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How to start a business

Despite the best efforts of programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, starting a business remains a dream for many. Although not totally without its drawbacks, starting your own business can bring great satisfaction, too, as our interviewees will attest.

If you’re amongst those brave souls willing to take the leap into self-employment, you’re probably wondering how to get started. With that in mind, and with the crisp January air fresh in our nostrils, here are all the i’s you’ll have to dot, and all the t’s you’ll have to cross to get that business going…

1. Choose your legal structure

We’re constantly wittering on about the differences between Sole Traders and Limited Companies, and as an aspiring startup these are among the choices available to you as a legal structure. Generally, those two are the most popular amongst freelancers, but there’s also the possibility of operating as a Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership, should these structures suit you better.

Each of these structures come with their respective pros and cons, so explore these thoroughly before opting for your choice.

2. Register your business

Your choice in step one will impact here, each legal structure altering the registration process.

Registering as a Sole Trader is the simplest, this only requiring that you choose a business name and register for Self Assessment. Once this is done, you’re all. In contrast, registering as a Limited Company is a little more complex as there’s a few more hoops to jump through.

That said, it can still be done relatively quickly – incorporating online or via an agent taking a mere matter of hours.

3. Think about insurance

While not necessarily a legal requirement (although it is in some industries – something else you’ll need to check out!), it’s probably worthwhile exploring the different insurance options available as, despite involving an initial outlay, some investment here can save you considerable cash.

Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers’ Liability insurance are the options you’ll most likely need, so consider your options and see which insurance policies will fit you best.

4. Stop reading this

In terms of the initial paperwork that’s about it – get out there and get building your business!

Photo by tableatny



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