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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.

Having set procedures for recruiting and managing staff doesn't just make the processes easier for you and your team - many are required by law. You must be aware of the rules and regulations about your employees' rights and other key elements of employment law.

Anti-discrimination measures

You must not discriminate - however unintentionally - at any stage of the recruitment process or during employment. Discrimination on grounds of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, parental responsibilities, philosophical or political belief or trade union membership is illegal. All employees should be treated equally and in accordance with their legal rights.

You must not pay one employee more for doing the same work as another who receives less. Claim for equal pay for equal value work can be backdated at tribunal. Employment tribunals have no limit regarding how much they can award to employees who successfully bring discrimination claims.

Employers are legally responsible for acts of discrimination by their employees, so don't tolerate it within your business.

Job adverts must not imply favouritism to one type of person over another. Focus purely on the contribution the role must make to your business.

At job interviews, only ask about a candidate's knowledge, skill and experience. Don't ask personal questions, and make sure your final decision has been made for fair and justifiable reasons. A candidate can ask why they haven't been offered the job. Legally, they can also ask to see your interview notes, too - so be careful.

Employment contracts

An employment contract exists as soon as you offer someone a job. In this instance, you should state that the contract is governed by written employment terms and conditions you'll provide later. A contract can be conditional on your being satisfied with a candidate's references.

By law, you must give a new employee written employment terms and conditions within two months of their start date, although it's advisable to do it as soon as they start (or even in advance).

These must detail job title, place of work, main duties/responsibilities, pay (plus any bonuses, pension, etc), hours, holiday entitlement and notice period. You must also include details of your discipline and grievance procedures.

You can reserve the right to amend the job description and place of work. However, to change the terms of the contract, you need seek the employee's agreement.

Discipline and grievance

You must have effective discipline and grievance procedures in place. Draw up an employment policy or staff handbook, outlining key information employees should know. Also include the name of the manager (quite possibly you) they should speak to if they have a grievance.

You can't sack someone on the spot unless the circumstances are exceptional. If an employee makes a serious disciplinary transgression, bring it to their attention immediately and allow them the opportunity to explain. If a serious problem persists, issue a verbal warning. If that fails, issue a written warning. Thereafter, sacking an employee could be your only option.

If necessary, seek professional advice before taking disciplinary action against an employee - otherwise they could claim unfair dismissal. Ring the Acas Helpline on 08457 47 47 47 for advice on dispute resolution. The organisation has also drafted a guide to discipline and grievances at work.

You should also bear in mind your responsibilities regarding pay and conditions, maternity and paternity payments and safety. You can find out more in the overview on employment rights.