We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.

For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Forming a business - checklist

When forming a business make sure you get it right from the start. Check the key considerations and legal requirements to prevent expensive mistakes.

  • Involve professional advisers (eg an accountant) from the outset.
  • Consider whether you will be in sole control of the business or will share ownership or involve external investors.
  • Consider whether a company or limited liability partnership (LLP) will offer worthwhile financial flexibility, protection of personal assets and credibility with customers, suppliers and lenders.
  • Consider whether the administrative burden and costs, and the disclosure requirements, of a company or limited liability partnership will be justified.
  • Investigate the likely effect of different business forms on your tax and National Insurance position.
  • Choose the most appropriate business form: sole trader, partnership, LLP or limited company.
  • Draw up an agreement with the key individuals involved covering, for example, strategy, remuneration, responsibilities and 'what if' scenarios.
  • Choose a trading name; check that it is permitted, and is not already being used by another, similar business.
  • Use a company formation agent (or your accountant or solicitor) for the legal formation of a company or limited liability partnership.
  • Check any legal requirements (eg licences) with your local authority and organise insurance.
  • Contact HM Revenue & Customs to organise tax and National Insurance (and PAYE if you will be an employer); if necessary, register for VAT with your VAT office.
  • Organise systems to keep records and ensure that you can comply with statutory requirements (eg filing annual returns).

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