Skip to main content
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.

UK small firms shut their doors as lockdown is imposed

24 March 2020

The government has stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and has said that all "non-essential premises" must now close.

The new guidelines require the following businesses to shut their doors until further notice:

  • All non-essential retail businesses;
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and nightclubs;
  • Hair, beauty and nail salons;
  • Tattoo parlours;
  • Markets (except food stalls), auction houses and car showrooms;
  • Hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan parks (key workers and anyone unable to stay in their primary residence can stay);
  • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls;
  • Libraries, community centres and places of worship;
  • Museums and galleries;
  • Bingo halls and casinos;
  • Spas, gyms, bowling alleys, play centres, skating rinks and leisure centres.

The government is asking affected businesses, venues and premises not to open for trade with immediate effect; it will look again at these measures in three weeks and relax them "if the evidence shows this is possible". These closures are now enforceable by law in England and Wales.

Exceptions include cafes and restaurants offering a takeaway and/or delivery service as well as canteens in hospitals, care homes and schools.

Key retail exceptions are:

  • Supermarkets and food shops;
  • Newsagents, corner shops, banks and post offices;
  • Home and hardware stores;
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners;
  • Petrol stations, garages and car rental firms;
  • Pet shops;
  • Bicycle shops;
  • Pharmacies and health shops.

Businesses that are allowed to stay open must implement further protective measures:

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants;
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups;
  • Provide queue control outside shops and premises.

Business support

Businesses in England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property. Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses and premises in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not included in this scheme.

The government has also provided a one-year business rates holiday for firms in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. This will apply automatically to business rates bill from April 2020.

Written by Rachel Miller.

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.

Contact us

Make an enquiry