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.
Many people start their own business because they hope it will provide more income. Others seek greater flexibility to balance work with family life. However, the reality of running your own business can be a shock.
To fund your new business, you might have to invest personal savings or use your possessions to guarantee money you borrow. Alternatively, you might borrow money from friends or family. You and they need to consider the full implications if the business were to fail and you couldn't afford to repay them.
Running a small business is unpredictable - starting one even more so. It can take years to become profitable, no matter how good your idea. At first, you might not be able to draw a wage, which might mean relying on someone else's income (ie spouse, parent, etc). The longer this goes on, the more likely it could place strain on the relationship.
You must be prepared to accept a lower wage or even none when establishing your business. You might be fine with that - but what about others who will be affected?
You'll probably have to forgo perks, pension, holidays, overtime and even sick pay. Many small-business owners will tell you they could earn more money and have an easier life if they worked for someone else.
You must be prepared to work long hours. The daily demands of running your own business can overtake your life, as the lines between home and work become blurred.
You might have to give up your evenings and weekends. Many business owners use such times to catch up on admin tasks - some of which can be dull and draining. You might have to do this while the kids are making a racket or you're being pressured to take care of domestic chores.
And don't expect regular time off. Many people who work for themselves can't take four weeks' holiday each year. You might have to give up social activities you enjoy - for a time, at least. Friends and family might not get to see you as much as you or they would like.
It's easy to get carried away with the attractive aspects of starting a business, but the reality is you'll probably have to be your own receptionist, admin assistant, delivery person, cleaner and caretaker, too, during the early days.
Running your own business will inevitably involve greater responsibility. You'll have to make many important decisions, which creates pressure, especially when your livelihood - and possibly those of your employees - is at stake. You might also have a family to support - what if things go wrong?
You might not always be able to seek advice, which can leave you feeling isolated. Family and friends can be a great source of support - and being able to share your trials, tribulations and triumphs is important. Of course there are free professional sources of support available, so be sure to use them.
Starting your own business remains one of the most exciting decisions you can make. The rewards - financial and otherwise - can be great, as many millions of people in the UK have found out. But there are implications you need to consider carefully.
Running your own business will be a rollercoaster. There'll be days when you wonder why you did it - and others when you wouldn't have it any other way.