There are five agencies answering the question how to start a small business UK – for distinct regions.
- England: Small Business;
- Lowland Scotland: SmallBusinessGateway;
- Highlands and Islands: Highlands & Islands Enterprise;
- Wales: Welsh Development Agency National Gateway; and
- Northern Island: Invest Northern Ireland.
If you are interested in areas other than England, log on the relevant site. The emphasis and type of support programs might be different – though all would offer informational, advisory, training, counseling and financial support. Most of these agencies would have of list of their offices to help you find the one nearest you. Use the relevant search facility.
A great deal of information is available online at their Web sites, and there are publications which can be downloaded and read at leisure. If you prefer personal contact, find the address of the nearest office to visit, or use the phone number or email address provided to communicate.
Gov.uk for general small business advice
If you’re looking for a range of advice for your small business or startup, or even if you’re just in the planning phase, gov.uk has a range of resources.
You can find advice on the following services.
- Writing a business plan
- Starting up
- Finance and grants
- Taxes, returns & payroll
- Employing people
- Health, safety, premises
- Exploit your ideas
- IT & e-commerce
- Sales and marketing
- International trade
- Improve your business
- Buy or sell a business
- In your sector
The home page also points to a business topic such as due date for tax return or how to improve your sales, as well as a case study. There is also a search facility to find specific information, and also links to Forms, Publications and Contacts.
What is significant is that all the key issues that a businessperson would face while running a small business are covered. As explained in the next section, a considerable quantity of reading and action material is provided under each of these topics.
Let us now look at the topic of how to start a small business in UK. It would show the kind of information and training assistance provided by BusinessLink.
On clicking the Starting Up link, you arrive at the page that points to more specific links:
- Before You Start
- Considering starting starting up?
- Finding and managing the money
- Forming and naming your business
- Business names and structure
- Buying a business
- Your workplace
- Choosing and setting up premises
- Keeping the workplace safe and your employees healthy
- Taxes payroll & returns
- Taxes, records and returns – getting started
- Income, Corporations and other taxes
- PAYE and National Insurance
- Employing people
- Becoming an employer for the frist time
- Managing your business
- Sales and marketing
- Financial control, operations and transport
- Contracts and suppliers
- IT for start ups
- Importing and exporting
- Protecting your business and ideas
- Choosing advisers and services
As you delve into each of the sub-sections, such as Considering starting up, you will find further sub-topics discussing specific issues. The discussion takes the form of a detailed guide plus suggestions for specific actions. The actions include using relevant toolkits and taking specific courses. The guide plus actions would give you meaningful know-how.
The Starting Up page also provides a link to download a No-nonsense guide on government regulations. The guide gives you an allround idea about business regulations. This is important because the field of business regulations could be a minefield unless you proceed in an informed manner.
There are other publications, mostly relating to various regulations in more detail. For example, if you want to know about Customs & Excise laws, just click the ‘Publication’ link at the top of most pages. On the page that appears, click Browse by Department. You will be taken to a page that lists Customs & Excise among other departments.
The publications are PDF files, which you can download and read or print. Print copies of some publications like the No-nonsense Guide can be ordered directly. The publications are free.
Forms and Contacts
In addition to publications, you can browse and download forms also. For example, forms for complying with Companies House regulations.
Another facility is to find contact details for contacting Governemnt departments, local authorities, business support organisations and professional bodies.
There are links to Forms and Contacts at the top of most pages.
As you drill down the links for a topic, you would find that the information gets increasingly specific. You work with detailed guides and interactive tools that consider your specific situation and comes up with suitable suggestions. For example, under Sales and Marketing, you will learn how to develop a good Web site and promote it.
There is one section, In Your Sector, where you can get industry specific information. Thus you can investigate Biotechnology, medical & chemical sector, Hospitality & leisure sector, Education sector and so on.
Specific and Practical
Your question, how to start a small business in UK, would be answered in specific and practical detail if you take the pains to drill down the relevant topics.
Work at it!