Starting up a business
The gov.uk website offers a diverse range of information about starting up and running a business in the UK, including help if you’re self-employed or a sole trader. Here is a summary of the information offered on this website.
A Business Idea
If you’re thinking of starting up a business, you’ll first need to come up with a realistic idea that you can turn into a product or service.
Research your Market
Research your market to identify potential customers. Talk to them and find out if your idea is meeting a real need. Test your business idea with potential customers to check if there’s real demand for what you’re planning to sell. This lets you find out about any problems and fix them before you’ve wasted too much time, effort and money.
Develop and plan
Develop and plan, test your product or service with real customers, make changes, and test it again. Keep doing this until you’re sure there’s a demand for it. Develop and change your idea based on what you’ve found out about your customers’ needs before investing. Deal with any problems you’ve found with your product or service, including the way you’re planning to make and sell it. Go back to your customers and test again. Keep doing this until you’re confident that they’ll be willing to pay what you’re asking, and that you’re meeting their needs.
Identify Potential Partners & Suppliers
Find partners and suppliers and think about who you’re going to work with to develop and sell your idea. Many businesses start with just one person, known as a ‘sole trader’. If you set up as a sole trader you’ll be self-employed, which means you’ll be your own boss. You’ll also be responsible for managing your own time, looking after all of your company’s admin and accounts, taking risks with your own money, particularly if you’re leaving full-time employment. Whether you set up as a sole trader, partnership or limited company, your business is likely to involve working with more people to develop and sell your idea, including partners, suppliers and distributors.
Setting up your Business
Work out which legal structure is right for you and your business, and whether you want to sell shares. You’ll need to decide which legal structure is right for your business before you register and start trading. It’s important to understand the different risks and benefits before you choose whether you set up as a sole trader, limited company or partnership affects.
Explore different sources of business finance, from bank loans to government-backed schemes. When you start a business, there’ll usually be period when you’re investing lots of time, effort and money before you start making a profit. It’s important to research your market to make sure your customers will really pay for your product or service before you do this. Once you’re confident that they will, you should explore different sources of funding to help with the costs of starting up your business.