Launching a Business in the UK: Where to Start?

The NextWomen is happy to be able to provide information on registering your business through knowledge partner the Formations Company.

All women should have access to the tools and resources needed to launch their own independent venture.

In light of this, here is a beginner's guide to starting your own business, to give you an idea of whether your business idea is viable, and get you thinking on the right tracks to success!

Thinking about your business

As many of us already know, the thought of starting your own business can be daunting.

You need to do some research and ask yourself these important questions first, to ascertain whether your business has scope for success.

Are you providing a service? There's no point creating a business that doesn't answer a need or requirement whether you're producing food from scratch or offering financial advice. Your brand must have appeal to earn money.

Do you have the relevant skills and qualifications? While qualifications aren't the be all and end all, it's important to be able to recommend yourself. Use your skills to create a portfolio, something you can use to promote yourself.

Do you have a client base? If you don't have clients or customers, you don't have a business. This is by far the most difficult part of starting your business, so it's important to be prepared for a schedule that has you spending at least 50 per cent of your time looking for work. Learn how and where to advertise to make the most of your marketing funds.

Research

If you're new to running your own business, whether just by yourself or with employees, it's important to get up to speed with things like current rates, so you can get rough idea of how much custom you're likely to gain, and how much you should be charging. If you're planning on running a one-woman operation, a good place for self-employed freelancers to get the low-down is Freelance UK, which has a thriving community. Bigger businesses should check out the UK Business Forum, where you can get chatting to plenty of other business owners online, all happy to offer advice and support.

Networking is vital for getting your name out there, so make sure you look out for events in real life, too!

Registering your company

Depending on the type of business you're running, and how it's structured, there are different ways to get your business registered. This affects how your income is taxed, and must be set up within three months of starting to avoid having to pay a fine. If you're not sure, chat with a financial adviser - it's not worth the risk if you're not confident in what you're doing!

Sole trader: If you're the only person financially responsible for your business, you are a sole trader. All you have to do register and fill out a Self-Assessment form with HR Revenue and Customs, which can be done online once a year.

Partnership: If two or more people have equal responsibility, you need to register everybody involved in a partnership. You'll need a Memorandum and Articles of Association, which can be obtained from a law stationer, and to request the relevant documents from Companies House, the registrar for UK companies.

Limited company: These are slightly more complex - if two or more people own part of your company, and their financial responsibility is determined by the share they have in the company, you should consider talking to a solicitor about registering as a limited company. You can also use a service like the Formations Company, which will carry out the registration for you.

This article is made possible through the Formations Company. The NextWomen is not responsible for the views or opportunities expressed in this article.

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