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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.

Getting the right skills mix - checklist

Every business needs a range of employee skills to function effectively - from people management and development abilities to financial acumen, and from general sales and negotiation skills to specific industry knowledge.

  • Carry out a training needs analysis to identify which skills you are missing and highlight areas where you need to develop staff.
  • Ensure you have the essential business skills in place - some will be specific to your industry, but others are required by all firms.
  • Before recruiting, assess whether your existing staff have any untapped potential you could make use of.
  • Bear in mind you might be unaware of an important skill if someone does not use it in their current role - training and developing existing staff can also improve job satisfaction and retention.
  • Bring in skills and experience when hiring staff that will complement your current team rather than duplicate what you already have.
  • Ensure that any new recruits can work as a team and understand your business goals.
  • Consider alternative ways to bring in expertise - for example, is it cheaper to outsource than to recruit somebody full-time or can you hire an external consultant?
  • Invest in your own personal skills, as well as those of your staff - there are certain attributes that you as an owner and manager will have to develop, such as good leadership, communication and organisational abilities.
  • Think about the skills you will need as your business develops, so recruit with an eye as to how it might change in the future. For example, your IT or financial systems may become more complex.

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