Starting a Business
Starting and running a successful business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. It can also be one of the most daunting. With the right advice in the start up phase however, you are more likely to be successful long-term.
Creating a business
When you start a business you must choose a structure. Most businesses in the UK are:
- sole traders
- limited companies or
If you are a sole trader you need to register as ‘self-employed’ - this means that you are working for yourself, not for someone else. For more information on the different structures and how to set them up see the Government website GOV.UK
Business plans, finance and funding
Having a written business plan will help you secure finance as well as help you clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out your goals and measure your progress. It is a document that describes your business covering objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.
Getting the right type of finance for your business is essential. There are several different ways of financing a business including loans, investment and occasionally grants. For more information see our finance & funding pages.
For detailed information about how to write a business plan see the:
For high quality, free advice for new businesses (including help with business planning) visit:
The Princes Trust Enterprise Programme
Young people aged 18-30 can get help to work out if their business ideas are viable, and decide whether self-employment is right for them from: The Princes Trust Enterprise Programme
The programme then offers mentoring support and, for those that really need it, financial support to start a business.
Working from home
Many people run their business from home when they start up as it is convenient and saves the extra cost of renting commercial premises, for more information see:
In many instances it is either not convenient or not possible to run the business from home. Visit our commercial property and business premises pages for details of commercial property for rent, as well as information on business parks in the area.
If you operate from commercial premises you will almost certainly need to register for business rates, unless the landlord is paying them as set out in the terms of the lease. For further information, including the possible reliefs available, see:
All premises that prepare, serve or sell food or drink must register regardless of whether or not the premises operate commercially. Registration is free of charge and can either be done online or by completing and returning a form. Failure to register is an offence. For further information see:
Many businesses need a license or permit of some kind. The Government run a license finder tool which acts as a guide. For further local advice see:
Growing a Business
This page contains details of support services to help you grow your business including specialists on innovation, manufacturing and exporting.
Innovate UK gives support and funding to help business develop new products and services. Innovate UK runs a series of schemes including the SMART R & D Grants, Feasibility Studies and Innovation Vouchers.
Please visit Innovate UK or ring 03003 214357
UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)
UKTI is a Government organisation that helps businesses to successfully export goods and services overseas. It runs a series of initiatives including trade fairs, missions and the Open to Export scheme for SMEs.
Please visit UK Trade and Investment or ring 08457 354555