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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.

Getting a grant - checklist

Your business might be entitled to claim a grant if it carries out eligible projects or operates in a particular area. Here's how to identify a scheme and apply for grant funding

  • Identify potential projects you plan to undertake which might attract grant funding: for example, training, innovation, relocation or job creation.
  • Contact sources of information on grants you might qualify for: for example, your local business support organisation or trade association and grant websites.
  • Make sure you have funds available to invest in the project; grants typically only cover 15–60% of the costs of any project.
  • For large projects and grants, consider using a consultant. Negotiate their responsibilities and fees carefully.
  • Identify the key constraints of potential grants - how much funding you will need to provide and what the project must achieve (eg job creation).
  • Contact the administrator of appropriate schemes for guidance on the funds available, whether you might qualify and how to apply.
  • Assess whether it is worth applying: consider your chances of success, the time and effort of completing the application, and when you might get any grant funding.
  • Check whether undertaking any preliminary work on the project will adversely affect your chances of receiving a grant. Most grants are for projects which are not already under way.
  • Establish timescales; check whether there are closing deadlines for applications, how often funds are granted, and when the next round of applications will be considered.
  • Submit an application, typically including a project description and plan, details of how your project meets the scheme's objectives, and give costings.
  • For some schemes, be prepared to submit a more detailed application if you get through the preliminary application process.
  • Sell your project - emphasise the project's benefits, why you need the grant, and how your background and expertise will make it a success.
  • Wait for the decision.
  • Check any conditions the grant provider imposes: for example, any targets you must reach before payments are made, how the money can be spent and what records you must keep.
  • Check the payment schedule and plan your cash flow and financing to cope with any payments made in arrears.