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How to Start a Small Business

It's probably everyone's dream to be their own boss and leave the 9-5 rat race behind and start their own business. Most people don't get the opportunity or don't take action. In times of economic uncertainty, redundancy may force people (or provide opportunities due to additional funding) to actually realise their business dreams.

First off, see what business skills are needed to run your own business and decide what business you want to start. Once you're ready with your ideas that you believe will work and generate profits for you, see what business startup costs you'll incur.

You may want to develop effective time management skills to ensure you get your business off to a great start and ensure you achieve your overall objectives this year.

Decide on the Type of Business You Want to Start

Many people know exactly the type of business they want to start. But sometimes it's just the idea of being your own boss that attracts new business owners, and any business will do!

It's useful to think about the skills and knowledge you already have to develop and implement products and services to your prospective customers. You'll more likely to succeed in a business that you're good at and enjoy rather than learning a new trade you may not like. If you need ideas, then see the following sections.

If you don't yet have an idea of the business that best match your skills, then these top 10 profitable small businesses to start may provide you with some inspiration to get yourself going today.

Business Start-up Guides

Entrepreneurs starting their businessesThese guides provide more in-depth analysis and understanding to help the starting of a range of businesses. One of the most popular is starting an online business on the internet which is a low-cost business you can operate from home.

A popular business to start is to become a self-employed courier as you only need a van and valid insurance to begin working. The guide takes you through everything else.

If you have finance skills, then how about starting a bookkeeping business that you can operate from home.

If you have a teaching qualification or just want to look after pre-school children, many people want to start a nursery school business which requires a lot of certification but well worth it. Many an entrepreneur dreams of running their own restaurant so check out our guide to starting a restaurant business, and you too could be realising your dreams.

In these tough times, it can be difficult to get new customers and keep the profits flowing. Therefore, we have the ultimate small business owner's guide to surviving the recession that covers marketing as well as reducing costs.

Other guides on starting your business you may find helpful:

Writing a Business Plan

Structure of a business planFor any new business, a business plan is an essential document that covers the essentials of the objectives set. It also covers how you'll achieve them. Although it may seem a tough exercise to undertake, it's worth it in the long run. As many as 70% of businesses fail in their first year that didn't have a business plan.

The converse is also true that 70% of businesses that succeed after their first year had working business plans.

Get an approved method and business plan structure with guidance on how to write a business plan for any type of business. You can start to sketch out your plan instantly and then complete the blanks at a later date. There's a range of free business plan templates you can download and use now.

Business Regulations

Anyone who is self-employed must inform HMRC (the tax office) of their intentions within the first three months of trading otherwise they'll fine you £100. There are many regulations in force that you may have to adhere to whether you're a sole trader, a partnership (LLP - limited liability partnership) or have a limited company.

Self-employed taxesFor all income tax and national insurance issues as a self-employed sole trader, see this comprehensive self-employed tax advice guide that covers what you need to do to satisfy the tax office.

Just follow this guide and the videos to ensure you and your business activities are compliant for tax purposes and reduce your chances of being fined by HMRC.

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