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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Business planning

A good business plan can be a key tool for starting and running a business. The business plan turns your business strategy into a roadmap for the business, setting out what your business is and how you plan to run it.

If you need to raise financing for your business, you are likely to find that lenders or investors want to see a business plan. But even if you are funding the business yourself, you should have a plan.

When you write a business plan it forces you to think more clearly about your business idea and what your objectives are. It helps you set goals and plan how you will achieve them. And it helps you check that it all makes financial sense.

Planning isn't always easy, particularly when you face uncertainty. But even if you don't know as much as you would like, a plan is a helpful starting point. You can update and improve your plan as your circumstances change and your business grows.

How to write a business plan

If you aren't sure how to write a business plan, you may want to talk to other start-ups about how they put together a business plan. You can also look at business plan examples to see what other start-up businesses have done.

Your plan should demonstrate that you understand the market and have thought about what you are going to offer, whether you need staff or premises, and so on. The plan must include financial forecasts showing the costs and cash flow you expect and any funding you need to raise.

A simple business plan layout organises the contents of the plan and makes sure it easy to read. You may find it helpful to use a business plan template to help you prepare the plan.

Working through a business plan checklist will help make sure you are taking the right approach and have covered everything you need to.

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