Everything you need to know to
get your idea off the ground

For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Business law

Business laws and regulation exist to provide a framework in which commerce can thrive while protecting the interests of all involved. Legislation is designed to stop businesses from being harmed by the illegal acts of competitors, customers, suppliers, employees and even government and to ensure businesses themselves treat their employees, customers and others fairly.

Complying with business law

Complying with every rule and regulation might seem intimidating if you're about to start up a new business. For obvious reasons, some types of business and sectors are more heavily regulated than others.The information on this website is intended purely as an overview of key laws that apply to small firms. If ever in any doubt, seek professional legal advice.

Many businesses will need to start off by looking into the licences and registrations they might need to operate legally. Making sure your business is properly insured is essential to protect yourself, your staff and customers. It is also important you take into account the health, safety and environmental regulatory regime. You must also comply with discrimination legislation (see below).

You'll also need to know about intellectual property (IP), which includes protecting copyright, trade marks or designs - and ensuring you're respecting other businesses' rights. There are even legal restrictions about naming a business.

If you retain hard copy or electronic information/data about employees, customers or suppliers, you must have their consent and only use it for the purpose for which it was obtained. To comply with the Data Protection Act, the information must be accurate, current, kept securely and should only be held as long as necessary. Learn more on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Employment law

Taking on staff is a key moment in any new business and there are rules you must follow when recruiting, interviewing or dismissing employees. Find out what you're legally obliged to do when you take on staff, including contracts and other employment regulations, in our Employment section.

If you're about to start up, it's a really good idea to read through our employment law resources to make sure you're aware of what will apply to you - now and as your business grows.

Find more information about employment law on the Acas website, or contact your local Trade Association or Enterprise Agency.

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to our lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.