The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Company Registration

Essential Steps to Set Up a Business

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 choose a legal structure and then register the business.

SETTING UP: When it comes to career options, few are as rewarding as starting up your own business.

That said, working for yourself and becoming self-employed is also a real challenge. But, there is no shortage of help and advice available.

When you set up a business you can get expert help with planning and specialist training courses.

Note: In some cases you will need licences and business insurance.

This section explains how to get reliefs and benefits when you first set up a company. But, we recommend you get professional advice if you need funding for any start-up costs. The Prince's Trust offers financial support through The Enterprise Program.

So the essential question has to be: What do you need to do to set up a business? In short, it all depends on three main factors. What type of business you are starting, where you are working, and do you need to take on staff to help you?

How to Register a Business?

There are various possibilities for registering a business and ways of being self-employed:

Sole Trader Business

As a rule, the process to set up as a sole trader is simple and quick. But, sole traders are personally responsible for any debts associated with their business. That means, working as a sole trader incurs some bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities.

Limited Company

Forming a limited company means its finances would be separate from your personal ones. But, it would increase your reporting and management responsibilities. That can put many people off setting up limited companies.

You can set up a private limited company yourself. That said, in most cases you will need help and advice from a professional accountant.

Business Partnership

Starting a partnership business is a simple way for 2 or more people to run it together. In this case, all partners would share the responsibility of any company debts. You will also have accounting responsibilities like those of sole trader businesses.

Note: If you set up a business partnership the partners would 'personally' share responsibility for the operation.

Rules for Different Business Setups

The kind of responsibilities you have depend most on what the business does. In some cases you will need:

Other rules for different business setups include situations where you are:

The Place You Work From

When you set up a business, you must check what other responsibilities you may have in cases whereby:

As a rule, you must pay business rates when you rent or buy a property for running day-to-day operations. But, when you start up a small business operation you can apply for small business rate relief. In fact, some startup businesses may pay no rates at all.

Note: Check to see whether you would be able to claim expenses if you're self-employed for any equipment, the office, or a property.

Rules for Taking on People to Help

There will be extra obligations if you take on agency workers or freelancers to help. You would also be responsible for taking care of their workplace health and safety.

If You Become an Employer

When you start employing staff for the first time there will be other things to take care of. You need to carry out certain obligations to avoid breaking employment rules and regulations.

As a rule, some of the extra responsibilities and obligations you might have could include:

Further Help When You Set Up a Business

Where can you get further help with setting up a business in the UK? The government website provides details via a business support helpline page. If you are working after State Pension age you may need to pay tax on it.

Set Up a Business: A Simple Guide for Starting a Company