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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.

Drawing up an employment contract - checklist

Our step-by-step guide to drawing up an employment contract, from thinking up the basic terms to include to agreeing and signing with your employee.

  • Look for samples of written statements and contracts: contact Acas or your trade association, or ask similar businesses you know.
  • Decide the basic terms for the written statement: for example, pay, working hours, holidays and notice periods.
  • Decide whether the job is permanent and whether you want to include a probationary period.
  • Consider which areas may need flexibility: for example, the employee's job title and role, and place of work.
  • Clarify any areas which you want to be non-contractual, such as discretionary bonuses.
  • Draw up the written statement; ensure that you have included all the legally required information.
  • Ensure that any other documents you refer to in the written statement are readily accessible (eg disciplinary and grievance procedures and information on company pension schemes).
  • Review the job and any problems you have experienced with employees and ex-employees in the past.
  • Decide whether there are any requirements for the employee (eg to hold or achieve a professional qualification or a driving licence).
  • Identify any other concerns: for example, confidentiality, intellectual property or the potential for ex-employees to compete with you.
  • Draw up a clear contract; include the written statement and extra clauses to cover the additional contractual elements you want to include.
  • Ensure that the contract is not discriminatory, does not override employees' statutory rights and is legally enforceable.
  • Take legal advice as necessary, particularly if the contract attempts to restrict employees after they leave your employment.
  • Give each employee their written statement of employment particualrs on or before the first day of work and employment contract within two months of commencing their employment.
  • Explain the contract and its significance to the employee; agree the contract, and ask the employee to sign a copy.

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