Starting up a brand new business can be daunting – there are so many things to consider. We aim to take away some of the confusion and jargon and help you understand what you need to do to set up your business and operate legally.
We will give you the support and guidance you need and will highlight when you need to get in touch with other professionals, such as accountants, property agents, recruitment agents etc, to make sure that all your business needs are covered.
Some of the steps that you will need to take include:
Register your business
How or whether you should register your business will depend on the type of business you are starting up.
A sole trader has to formally register but this is quite a straightforward process. The risks to be aware of are that you are personally responsible for any debts of your business, and you also have some accounting responsibilities. More information out about being a sole trader and to find out how to register yourself as a sole trader can be found here.
A limited company must be registered with Companies House – see our page on company formation for more details on this. You may wish to get help from an accountant with this, particular regarding advice on the financial aspects of a limited company. Generally, the finances of a company are separate to your own personal finances but there are far greater responsibilities in terms of reporting, accounting and management.
A partnership is a relatively straightforward way to run a business if there are 2 or more people joining in the venture. Each partner would be responsible equally for the debts of the business and will also have accounting responsibilities. Partnerships need to be registered, for more information on registering a partnership see here. You should also have a partnership agreement in place – we can assist you by drafting such an agreement to ensure that the rules of the partnership are clear.
Rules for your business
Again, this will depend on the type of business you are running. You should consider whether your business will need:
- Licences or permits
- Any specific rules if your business will operate online or abroad
- Any specific rules relating to data protection if you will be storing or using personal information
You should give some thought to where your business will operate from, as your business premises will give rise to different considerations.
Working from home – consider what tax reliefs you may be entitled to claim and consider how your working environment can work within the context of the type of business you are running, for example, do you need to hold client appointments?
Renting business premises – consider the cost of renting, the tenancy rules, costs and limitations you may be subject to, and whether you will have to pay business rates
Buying business premises – consider the costs associated with this including business rates and the cost of insuring and maintaining your premises
If your business needs are such that you require some help you should give careful consideration to whether you take on employees, use contractors, use agency staff or workers. Whether you directly employ or simply contract workers, this brings with it many responsibilities such as:
- Health and safety responsibilities
- Running payroll
- Insurance considerations
- Paying national insurance (though you can claim an allowance to reduce your bill)
- Providing workplace pensions
- Preparing contracts
- Dealing with HR matters
Employment law is complex and vast. You should seek legal advice before taking on staff so that you can get expert guidance and advice on the best way to manage this. Our business experts will help you to put appropriate policies and procedures in place to protect you from legal action being brought against you by your staff.
There are many other things to think about when starting a new business such as business planning, how to find finance and support, how to protect your intellectual property, and VAT registration amongst many other things.