Starting a business

Starting and running a successful business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. It can also be one of the most daunting. However, statistics show businesses that take advice during the start up phase are more likely to be successful.

Creating a business

When you start a business you must choose a structure. Most businesses in the UK are:

  • sole traders
  • limited companies or
  • partnerships

If you are a sole trader you need to register as ‘self-employed’ - this means that you are working for yourself, not for someone else. For more information on the different structures and how to set them up see:

SaGE Start and Grow Enterprise

The Growth Hub, in association with the University of Gloucestershire and the European Union are calling entrepreneurs and business start ups in Gloucestershire to get involved in the SaGE project. Wherever you are on your business journey, SaGE provides events, reviews, expert support resources and a powerful community to help grow a successful enterprise. To find out more about taking part:

Level 2 Certificate in Preparing for a Business Venture

Adult Education in Gloucestershire are delivering a highly rewarding and successful programme to help people transition into self-employment. Their ‘Level 2 Certificate in Preparing for a Business Venture’ course is aimed to help you explore and prepare a business idea and to develop the skills needed to launch a successful small business.

For more information:

Business plans, finance and funding

Having a written business plan will help you to secure finance, as well as helping you clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out your goals and measure your progress. It is a document that describes your business covering objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.

For detailed information about how to write a business plan see the:

For high quality, free advice for new businesses (including help with business planning) visit:

Young people aged 18-30 can get help to work out if their business ideas are viable, and decide whether self-employment is right for them from:

The programme offers mentoring and financial support to start a business.

Getting the right type of finance for your business is essential. There are several different ways of financing a business including loans, investment and occasionally grants. For more information see:

Business premises

Working from home

Many people run their business from home when they start up as it is convenient and saves the extra cost of renting commercial premises, for more information see:

Commercial premises

In many instances it is either not convenient or not possible to run the business from home. The Commercial property page includes details of commercial property to let, as well as business parks in the area.

If you operate from commercial premises you will almost certainly need to register for business rates unless the landlord is paying them as set out in the terms of the lease. For further information, including the possible reliefs available, see:

Food business

All premises that prepare, serve or sell food or drink must register regardless of whether or not the premises operate commercially. Registration is free of charge and can either be done online or by completing and returning a form. Failure to register is an offence. For further information see:


Many businesses need a license or permit of some kind. The Government run a Licence finder tool which acts as a guide. For further local advice see:

Further information about starting a business