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

Search

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.

Preventing IT disasters - checklist

If the thought of an IT-related breakdown gives you cold sweats, you need to take steps to minimise the risks. These steps can help safeguard your IT.

  • Consider how serious the consequences of a system failure, misuse or data breach could be (some surveys suggest they could cost small businesses up to £7,500 a day); use this to decide how much to invest in disaster prevention.
  • Purchase proven equipment and software; try to avoid bespoke systems. A good IT supplier can recommend reliable, widely-used hardware, software and cloud services.
  • Evaluate cloud services carefully. Using a reputable cloud computing service could be safer and more cost-effective than running software in-house - providing you do your research. Check where your data is stored and how it is protected.
  • Assess the risks posed by staff using their own devices for work, particularly tablets and smart phones - known as bring your own device (BYOD).
  • Ensure your data practices (from capture to processing) comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is effective from May 2018.
  • Treat mobile devices as if they're computers. These days, employees' smartphones may hold lots of sensitive data, so you need to take steps to protect them. Make sure you can wipe these devices remotely if they are lost or stolen.
  • Arrange any external support you may need. For example, you might need help with IT installation, maintenance, training, troubleshooting and disaster recovery. Your two main options are to outsource IT support or provide it in-house.
  • Physically protect your equipment. Use surge protectors or uninterruptible power supplies and ensure your premises are secure. Key equipment like servers should be kept locked in a separate room.
  • Establish security procedures (for instance, control access to sensitive information). Use anti-virus software and an internet firewall.
  • Assign responsibility for the system to one individual and make sure they have time to undertake this role properly. Provide cover when that person is unavailable, appropriate training and clear guidance on when to call in external experts.
  • Train employees how to use your IT system and specify what tasks must be referred to others. Establish a procedure for reporting faults or problems.
  • Establish and implement an email and internet policy to regulate how your staff use the internet. Make sure they're aware of the risks - particularly from phishing and malicious websites.
  • Establish a safe installation and upgrade procedure, including backing up data, updating your anti-virus protection and running parallel systems while testing if necessary.
  • Carry out routine maintenance. For example, keep equipment clean and dust-free, run utilities to clean up your systems, archive old files and test system performance.
  • Establish an effective backup procedure and combine in-house backup measures with an online backup service. It's important to regularly test restoring data from your back-ups, too.
  • Make plans to help you keep working and recover quickly should the worst happen.
  • Take precautions to protect your website. A cyberattack or problem with your site can hit sales significantly.

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