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We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.


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.

Protecting your intellectual property - checklist

The trade marks, patents and other intellectual property (IP) in your business can be valuable assets. Learn how to protect IP from being exploited by others.

  • Track your existing intellectual property. This can include innovative ways of working, product designs, services, company names, domains and brands, bespoke databases and software
  • Ensure employment, freelance and consultancy contracts clearly state your ownership of all intellectual property developed for you.
  • Use patent searches early in the development of new products and processes to check whether they are already protected by someone else.
  • Keep a log of evidence recording the development of intellectual property: for example, dated and signed copies of drawings and drafts which can act as evidence of ownership in the event of any future dispute.
  • Keep new inventions secret until you have decided whether their commercial viability justifies the cost of patent protection.
  • Consider alternatives: for example, rapidly capturing a market niche to discourage competitors.
  • If you need to disclose your ideas, consider using a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Consider filing an initial patent application to give you the time to develop or sell the idea. Contact a patent agent for advice.
  • Contact a trade mark agent for advice on trade mark searches and registration to ensure that any trade mark you develop is properly protected.
  • Take advice on the extra steps needed to protect your intellectual property internationally.
  • Maintain protection for patents (for up to 20 years) and trade marks while the commercial case remains by paying renewal fees as necessary.
  • Identify your designs (for the shape or appearance of a product) which are automatically protected by design right.
  • Consider whether new designs for the appearance of part or all of a product are worth protecting with stronger design registration.
  • Identify materials which are automatically protected by copyright. Add the copyright symbol, your name and the creation date to emphasise it.
  • Enforce your rights by identifying breaches and pursuing offenders, but think carefully before initiating uncertain and expensive legal action.

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