Starting a business

Starting a business

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How to start a business in the UK

  1. Check that you can legally go about starting your own business in the UK. …
  2. Write a business plan. …
  3. Decide on your business legal structure. …
  4. Choose a business name and address. …
  5. If you are a UK entrepreneur setting up as a Limited Company. …
  6. Register with HM Revenue and Customs.

If you’re planning to join the community of UK entrepreneurs and launch a start-up business of your own you will need to join the company register UK and develop your business ideas to suit your target audience. This guide offers tips to those looking to become self-employed in the UK.

Being self-employed in the UK is fairly common with around 15% of the workforce registered as self-employed. If you have moved to the UK from overseas, self-employment in the form of starting up a business, UK, or becoming a freelancer is something you might want to consider.

This guide will cover the main points of starting a business in the UK and look at the different types of legal structure for UK companies. It will also cover topics such as the situation for sole traders and freelancers in the UK, levels of taxation, and employing foreign staff.

1. Check that you can legally go about starting your own business in the UK

You’ll need to make sure that your immigration status allows you to work as a freelancer in the UK. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, this may mean ensuring that you have the necessary visa and residence permit. See the below section on business visas for more information.

2. Write a business plan

UK entrepreneurs need a business plan. This will help you determine whether your business ideas for the UK are likely to succeed and be sustainable. You’ll need to research the market and also prepare budget forecasts. You can download business plan and cash flow forecast templates from the UK government website here.

3. Decide on your business legal structure

Do you want to become a sole trader, partnership, limited company, or just a freelancer? See the below section on UK business types for details.

4. Choose a business name and address

If you’re a sole trader, you can just use your own name if you want. You’ll need an address for when it comes to registering your UK business for tax purposes and joining the company register in the UK. Only limited companies need to register their name, although others can register as a trademark to stop anyone else from trading under the name. (You can use an online self-employed tax calculator UK here.)

5. If you are a UK entrepreneur setting up as a Limited Company

You will need to appoint directors and a company secretary, work out your shares and shareholders, write your memorandum and articles of association, open a separate bank account and register for corporation tax.

6. Register with HM Revenue and Customs

You will need to register your UK business with HMRC for tax purposes. Limited Companies need to register with Companies House at the cost of £12 (online) or £40 (post).

7. Check if there are any additional rules for your type of start-up business UK

Depending on the nature of your UK business, there may be additional requirements, such as:

  • licenses or permits (e.g., to sell food or alcohol, play music, or trade in the street)
  • insurance
  • rules to follow if you buy or sell goods abroad or store/use personal information

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