incorporation, address services, and more. Choose from their range of efficient company registration packages and give your business the best start in life with 1st Formations. Find out more Business culture in the United Kingdom. The UK has around six million private sector businesses, according to official government data, and this figure is growing. Since 2000, the number of businesses in the UK has increased by 2.4 million. Three-quarters of UK businesses don’t have any employees, meaning they’re owned by self-employed sole-traders or partnerships. Around five million UK residents are registered as self-employed, amounting to 15% of the overall workforce. Data from the Office for National Statistics show the most common sectors for self-employed workers are as follows: construction (920,000), scientific or technical activities (643,000), vehicle sales or repairs (396,000), administration and support services (361,000), and health and social work (349,000). Men are far more likely to be self-employed, with women making up just 33% of the self-employed workforce. People of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin (24%) make up the biggest proportion of self-employed workers, followed by people from Chinese and other Asian backgrounds (16%), and people of white heritage (15%). Find out more in our guide to UK business culture Advertisement Who can start a business in the United Kingdom? As it stands, EU and EEA nationals don’t need special permission to start businesses in the UK, with the exception of residents from Bulgaria and Romania. The UK still negotiating its withdrawal from the EU, however, so these rules could yet change. If you’re from a country outside of the EU or EEA, you may need a visa. Prospective entrepreneurs can receive favorable treatment in the UK’s points-based immigration system, but you’ll need to adhere to several rules to get Tier 1 status. Advertisement Legal structures for businesses in the United Kingdom. There are a variety of different business types in the UK, and you’ll need to choose the option that most closely fits your company’s structure. Sole trader. If you want to work as a self-employed person in the UK or run a business on your own, you can become a sole trader. As a sole trader, you can keep all of your business profits. You must make your own arrangements to pay income tax and National Insurance. You are personally liable for all business debts. Freelancers in the UK are also classed as sole traders. To work as a freelancer in the UK, all you need to do is to register as self-employed and make sure that you pay the right amounts of tax and National Insurance. General partnership. This business type involves two or more individuals (or companies) setting up together, with responsibility shared equally between partners. Profits are also shared equally, with each partner paying tax on their share and jointly liable for debts and losses. This structure is often suitable for small businesses. Limited partnership. These partnerships are similar to general partnerships but have at least one general partner who runs the business and is personally liable for any business debts. The partnership also has at least one limited partner whose input is purely financial and who is only liable up to the amount they’ve contributed. Limited liability partnership (LLP). This partnership agreement involves neither partner being personally liable for debts that the business can’t pay. This partnership requires a written LLP agreement and must register with Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies. Private Limited Company (Ltd). This business type is a separate legal entity from the people that run it. Limited companies are incorporated through registration at Companies House and need at least one director and one shareholder. Shares in the company cannot be traded publicly. Public Limited Company (PLC). PLCs differ from limited companies in that their shares may be traded publicly. You need to have a minimum share capital of £50,000, with at least 25% paid prior to start-up. Unlimited company. This company type isn’t very common in the UK. It involves shareholders having joint unlimited liability for business debts, meaning they can be covered with personal assets in the event of the business assets not meeting debts. Social enterprise. This is a UK business type that exists to invest any profits made to meet charitable, social, or community objectives rather than to distribute among shareholders. Social enterprises are structured similarly to limited companies and include charities, cooperatives, and community interest companies (CIC). Unincorporated association. This is an unregistered, unincorporated form of non-profit organization that can include voluntary groups, small community groups, and sports clubs. Offshore company. An offshore company is registered, established, or incorporated outside of your country of residence. Offshore incorporation is a straightforward process in popular offshore financial centers and tax havens around the world. Offshore structures can provide a wide range of benefits to the company and company principals, but you need to fully research the rules before setting up. How to start a business in the UK as an expat. If you want to become self-employed or start a business in the UK as a foreigner, you’ll need to follow these steps: 1. Check that you can legally start a business. You’ll need to make sure that your immigration status allows you to set up a business. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, this may mean ensuring that you have the necessary visa and residence permit. 2. Write a business plan. UK entrepreneurs need a business plan. This will help you determine whether your business ideas are likely to succeed and be sustainable. You’ll need to research the market and prepare budget forecasts. You can download the business plan and cash flow forecast templates from the UK government website. 3. Decide on your structure. As above, you’ll need to choose the business structure that best represents your enterprise. 4. Choose a business name and address. If you’re a sole trader, you can just use your own name if you want. You’ll need an address for registering your UK business for tax purposes and joining the company register. Only limited companies need to register their name, though others can register as a trademark to stop anyone else from trading under the name. If you’re setting up a limited company, you must appoint directors and a company secretary, work out your shares and shareholders, write your memorandum and articles of association, open a separate bank account, and register for corporation tax. 5. Register with HM Revenue and Customs. You will need to register your UK business with HMRC for tax purposes. Limited Companies need to register with Companies House at the cost of £12 (online) or £40 (by mail). 6. Check any additional rules for your type of business. Depending on the nature of your UK business, there may be additional requirements, such as: Licenses or permits (e.g., for selling food, playing music, or trading in the street)InsuranceRules to follow if you buy or sell goods abroad or store personal information Advertisement How to obtain a business visa in the United Kingdom. You can work as a freelancer, self-employed, or start a business in the UK as long as you have the right to work and live in the UK. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, this may mean having a relevant work visa and biometric residence permit. See our guide to UK visas and residence permits for more information. If you are looking to come and start a business in the UK or pursue a business idea, there are a number of visas you can apply for. Innovator visa. Innovator visas have similar rules to the now-defunct entrepreneur visas. You must have at least £50,000 in investment capital, or have invested this sum already in the previous year. If you haven’t invested the money yourself, it must come from a government-endorsed funding competition, a venture capital fund registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, or a UK government department. You must also adhere to some other rules too, such as demonstrating you are from a majority English-speaking country or have taken an accredited English language examination. Visas cost £1,021 and last for three years. You can extend your visa by a further three years if you meet the criteria. Start-up visa. You can apply for a start-up visa if you have an endorsement from a UK higher education institution or an organization with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. You’ll need to prove your business idea is new, innovative, and with potential for growth. Fees range from £308 to £363. You can stay in the UK for two years with a start-up visa. You can’t extend a start-up visa, but they can switch to an entrepreneur visa upon expiry in some circumstances. Investor visa. If you have £2 million to invest in the UK economy, you can apply for an investor visa. It costs £1,623 to apply and the earliest you can submit an application is three months before you plan to travel. Investor visas allow you to stay in the UK for a maximum of three years and four months. You can extend your visa by a further two years subject to meeting the criteria. Advertisement Foreign companies opening up a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom. Overseas companies that want to operate as a business in the UK or open up a branch or subsidiary in the UK need to register as an overseas company with Companies House. If you have a business in another country and want to open up a branch of the business in the UK, you need to complete form OS IN01 (Registration of an overseas company opening a UK establishment). The registration fee is £20. Starting up a non-profit company in the United Kingdom. Setting up a charity in the UK follows a slightly different process than a for-profit business. There are six steps: Find at least three trustees for your charity.Ensure the business will adhere to the government’s rules on having charitable purposes.Choose a name for your company.Choose a structure from the government’s four recommended charity structures.Create a governing document (rulebook) for your charity, which explains how the company runs to trustees.If you can prove your charity’s annual income will be more than £5,000 a year or classifies as a charitable incorporated organization, you can now formally register as a charity with the Charity Commission. Administering your business in the United Kingdom. All UK businesses must keep a record of their accounts for tax and auditing purposes. Self-employed freelancers don’t need to keep official accounts but do need to keep a record of income and tax-deductible expenses. Business banking in the United Kingdom. Limited companies, social enterprise companies, and registered charities need to have a separate UK business bank account. Partnerships and sole traders aren’t legally required to have separate business accounts, but it is a good idea to do so in order to keep accounting processes simple. To apply, freelancers and sole traders/partnerships usually must provide a passport/ID for all partners, as well as proof of personal and business addresses. Limited companies usually need to provide a Companies House registration number, details of directors, and estimated annual turnover. Most UK banks have a business manager or business-dedicated member of staff, who will usually want to meet you to discuss opening the business account, what your business goals are, and what you expect from the account. You might be encouraged to draw up a business plan or budgeting forecast; this is necessary if you plan to ask the bank for a loan at any point. Taxation for businesses in the United Kingdom. All UK businesses and UK entrepreneurs need to register with HMRC for tax purposes and are responsible for submitting their own tax returns. Self-employed sole traders and those in partnerships pay taxes on business profits. Limited UK companies and foreign companies with UK branches need to register for Corporation Tax. The rate of Corporation Tax is 20% on profits, minus any allowances and relief. UK businesses will also need to register for VAT if their annual turnover is more than £83,000, and may need to pay capital gains tax if business assets are sold at a profit. The UK tax year runs from 6 April. Tax returns must be submitted and any tax owed paid by 31 January following the end of the previous tax year. The government provides an online self-employed tax calculator and information on business tax. If you’re looking for independent, professional advice on financial matters, search online with Unbiased and find the right help for your situation. Find out more in our guide to corporate tax in the UK Business insurance in the United Kingdom . You must ensure that you have the right level of insurance to stay within the law and to protect your business. The main types of business insurance in the UK include: Public liability insurance – compulsory for businesses with a public premises or those carrying out activities publicly. This covers both injury and damage to property caused to third parties.Employers’ liability insurance – compulsory to all businesses with employees, covering any claims made by employees if they are sick or injured due to their work for you.Professional indemnity insurance – also called professional liability insurance. This is only compulsory for certain professions (e.g., solicitor, accountant, private consultant) but is taken out to cover businesses in the event of claims relating to financial or reputational damage.Building insurance – you may need this form of insurance depending on your type of business and type of premises you work from. It provides similar coverage to home building insurance.Contents insurance – this covers business equipment and movable property. It is not compulsory but is recommended for businesses with a large volume or value of movable assets. Employing staff when starting a business in the United Kingdom. If you are starting up a UK business that employs staff, there are a number of things you need to do, including registering as an employer with HMRC and getting employers liability insurance. You can employ foreign staff in your UK business as long as they have the legal right to work in the UK. You can check if someone is eligible to work in the UK by following the steps on the government’s website. When employing staff, you must abide by minimum wage rules and make social security and pension contributions in line with the regulations. You can find out more about employing staff in our guide to UK labor law. Support and advice when starting a business in the United Kingdom. You can get help and support for your UK business from a number of schemes specializing in different areas, including help with finances, taxation, and business planning. UK business start-up costs vary depending on several factors but there are various sources of support in terms of UK business grants and loans. Contact details for government business helplines in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland can be found on the government’s website. The government also provides a list of its current support schemes and UK business grants, as well as information on start-up loans for UK businesses. It is a good idea to get legal advice to help make the process as smooth as possible. The Law Society provides advice on setting up a business and finding a solicitor. Useful resources. UK government website: advice on starting a businessUK Business Support website: information on planning, setting up a business, finances, and moreExpert advice for UK small businessesLaw Society website for legal advice and finding a solicitorZegal: offers automated legal templates for businesses, complete with eSignatures Share Advertisement Related articles. April 7, 2020 Corporate tax in the UK. August 26, 2016 Self-employed and freelance tax in the UK. Advertisement Latest articles. November 4, 2021 Home insurance in the UK: property, contents, and liability. October 5, 2021 Languages in the UK. September 14, 2021 Coronavirus in the UK: where to get COVID-19 information and support. February 18, 2021 A guide to British beer. Directory. Business Coaches Business Consultants Business Lawyers Co-working Spaces Job Agencies Job Search Networking Professional Training Accountants and Tax Preparation Banks Business Schools Continuing Education Financial Advisors Life Coaches Mobile and Online Banks Money Transfers More Next Previous Have a cookie Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on our website – and don’t worry, we respect your privacy. You can of course change your mind and withdraw your consent at any time, by returning to this site after clearing the cookies on your computer or device. 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                            [body] => How to Set-up a Business Today: 7 Simple Steps By Erika Watson on June 15th, 2021 For most UK-based start-ups setting up a business is quick, cheap and easy. In fact it’s just about possible to set-up a business in a day! If you know what line of business you want to start, you’ve been thinking about it for ages, you’ve read the books, done the courses… then maybe now is the time to ‘do’ it? This article is about the practicalities of how to set-up a business. Follow these 7 simple steps and you could be up and running in no time: Step 1. Let HMRC know you’re becoming self-employed. Get the right starter pack for you. You can do this all online, or by phone, and it will get you started as a sole trader (for other legal structures see ‘part two’ below). We’d also recommend completing HMRC’s free online training which will give you straightforward practical advice on record-keeping, filling in and filing your tax return – and what to do if you take someone on. Step 2. Sort out insurance cover. Insurance can protect you and your business against risks including accidents, sickness, theft, and legal fees. The cover you need will depend on the nature of the business and how you run it. The Axa business insurance quote wizard is a good start. It will tell you which insurances you need and which you should consider. Specialist brokers can be great for niche businesses and Trade Associations often arrange big discounts for their members. If you have dependants then make sure you get life insurance in place too. Step 3. Choose a business name. Search Google and Companies House to see if the name you want is available. If you can’t decide, go with your own name for now – eg. Jane Smith Cakes – but don’t invest in printing and brand materials until you’re sure. Buy the website domain name as soon as you’re fixed. Step 4. Set-up a business bank account. You need a business bank account if you set-up a company, as it is a separate legal entity to you. It’s not strictly required if you are a sole trader (though it’s usually recommended)  – but you must keep very clear accounts. Step 5. Get compliant. Make sure that you satisfy all regulatory issues eg. health & safety, licensing, data protection. Gov.uk has some great tools to take you through this. This only takes a few minutes and is straightforward for most start-ups. Step 6. Start accounting for everything. Appoint an accountant or set-up your own simple book-keeping system. As a minimum keep records of all sales and costs.  An online accounting package could save you a lot of time and effort, while keeping your records up-to-date and in great order. Step 7. Sort out your workspace. Your Local Authority/ Council should be able to provide information about business premises and rates in your area. If working from home, make sure you understand: what home business expenses you can claim, including a percentage of household bills planning permission – if you expect regular business visitors or to employ someone who’ll be working from your home, ask your local authority planning department for advice if you rent, check your lease to see that home-working is allowed. If you work online or using a laptop most of the time, you might want to check out co-working opportunities in your area, where you can rent a desk for a few hours or full-time. Co-working can be a great way of overcoming isolation and instilling routine and discipline when you’re starting out. Maybe a little bit of a push, but you could certainly do most and maybe even all of that, in one day. Part Two – Starting a business with firm foundations. So getting formally set up isn’t all that difficult and needn’t take long at all. But, of course, you are much more likely to  successfully set-up a business if you start with firm foundations: Step 8. Get your business image in order. Develop a brand identity that reflects your values and the way you want to be perceived by your target customers. Get a logo designed and use a consistent colour scheme and fonts across all your materials. Set-up a website and order business cards and stationery. Design platforms like Canva now make it quick, easy, and even free to design your own attractive materials and social media images. Step 9. Decide on the best legal structure for your business. For most this is a choice between being a sole trader and a limited company. However, if you are setting up a social enterprise there’s more to consider. Step 10. Write a business plan. A business plan is vital if you need to raise finance. It’s important regardless and should be a living document, regularly reviewed and updated. Your plan should include a marketing and sales strategy and financials. Here is a good Business Plan template to download and a great guide to putting your business plan together. But if the thought of putting together a business plan makes your skin creep, then check out The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. Step 11. Manage your cash flow. Start a cash flow forecast and update it with actual achievements very regularly. A simple spreadsheet is usually adequate. Here is a great free cashflow tutorial and download. Even if you need a bookkeeper or an accountant to do this, do make sure that you personally understand it and review it very regularly. Step 12. Keep costs as low as possible. Until your business model is established and you are making good sales, keep your spending as tight as you possibly can. There’s a lot you can do with very little money. If you do need a loan to get started, check out the government-backed Start-up loans company. Those loans are unsecured, with very reasonable interest rates and you will be supported by an adviser and mentor. Step 13. Get your business kit in order. Beg, borrow and shop around for IT equipment, office furniture, and transport. Step 14. Organise communications. Make sure customers can find you by phone, email, and on relevant social networks. Start with the social networks where your customers hang out. If you don’t know, then ask them! Your brand identity should be consistent across all the social networks, with the same icon and strapline – you want to be instantly recognisable. If you need to do a lot of social media marketing, use a tool like Crowdfire to schedule and manage your social media accounts. Step 15. Get your support in order. Assess your own skills and identify how you’ll fill the gaps. Don’t employ others until you really must. Lots of small businesses start by sub-contracting or collaborating with other freelancers or small businesses. That’s easier than ever using freelancer platforms like fiverr, where you buy slices of help with marketing, design, administration, and much more. Most importantly, make sure you have someone you can talk to regularly about your business. There will be high days and also days when things go wrong and your motivation slumps. So find a good mentor, a business adviser, or others in the same position as you, who you can talk to about the challenges and share the successes that lay ahead. Start now…. Download our set-up your business checklist to work through these steps and start moving forward with your business today.   We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.Ok
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                            [title] => How to start a business in the UK | Tide Business
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                            [description] => Learn how to start a business in the UK by following these 10 detailed steps to help you boost your chances of immediate success and long term growth
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                                    [14] => A business bank account that's free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love
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                                    [6] => Valentine Hutchings
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                                        )

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                                                            Valentine Hutchings                                                            
                                                    . 
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                            [body] => 10 effective steps to start your business in the UK Published: June 3, 2020 | Last Updated: June 4, 2021 Home › Blog › Small business tips › 10 effective steps to start your business in the UK The UK is a booming market for start-ups, with approximately 660,000 new companies registered every year.  But while registering is an important part of getting started, it’s no guarantee of success. Only 40% of businesses make it beyond the three-year mark. Why? Because starting a successful business requires resolute planning and preparation. Before you launch, you need to build a strong foundation that details your idea and unique value proposition (UVP), how you will structure and market your business and how you will set up your business finances.  In this guide, we outline a detailed step-by-step process that teaches you how to start a business from scratch and set yourself up for the best possible chance of achieving immediate and long-term success.  Table of contents. Test your start-up idea Create branding for your business Write a business plan Choose a structure for your business Educate yourself on business laws and regulations Work out costs and source funding Secure a licence or permit Decide where you will work Market your business Find the right business support 1. Test your start-up idea. Your business idea should solve a problem for people, fill a gap in the market and provide long-term value.  To identify whether your idea is viable, start by running SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  SWOT analysis Try to answer the following questions about your business idea: Strengths.What makes your business better than the competition? Do you have a better product? Can you compete on price? Do you have greater expertise or industry experience?  Weaknesses. What might hold you back? Are there things the competition does better? Do you lack in certain areas? Opportunities. Why is now the right time for your idea? What problems do consumers have that you can solve? Are there fewer competitors in this area? Are market trends shifting in your favour?  Threats. What is your business likely to come up against? Are there emerging competitors? Is there a risk of the market changing? Could regulation changes cause problems? You’ll likely know the answers to some of these questions already. Answers to others can be found by carrying out primary and secondary research.  Primary research involves testing your idea on potential customers by undertaking questionnaires, focus groups, interviews and product or service trials to understand: Who will buy your product or service How much people are willing to pay for your product or service What people think of your competitors What potential problems your business faces Secondary research involves looking at existing data, such as: Government data Recent surveys and studies Newspaper reports Recent company data For example, if your idea is to launch a project management software and you have tons of industry experience, your SWOT analysis may look like this: Strengths. Easy to understand, limited functions, does one or two things really well, making it better than the competition in those focused areas. Decades of industry experience meaning the expertise is most likely greater. The idea is to offer premium features for cheaper than our competitor’s charge for their premium plans. Weaknesses. There are already dozens of successful project management software platforms out there with huge followings. That’s why this product hones in on only a few features so that it’s better than the comprehensive offerings out there. But, this means our audience is more niche, which can be both good and bad.  Opportunities. Big opportunity to grab an audience who craves aesthetically simpler, but functionally more complex, project management software. Many existing PM software customers complain that the products are too clunky and try to do too much, therefore failing at doing one thing really well. I believe the market trends are shifting in favour of products that help fill specific needs that broad products can’t truly solve. Threats. We’ll come up against tons of competition that’s constantly enhancing their products. There’s not a big risk of the market changing, but there is a risk that our big competitors could update their products to match our offerings. Still, our industry experience is most likely greater. Regulation won’t change or cause any problems. Completing a comprehensive SWOT analysis will give you a clear picture of where you’re currently at and whether your idea is worth moving forward with.  Don’t be put off by the negative aspects of SWOT analysis. Instead, look at how your weaknesses can be turned into strengths and opportunities. Top Tip: To learn more about why market research is valuable and the various types of market research you can do, read our guide to how to conduct market research for your business idea 🌟 2. Create branding for your business. You’ll know from your market research how competitors are presenting themselves. Use this knowledge to create a brand that stands out.  At this early stage in the process, you need to focus on the two key identifiers: your business name and logo. Other aspects of branding, such as a website and marketing collateral, can come further down the line.  Your business name and logo are the things that bring your idea to life. They’re also the first impression people have of your business, so it’s important to get them right.  Top Tip: To take a deep dive into all aspects of your branding, including how to pick your focus and personality, write your slogan and mission statement and choose the look of your brand, read our 7-step guide to building a brand that customers love 😍 Coming up with a business name. Your business name should be memorable and related to your product or service and values.  When scribbling down ideas, ask yourself: Does the company name create a positive first impression? Is it easy to read and say? Is it easy to understand? Is it offensive in any way, including in other languages?  Is it memorable? Even though business names are short, coming up with the right one is far from trivial. It requires a comprehensive effort and may take some time. Think of it as the foundation of a building—if you rush it, the final structure won’t be stable.  Your business name should be: Original. You want your business to stand out from the crowd. You can certainly glean inspiration from other companies, but avoid coming up with a name that sounds too similar to anything else. Not only will this help your brand thrive, but it will save you from potential copyright or trademark infringement issues down the line.  Focused. Avoid putting tags like “Global” or “Enterprise” directly in your business name. Your customers want to know what makes you unique, niche and special and broad tags like that suggest a fully realised operation. You can always add to or change your name down the line, but for now, start small and stay relevant to your target audience. On the flip side, avoid using location-specific tags which could limit your growth potential. Energetic. Your name should embody your overall vibe. Choose a name that mirrors your industry’s energy levels. Going with the Product Management Software example from above, the industry energy may be viewed as “full of life”, “supportive”, “multi-faceted”, “driven” and “well rounded”. This is apparent in existing PM software tool names, such as Asana, which is a yoga term that represents a sitting meditation pose. And Trello, which was originally named Trellis, representing a tool that supports the growth of trees or plants. Both of those names represent well-grounded, supportive concepts and tie directly into what the product does.  Simple. Think outside of the box, but make sure your name is easily understood and exudes professionalism. You don’t want to create something so out there that customers struggle to spell it or pronounce it. Strive for simple, memorable and catchy.  Seven criteria for a good business name When you have a name in mind, make sure that it isn’t already taken by using our free company name checker🔍 Consider what top-level domain (TLD) you want to use as TLDs serve various purposes. For example, .com is the most popular and gives you a better foundation for global growth, while .co.uk is strictly UK specific. You can also choose .io for tech sites and even something highly specific like .pizza for online pizza stores. You might also want to run it through a domain registrar like GoDaddy or 123 Reg to check that it’s available for a website. If it’s available, snap it up before somebody else does.  Top Tip: To learn more about how to name your business, including the seven most common types of business names and tips on how to refine your list, read our guide to how to find the perfect name for your small business 💯 Creating a business logo. Like your business name, your logo should encompass the five principles of effective logo design and be memorable, simple, timeless, versatile and appropriate. Five Principles of Effective Logo Design Memorable: People should see your logo and instantly pair it with your brand, even if they’re not entirely sure what your brand does. Good examples of memorable logos are McDonald’s and the London Underground.  Simple: A simple logo like Nike’s swoosh or Apple’s apple are instantly recognisable and distinctive because of their simplicity. Follow the KISS Principle of design: Keep It Stupid Simple. Timeless: Your logo should steer clear of trends. As designer David Airey says, “Leave trends to the fashion industry. Trends come and go, and when you’re talking about changing a pair of jeans or buying a new dress, that’s fine, but where your brand identity is concerned, longevity is key. Don’t follow the pack. Stand out.” Versatile: Your logo should work anywhere and everywhere—online and in print—in a range of different sizes Appropriate: The design and colour of your logo should fit with your audience. For example, the LEGO logo works great for kids, but it wouldn’t give the right impression featured on the outside of a law firm office. Use a colour psychology chart to help find the appropriate colours for your logo. Meaning of colours in branding If possible, it’s worth working with a designer on the creation of your logo. There are tons of sites where you can source freelance designers to build your brand assets. The most popular sites are Fiverr, Dribbble, Upwork and LinkedIn Profinder, though there are many more to choose from. If you can’t find the right designer for the right price, sites such as LogoMakr and Canva are simple tools that let you design logos for free.  Any original artwork created by you is automatically copyright protected. However, to secure the rights to your brand name, logo and any slogan you’ve created, you should consider applying to register a trademark through GOV.UK. The benefits of trade mark registration 3. Write a business plan. A business plan is a road map that outlines what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. It serves two purposes: To help you focus on the path your business needs to take to achieve its goals To convince others that your business is a solid bet (this is important if you’re looking to position your business to gain investment). Your business plan should include the following key sections: Business summary. An overview of your business and what you plan to achieve Business idea. A brief description of what you plan to offer, why and who to, along with why your idea will be a success Marketing and sales strategy. Details on your customers, competitors, pricing, distribution and marketing tactics Management structure. Details on your professional credentials, those of your team and people you plan to employ Business operations. Details on business location and premises, production and IT systems Financial projections. Details on cash flow forecasts, accounts and balance sheets. This section should cover income and revenue sources, amount of capital needed, how you plan to repay borrowings and what security you can offer lenders.  Your business plan doesn’t need to be incredibly long but it does need to be comprehensive. The appropriate length will be dictated by how much space you need to prove that you truly understand the market, your execution and financial/funding strategy. It should also include both short- and long-term objectives so that potential stakeholders feel confident that your business will not only succeed in the short-term but thrive over time. Some great resources and templates to help you write your business plan are Start Up Donut, The Prince’s Trust and Start Up Loans. Always keep your business plan updated, adapting the facts and figures to match where you’re at on your business journey. Top Tip: To learn more about what makes up a winning business plan and how to write one that will help you achieve your goals, read our complete guide to writing your company roadmap and business plan 📌 4. Choose a structure for your business. For your business to be official, you need to register with HMRC or an approved formation agent of Companies House, like we are. You can easily register your business with Tide for free and benefit from opening a separate business current account at the same time. Register your company in 4 easy steps A business bank account is key because it separates your business and personal finances, an action that makes you look more professional and helps you keep organised. Registering your business means choosing a legal structure from one of the following options:  Sole trader. A self-employed person who owns and runs their own business individually. Registration is free and you keep all of the business profits after tax. Sole trader is the most common business structure for people who work solo, like hairdressers, photographers and freelancers). Limited Liability Company (LTD). A company with a legal identity, separate from owners and directors, where the company (rather than you), enters into contracts and acquires business debts. This means that money earned belongs to the company and must be withdrawn as a salary and/or dividends and you aren’t required to sell personal assets to pay off debt. Registration is more complicated than setting up as a sole trader and taxation is more in-depth. However, tax can be more efficient and there are greater opportunities for investment. Partnership. Similar to a sole-trader set up but the partnership, as well as the individuals, must be registered for self-assessment. A partnership must dissolve if one partner leaves.   Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Similar to a private limited company in terms of registration and accounting, but responsibility is shared between partners.  Each structure comes with its own set of legal requirements and tax and accounting obligations, and there are pros and cons to each. We’ve covered each structure in-depth, along with the registration process, fees and tax requirements in our guide on how to register a business in the UK. Ready to be your own boss? Register your business with Tide for FREERegistering your business with Tide is incredibly fast, easy and free. You not only get to officially start your company, but you get a free business current account at the same time, which is the best way to ensure you’re keeping your finances in order from day one. Be your own boss and register your company with Tide 🎉 5. Educate yourself on business laws and regulations. According to GOV.UK, 43% of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) cite red tape as a barrier to success.  But it doesn’t have to be.  While there is a lot of red tape to adhere to, the information you need to overcome these obstacles can all be found for free online. GOV.UK’s business section contains detailed information on everything you need to know. Not all of it will be relevant to your business, but a lot of it will be. For example, under the “Set up a business” section on the GOV.UK site, you immediately learn that: “There are also rules you must follow if you: sell goods online, buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad, store or use personal information.” Each point has a subsequent link where you can learn more. If we click on “sell goods online” we see a vast list of information that a seller must provide to a buyer before an order is placed. Understanding this information before you make a sale is crucial, not only to help you succeed but to avoid a fine or more serious punishment. Some of the potential roadblock areas worth educating yourself on include: Business tax. Tax returns, tax compliance, accounting periods, VAT, Corporation tax and reporting changes to your business model. Debt and insolvency. Liquidating a company, County Court Judgements (CCJs), recovering debt, making claims and restoring a dissolved company. Employee expenses and benefits. PAYE, calculating tax, Capital Gains tax, employee loans and reporting expenses. Employment regulations. Wage regulations, health and safety regulations, disciplinary procedures, parental and compassionate leave, and holiday leave. Imports and exports. UK Trade Tariff, classifying imports and exports, shipping goods, duty relief, export agents and the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). Copyright patents and trademarks. How to apply for a patent, defending your intellectual property (IP), using someone else’s IP, registering a trademark and licensing. Data protection. GDPR, responding to data protection requests and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act.  Waste and environmental impact. Environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes, dealing with commercial waste and vehicle fuel and emissions. If you’re unsure about any of the red tape surrounding your business, you can get further advice from government associated resources across the UK and independent business advisors such as the UKBA.  6. Work out costs and source funding. You’ll cover the costs associated with starting and running your business in your business plan. However, it’s worth going a step further and breaking down these costs into categories to see exactly how much you’ll need to spend where. Top Tip: To take a deeper dive into what business startup costs to expect, especially for your first year of business, read our guide to how much it costs to start a business in the UK 🚀 Initial costs and expenses to take into account include: Stock Premises and business rates Licenses and insurance  Marketing materials Stationary Legal and financial advice Tax and National Insurance There are many ways to fund your small business to help cover startup costs and maximise initial growth, including: Bank loan. Business loans from high street banks aren’t as easy to come by as they once were, but several of the major banks do offer unsecured loans of up to £250,000, over 1 to 15 years.  Start Up Loan. The government-backed Start Up Loan is an unsecured personal loan of £500 to £250,000, with a fixed interest rate of 6% per year. The loan can be repaid over 1 to 5 years and there is no application fee or early repayment fee. If your application is successful, you’ll also get up to 12 months of free mentoring.   Start-up grant. There are several government- and EU-backed initiatives offering business grants including British Small Business Grants, InnovateUK and Horizon2020. Grants are issued on a case-by-case basis and there’s no guarantee you’ll be eligible or get the full amount you need. But if you are successful, money doesn’t have to be paid back. Like the Start Up Loan, grants often come with business support.  Angel investment. Angel investors are investors who give new business owners capital in exchange for equity. They tend to be successful entrepreneurs who can lend their experience to help you get ahead in the market. However, their investment means they become a stakeholder and you’ll need to hand over some control to them. The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the best place to find information on angel investors and investments.  Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way of financing a new business. Around 5.5bn USD is raised globally from crowdfunding every year and by 2025, the global market is predicted to be worth 28.8bn USD. It involves a large number of people pooling small amounts of capital to finance a business venture. If you’re launching an innovative new product, platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are designed to help you capture public attention and secure investment. But there’s the traditional way of crowdfunding too—asking friends and family to invest in return for equity or a reward. The best part is, you don’t have to give up any of your equity, though you do still have to deliver rewards to your backers. As a word of caution, protect your business idea with a patent, copyright or trademark in case somebody tries to steal or copy it. Top Tip: If you haven’t got access to any funding or capital, read our guide on how to start a business without capital. Alternatively, if you’re seeking investment and want some advice on how to get started, read our guide to 7 ways to raise venture capital for your startup 🌟 7. Secure a licence or permit. To operate legally in the UK, you may need to obtain a licence or permit. This will certainly be the case if your business falls under any of the following categories: Alcohol or tobacco retail Food preparation Food retail Restaurants Taxiing Sports coaching Child care Farming Import and export Manufacturing Hairdressing Hospitality Waste management The first step is to find out what kind of licence you need. You can do this using GOV.UK’s Licence Finder. This tool will also help you find the correct point of contact within your local authority.  The cost of your licence will depend on the type you’re applying for and any additional fees. For example, a licence to sell alcohol is subject to an application fee based on the rateable value of your premises.The rateable value of your premises is decided by the Valuation Office Agency and is based on your annual market rent, size and usage. You may also need to show an accredited qualification to be granted a licence or permit. For example, an alcohol licensing qualification is required to sell alcohol in the UK. 8. Decide where you will work. Business premises are a big expense, so think about starting out by working from home if at all possible. This can help you save on commercial rent and business rates. You’ll also be able to include a percentage of household costs such as electricity, heating, lighting, broadband and council tax on your tax return.  Top Tip: Preparing for and filing taxes accurately is a big part of starting your own business. To learn more about how to ensure you’re doing everything above the board, read our complete guide to small business tax ✅ If you plan on using your property to advertise your business or are selling goods from home, you should contact your mortgage provider or landlord and local council to seek permission first. If you can’t work from home, you may be able to keep costs down by using a co-workspace or shared business hub. This involves renting a desk or small office space within a larger building at a reasonable price. Many local authorities offer dedicated low-cost space for start-up businesses, with low fees and short-term contracts.  Visit your local council’s website to see where space is available. Or, search a coworking marketplace like Coworker.com to find a coworking space near you. Choosing commercial premises. If you need to rent a commercial property, there are a few things to consider:  Cost. How will rent, business rates and utility bills impact your costs? Location. Is the premises easy to get to for customers and employees? Flexibility. Can the property grow with your business? Terms. Does the lease fit in with your plans? Are short-term and long-term leases offered? Is there an option to extend your lease? Can you bring your lease to an early end if you need to? Repairs. Is property maintenance the landlord’s responsibility or yours?  COVID-19 has halted work on physical premises for now, but it won’t last forever. It’s still worthwhile to do the research necessary to ensure you rent the best commercial property for your business. If you can, launch from home and move to your new property when possible.  Insuring your business. To ensure a safe and covered working environment, you’ll need business insurance. The type of insurance policy you’ll need depends on your business operations, but it’s likely you’ll require one or more of the following: Contents insurance. Covering all stock and materials in the event of damage, theft, fire or natural disaster. This is required even if you work from home and have home contents insurance.  Commercial property insurance. Covering your business premises in the event of damage, theft, fire or natural disaster. Professional indemnity insurance. Protecting you from claims made by unhappy clients. For example, if a client pays you for a service and they’re not happy with that service, they can be reimbursed through your insurance, rather than out of your own pocket.  Public liability insurance. Protecting you against claims from members of the public who have been injured or suffered property damage due to carelessness.  Employers’ liability insurance. The same as public liability insurance, but for employees. Vehicle insurance. Covering any vehicles used for business purposes. 9. Market your business. Everything to this point has involved putting the foundations in place to set yourself up for the highest chance of success. Now, it’s time to get your brand out there and draw customers to you. If you already have a following from generating pre-launch content, that’s great. It’s always a good idea to validate your UVP before you spend a dime on building or servicing it. That way, you know your target audience is interested in what you have to offer and will buy it once you launch. If you don’t have a following yet, that’s perfectly OK. Now is the time to build one.   There are all kinds of different ways to market your business: telling friends and family, attending networking events, advertising your product or service in the local press and/or online, and many more. The most likely place to see consistent results is through digital marketing. This is where marketing leaders will spend 75% of their total marketing budget by 2021. Get a website. A website is a must. Even if they plan to buy in-store, 87% of shoppers begin product searches on digital channels. Your website is your online shopfront and the place to send customers to find out more about you and your products or services.  A website doesn’t have to be big or flashy, but it does have to make a good first impression and provide visitors with the information they seek. It takes just 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion about your website, so a clean, fast-loading site is important. Especially as, according to a report by Forrester, a well-designed interface and smooth UX design can boost conversion rates by 200% and 400%, respectively.  There are eight guidelines that every website should follow: Simplicity. A website should make it easy for users to find and do what they want to do. Visual hierarchy. Website elements should be organised so that visitors see your most important messages first. Navigability. Moving from point A to point B should be pain-free. Consistency. The overall look of a website should be consistent across all pages. Accessibility. A website should work seamlessly on all devices and operating systems. Conventionality. The design should stick to what users are familiar with (e.g. navigation at the top or left side of the page, logo in the top left or centre of a page). Credibility. Information should be upfront and transparent. User-centricity. Feedback should be gathered from users to tweak and improve performance. If you can, it’s a good idea to work with a web designer to create a website that meets these guidelines. There are plenty of freelance sites where you can find and hire developers to help build your site. Sites like Toptal, Hired, GetACoder, StackOverflow are all developer-specific freelance sites. Alternatively, hire a family member or friend who has developer experience and is willing to help you out. If you struggle to find a budget-friendly developer, platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace and Wix let you use templates to build user-friendly websites from scratch without design experience and without breaking the bank. Develop a digital marketing strategy . A digital marketing strategy is a plan designed to win customers by taking into account business objectives, SWOT analysis, target audience and brand position.  Four steps to support your digital marketing plan This plan can then be used across the five main marketing channels—social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), paid media and email marketing—to take customers on a journey from noticing your brand to purchasing to recommending you to others.  You can learn how to create and implement your marketing plan in our beginners guide to digital marketing strategy.  Top Tip: To learn all about how to attract your target audience and boost engagement with your brand, read our guide to how to create a complete digital marketing strategy for small businesses 🔥 To help you get new customers and build your business without spending a penny, we’ve also developed a free small business guide to marketing on a budget. 10. Find the right business support. While running a business is exhilarating, the day-to-day can certainly be taxing.  According to a small business survey carried out by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 34% of business owners say they sought out advice and information related to the daily running of the business. And 40% of business owners seek strategic advice to help with growth.  Getting the right help can be vital in overcoming challenges and avoiding potentially costly mistakes. Fortunately, professional advice and business support is plentiful and, in most cases, free. Our small business tips resource contains a wealth of information on how to grow a successful business, covering everything from finance to HR to mental health.  GOV.UK has a Business Support Helpline providing free advice. Its website also gives details on government-backed schemes across the UK. Business Gateway is a publicly funded service providing free support to business owners in Scotland. Business Wales and Invest Northern Ireland provide similar services for businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland. Across England, there are 38 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) led local Growth Hubs offering business support and guidance. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) offers not-for-profit small business advice, financial expertise and support to all small business owners. Mentorsme puts business owners in touch with free and paid mentors who can help you grow by sharing their expertise, experience and contacts. And their influence can be huge. According to a study by Kabbage, 92% of small business owners say mentors have a major impact on growth.  If you’ve never handled business accounts before, you might also want to call on the services of an accountant.  An accountant can help with everything from tax returns to penalties to ensure you’re compliant with HMRC and Companies House. To help you find an accountant that meets your needs, check out our post on how to choose an accountant for your small business. Top Tip: To help you find an accountant that meets your needs, check out our post on how to choose an accountant for your small business 📌 Wrapping up. Let’s recap the steps you need to take to build a successful business from scratch: Business idea: Spend time analysing your idea to ensure it’s viable Branding: Come up with a name and logo that are memorable, appropriate and timeless Business plan: Create a detailed plan that covers your idea, finances and structure Structure: Choose a legal structure that suits your business set-up Red tape: Learn about the laws and regulations that are relevant to your business Funding: Calculate your start-up costs and decide whether you need a loan or investment Licence or permit: Find out if you require a licence or permit to operate Location: Decide on the best place to work for your business and its customers or clients Marketing: Get a website and create a digital marketing strategy to market your business online Support: Find advice and mentorship to help your business grow   Starting a business from scratch requires you to be methodical in your approach. With each step in this post, we’ve posed questions and provided links to additional resources. Take your time to study them. Do your research and use the support available to guide you on your journey.  Ready to get started? Register your business with Tide for FREERegistering your business with Tide is incredibly fast, easy and free. We’ll pay the £12 incorporation fee on your behalf. What’s more, you’ll get a free business current account at the same time, which is the best way to ensure you’re keeping your finances in order from day one. Be your own boss and start your company today 🚀 Read more from our business startup series:. Starting Up 1.1 How to start a business in the UK: 10 steps to build from scratch1.2 How to find the perfect name for your small business1.3 How to register a business? A simple guide1.4 How to start a business without capital1.5 10 ways to fund your business1.6 How to create a business plan: 9 things to consider when starting Business Ideas 2.1 15 business ideas you can get started with today2.2 How to start a business online Business Funding 3.1 How much does it cost to start a business in the UK?3.2 How to raise capital for your business: Everything you need to know Business Mindset 4.1 How to make your first year in business a success4.2 How to combat loneliness when becoming a solo-founder4.3 How to employ someone: hiring your first employees Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com, published on Unsplash Valentine Hutchings . Head of Community and small business enthusiast Tide Team Linkedin Join our community of entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners. Tide is here to help small business owners and sole traders save time and money. Take a look at our Business Bank Account and get time back to focus on your business. You might also be interested in:. Pros and cons: 10 ways to fund your small business. July 14, 2020 Read more > How much does it cost to start a business in the UK? June 19, 2020 Read more > 15 business ideas you can get started with today. November 4, 2020 Read more > A business bank account that's free, easy to open, and helps you start doing what you love. Tide is about doing what you love. That’s why we’re trusted by 350,000+ UK businesses. Open an account 4.7, 27k 4.6, 3.7k × Get useful stuff in your inbox.
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                            [body] => How to start a business or become self-employed More than 5 million people are self-employed in the UK. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, you need to think about your business structure, budgeting and paying your own tax.  What’s in this guide. What to think about when starting a business or becoming self-employed What help is available if you become self-employed Different kinds of self-employed businesses Thinking of buying a franchise? What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed Find out more What to think about when starting a business or becoming self-employed . Working for yourself can be very rewarding. It means you can: do something that interests you, or that you’re passionate about choose your own hours work around other commitments, such as your children have more control over your income. But there are also some downsides, including: working long hours and at weekends dealing with an irregular income having to do your own bookkeeping and tax return limited or no access to employment benefits, such as paid leave. For anyone looking to start a new business in the UK, HMRC have created an easy-to-use interactive guide Find out more about setting up your own business and becoming self-employed on the GOV.UK website Back to top What help is available if you become self-employed . Fortunately, when it comes to self-employment, there’s plenty of help and advice out there. Government-backed advice services around the UK will help you with everything from creating a business plan and researching the market, to finding finance and recruiting staff. So, depending on where you live, they should be your first port of call. England – GOV.UK Wales – Business Wales Scotland – Business Gateway Northern Ireland – Invest Northern Ireland Back to top Different kinds of self-employed businesses . Are you thinking about starting your own business or becoming self-employed? Then one of the first things you’ll need to think about is your business structure. Sole trader . This is the simplest business structure. You’ll run your own business as an individual and keep any after-tax profits. However, your personal and business assets aren’t considered separate. This means you’re personally responsible for debts associated with the business. You can reduce this problem through insurance, or by choosing one of the other business structures mentioned below. But don’t be put off by the idea of being a business. A sole trader is just that – one person, you, working for themselves. You don’t need to be a shop owner. You could be a taxi driver or hairdresser. Becoming a business is just the official term. To become a sole trader, all you need to do is register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Find out more about setting up as a sole trader on the GOV.UK website Partnership . A partnership is when you go into business with one or more other people and have shared responsibility for the business. It’s important you draw up a partnership agreement, so everyone involved knows how the profits are split up. Business debts are dealt with under what’s known as Joint and Several Liability. This means all members of the partnership are responsible for the debts. This is either in full, or individually, depending on how much they can afford to repay. All partners will need to submit a Self Assessment tax return for their own share of the profits. And a nominated partner will have to submit a partnership Self Assessment for the business. Find out more about setting up a partnership on the GOV.UK website Private limited company (Ltd) . A private limited company (Ltd, is its own legal entity and is completely separate from the people owning and running it. It will need to be registered (or incorporated) with Companies House, and must have a suitable name and address. The company will have a director (usually the person who started the business) who is legally responsible for running the company. And at least one shareholder (also known as a member). A Ltd company will have to pay Corporation Tax on any profits. And the after-tax profits are divided up among the shareholders. The company will need to submit its annual accounts to Companies House and a tax return to HMRC. The director will also need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return. But they’ll only pay tax on the money they earned by running the business, not the profits. Find out more about setting up a private limited company on the GOV.UK website While these are the easiest to set-up and understand, there are some other options. Limited partnership . A limited partnership must have at least one general partner and one limited partner. The general partner is responsible for running the business and the partnerships’ debts. The limited partner is only liable for the amount they originally invested in the business. Find out more about limited partnerships on the GOV.UK website Limited liability partnerships (LLP) . LLPs are a hybrid of a partnership and a limited company. Like a partnership, it can be set up by two or more people. But like a Ltd company it must: be incorporated with Companies House have a suitable name and address Be legally separate from the individuals running it. It must also have at least two shareholders (or members) – and each shareholder pays tax on their share of the profits. Partners’ liability for the business debts are limited to the amount of money they invested. Find out more about limited liability partnerships on the GOV.UK website Back to top Thinking of buying a franchise? . Are you interested in becoming self-employed or starting your own business, but don’t want to start from scratch? Then a franchise might be worth considering. A franchise is where you buy a licence from a business owner to use an existing business idea and brand name. Some well-known franchises include American fast food chains McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. But there are thousands of other franchise opportunities available, from global names to local organisations. The start-up costs can be quite high. But you will be buying into an established brand and the deal should include: training and guidance on setting-up, and running and growing your franchise. But be aware of scams. Check the brand is established, and that the franchiser is marketing the brand actively. To find out more about franchising visit the British Franchise Association’s website   In Northern Ireland, there’s more about buying a franchise on the NI Business Info website Back to top What you need to do when starting a business and becoming self-employed . When you’re thinking about becoming self-employed or setting up a business, there are a lot of things you need to consider This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does cover some of the major areas you’ll need to think about. Find out more about setting-up your own business on the GOV.UK website Make a budget . First, and possibly most importantly, you need to make a budget. You need to think about all the costs involved to get your business off the ground and operational. These might include: renting business premises or shop front, and costs associated with it – including electricity and internet access buying or hiring vehicle(s), and the cost of fuel and maintenance equipment including tools, computers and phones setting up and hosting a website advertising and marketing materials staff. Obviously, you might not need all these: Many profitable businesses don’t need physical premises You might already have a lot of the equipment you need Staff might not be necessary until the business is more established. However, you’ll also need to think about your personal costs, such as rent, mortgage, utility bills, childcare and food. You’ll then need to think about how much of your own money you can afford to invest. This will help you find out if you will need to look for investment or a business loan. You might be able to apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan of £500 to £25,000 to start business. Find out more on the GOV.UK website See our guide How to budget for an irregular income Business plan . There are two main reasons for writing a business plan: For business reasons – so you can set out your objectives, develop ideas and plan for the short and medium term. To present to people outside your business – usually to banks or potential investors if you’re looking to raise money. Regardless of who you’re presenting it to, it’s important to be realistic and honest about your costs and earning potential. If it will be seen by people outside your business, so make sure: it looks professional         it’s well structured It contains all the information people would expect to see. Find out more about business planning, including how to write a business plan, on the GOV.UK website Paying taxes . Budgeting for your Self Assessment Tax Bill. If you’re thinking of setting up your own business, you’ll also need to register for Self Assessment to pay your own taxes. You pay tax and National Insurance on your self-employed earnings in arrears. This means any tax you owe on money earned in the 2020/21 tax year is not due until January 2022. This means you’ll need to plan how you’ll pay what could be a substantial bill. The good news is, you’ll have a good idea about how much tax you owe at the end of the previous tax year. This gives you nine months to prepare. Find out more in our guides: How to fill in a Self Assessment tax return Tax and National Insurance when you're self-employed If you’re setting up a private limited company (Ltd) or limited liability partnership, you’ll also need to pay Corporation Tax on your profits. Find out more about registering for, and paying, Corporation Tax on the GOV.UK website Registering for VAT . Did you know? If you have a turnover of more than £85,000, you’ll need to keep digital tax records and submit VAT returns using HMRC’s Making Tax Digital system.  Find out more on the GOV.UK website If your business has a taxable turnover of £85,000 or more, you will need to register for VAT. But some businesses might benefit from registering, even with a turnover below this. If you’re VAT registered, you’ll need to charge VAT on the goods and services you supply.  However, you can claim back VAT you pay for goods or services relating to your business. Find out more about VAT registration on the GOV.UK website Recordkeeping . Did you know? If your combined annual turnover is less than £150,000 a year, you can use a simplified version of expenses called cash basis. Cash basis is a way to work out your income and expenses for your Self Assessment tax return, if you’re a sole trader or partner. If you’ve never been self-employed before, you’ll need to get to grips with record keeping quickly. You’ll need to keep track of what you’re charging customers for your goods and services, as well as any business-related expenses. Acceptable records include receipts, bank statements, invoices and till rolls. You won’t need to send your records when you submit a tax return. But you will need to keep them for five years after the relevant tax return submission deadline. For example, for your 2018/19 tax return, you’ll need to keep your records until 31 January 2024. Find out more about keeping records when you’re self-employed on the GOV.UK website   Find out more about acceptable expenses when you’re self-employed on the GOV.UK website Traditional accounting vs cash basis . Do you have a combined annual turnover of less than £150,000 and are a sole trader or in a partnership? Then you can use cash basis accounting, rather than traditional accounting. With traditional accounting, you pay tax and claim expenses based on the invoice or billing date. If you choose to use cash basis accounting, you pay tax and claim expenses based on when the money leaves or enters your account. Why would this matter? Well, if you’re getting paid for work on a monthly basis, there’s probably very little difference. But, if you agree to and invoice someone for work several months before you get paid, it can change the year you pay tax on that income. For example, if you use traditional accounting and invoice someone in March 2020, but don’t get paid until July 2020. You have to declare this income on your 2019/20 tax return and pay the tax on it by January 2021. If you use cash basis, you would have to declare this income in the tax year you got paid, which is 2020/21. This means you wouldn’t pay tax on this until January 2022. However, there are some downsides to cash basis accounting. For example, you can’t offset losses against your taxable income, or claim for more than £500 in interest costs. So you might want to get advice about what’s best for you and your business. Find out more about cash basis accounting on the GOV.UK website Do you need an accountant? . This is a difficult question, and there is no definitive answer. If your business is new and you have a simple financial situation, you might want to see if you can manage by yourself, at least in the short term. However, hiring an accountant can be a good thing as most can provide advice on tax planning and offsetting expenses against income. It also doesn’t need to be expensive. If you’re looking at hiring an account, make sure they’re a member of a relevant trade body, such as: Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Accountants might also be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, some accountants are exempt and don’t need to be authorised by the FCA when engaged in some regulated activities. Find out more on the FCA website Do I need a business bank account? . If you’re a sole trader or in a partnership, you don’t need to have a business bank account. But, you might find it useful to keep your business and personal finances separate, particularly if you’re in a partnership. If you’re running a limited company, you do need to have a business bank account. Like personal accounts, business bank accounts have many different features. You can compare different business bank accounts at: MoneySuperMarket GoCompare Business Comparison Bookkeeping software . If you want some help with your record and bookkeeping, you might want to look at some of the commercial software suppliers. Some suppliers are able to submit parts of your tax return automatically. These are listed on the HMRC section of the GOV.UK website Personal and business insurance . If you’re running your own business, it’s important to make sure you’re insured. You’ll need some kind of business cover, such as public liability and equipment insurance. But there’s a wide range of products available. Find out in our guide Business insurance when you’re self employed As you no longer have an employer to rely on for sickness cover or health insurance, you might also want to consider a personal insurance policy. Find out in our guide Personal insurance when you’re self-employed Benefits and self-employment . If you’re self-employed and on a low income, you might be able to claim benefits, including Universal Credit. Find out more in our guides: Universal Credit explained Universal Credit if you’re self-employed Back to top Find out more . If you’ve been out of work and on benefits for at least six months, you might qualify for financial help and a business mentor. Find out more about the New Enterprise Allowance on the GOV.UK website   Find out about practical and financial support for young people (up to age 30) on the Prince’s Trust website Back to top Was this information useful? Yes No Thank you for your feedback. We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing. Share this article Email Facebook Twitter More options Share this with WhatsApp LinkedIn Copy this link Copy Close Copy this link Copy Close Explore this topic Close Self-employment Being self-employed How to start a business or become self-employed Business insurance when you’re self employed How to fill in a Self Assessment tax return Personal insurance when self-employed Tax and National Insurance when you’re self-employed Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. 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                                    [16] => You are Ready
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                                    [18] => Make sure there are demand and the market for your product.
                                    [19] => Plan for success
                                    [20] => Procrastination is the enemy.
                                    [21] => Don’t go down with your mistakes.
                                    [22] => 1 Comment
                                    [23] => Leave a Comment Cancel reply
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                            [body] => How to Start a Business in the UK? By:   Jibran Qureshi Startup Blog Comments:   1 Comment We have collaboratively worked with expert start-up accountants, formation specialists, and our service partners to curate an exceptionally valuable guide, which provides secrets from industry experts to starting a successful business in the UK versus a business that will potentially fail. Before you jump to the part where we show you the tricks to selecting the most optimal business structure, the various types of business models you can use, and the strategy on how to start a company in the UK with the least risk, even when targeting risky and new trending start-up ideas, you should first understand what the term business actually means. Meaning of Business. In practical terms, a small business is an entity that deals in an exchange of goods or services in return for an economic benefit, mostly money. All Businesses in the world engage in trading activity for the sole purpose of earning a profit. To start a small business, one can either pursue a start-up home business or one can sell their products or services from office premises. A business can be classed into a small business, medium business, or a large business, which in its easiest form can be classed as per The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) approved new regulations. The ‘new regulations’ known as the Companies, Partnership, and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2015 revised the existing definition for companies, and now gov.uk defines companies into three classifications. These classifications are small, medium, and large size companies; the small one includes a subcategory called micro-entity. Each business start-up can be classified into one of three company sizes; micro, small, or medium that may later expand into a large size company. A majority of people still fail to understand the key difference between a start-up and a small business venture, which can create issues later on in the process, the differences might be more prominent than what you think. Number of Businesses in the UK. As per data released by the UK Parliament, there were 5.7 million private sector businesses in the UK in 2018. In 2017, there were 27,000 more private sector businesses than there were in 2018. The data showed that the UK  experienced its first year on year fall when it comes to the number of businesses since they began recording the current series of data in 2000. Some of these small businesses had unique and innovative start-up ideas   2018 had 2.2 million more businesses than in the year 2000, which is 63 per cent more. When you look at the data, you will notice that the proportion of businesses with employees has fallen from close to a third in 2000 to around a quarter. The rise of self-employment has led to a decline in the proportion of employers to employees. Resources. Business Plan Template. Startup Checklist. Marketing Plan Template. What are the various types of Businesses? When it comes to a small business, there are various kinds of businesses. Having an understanding of the types of businesses can make it much easier for a business owner to succeed in setting and growing their business idea successfully. Most business owners have no idea on how to start a small business because of insufficient knowledge about the types of businesses. Having a thorough understanding of the types can help in terms of choosing the most suitable structure for the business, designing a strong foundation which complements the nature of product or service being offered. This guide to starting a business in the UK is a step by step guide which will help you to start and grow your entity during your business journey as an entrepreneur or a newly self-employed individual. Let’s take a look at the three major types of businesses: service, merchandising, and manufacturing. Service Business. As the name suggests, the service business provides services to potential customers. Services are also known as intangible products or products which do not possess a physical form. The strategic processes of the services business are different from what other types of small businesses may observe. Examples of service businesses include salons, schools, banks, law firms, accountants, and so on. Merchandising Business . Merchandising business buys products from wholesalers at wholesale prices. They then resell these products at retail prices. Simply put, they profit by selling products at higher prices than the purchase costs. Examples of merchandising businesses include grocery stores, convenience stores, distributors, and so on.  Small businesses that have been a traditional brick and mortar business are adapting to selling online to remain relevant or to grow their business faster. Manufacturing Business . Manufacturing business buys products to use as materials to manufacture a new product. These new businesses deal with the transformation of purchased products. Raw material, labour, and factory overheads are combined with a manufacturing business to produce a new product. Goods manufactured in this way are then sold to customers. The fourth type of business exists, which is known as a Hybrid Business. Hybrid Businesses refer to the kind of business that can be classified into more than a single type of business. However, when push comes to shove, hybrid businesses are classified into one of the three kinds of businesses based on their main business interest. How to set up a business in the UK: (Step by Step guide). The trend to be self-employed is increasing day by day in the UK. Young individuals are opting to start selling their products or services by setting up a business in the global business markets. No matter what you are trying to sell a product or service, you must follow these steps for a great startup. Step by Step: how to start a business in the UK? Assess Business Idea Conduct Market Research Write a Business Plan Choose a Business Structure Marketing Strategy Choose A Business Name Choose a Business Location Budget Feasibility Study Consult an Advisor Identify sources of Finances Business continuity strategy Business Exit strategy Assess yourself and your Business Idea. If you are considering setting up a new business as your only income source, then you most likely have a business idea to work on. Your idea might be something that already has an existing business model around it, or you might be creating a business idea that is unique in nature. Regardless of its nature, the business idea you have must thoroughly be analysed and assessed to counter any unforeseen circumstances in future.  If your business idea is already something that others are doing, then you must analyse it based on the market of the industry and the competitors to learn their way of working and how you can make it better than them. If your assessment shows that your product or service is way better than the product or service being delivered in the market in terms of speed, quality, and X factor then you have got a solid idea to work on. Are you ready to start a business? In most cases, starting your own business in the UK can cost you more than you have budgeted for. It may require a lot of planning from your side to set up a business in the UK successfully. You’ll also need to consider where your major strengths and weaknesses are, as these areas might require some additional outlays for bought-in expertise. Our business idea validation checklist below can be a good starting point for anyone who is new to this. Beyond this basic understanding, if you are starting a business, you need to be passionate about the venture you are embarking upon if it is going to be successful. It seems trite to say, but passion is perhaps the key ingredient to enable a new business to succeed. It can drive you on through the energy-sapping process of taking something from inception and into fruition, growth, and flourishing. Once you have confirmed the reliability of the idea, you may now move on to the next step that is to conduct target market research for the product or service you want to provide. Conduct Market Research. Before you write your business plan, you must work on the potential customers for your product or service and for that you must conduct market research. It is imperative to analyse consumer behaviour and economic trends of the industry.  To analyse the consumer behaviour gives you an insight into what potential customers need to get by buying the products and services the industry is offering. You can rely on the existing information of the industry. However, it might not work in your favour as your products and services may be different from what others are offering in the industry. Therefore, you can conduct your own market research through talking to target customers, conducting a survey, or through interviewing focus groups. You must also do a competitive analysis to assess the space in the industry to get your business running smoothly. Thorough market research before you start a new business can reduce the risks and improve your business idea for you to move to the next step that is to create the business plan. Write a Business Plan. A great business plan is a strategic representation of what and how of your new business idea. It outlines the key objectives of what business owners want to achieve with the start of the new business. It covers financial, marketing, and operational aspects to keep your business stronger than anyone else in the industry. This plan is what you can use to onboard stakeholders, angel investors, and partners. It is crucial to create a business plan that can answer a few of the important questions like What your business structure would be? Who is going to finance your small business idea? Who are your potential customers, and how will you market your product or services to them? You will want to make a  plan that can guide you through each stage and phase of your business. You may want to read the guide on how to write a business plan curated by our expert Accountants in London. Choosing the right Business Structure. One of the most important factors in a business plan before starting a business is to decide on the most optimal legal structure of the company. Deciding on the right legal structure from the very beginning will determine how you pay your taxes and the digital reporting of these taxes, which is crucial if you do not want to face any legal penalties.  It is always suggested to take professional business advice. As these factors play an important role in how you make profits and how your business advances. It can also help you decide what kind of relief you can offer your investors to enable them to save money and to convince them to invest in your business. The four main types of business structures in the UK come with their own set of rules for taxation and liabilities. Sole Traders One of the simplest ways to start a business in the UK is to establish yourself as a sole trader. You will need guidance on how to register for Self-Assessment with HM Revenue & Customs. Along with that, you will need to file a tax return every year (after an initial grace period of one year). It would be better to seek professional tax help if you want to file your tax returns smoothly and hassle-free.  You will get a tax id when you register your business or yourself with HMRC self-assessment program to state tax returns,  annual accounts, and national insurance contributions. This legal structure may not need to register your business, but the business owner must have a tax id and must be registered with HMRC to be a sole trader. Liabilities of Sole Traders As a sole trader, you will take responsibility for any debts that your business may accrue. This business structure might not be the right option for riskier or larger scale ventures as it might not be the most tax-efficient structure. It might not limit your liability, but it can be the quickest and least demanding from a compliance perspective. Sole traders also need to make sure to keep detailed records of annual accounts to save yourself time when it comes to filing your tax return or national insurance contribution. Moreover, it’s crucial to know about income tax basics on your profits and to make national insurance contributions.  If your business has a turnover of £85,000 or over, you have to register for VAT and pay VAT. Generally, business owners who struggle to understand how to do this, hire a competitive personal tax accountant, because if not done correctly, it can cost you a fortune.  Partnerships Setting up as a ‘General Partnership’ is similar to being a sole trader. However, in a partnership, there are one or more people who share the responsibility for the business debts that may occur along the line. Similarly, business profits are shared as well, and the individual members of the partnership pay taxes on their profit share.  It is important to note that a partner doesn’t have to be a person. A partner can also be a limited company who has a share in the partnership. In the case of a shared partnership, all the shareholders will select a ‘nominated partner.’ The responsibility of this partner would be to register the partnership with HMRC and to make timely delivery of corporation tax returns. Limited Liability Partnership In some cases, it is also feasible to opt for a ‘Limited Partnership.’ A limited partnership is different from a General Partnership that one must understand before starting.  Instead, there are two roles: the ‘general partner’ and the ‘limited partner.’ The general partner is liable if the partnership runs into any debt. The contribution of a limited partner is financial. Hence they will not have the duty to pay any debts incurred by the other partner.  The third type of partnership is the Limited Liability Partnership or LLP, which has its own liabilities, and advantages. It is better to understand all these through our guide on how to run an LLP if you are trying to pursue limited liability partnership. To set up an LLP, you need an address, an LLP agreement, and, of course, need to register the partnership with Companies House.  Setting up a partnership can be as complicated as your situation; you can hire a competent partnership accounting firm whose online accountants are experts with partnership structures and can help you set up one.  Limited Company If you decide to proceed with a UK company formation, then setting up a limited company in the UK is your best option. Limited companies, as a company, offer you the greatest legal protection as your finances will be treated separately from the finances of the company. There are, however, differences in the tax and savings of a limited company as compared to a sole trader. Moreover, there are additional reporting responsibilities that, if not done, can result in severe consequences. You will probably want to get the support of an accountant in the UK company formation process and thereafter with Accounting Services. When you are opening a business as a limited company, you need to register as an incorporated company with Companies House. Moreover, you will have to file annual accounts and returns in the UK. A good UK formations agent or a good Accounting Firm in London can ease the process of starting a new company in the UK. Furthermore, they can help to fulfil the compliance requirements of a limited company structure. Requirements that need to be fulfilled by a limited company Every company has a unique name to stand out in the crowd. You must use a name that has not already been taken. The name could end with Ltd,‘ Limited’, or the Welsh equivalents);limited companies can register their unique business name to avoid future usages or similarities with other limited companies.Use a physical UK address as the registered address for the company (in the same country as your company is registered in);Issue a minimum of one share to a shareholder (there is no limit to the number of shareholders your limited company can have);Setup a ‘memorandum and articles of association’ listing the written rules of the company and; details of anyone with voting rights in your company or who owns more than 25% of shares; It is very important to know what business structure is best for setting up a business. It is crucial to know about the various types of small businesses to identify the most compatible structure with the business idea you want to set up. Marketing Strategy. The next plan you want to make is a marketing plan that includes the approaches you may take to attract your target audience. This is where your Market research and potential client base studies will help you curate a strategy that must evolve and change to fit the needs of business and its stages.  When you are starting a business, you not only need a product, but you also need the right kind of marketing and promotion to reach the maximum number of potential buyers. Choose a Business Name. Your first step before you create the plan is to choose a business name for your new business. The name must not include any offensive word or similarities to any other registered business name.  The business name you choose before starting a business should be according to the guidelines set by the government of the UK, specifically for a business name. As mentioned above, each business structure has different requirements for the name. Pick Business location. You must decide on the location for starting your business as it plays a vital role in overall success. Location with the best resources and maximum target audience will help you reach your maximum potential quickly. However, there would be few other things to consider if you are starting up a business in the UK. There would be few things to consider if you are deliberating on how to start your own business in the UK. Whether you decide to start a business from home or office space, it is important to comply with certain rules and regulations. Being in touch with a good London Accountant can ease the process of understanding complicated rules and processes. If you are living in rented accommodation and are planning on running your business from home, it is a good idea to notify your landlord. In case you own the house, you should share this information with your mortgage provider. You may need to pay business rates for the part of your home you are using for your business. This is worth checking out via the Valuation Office Agency. Home as a Business Location Another important factor to consider, if you are running your business from home, is the tax allowances you will be entitled to. These allowances include internet, lighting, and phone line. This can save you some money and will become part of your corporation tax return.  If you plan to run your business in an office space, there are separate factors that need to be considered. For example, if you are planning on running a business from a rented property, there are health and safety standards that you need to ensure for your employee’s well-being. These can be the smallest details, like making sure the working environment is comfortable, providing clean toilets, and access to drinking water. Other Marketing Elements More and more businesses in the UK now start their marketing way before the business launch to get the brand name out in the industry. This technique helps in creating a familiar image, presence, and authority of the company among the potential customers. You can now use low-cost tools for marketing your company or business. For instance, a website can be the best option to start. Choose a domain name for your business or company. The domain name can be regional or global depending on what product or services you are providing and the business location. Another one way adding to this strategy would be to use social media. Social Media is what most traders use to enhance their marketing game.  You may also need to set up a customer service to cater to queries related to your new venture. In the start, you can handle this customer service until you hire staff. Budgeting and Feasibility Study. Before you start a business, it is important that you know your startup costs. This will later help you in estimating the funds or business loan you need to incur for a successful start. Calculating the costs beforehand will help you estimate the profits, secure a business loan, and attract investors to invest in your company. Moreover, it will help you save finances with tax estimation. These costs may be different depending on the structure and type of the business. However, there are some common expenses that you will have no matter what.  What are the costs involved in starting a business? This brings us to the most important factor that needs to be considered; the business cost. We highlighted the importance of cost in the previous sections, especially when you need space to run your business.  Budgeting is an important aspect of running a business. We always recommend speaking to a startup Accountant to help you with the business plan. It is important to contact local accountants to achieve better results.  For instance, if you have chosen London as the prime location for your business, you must contact a recognised London based Accountant. The local accountants are technically capable and strategically located to help you prepare a better business plan. It is better to have a detailed budget plan to avoid any surprises in the future. Moreover, it is also best to be well prepared to attract investors or other stakeholders on board when required. Investors generally want to see a business that can survive their cash burn. Learning about the cash flow forecast will help you manage your cash burn in order to have sufficient funds to survive the initial few months. General Costs to be Considered While the costs for each business will be different, here are some general costs to be considered: Registering your company (also known as company incorporation) with Companies House: Insurance-related costStaff costsRental costs and council taxUtility bills such as heating, water, and phone billsInternet billsEquipment for your businessWebsite maintenance costAccountancy costsLegal feesBranding and social media advertising costCustomer services One of those expenses is office space. Office space whether you’re working from home or not, it has a set of requirements, like utility bills, internet, equipment, and maintenance.  In one way you are saving some costs also if you’re working from home as you are not paying bills for extra space. You should also estimate the costs for an insurance policy, licenses, permits, and other services you may want to avail through a business advisor or a lawyer. Some other common costs you must calculate is hiring, market research, company name registration, tax, marketing, and digital presence (website). Given this long list of costs to consider, make sure you have prepared a well-costed budget before getting started. You will need to make sure that you have the required capital. Moreover, make sure you keep some cash in reserve as it is inevitable that there will be unexpected expenses along the way.   How will you Insure your business? No matter what the size of your business is, there may be certain unexpected difficulties that you encounter over the course of time. As part of a contingency plan, it is a good idea to have a relevant insurance plan. Depending on the nature of your business, there may be certain types of insurance plans that you are required to implement.  Insurance procedures can get complicated at times. To start, you may adopt a liability insurance plan, along with the insurance your business is legally required to have. The liability insurance will provide you with sufficient coverage if you are faced with any legal costs.  Alternatively, speak to an insurance broker; they will be your middleman. The insurance broker should be able to guide you through the dos and don’ts of insurance planning. Get Business Advice. When you start trading in the UK, you can typically register as either a sole trader, a limited company, or as a partnership. Whichever option you choose, it’s a good idea to get the start-up business advice of an accountant. Before starting, having an expert on board will help to cover all bases of the target market, venture capital, and dealing with financial conduct authority. Starting a new business can be both exciting and daunting; it is important to keep a clear head from the outset so that the basic practical decisions you make; support your business’s development.  If you are in a hurry, why not hire expert startup accountants who will help you set up your business. Moreover, they will connect you with key industry contacts, and answer any questions that you may have. Is Hiring an Accountant Worth It? Having an expert who has solved similar problems for thousands of others can add immense value to your new business. The worst mistake is not to hire one if you do not know how to start-up a business and manage it later on. An expert can guide you through tough times and difficult decisions of the initial stages of a start-up business.  It would be highly advisable to hire an expert accounting firm if you have the funds. There are several reasons for needing an expert accountant to start on correct foundations while saving money and time.  To hire an accountant, you first have to know about the need and structure of your business. There are various job roles of a professional accountant and expertise in the different fields to help you out precisely. By understanding the structure and the need of your business, you would be able to identify when to hire an accountant and why. Business Continuity Plan. Since around 30% of new businesses fail during their first two years of operation, understanding yourself is vital if your business is going to be successful. The key cause of business failure is the lack of research at the early stages to make your business a niche area, along with the lack of marketing advice on compatible approaches and leadership failure. To prevent this, make sure you conduct in-depth research before starting so that you understand the market area you are getting into. Write a business plan and make sure your financing has wiggle room. A decent marketing strategy is a must for a successful business plan.  However, a decent marketing and ideal business model is not the only answer for a successful business start-up. The most important thing is to be prepared for the worst-case scenario as starting a business can be a risk. Therefore, a business continuity plan is a must before you start your own business in the UK. Accountants have access to a strong network of capable professionals that you can use to build a strong business foundation. Finding a good accountant could be the perfect way to begin your planning phase for starting a company. The Importance of a Business Exit Strategy. It may seem unnecessary to think of an exit strategy when starting a small business in the UK. However, having a business exit strategy in place is a crucial component of any business plan to help ensure long-term growth. This will enable a better objective setting, better conversations with investors and better planning to maximise the tax efficiency when selling your business rather than ending it on loss. Having a business exit plan will lay down options for you to analyse in case of failure. You must learn the art of buying and selling a business to be prepared for any negative impact on your business. It is better to sell out your business in exchange for a good amount rather than crying over a ruined business with nothing to gain.  How will you fund your business? Starting a business is the easy part; keeping it running is what’s hard. A business requires a constant source of funds to run. A business owner needs to be very clear from day one about where the business will get its funds.  You might have savings or pursuing a business loan, or there might be angel investors who want to help you with the finances. Nonetheless, a business will need a decent amount of cash flow to have a strong foundation. Now when you have estimated the initial costs you might need to run the business, you should start collecting the required funds. Make sure to collect extra as the estimation might show some differences.  For the initial startup costs, you can do bootstrapping that is to analyse your personal funds and how much you can invest in the company. You may ask your friends and families or use your assets for financing. However, there’s always a risk of losing, so make sure not to use all of your savings in the company you want to start.  One other way to get funds is to attract investors in exchange for company shares, or partnership with owners. However, there will be legal compliances different for each, whether you’re offering shares or partnership. You may need to look for top crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for a smooth startup. Register your Startup. Now when you have your company plan set up and your funds ready, you are ready to take the next step towards a successful startup that is to register your business or company with the UK government. Legal structures in the UK need different registration requirements that you must provide as a self-employed, partner, or a company.  Once you register the business with HMRC or Companies House, you will get the tax id for your business to file and report your tax returns. You need to prepare a few documentations, including the trade name, company information, and the corporate structure. Legal Documentation for a new Business . Each business requires different sets of legal documentation, including licenses and permits. If you are familiar with the Brexit than involved with the import and exports of goods will definitely have an impact in terms of legal requirements. Even if not, you must research for required permits and licenses to operate your business.  There are many businesses where you will need to obtain legal licenses. Child care ServicesFinancial and Credit servicesPet ServicesPiercing servicesGoods haulage (HGV)Import and exportSecurity ServicesSports services Taxi driver Opening Business Bank Accounts. If If you intend to open a business in the UK and get it registered, it is very important to keep your personal and business finances separate. You can do that by opening one or more bank accounts. This will not only reduce administrative and tax implications, but it will also make sure that you build a credit history for your business through the business bank profile. Down the line, this will help you to get the relevant funds and the financial support that you need. Learning about the best business bank accounts can help you to open the most suitable bank account. A separate business account can help you protect your business. It keeps the financial funds of your company separate from your personal finances. Not just that, but a separate account also gives off the professional image of your company to your clients. You can easily manage your business transactions with this account without mixing up important information. The clear transactions will help you later when you have to report your annual accounts to the concerned authorities. Video: How to Open a Business Bank Account when starting a business in the UK? Watch the video to find out everything about opening a business bank account in the UK. You are Ready. Now when you follow this guide, step by step, you are now ready to implement the business idea in reality. You will now have to start operating the manufacturing, or offering the services to the target audience. But How? Are you working on your own, or do you need staff to handle all the different roles in the company?  There is a misconception that freelancers or sole traders can not hire employees to work for them. Even if you are a sole trader, you might need one or two heads to manage the sales smoothly. Headcount hunting . Hiring staff has implications in relation to health and safety considerations along with other crucial factors. However, you will also have other requirements placed on you, whether your hiring agency workers, freelancers or full-time employees.  In addition, you’ll be required to check that anyone you employ is legally entitled to work in the UK. Make sure to purchase employment insurance as soon as you employ someone. You need to provide written terms and conditions along with job descriptions to any new employee.  Moreover, you must notify HMRC that you’ll be employing people by registering as an employer. In addition, there would be some compliance requirements to process payroll, if for the first time. Having a professional start-up accountant in London will help you avoid payroll penalties and will save time and money. Once the staff is hired, retaining them is also important for the growth of a new business. EMI schemes can be an amazing incentive you can offer employees to keep them interested and to reduce employee turnover.  Factors to Consider before Hiring There are few factors to consider before you start hiring staff that is to: Estimate the hiring budgetTotal headcounts you may need to hireTarget skills you needThe market rate of the skills you requireHow you will retain employees Bookkeeping . Now when you have hired staff and are ready to work, you are just one step away. And that is to keep your bookkeeping up to the standard of concerned authorities. Effective Bookkeeping Is what boosts new startups into successful enterprises.  Bookkeeping What’s the Quickest Way to Start Strong? – Use a Lean start-up Business Model. The lean start-up business model is all about finding new ideas in the quickest and most efficient way. Furthermore, it refers to bringing that service or product to market using techniques that get rid of redundant processes. The main principles of Lean Business Start-up are: Managed use of Resources. Try and use resources in the most efficient way to showcase the product in front of customers.Most Viable Product: The process involves trying out every possible iteration of an idea to produce the most viable product. This procedure is also known as the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It is all about learning from these failures and giving your start-up a chance to refine processes to develop the start-up as quickly as possible. Five tips before you start a business. If you’re keen on starting a business, have a look at these tips based on previous and further information. Figure out which business works right for you . There are tonnes of opportunities for successful businesses in the world. The thing that you should concern yourself with is finding a need which you can fulfil; something that you want to do. The next step would be to figure out the financial aspects of your business for it to be profitable. Hiring a good Business Accountant from the start can set a strong foundation for your business. Make sure there are demand and the market for your product. . Never assume that people will want to buy your product or service before doing your research. Research and ask people who are not close to you, about their eagerness to buy the product you want to sell. It is important to have as many opinions with several potential buyers also to have a clear vision. A good Accountant in London will be able to help you design a great business plan and also carry out a pricing strategy. Plan for success. You don’t need to figure out all the details of your project; however, you do need to set an end-goal. In addition to an end-goal, you also need to figure out what you’ll need to achieve to get there. Think of the things that you’ll need to accomplish as mini-goals; your plan can change as time flows. However, you need a plan so that you can stay focused and head in the right direction. Procrastination is the enemy. . Many people will advise you not to move ahead with your plans until you’re sure about every little detail about the business they’d like to start. The problem with this approach is that it results in procrastination.  There will never be a perfect time or situation for you to start your business. The best time was yesterday, or the next best time for a new start-up is now. The benefits of being self-employed cannot be enjoyed until tomorrow. You have to face the pain points as a self-employed today so that you can relax tomorrow.  Don’t go down with your mistakes. . Mistakes are all a part of being human, and you will make mistakes. No one has built a lucrative business without making massive mistakes. Do not dwell on failures but learn from these mistakes to further implement the changes. Don’t let your failures demoralise you as every great self-employed business person has got there by making a tonne of mistakes. Conclusion. Starting a business in the UK will be both an exciting and challenging experience. Being your own boss comes with countless rewards, but it also means taking on more responsibility. Deciding on what type of business you wish to set up is an essential starting point and should be undertaken with careful consideration. You also need to think about where you will be running your business. Whether you will be hiring staff, getting insurance, and think about a range of other start-up costs. In addition to practical considerations, make sure you take some time to ensure you are mentally prepared to start your business. A successful business has passion and hard work at its core. Therefore, make sure your idea is something you really believe in and are willing to dedicate your time to. With these key ingredients, some careful planning, and consideration, we’re sure you can make your business a success! Generally Asked Questions. What are the Key Business Structures when starting a Business in the UK? The most common business structures are Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, and Partnership. How to start up a business? The quickest method would be to get a product or service ready and start selling if you have a customer base available. Do I need a Business Plan? A business plan is a go-to document that explains your business plan in your absence or explains it in detail where you cannot due to time constraints. It is a must-have when you are looking to raise funds, bring on co-founders. Moreover, when you expect to pursue an aggressive growth plan, revisiting this document can help you get back perspective. What do you need to start a business before setting up a small business? The key questions you need to ask yourself are:– Do I have sufficient funds to survive for at least 6 to 8 months?– Do I have a go-to-market strategy or a customer acquisition strategy?– Does my business model actually work when tested?– How do I start a business with limited resources, and in how much time? Jibran Qureshi. Managing Director. +44 (0)207 117 2639 [email protected] chacc.co.uk Author Bio. Jibran Qureshi FCCA  is the Managing Director of Clear House Accountants, and has over 10 years of experience in practice and across multiple industries. Jibran’s educational background includes a Master’s in Financial Strategy from Oxford University and an Executive MBA from Hult International Business School. His experience in Financial Strategy, Tax Planning, Operational Consultancy and Performance Reporting guide his cognizant approach to leading Clear House and its clients to the future. It was this dexterity that led him to be Enterprise Nation’s Top 50 Advisors.   Jibran is fueled by his passion for helping businesses. He unequivocally believes that as business advisors and accountants for our clients, it is our responsibility to work with them as business partners. As specialists, it is our duty to help our clients navigate through the complexities of constant change and the implications that come with it.  Over the past decade, innovative disruptions have changed the way businesses work, everything from cloud software, innovative business models, to AI and machine learning, have impacted how businesses operate, grow, and expand.  Jibran recognized the need to manage these disruptions sustainably, early on and shaped Clear House Accountants to not just be compliance specialists, but advisors who help build complex ecosystems around cloud accounting software, provide advice on funding support, help manage innovative tax  schemes, set up and implement complex strategic plans, and much more.  So, his clients can thrive, not just survive.  Jibran developed his prime role as the Managing Director to build Clear House’s capabilities so it can add value for their clients. He is of firm belief that this can be done through consistent  high-level training, building the right tools, and creating roadmaps to help businesses cope with prospective disruptions.  He envisages that every client that comes on board, is provided maximum value through onboarding, ongoing services and the right mix of tools to help them become the best in the world. 1 Comment. Merri Mosmeyer . Great site to review. Worth the time February 3, 2021 Reply Leave a Comment Cancel reply. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Cookie settingsAcceptReject Privacy & Cookies Policy Close Privacy Overview. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Explore More Necessary Necessary Always Enabled Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information. SAVE & ACCEPT
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                                    [16] => Apprentices & Trainees
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                                    [19] => Employee Payment
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                                    [24] => How to Set Up Google My Business
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                                    [26] => Paid Advertising and Social Network Accounts
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                                                    [text] => Last Pass
                                                    [href] => https://www.lastpass.com/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => lastpass.com
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [31] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => https://www.google.com/business/
                                                    [href] => https://www.google.com/business/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => google.com
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [32] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => Shopify
                                                    [href] => https://www.shopify.co.uk/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => shopify.co.uk
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [33] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => freewebstore
                                                    [href] => https://freewebstore.com/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => freewebstore.com
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [34] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => British Chamber of Commerce
                                                    [href] => https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => britishchambers.org.uk
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [35] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => The Federation of Small Businesses
                                                    [href] => https://www.fsb.org.uk/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => fsb.org.uk
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [36] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => The Confederation of British Industry
                                                    [href] => http://www.cbi.org.uk/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => cbi.org.uk
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [37] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => Business Networking International
                                                    [href] => https://www.bni.com/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => bni.com
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                            [38] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [text] => The Business Network
                                                    [href] => https://www.business-network.co.uk/
                                                    [hrefDomain] => business-network.co.uk
                                                    [isOutbound] => 1
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [toc] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                        (
                                            [level] => 2
                                            [name] => Before You Start Your Business. 
                                            [tag] => h2
                                            [children] => Array
                                                (
                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Is Your Business Idea Viable?
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BUSINESS IDEA WILL WORK?
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => WHAT SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES HAVE IN COMMON. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )

                                                                        )

                                                                )

                                                        )

                                                    [1] => stdClass Object
                                                        (
                                                            [level] => 3
                                                            [name] => Swot analysis on your business idea. 
                                                            [tag] => h3
                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                (
                                                                    [0] => stdClass Object
                                                                        (
                                                                            [level] => 4
                                                                            [name] => Strength Attributes. 
                                                                            [tag] => h4
                                                                            [children] => Array
                                                                                (
                                                                                )