Starting and operating a business in the UK can be easy, but you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
First, you must choose a structure for your business.
Most businesses in the UK are:
- Sole Traders
- Limited Companies
You must register as ‘self-employed’ if you are a sole trader – this means that you are working for yourself, not for someone else.
Usually, if you carry on a business in the UK you’ll need to live in the UK. If your business is a private limited company, you’ll also need a registered office and at least 1 director in the UK.
For small businesses just starting out, marketing their brand can be a constant challenge, especially with so much competition. Businesses need to be visible if they are to succeed and creating brand awareness and getting their products and services advertised within their market sector can be a challenge.
One of the ways to add integrity to your corporate image is have a registered office address, where all correspondence from HMRC, Companies House and other official notices and letters will be sent. Your business address will be on all correspondence and will form part of your company image.
Having a business address that promotes prestige and professionalism, such as a registered office address in London, is advisable. Registering your new company online with Companies House takes less than three hours when using a formation agent such as Company Formations 247.
There are several steps involved in this:
Selecting a name for the company – The proposed name of the company can be searched online to check availability. People buying a ready-made company can also change the name of the purchased company to the desired name if available.
Registered Office – Every enterprise operating in the UK is required to have a legally registered office address to which communications from Companies House, HMRC and all official letters, reminders etc can be served.
Bank Account – Having a bank account is mandatory for all financial transactions.
Tax and Insurance Registration – All companies are required to register for corporation tax, VAT and national insurance and pay the taxes and contributions promptly.
Finance and Accounts – All companies in the UK are required to maintain proper books of accounts and file annual returns to Companies House within the specified period, failing which a penalty has to be paid. Hiring an accountant who can manage all the paperwork is ideal. If not affordable then such services can be availed from financial services companies.
Staff – Hiring the right staff is extremely important to execute the intended activities efficiently and accurately.
Website – If the company has a website, then all details such as company number, registered office address, contact details such as phone numbers, email address etc must be displayed.
Other things you will need to think about are:
- Your business model and strategy. Is it well-defined?
- A comprehensive, realistic and positive business plan including financial forecasts, market assessment, unique selling points and short, medium and long term planning. This is an essential document which you should use regularly to ensure your business is on track and heading in the right direction. A great business plan is also valuable when trying to attract investment and bank loans.
- Wide-ranging market research which confirms your product or service is viable, sought after and likely to lead to success.
- How you will finance the business, either by loan or individual investments (if applicable).
- Suppliers of products and resources you will need (if applicable)
- Business premises (if appropriate).
So these are the details you will need to consider before you complete the company formation process. If you have ticked every box, you should be in a good position to get your new company up and running and more importantly ensure that it continues to grow. Remember many businesses fail in the first year simply because not enough planning was done at the beginning.