Skip to content

Starting your business

Starting your own business and becoming your own boss is an incredibly exciting time, but it can be a little daunting too. We've filled this page with the resources we think will be the most helpful to you and have broken them up into easily digestible topic sections that you can come back to as often as you need to get your business up and running.

You will learn

  • What legal obligations you'll have as a business owner
  • How to write and use a business plan
  • Ideas for marketing your new business
01

Initial considerations

Before you start down the road to being a business owner, take a second to consider whether it's actually the right move for you. Will you keep your current job while you're getting your business up and running? Is there enough consumer interest in your hobby to make a business a worthwhile investment? The articles below can help you answer these questions.

What do I need to do if I’m starting a business while working

For a long time, you may have had the dream of starting your own business but feel you still need the security of your employed position. Not to fear, many people find that starting a business while …

How can you make money from your hobby?

In this article, we’re going to help you understand some of the practical steps you’d need to take in order to get yourself set up in business. Finding your market It’s not a good idea to jump …

Turning a hobby into a business

It’s not unusual for people to try turning a hobby into a business. It sounds easy to earn money from something you enjoy. Let’s face it, you probably love your hobby and why wouldn’t lots of other …
02

Market testing

You can't start a business before you know that there's a viable market for what you want to sell. That's why you need to spend some time researching and testing your idea on real people to see if there's enough customer interest to make your business a success.

Conducting Market Research

Conducting market research is a vital part of any business, especially when you’re trying something new. You need to know that there’s an interested market who are ready and willing to buy whatever …

Market testing for your business

Over the years, I have seen literally hundreds of prospective business start-up clients that have arrived at our first meeting together full of energy and enthusiasm for their new business venture. …

How do I find a target market for my business?

Being able to find a target market is especially important for business owners just starting out but even established businesses should continually assess who their target is and whether they are or …
03

Your business plan

Your business plan is going to quickly become one of the most useful pieces of information you have when you start your business. It will help you outline all the steps you need to take before you can call your business a success and will outline your overall goals to help keep you on track. It's not a document you'll create once and forget about, you'll need to continually update your plan and refer back to is as your business grows and changes over time.

Choosing a business structure

You have made the decision to work for yourself, so the next major step will be to decide what form of legal entity will your new venture take by choosing a business structure? This can have a on by …

Do I need a business plan?

Question: do I need a business plan? Answer: yes. Researching your idea thoroughly, preparing a business plan and a cash-flow forecast are all vital components of a successful business. Even if you …

[External link] The Prince's Trust business plan templates

If you need a little help getting started when writing your business plan, The Prince's Trust have great resources that you can use.

04

Raising finance for your start up

One of the biggest worries people have when starting their own business is the amount of money it's going to cost them before they start seeing profits come back in. It's likely that you're going to need to source some alternative finance to help you start your business. 

Small business funding opportunities for pre-start ups

In the majority of cases, when borrowing money for small business funding, the borrower will have to start making repayments the following month. That’s not ideal if the business is still in the and …

How to write a good business plan to get a loan from the Start-Up Loan Company

The Start-Up Loan Company is designed to help people who are at the very early stages of launching their business. By their very nature, these people tend to be less experienced, and to have more in …

Improve your credit rating and get business finance

Getting business finance isn’t easy even with a good credit rating, let alone a bad one and it can be quite tricky to improve your credit rating. When you are starting a new business, by definition …

What is a business angel?

You might have heard the term, but what is a business angel? Investment from business angels normally involves the ‘Angel’ taking shares in the business in return for providing equity finance. There …

How to get grants to start a small business

When you’re first starting out, you’ll likely want to know how to get grants to start a small business. Grants can be notorious to come by, but there is assistance out there if you know where to can …
05

Considerations for your business

There are lots of things to think about when you're starting your business. You'll need to come up with the perfect name, price up your products or services, and more.

What you need to know about choosing business names

Choosing names for a business when you’re first starting out is really exciting, but can also be quite frustrating. You might already have an idea of what you want to call your business, or you be a …

How to price my product or service

The idea of running your own business is to make a profit, to not just to survive, but to thrive and often your success can depend on you asking the question "how do I price my product or service?" …

How to manage your time properly

For many small businesses time is even scarcer than money but managing your time properly can have as much impact on your business as managing money. So, what is proper use of time? Proper use of …

Priority Management

Let me say from the outset that I do not believe in time management whereas, I do believe in priority management. To allocate the appropriate time to a particular task or priority through strategic …
06

Getting the right resources

There's a big difference between tinkering on a hobby after work and setting aside the time, funds and space to be able to make your business idea a reality. Having the right resources on side to help you get your business up and running can be the difference between success and failure.

Finding business premises

Finding business premises that are a perfect fit for your business is not easy. There are lots of things you need to consider when searching for your business space, like the location, lease type, …

Do I need to hire an accountant or bookkeeper?

You might think that your start up or small business isn’t big enough to hire an accountant or bookkeeper, or you may feel your affairs are so simple that you can do it yourself. However, running a …

Tips for people working from home

People working from home experience lots of advantages not just the low overheads. You can work at your own pace, no stressful commute to the office and therefore increasing actual productive time …

Types of hire purchase and how you can use them

There are lots of hire purchase types that you can use in your business. Also known as HP or Lease Purchase (or sometimes ‘never-never’!), it is a method of buying business assets through making a …

Should you lease or buy a van for your business?

You need transport, but you might not know the best way to get a van for your business. You might be in a great position financially and are able to buy a vehicle outright, which is great. However, …

What is a small business mentor?

A small business mentor can be a very valuable asset for growing and running your business. No matter if you have just started your business or you are more established, you can benefit from having …
07

The legal bits

Staying on the right side of the law is crucial and can have some nasty consequences for you and your business if you don't quite meet legal requirements or codes. Below are some of the big issues you'll need to be aware of when starting your business, but each industry has specific rules and regulations that you'll need to know about and comply with. If you have any questions about starting your business and your legal obligations, get in touch with a business expert or the folks over at the Business Support Helpline for more advice.

[External link] Register for self-assessment tax return

You’ll need to register for Self-Assessment and Class 2 National Insurance as soon as you can after starting your business, even if you’ve completed tax returns before. Thankfully, you can do it all online on Government's website.

HMRC business support

Legally, your business is going to have to deal with HMRC. They’re known for handling taxes but they’ve got a lot of really useful information on the gov.uk website, including videos, webinars and a …

Do I need to register with HMRC if I'm a part time business

For most people the answer to this will be yes, you do need to register with HMRC even if you're a part time business. It’s so easy to get caught out when you’re trying to get a business off the and …

What are the legal business health and safety requirements for my business?

If you are running a small businesses the thought of business health and safety requirements may be a bit daunting, but don’t be put off it is not as complicated as you think. Workplace protection a …

Is registering for VAT right for my business?

When and why should I register? Registrating for VAT is compulsory when the annual turnover (based on a rolling basis) of your business, calculated to the end of any month, reaches a set amount - …

When do I need an Employer's Liability insurance policy?

Employer's Liability insurance (EL) is the most misunderstood cover that is available for the small business owner today. The rules and regulations surrounding it can be extremely confusing, even is …

Auto Enrolment

If you're struggling to understand the new pension laws, download your copy of our guide to auto enrolment to make sure you stay compliant. 

08

Marketing your new business

Marketing is a business must. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't have to cost a lot, it is possible to have a large impact on your customers with a limited budget as long as you're targeting the right people at the right time. We've got lots of tips and tricks that you can use to market your new business, so check them out below.

The How's Business guide to creating a brand

If you want to develop a brand that your customers can easily recognise and identify with, download your free copy of our branding eBook.

Small business marketing tips

Ensuring your small business marketing strategy is effective and producing the right results doesn’t have to be difficult. Put simply, ‘marketing’ is the selling of a product or service to a ‘target …

Marketing without a budget for your start up business

Marketing does not necessarily mean big budget, there are many effective marketing activities that do not necessarily cost you money but will set you off in the right direction to achieve your Here …

How to create great, friendly and relevant social media content

The first and most important thing is to keep it simple when writing social media content. Marketing Marketing of any kind needs to focus on customers. And no one will become a customer unless you …

How to get more sales online

The amount of information and range of tools on the Internet is huge so how can we make sense of it all to help grow a small business? This article provides a snapshot of opportunities on the that …

Social media advertising ebook

Learn how you can market your business using social media advertising. We'll help you set up your adverts, pick your audiences and review your impact.

Building social media loyalty

Social media has changed the world of business. Not only is it far cheaper to connect with potential customers, it's also much easier to talk directly to them. So building social media loyalty from …

Great ways to advertise locally to customers

There are lots of different ways to advertise locally, and often, business owners want to do a better job of promoting themselves to the potential customers on their doorstep. However, the first to …

How to create free publicity when advertising for small business

Advertising for small business can be a headache, and is often one of the biggest costs you have to cover. However, in our relatively short life running Askew Brook we’ve got our fair share of – a …
09

Hiring staff

When you've reached the stage in your business where it's no longer possible for you to run it by yourself, you'll need to think about taking on some employees to help you out. Have a read through our tips for hiring staff in your business for the first time below.

How to hire employees for the first time

Figuring out how to hire employees for the first time can be daunting. It feels like a huge step, sharing your business expertise and trusting in the new person to help you take your business it be …

Tips for taking on an employee for the first time

When starting a business, you’ll have a lot of responsibility, especially when you're taking on a employee for the first time. Hiring staff is both a great opportunity and a challenge as you become …

How much should you pay staff?

Taking on a new employee is a major step for a start-up and you’ll want the best person, whatever the role is. To achieve this you will have to pay the going rate, or close to it; but what is the is …

7 top tips for staff performance management

In any business, managing staff performance is really important. Without your staff, your business can’t operate, so you need to make sure that all your employees are on top form and being We’ve 7 …

What is PAYE (Pay As You Earn)?

Pay as you earn, more commonly known as PAYE, is the easiest way for you to pay Income Tax and National Insurance contributions for your business. You’ll deduct these contributions from your wages …