Running your business

How to set up and run
your business

Use our at-a-glance guide to see some of the key steps you need to consider when starting and running your business. You’ll find tips and tools to make your business better from people who know what it takes.

Get your idea off the ground

1. It's all about you

You are what drives your business – from your first idea to your first sale, and every other milestone you hit along the way. And because it’s people that make businesses work, it’s important to think about you and the community you’re creating.

Set your business mindset

Join our community of entrepreneurs

Boost your business with our specialist support


2. Do your research

Have you thought about who your competitors and customers are, or where your business will trade? For your business to succeed, you’ll need to do some market research so that you’re sure you’re offering something that people want.

A guide to market research

Learn about your customers

Find the right home for your business


3. Plan everything

A business plan is a document that sets out your ideas and goals and says how you’re going to reach them. It’s also the place to put your strategies, sales and financial forecasts. Your plan is what can convince a bank to lend you money, or investors to invest. It’s the backbone of your business.

How to write a great business plan

Build a stronger business (PDF)

Get set up

4. Register your business

This is an important step in the legal set-up of your business. You’ll need to think about what type of business you’re registering (sole trader, limited company or partnership), and your responsibilities as a business owner when it comes to things like business rates.

Government guidance for registering your business on Gov.uk

Learn about business rates


5. All the admin

Get your business off to a great start by opening a business bank account. (We might be able to help with that.) Can you manage your own accounts, or will you need to think about hiring an accountant? Business finance can be pretty admin heavy, but there are people and tools to help you make life easier.

Our start-up bank account for new businesses

Do you need an accountant?

Accounting software that can help you

Grow your business

6. Do your sums

Money, money, money – it’s probably the thing you think about most when you’re running your own business. Common money-related questions include thinking about where it comes from, where it goes, and how can you make more of it. Find out more about ways to get investment and take out loans.

How to create a cash flow forecast

Make investors back your business

Our business loans and finance options


7. Adapt your ways of working

As your business grows you may need to consider all sorts of things that didn’t cross your mind when you started out. Employing staff, paying them and day-to-day management all need lots of thought.

How to hire people

Stay connected with your customers

Take payments online


8. Plan for your future

Collaborating with other businesses, expanding your network and learning from other people can all help your business grow. We’ve got specialist programmes to help you and your business succeed.

Support to build your business

Specialist help for women in business

Local support to help you grow

Start-up business help

Whatever stage you and your business are at, we can help. From advice and guidance to communities and products, we’re there for you and your business.

Anything else we can help with?

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