You have an idea and courage to make it happen. Great! This is the first step to become a successful entrepreneur! However, there are lots of questions you may have before setting up a business. You may be worried about legal documents you will require and where to register your company.
This post will briefly explain what you need to know before starting up. For more specific advice, please do not hesitate to contact us!
1. What structure should I choose?
In most cases, a business in the UK will be a sole trader (self-employed), limited company or a partnership. Whilst being a sole trader requires less paperwork, and you may want to choose this route if you want to try your idea on a smaller scale, a limited company offers better security since you have the limited liability protection and better value in terms of taxation.
2. Can I use that name?
There are certain restrictions of what you can include in your company’s name. For example, sole traders can’t use anything implying they are registered as limited company. This includes “ltd”, “limited”, “public limited company”, “plc”, etc. You can’t suggest that you are connected with any government or local authority, or include offensive words.
Full comprehensive list of restriction in names is available on Companies House website: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/about/gbhtml/gp1.shtml#appA
3. How can I protect my idea?
The level of protection largely depends on your idea, product or service. If you have a product that is unique and innovative, you may want to apply for a patent to protect it. You may also want to protect your name and logo as trademarks (how to do it in our other blog post – link).
If your piece of work is original and fixed, i.e. written or recorded in some way, be it a song, e-book or video presentationcopyright law will automatically protect it against being used by otherswithout your permission.
4. Do I need a licence?
In some cases, you will need to apply for a licence to carry out your business. The easiest way to find out which one you need is to use Government Licence Finder https://www.gov.uk/licence-finder.
5. Do I need to register for VAT?
There is no obligation to be registered if your turnover is less than £81,000. However, you may want to sign up voluntarily.
6. Do I need to pay my National Insurance?
Sole traders are responsible for their own national insurance contributions. Depending on your earnings, the appropriate class of national insurance contributions will be applied to you (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/working/intro/selfemployed.htm). You will have to pay National Insurance for your employees as well.
7. How do I employ people?
If you need some help with your business and want to employ someone for the first time, there are six basic things you need to check. https://www.gov.uk/employing-staff . You may consider taking on an apprentice, in which case the Government support is also available http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Employers/Steps-to-make-it-happen.aspx
8. What kind of legal and business documents do I need?
We’ve got more than 150 document templates that are ready to use and come with guidance notes. If you need any help or if you are unsure about which documents you need just get in touch as we are happy to help you!
Setting up your own business may not be that complicated, it requires a bit of time to get familiar with all the legal requirements and most of all determination to succeed. We are here to help you build a successful business so feel free to email us, call or get in touch via social media!