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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.

Small business vacancies reach new high

24 May 2022

As the number of small business job vacancies soars above 500,000, a new study has investigated what small business owners are looking for in their next employee.

Small business job vacancies have hit a record high of 575,000, up by 72% from the same period last year. With unemployment at a 50-year low of 3.7%, it suggests that there may be more roles than people to fill them. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a record number of people are also moving between jobs as they seek out the best terms and conditions, driven by the rising cost of living.

For small firms, recruiting the right candidate is vital; a new study has found that business owners say personal attributes are more important than qualifications and professional skills. Research conducted by iwoca has found that honesty is the top attribute that small business owners are looking for when hiring (cited by 44%), followed by a good personality (38%).

Other key attributes that business owners are looking for include:

  • A skill set that matches the job description (37%);
  • Experience in a similar position (37%);
  • Good verbal communication skills (34%).

However, just 6% said that they look for candidates with undergraduate degrees. Getting hiring right is essential for future success according to business owners; one in six (15%) say poor hires prevent future company growth and one in ten (11%) say it leads to fewer sales.

The research suggests that one way to ensure your new hires meet their potential is by offering them the opportunity to work from home. Of those businesses that offer flexible working, nearly half (42%) said that flexible working arrangements had a positive effect on productivity, compared to just 7% who said it had a negative impact. Millennial business owners are more likely to offer working from home than older generations by eight percentage points (43% compared to 35%).

Seema Desai, chief operating officer at iwoca, said: "Small businesses employ over two-thirds of the nation's workforce. Some of the perceived barriers to applying for a job, such as having a degree, might not be as high as some job seekers think they are. Our research reveals the importance of strong personal skills when applying for roles, and the importance of hiring to the future growth of any business."

Written by Rachel Miller.