Starting a Business
In England it is relatively easy to start a business.
Apart from knowing the sector you are trading in, and any particular licensing or other regulatory requirements related to it, the main things you will need to get right from the outset are –
- deciding on the legal form of your business;
- getting professional accountancy help, to setting up the accounting records, notifying HM Revenue & Customs and registering for VAT if required, and understanding budgets and cashflow.
- putting in place any contractual arrangements – including the insurances, essential to successful trading.
It is also worth knowing what steps you need to take to protect any intellectual property that you may create or use in the course of the business – for instance, copyright, trademarks, patents, designs, and confidential information.
the legal form of the business.
The first question is: are you trading alone or as a collaboration with others?
- If you will be the only owner of the business, you can trade either as a sole trader or as a “one-person company” (a limited liability company in which you are the sole shareholder)
- If there will be two or more of you, the main options will be partnership, a limited liability company or a limited liability partnership (LLP). We strongly advise people who are going into business together to put in place an agreement setting out how they will run the business, the shares in which they own (including any profits) and rules to govern what must happen if the relationship comes to end (whether upon death, retirement or due to a dispute).
Having got the relationship between the owners settled, or being ready to start as a sole owner, you may be planning to take on staff. Employment law and practice can be quite complex and, understandably, you may not wish to incur a lot of legal expense at the beginning of your venture. Fortunately, there is a great deal of help available online to help you comply with your obligations. Getting it wrong can be very costly so it is worth the investment of time to get it right.
The government website https://www.gov.uk/employing-staff and ACAS https://acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2949 provide a lot of information for employers and employees, providing access to essential documents such as contracts of employment and essential policies and procedure such as disciplinary and grievance procedures. https://acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4161.
At Pro-law we would be pleased to help you tailor these resources to the needs of your own business.
More information about setting up in business is available here: https://www.gov.uk/set-up-business