Starting your own business requires careful planning, research and preparation. Below you will find help and advice on starting and setting up a business. There is information on how to set up and register a company, and on the steps that you will need to take to turn your idea into a business.
What you need to do to set up depends on your type of business, where you work and whether you take people on to help.
Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or ‘ordinary’ partnership.
It’s simpler to set up as a sole trader, but you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities.
Find out more about being a sole trader and how to register.
If you form a limited company, its finances are separate from your personal finances, but there are more reporting and management responsibilities.
Some people get help from a professional, for example an accountant, but you can set up a company yourself.
An ‘ordinary’ partnership is the simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together.
You share responsibility for your business’s debts. You each have accounting responsibilities too.
You must register for VAT if you expect your takings to be more than £83,000 a year. You can usually still register if your takings are less than this.
You may have other responsibilities depending on what your business does.
Check if you need:
There are also rules you must follow if you:
Check what your responsibilities are if you:
You may be able to claim office, property and equipment costs as expenses.
If you take on agency workers or freelancers you have some responsibilities, for example their health and safety.
You’ll have more responsibilities if you take on your own employees, including:
If you decide to become an employer, there are things you’ll need to do first.