February 21, 2024

Trusted Consult Insights

Growing Innovation, Growing Business

How to start a business in the UK

4 min read

5. Plan your advertising strategy

Now you’ve sorted your finance, it’s time to think about how you’re going to attract customers and grow your business.

When it comes to advertising a new business, you’ll need to consider marketing, branding, and how you’ll balance online and offline promotion.

Here are a few of our top tips:

  • do competitor research – competitor analysis helps you understand the market, set your prices, and find a way to stand out
  • build a social media presence – social media is a great way to showcase your brand’s personality and tone of voice, connect with customers, and even sell your products with tools like Facebook Shops and Instagram
  • create a website with SEO – optimise your website for search engines so people can find your business and understand the products or service you offer
  • send emails and newsletters – a simple and cost-effective way to keep in touch with your customers and boost sales

  • use flyers and print marketing – a tangible way to reach potential customers

  • network at industry events – get to know your industry and make connections at virtual or in-person events

6. Buy your new business insurance

The type of business insurance you’ll need depends on your business. Whether you have an online shop or deliver a service, you can tailor your cover and protect yourself from the costs of everyday risks like accidents, damage and legal fees. You can also add specific covers if you need to protect stock or tools.

You can select from a range of covers:

7. Work out what you need to do for tax

Running a business comes with legal and accounting responsibilities, so it’s important you’re clear on what’s involved. There’s a £1,000 tax free allowance, but after that you’re legally required to register with HMRC or Companies House.

Sole traders need to:

Limited companies need to:

One of the benefits of registering as self-employed is you can claim back some of your expenses and reduce your tax bill. Our guide on self-employed tax deductible expenses goes into more detail on the expenses you can subtract from your business turnover when working out how much tax you need to pay.

And a good way to test your business venture without as much financial risk is to start a business alongside full-time employment – but make sure you understand everything about paying tax when you have a side hustle first.

You may also be able to recoup some of the tax you pay with new business tax relief, such as business rates relief and VAT relief.

Finally, be sure to keep up with all the self-employed tax changes that are introduced in April each year.

8. Create a system for keeping business records

After you’ve worked out what you need to do for tax, it’s important to stay organised so you can meet your tax obligations at various points throughout the tax year.

If you don’t have a record-keeping system, you’ll spend a lot of time sorting paperwork when you have to do your Self Assessment – valuable time that could be spent running your business, or on relaxing and recharging. Read more bookkeeping tips here.

Firstly, it’s a good idea to keep your business and personal finances separate. That’s because allowances like tax-deductible expenses can only be for business purposes – it’s much harder to separate money coming in and out when you’re using one account.

Many of the major providers offer a business bank account – here are some of the best.

What’s more, there’s lots of software available that can make record-keeping much easier. Software can do tasks like create and send invoices automatically, and monitor your income and outgoings:

Finally, you’re required to keep business records for a number of years. If HMRC asks for them, accurate and organised business records can help keep you out of trouble in the event of a tax investigation. Read more about how long to keep tax records.

9. Maintain your business with support guides and templates

For more resources on running your business, from conducting a business health check to hiring employees, explore the support guides and templates below.

Finally, our SME Insights Report has data on business confidence and optimism, so read that to understand the challenges that businesses are facing.

Are you starting your own business? Let us know how you get on in the comments.

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