Starting a business

Advice for starting a business

Starting a business can be tough but rewarding. You should ensure that you do plenty of research before you start - some of the questions you may want to think about are: 

  • what sort of business you’d like to start
  • whether people are interested in your product/service 
  • how much you can charge for your product/service 
  • whether you need to register with HM Revenues and Customs 
  • whether you need to employ any staff

Step one - market research

Your first port of call should be the British Library Business & IP Centre (BIPC)

The library offers a range of face to face advice sessions as well as workshops and events to help you with everything from writing a perfect business plan to funding advice. 

They also have a number of business guides which you can access for free when visiting the BIPC. 

Step two - information on starting up

www.gov.uk offers information and guidance on starting a business, including:

  • choosing and setting up a legal structure 
  • developing a business plan
  • forecasting business finance 
  • understanding business taxation

A number of business support agencies in London provide advice and support services to anyone starting a business. A list of these organisations can be found under business support for start-up businesses.

Step three – Business Plan

A business plan should set out what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it. The business plan will help you develop, grow and manage your business and is also essential if you need to raise finance for your business. A guide to writing a business plan can be found on www.gov.uk and a number of high street banks offer free templates.

Business support agencies also offer courses and advice sessions on how to write a good business plan. Please visit Business support for start-up businesses for a list of organisations offering business planning services.

Step four - finance, tax and national insurance

When you have completed your market research, developed your business plan and are ready to start, you should consult HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) to find out which records you should keep. HMRC run free workshops for the self-employed and those employing staff to explain the regulations. 

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