UK Business Guide

A Guide to Setting Up a Business in the UK

Setting up a new business or start-up is an exciting, though often nerve wracking, experience. Getting all the information you need before you start essential, from writing your first business plan to registering your new business with Companies House. Deciding how you will run your business operation, they type of products or services you will provide, who your target audience and demographic is, are just some of the things you will need to consider. There are many resources that can assist you in setting up your business in the UK.

Whether you are planning on operating locally or not, it is still a good idea to set up a website or some sort of online presence for your company. In today's market it is highly likely that people will use the Internet to search for a product or service they are looking for.

Business Basics and Essentials

On-line government websites recommend creating a basic business plan if you want to get started. If you do not know how to do this or have any queries, you may wish to consult with a financial adviser. Essentially a business plan is a summary of what you intend to do as a business and how you intend to make money.

If you cannot afford the services of a financial adviser and would like to find out what the UK government can do to help your business, there are also hot-lines offering business support that you can call to find out information on services that can help you get set up through taxpayer-funded initiatives.

Business Structures

You also need to register your business and when you do this you will need to decide on the structure of the organisation. Many people start out as sole providers or self-employed. This is also known as freelancing. In this set-up a person works for other companies or individuals as a contractor or consultant and is paid directly. This is ideal for starting off or if you want to offer your skills as services for clients and make money directly from them.

Many self-employed people also consider the next steps when they are beginning to expand their business. If you are interested in diversifying your portfolio you might consider partnership structures with others who complement the skills that you already have. For instance, a self-employed programmer can create a good partnership with a self-employed website designer, as they can not only help each other find similar or overlapping work, but they can also collaborate to create even better products than they would otherwise individually.

When a partnership begins expanding and takes on new employees or partners to take care of accounting, administration, sales, research, logistics and other departments, they will usually explore options to incorporate their business. This means setting up a Private Limited Company, which will then enjoy more tax benefits and other incentives meant for expanding businesses that provide employment to local communities.

Expanding Your Business

There are many ways to expand your business, but the common ones used by entrepreneurs are the following:

  • Teaming up with more partners - sometimes a business has need of more capital in order to increase stock, production, distribution, or some other logistical problem; investors and partners are often the best way to overcome this immediate hurdle, but they will usually want some equity as well as a percentage of profits so you should make sure you find the right partners that are on board with your mission
  • Online marketing strategies - these are a 21st century innovation and use the well-established SEO and keyword system to propel your site's readership skywards; if you are able to find a good team to optimise your website, you will likely increase all traffic, thereby boosting your sales
  • Innovation and research - a company might want to spend more money on the research and innovation side of the business so they are pioneering in the industry and ahead of their competition; this means that sales will also increase as more and more products and services are created that benefit consumers in unprecedented ways
  • Diversification - this is when a company expands their product range in order to increase sales and interest; it can be risky and most companies only attempt adding 1-2 new products to their existing portfolio at a time so they can become well-established
  • Simplification - this is another strategy whereby a company can reduce its unprofitable offerings to focus on marketing the ones that are working and reinvesting the leftover capital into research and innovation to revise other products that were not successful

Becoming Environmentally Friendly

Another great way for UK businesses to increase their exposure and become more respected by the community and consumers is to comply with and lead in adopting green technologies and innovations to help the environment. There are government subsidies available for companies who use solar, wind, or other alternative sources of energy in their operations.