HomeA to Z RulesBusiness and Finance › Detailed Guidance for Setting Up in Business
Starting In Business and Self-employment

There are various reasons for 'going it alone' and setting up in business. Follow the basic steps of business setup and your new venture could be even more successful. Important topics covered in this section include a step by step guide to starting a small business and suggestions for achieving growth for established companies.

SET UP IN BUSINESS: More people think about starting out on their own as unemployment rises.

The first step is coming up with a viable business idea. The next step is learning how to avoid the common mistakes that startup businesses can make.

You need enthusiasm and commitment to turn a pipe dream into a reality. But, good business planning is also essential if you want to make a proper go of it.

Successful entrepreneurs often say starting a small business feels like climbing a mountain. It looks a daunting prospect at the beginning. But, focusing on each step along the way will help you achieve your goal and reach the top.

HMRC offers free online training on commerce, small business setup, and self-employment. This guide also gives you practical advice on how to keep work records and fill in a tax return.

There is further information on what you must to do if you start employing workers as your trade increases.

Guide to Setting Up a Small Business

Starting a Business

Setting Up

There are several important steps to carry out when you first set up a business. But, the primary task of what you need to do is to choose a legal structure and then register the business.


Being classed as a sole trader means you are working for yourself and self-employed. You would need to inform HM Revenue and Customs and follow the rules for running a business.

Sole Traders

The process to set up as a sole trader is quick and easy. But, you would need to register with HMRC before running a business as a self-employed proprietor.


Two or more people can set up a business partnership and register it with HMRC. Naming the company and filing tax returns is part of setting up a business partnership.

Start Up Loans

You can apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan online. Currently, these unsecured personal loans range between £500 and £25,000 to start or grow your business.

Note: The ultimate business loan guide written by “Know Your Money” has more information about the availability of funding for growing businesses.

Growing Your Small Business

Build Up a Business

The basic ground rules of building a successful business should get you moving in the right direction. Check out 10 rules for building a business to keep you going forward on the right track.

Business Growth

So, you launched a startup and looking for some help to grow your small business. These key areas are crucial for growing a business and achieving significant growth.

Employing Staff

If you are new to employing workers, or taking on staff for the first time, this guide is your business savior. Follow these 7 simple steps of hiring when you start employing people.

UK Powerhouses

Entrepreneurial businesses are the driving force of dynamic growth. Read how 5 simple steps can help to create an economic powerhouse and keep Britain’s businesses at the heart of finance.

Note: There are several good reasons to write a business plan. Professional business planning helps you attract funding. The document is a formal statement of your commercial goals and expectations.

Competition Law

Knowing how to avoid and report anti competitive activity is vital for your business. Check common types of anti-competitive behaviour and how to report concerns to the CMA.

Social Enterprises

A help guide for anyone planning on starting a social enterprise in Britain. It explains how you can start a business that helps people or communities, such as co-operatives and CICs.

Unincorporated Associations

VOLUNTARY GROUPS: As a rule, the purpose to set up an ‘unincorporated association’ is not to make a profit. Instead, it is an agreement between a group of people who get together for other reasons (e.g. a voluntary group or a sports club).

Note: Unless you make a profit, there is no need to register an unincorporated association and they are free to set up.

Starting Up in Business and Self-employment Guide