Starting a Business

  • Business Planning

    • A Guide to Writing a Business Plan

      This factsheet describes what a business plan should include, how to go about writing one and what will be achieved by doing so. It is aimed particularly at business start-ups that need to raise funding, but the principles are equally valid for established firms looking to grow...

    • A Checklist for Running a Business from Home

      This factsheet describes the legal and practical aspects of running a business from home. It identifies key legal issues including tax, business rates, planning permission, trading licences, insurance and health and safety, as well as highlighting practical considerations relating to, security, document retention, IT and administration...

    • 20 Tips to Help You Choose a Business Idea

      This factsheet is designed to provide inspiration for you to explore new areas and start thinking in practical terms about products or services you could offer, and the business opportunities that may be open to you...

    • Could You Run Your Own Business?

      This factsheet helps you assess your personal abilities and resources in relation to those that will typically be required to start up and run your own business...

    • Common Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

      This factsheet looks at some of the common factors that could cause your business to fail and provides some suggestions on how these factors could be addressed...

    • Choosing Business and Company Names

      This factsheet explains how to choose a business or company name. It explains the distinction between business and company names, and introduces the main legislation and legal restrictions on business and company names. It also outlines the rules for disclosure of names for different types of business...

    • A Guide to Carrying Out a SWOT Analysis

      This factsheet explains the benefits of carrying out a SWOT analysis and provides an overview of the SWOT analysis process. It lists a series of useful questions that can help identify business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The factsheet also gives an example of a SWOT analysis for a small business, and shows how to use the findings of a SWOT analysis to inform future business strategy...

    • A Guide to Business Continuity Planning

      This factsheet looks at why you need a business continuity plan, what the plan should contain, how to identify risks to your business and prepare for an incident, and how you can test how your business might cope in an emergency...

  • Buying a Business

    • A Checklist for Buying a Shop

      This factsheet explains where existing shops are advertised for sale and provides a checklist of factors to consider when deciding whether to buy a particular retail business...

    • An Introduction to Buying a Business-Format Franchise

      This factsheet provides an introduction to the issues involved in buying a business franchise. It explains the basics of the franchising process, looks at how to choose a franchise and a franchisor, and outlines what is involved in a franchise agreement, as well as providing hints and tips and sources of further information...

    • A Guide to Buying a Business

      This guide explains the process of buying a business. It discusses the pros and cons of buying a business, the various methods for valuing one, how and what to check before and after making an offer, and the most common ways to finance the purchase. It also includes sources of further information and support...

  • Legal Structure

    • Setting up in Business as an Ordinary Partnership

      This factsheet explains the steps to take when setting up an ordinary partnership, including drawing up a partnership agreement, registering for tax self-assessment and choosing a business name. It also outlines record-keeping requirements...

    • Choosing the Right Business Legal Structure

      This factsheet outlines the main legal structures for a business, which are sole trader, ordinary partnership, private limited company, limited liability partnership (LLP) and community interest company (CIC)...

    • Setting up in Business as a Co-operative

      This factsheet explains what a co-operative is and how to set up in business as a co-operative. It also includes details of legislation affecting co-operatives, along with information about support and funding available...

    • A Guide to Setting up a Private Company Limited by Shares

      This factsheet explains the ownership and management structure of limited companies, issues to be aware of when choosing a business name and company naming restrictions. It also explains the steps to incorporate and register a company, the process for buying an off-the-shelf company and registering for corporation tax. It briefly covers directors' responsibilities and specialist insurance cover for directors and officers...

    • An Introduction to Legal Forms of Joint Venture

      This factsheet explains what a joint venture is. It outlines the benefits of entering into a joint venture and describes different types of agreements as well as the legal framework that surrounds this type of agreement. It also provides some useful tips on how to manage the relationship and how to avoid common pitfalls...

    • A Guide to Family-run Firms

      This factsheet explains the main advantages and disadvantages family-run firms have compared with other firms. It outlines the key legal considerations affecting family-run firms...

    • A Guide to Documents That You Must Keep

      This factsheet details the essential records business owners should keep. It is not an exhaustive list of all the records that should be retained, but it highlights the rules that affect most firms. It also includes hints and tips and sources of further information...

    • A Guide to Starting a Business While Under 18

      This factsheet provides a summary of the main issues under-18s need to be aware of when thinking about starting a business...

    • A Guide to Mandatory Contacts for Business Startups

      This factsheet lists and describes the organisations that it is essential for the proprietors of different types of business to contact, when, how and for what purpose...

    • An Introduction to Business Regulations When Starting Up

      This factsheet identifies the major business regulations and obligations that will affect the start up of a new business. It includes the contact details of relevant government agencies and links to sources of further information...

    • An Introduction to Legal Structures for 'Not-for-Profit' Organisations

      This factsheet briefly explains the available legal structures for 'not-for-profit organisations' (NFPOs) and provides examples of the types of NFPO that commonly use each structure. It also explains some of the management and financial requirements to be complied with, briefly explains the meaning of charitable status and CASC status and provides sources of further information and support...

    • Setting up in Business as a Sole Trader

      This factsheet explains the advantages and disadvantages of this type of business status. It outlines the tax requirements for sole traders, covering registering for self-assessment, record keeping, and liabilities for income tax and National Insurance. It also outlines the requirements regarding business names for sole traders...

    • An Introduction to Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

      This factsheet explains what a limited liability partnership (LLP) is and sets out the advantages and disadvantages of the LLP format, as well as outlining the steps to take when setting one up...

    • Setting up and Registering as a Charity

      This factsheet explains how to register and manage a charity. It outlines how a charity should define its purpose and legal structure, and sets out the requirements for governance documents and the appointment of trustees...

    • An Introduction to Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)

      This factsheet explains what a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) is, and what the eligibility rules are. It also sets out the benefits that sports clubs can gain by registering and outlines how a club can register as a CASC...

    • A Guide to Setting up a Company Limited by Guarantee

      This factsheet explains the ownership and management structure of companies limited by guarantee, the issues to be aware of when choosing a business name, and company naming restrictions. It also explains the steps to take to incorporate and register a company, and the process for buying an off-the-shelf company and registering for corporation tax...