The Steps You Need to Know to Start A Business

The Steps you Need to Know to Start A Business

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New businesses are registered daily in the UK. In 2021 alone, there were over 750K of them registered in the country. It’s a burgeoning market for start-ups and businesses out there. However, even though making it all official is a crucial step in getting started, it doesn’t ensure success. Only 40% of companies survive over the first three years. Why? Because launching a profitable business demands thorough planning and preparation.

Before you begin, you must have done some solid groundwork outlining your concept and unique value proposition (UVP), how you intend to organise and promote your business, and how you will manage its finances.

In this blog, we are providing a checklist for Starting a Business in the UK. We will lay out easy-to-follow steps to start a business from scratch and hit the ground running!

Try Out Your Business Idea

Your business idea should address an issue that people have, close a market gap, and add value over the long run. This is the first step to what is needed to start a successful business. Have a think, what problem does your idea solve, or what need does it fulfil?

Your business idea should address an issue that people have, close a market gap, and add value over the long run.

Start by doing a SWOT analysis to determine the viability of your idea. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats constitute a SWOT analysis.

Try Out Your Business Idea

You may find the aspects of your organisation that are doing well by doing a SWOT analysis. These are your crucial success elements, and they provide your company an edge over the competition. You can ensure that you preserve these strengths so that you don’t waste your competitive edge. Finding strategies for utilising and enhancing these strengths is necessary for business growth.

SWOT analysis can also help you analyse your weaknesses that make your business less competitive than others. You may recognise these features and reduce or enhance them before they become an issue. It’s crucial to be honest while performing a SWOT analysis regarding your business’ flaws so you can effectively address them.

Develop A Brand For Your Business

Your market research will reveal how your rivals are positioning themselves. Utilise this information to establish a distinctive brand.

Your company name and logo are the two primary identifiers at this initial stage of the process. Later on, further branding components might include a webpage and marketing materials.

Your business’ name and logo are what give life to your vision.

Your business’ name and logo are what give life to your vision. Utilise our Business Name & Domain Search Tool, which has a catalogue of all names out there and is designed to help you secure your business name and domain. It’s critical because the name serves as an initial and lasting impression of your business. Being original and true to yourself and having a brand aligned with your own views and beliefs will position your business for success.

Create A Business Plan

This step is crucial towards setting up a business, whether in the UK or elsewhere. An overview of what you’re going to accomplish and how you’re aiming to do it may be included in a business plan.

It helps you concentrate on the direction your business must go in order to accomplish its objectives and persuades others that your business is a wise investment, which is especially crucial if you want to position your business to attract investment or raise finance.

Your business plan should include dedicated space for a Business summary, Business idea, Marketing and sales strategy, Management structure, Business Operations, and Financial projections. It is important to keep the reasons why you set up your business and your aims in mind when writing a business plan. It is good to review a plan yearly and this is a great way to focus your analysis.

Select A Structure For Your Company

To Start a Business in the UK, you need to register it first, and for that, you need to know the legal requirements. Below is a list of the different legal structures a business can take when being formed.

Sole Trader- a person who works by themselves and owns and manages their own business. You retain all of the earnings after taxes, and registration is free. It is the most typical business form for individuals who operate alone, such as freelancers, designers, and artists.

Limited Company (LTD)- This is a business that has a distinct legal status from its owners and directors, it is a completely separate entity. As the business goes into contracts and accrues corporate obligations, it reduces your personal accountability. This implies that you are not forced to sell personal property to pay off debt since the money you make belongs to the corporation and must be withheld as a wage and/or dividends.

Partnership- Like a sole trader, except both the partnership and the individuals need to register for self-assessment. If one partner goes, the partnership must end.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)- In regards to registration and accounting, it is comparable to a private limited corporation, but liability is divided among partners.

Determine Costs And Financing Sources

In your business plan, you will include the expenses related to launching and maintaining your business. To determine precisely how much you’ll need to spend, it’s important to take a step further and categorise these charges.

Stock, premises and business rates, licences and insurance, promotional materials, financial and legal advice, taxes and national insurance, office material like stationery etc., are a few of the initial expenditures to consider.

Knowing precise costs will allow you to explore the funding sources accordingly. For more on this, read our guide to financing a new business in the UK.

Learn About The Relevant Rules And Regulations

About a third of small-to-medium companies (SMEs) see red tape as a hurdle to success. However, things don’t have to be this way. The knowledge you need to get beyond these hurdles may all be accessed for free online.

The business section of GOV.UK website provides comprehensive information on all you need to know. While some of it may not be applicable to your business, the majority of it will. Knowing this information prior to making a business transaction is essential for your success as well as to prevent a fine or other severe penalties.

Obtain a License or Permit

You might need to get a licence or permit in order to conduct business lawfully in the UK.

Finding out what sort of licence you require is the first step. The Licence Finder on GOV.UK can help you with this. You can use this tool to locate the appropriate person within your local government.

The sort of licence you’re seeking, as well as any associated fees, will determine the cost of your licence. You might additionally need to provide documentation of an accredited qualification to get the licence or permit.

Determine Your Workplace

If at all feasible, consider starting off by working from home since commercial properties are a significant expenditure. This is a simple choice if you’re beginning a digital business such as graphic design or freelance writing. This may enable you to save on commercial lease and business rates. On your tax return, you’ll also be allowed to deduct a portion of household expenses, including energy, heating, lighting, broadband, and council tax.

If you are unable to work from home, using a co-working facility or shared business centre may help you save expenses. This also entails affordably hiring a desk or tiny office space inside a bigger establishment.

Determine your workplace

Start Marketing Your Business

Out of all the steps to setting up a business, marketing can make or break your business in the end. Therefore, before investing any significant money in creating or maintaining your unique value proposition, it’s a good idea to validate it. This way, you can be certain that when you debut, your offerings will appeal to and be purchased by your target market.

Marketing can make or break your business

It’s pretty common for business owners to launch into marketing their business and spending hefty sums on their branding and marketing collateral. It’s therefore incredibly important that you ensure that you’ve done your research ahead of this and your logo, branding and name isn’t infringing on any other business’.

Make sure to utilise our business name registration service for the UK to rule out any potential infringement of intellectual property.

It’s ideal if you already have a following as a result of creating pre-launch content. However, it’s totally fine if you don’t. The moment to develop one is now.

You may promote your company in a variety of methods, including word-of-mouth promotion, networking events, advertising in local publications and online, among many others. Digital marketing is now often the most effective way to get consistent results. More than half of marketing executives’ overall budgets were spent here in 2022. It goes to show the value of marketing in realising business goals.

Get Adequate Business Support

Even though starting and owning a business in the UK is exciting, the daily grind may be demanding. It is reported that a third of business owners look for guidance and information on managing their operations on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, about 40% of business owners sought out strategic experts to aid with expansion.

Finding the correct assistance can be essential for overcoming obstacles and avoiding potentially expensive errors.

Fortunately, expert counsel and business assistance are widely available. Start.Biz offers comprehensive assistance towards setting up a business.

At Start.Biz we help prospective and existing business owners with start-up packages and other services which support them and their business as they look to grow.

Summary

  • Use a SWOT analysis to try out your business idea.
  • Make sure your business name, logo and overall branding are good and unique.
  • Create a business plan that includes a Business summary, Business idea, Marketing and sales strategy, Management structure, Business Operations, and Financial projections.
  • Choose a structure for your company. This could be Sole trader, Limited company, Partnership, or Limited liability partnership
    Make a list of all your potential expenditures and figure out the source of funding for them.
  • Research the relevant rules and regulations for your business.
  • Check whether you need a licence or permit for your business type.
  • Determine whether you are going to work from home, lease a dedicated space, or get a place in some shared facility.
  • Market your business and establish a following. Use digital and traditional marketing methods.
  • Draw upon the services of a professional business support provider. It will make things a lot easier for you.

Get Your Business Off the Ground by Following These 5 Rules

Get your Business off the ground by following these 5 rules

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Establishing your own business may be thrilling and difficult at the same time. You need to consider several things, like a good Business Plan, a budget, costs, regulations and more. In this article, we go through our checklist of 5 things to consider and to help Get Your Business Off the Ground.

Considering this checklist before starting your business may help to reduce the risks and challenges later on therefore giving you the best chance to position your business for success!

Do Market Research

Market Research will help you create a winning Marketing Plan. It is among the key factors that make market research crucial for businesses that wish to make informed judgments.

Market Research will help you create a winning Marketing Plan.

You must be aware of the needs and preferences of your customer base if you want your offerings to be well received as a way to grow your new business. You may get key facts about your competition and current products or services via Market Research. The outcomes give you information about the prerequisites of being impactful in the market.

By helping you to decide on product features, prices, and promotions up front, Market Research contributes to reducing risk. Additionally, it helps concentrate resources to where they may have maximum utility and gives you a plan to build on.

Get Adequate Funding

Access to Finance for your company is a big deal, it is arguably the most important thing if you intend to Start a New Business. You must accurately pinpoint the resources from which you can obtain capital for your company. Additionally, it is preferable to have a strategy in place in order to effectively manage a business’ budget.

Refer to our Business Finance & Funding FAQ’s page for some common funding-related questions.

Raising capital can be the largest obstacle to getting things off the ground. If you aren’t self-funding your business, you’ll need to seek out alternate ways to raise money and often business owners use several options together to launch their business.

Loan

Business loans might not be possible here as you may often not have a business’ accounts to loan against, and as a consequence you may need to look at Personal Loans to start off with. A modest loan can help you get going much more quickly, especially if you’re purchasing expensive equipment.

It makes sense to shop around, given the high-interest rates right now. Draw upon different loan provider estimates and compare them to get the best offer with an affordable payback schedule.

Grants & Other Options

There is often some grant funding available for those wanting to start their business so this is worth researching well.

Other options may include Crowdfunding, Angel Investments, Incubators etc. To know more about this, read our detailed separate blog on the subject.

It’s worth adding that it’s always a good idea to acquire accounting software in order to organise and keep track of finances and do cost calculations through revenue predictions before participating in any early-stage financing rounds. However, with Making Tax Digital (MTD) applying to all tax payers who file self assessments with income or turnover over £10,000 by April 2024 it is now vital that business owners have compatible MTD software to send digital tax returns.

Create A Business Plan

The steps you must take for the launch and growth of your business are laid out in the Business Plan. This document is crucial for giving your business a focus, attracting the right professionals, and maintaining financial health. A New Business Startup Plan assures that you present your business in the best possible light to others who are assessing it, so be sure to keep such a plan on hand and be prepared to provide it upon request.

The steps you must take for the launch and growth of your business are laid out in the Business Plan.

Spend some time preparing the essential elements, such as:

  • Your statement of purpose, objectives and aims of the business.
  • A synopsis of your company.
  • A list of the goods and services you offer.
  • A review of the potential competition currently on the market at the moment.
  • A list of the company’s decision-makers and a brief profile of each.
  • Financial Plan, so people who look over it can see the opportunity.

Many entrepreneurs skip over competitor analysis, a crucial part of developing a Business Plan. However, it could come back to hurt you in the future.

Finding a niche in the market and understanding your rivals’ strengths and shortcomings in relation to your own is the focus of competitor analysis.

It’s important to analyse competitors because:

  • You will learn how to improve your own business strategy with its assistance.
  • It will explain how you may outperform your rivals in these areas to maintain customers’ interest.
  • It will give you a strategic advantage over other businesses in your industry.

Have The Right Tools

Making the right business software purchase is vital for boosting operational effectiveness. It is a key component as you build your new business. Buy the software tools early so you can achieve your company objectives quickly.

Here are some of the best software packages that SMEs have to take into account:

best sme softwares

Quickbooks – It is a good choice for bookkeeping and accounting software. Accounting software installation will guarantee that you are in control of your funds right away.

Xero – Is another cloud-based accounting software product allowing business owners to manage their finances. It has additional reporting and accounting tools to quickbooks but can be viewed as more complicated because of that reason.

Iris – It is an effective payroll software and is important for paying yourself or your employees.

Wix – It is recommended for website building. A website may serve as the public face of your whole company, especially for modern startups. Therefore, choose your website builder carefully because it will probably affect your subsequent actions.

WordPress – Is an alternative software for website building. It is preferred by some due to its SEO qualities and has plugin features and templates.

Shopify – It is a good eCommerce building tool to complement your online retail goals.

Monday.com – Is a CRM software that promotes faster sales processes that may increase brand loyalty and exposure. It is advised that you implement a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system as soon as possible if your company will be engaging in any type of transaction.

HubSpot – It is a marketing software for developing and growing the brand. We advise using some type of marketing software to get started on building your brand’s awareness and attracting clients.

In addition to all these software packages, there are certain tools that you can access online for free, especially before setting up your business. Our Business Name & Domain Search Tool is one such source. It can help you easily sort out intellectual property questions related to your business name.

getting help

Get Professional Help

Entrepreneurs can never be experts in every aspect of running their new business. As the saying goes, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Therefore, making use of the expertise of seasoned professionals is useful to ensure that you get off to a good start. Help on the front of how to manage a small business, the legal and financial nuances, and a range of other things can go a long way towards your business goals.

Ensuring that your business is legally compliant is vital, therefore advice to ensure you are protected and carrying out all processes legally should be prioritised.

We sometimes think that seeking legal advice is only necessary when legal problems are at the door. Being proactive and putting in place preventive legal planning might be the greatest approach to put your company on the right trajectory.

When you seek legal advice after you’ve encountered an issue, it’s usually already too late or might have a serious negative impact on your company in the immediate and long term.

When you seek legal advice after you've encountered an issue, it's usually already too late.

By helping you steer clear of danger before you ever get into it, investing in legal professionals early on in the life of your company pays off handsomely.

An accountant and bookkeeper are other wise choices for a business to invest in. It can be particularly difficult for one person to manage every area of a business, and this is one area that can be easily outsourced and by doing so may not only give you more oversight as to your cashflow and profitability. It should also ensure that you’re abiding by the relevant laws and paying the correct amount of tax along with advising you on what you may be able to claim as expenses or claim back such as research and development.

Community organisations and mentors can also offer valuable advice and professional knowledge. They may urge you to examine your progress in order to get knowledge and advice regarding the path of your organisation. Their input may also assist you in avoiding costly blunders.

Entrepreneurs can usually locate regional businesses or community groups on internet social networks. This doesn’t mean you have to always pay out regularly for this help, by networking and meeting other business owners it’s likely that you will gain a sounding board for your business.

It is worth bearing in mind that some of this professional help could be in the way of training, having some training on how to amend your website rather than having to pay each time. A bookkeeper may offer training on how to use the accounting software to allow you to use it to its maximum efficiency.

Next Steps

By considering our checklist above you will be well-positioned to have success in your business venture.

At Start.Biz, we provide step-by-step help to businesses and help them get off the ground in the best way possible. We have a team of experts who cover all business frontiers and stand ready to help you realise your business goals!

Summary

  • Do market research. Be aware of the needs and preferences of your customer base to decide on product features, prices, and promotions up front to be able to reduce risk.
  • Raising capital is a crucial component of launching a business. If you aren’t self-funding your company, loans, grants or other sources may be useful.
  • Create a Business Plan that includes a statement of purpose, a synopsis, a list of goods and services, a review of the market, a Financial Plan, and profiles of the company’s decision-makers.
  • Small business software purchases boost operational effectiveness. Some of the best software packages include names like Quickbooks, Xero, Iris, Wix, WordPress, Shopify, Monday.com and HubSpot.
  • Consider employing or outsourcing for professionals such as Accountants, Bookkeepers, Website Developers.

How to Check If Your Business IP is Protected from Competitors

How to check if your Business IP is protected from Competitors

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Any unique ideas and creative works created by an individual or organisation fall under the umbrella of Intellectual Property (IP). In the past, the question of how to get Intellectual Property Rights and safeguard these rights wasn’t a huge concern. However, with information being simpler to acquire and disseminate nowadays thanks to technology, protecting your works from copycats and competitors has become crucial. Social media has propelled some small businesses which would ordinarily have been great local businesses to be successful businesses both nationally and worldwide.

It is now more important than ever to ensure that your business’s IP is protected from competitors. Here are a few ways to check that you are doing all you can to do this:

Get Copyrights, Trade Marks, Registered Designs and Patents

By registering Intellectual Property Rights in the UK, businesses will be better placed to negotiate for cross-licensing and counterclaims while also securing protection for their research and development processes. A company can use IP Rights and registrations to block rival products, discourage new competitors, and open up the market for future market share thanks to technical developments.

A company can use IP Rights and registrations to block rival products, discourage new competitors, and open up the market for future market share

There are several different types of Intellectual Property Rights, and each one includes the ability to sue if a third party violates them. Some of them include:

Get Copyrights, Trade Marks, Registered Designs and Patents

Copyrights

These are a kind of IP that defends original works of writing or creative expression. For literature, artwork, drawings, or a mix of these things created by a company, Copyrights may be licenced. Within the UK copyright protection applies automatically, for example once content is written that is protected without any further steps necessary.

Trade Marks

These tend to be a business’s trading name, brand names, icons, or logos which are employed to identify the goods or services of a firm. A Trade Mark is anything that serves to distinguish a collection of items, commodities, and services as coming from the same owner or source, including names, words, signatures, texts, emblems, paintings, figures, inscriptions, photographs, and advertising. A brewer may Trade Mark its Trading name and logo but then also each individual beer they brew therefore creating sub-brands.

Patents

Patents are often used to register innovations and items that are special and not commonly known to the wider public. Inventions and creations within the pharmaceutical industries are good examples of where Patents need to be registered. To secure a Patent, technical details regarding the innovation must be made available to the public via a Patent application.

Registered Design

Design Registration helps protect the appearance of a product, such as its shape or pattern. It is what gives the product its unique appearance. Registering your design makes it easier to prove that the design is legally yours. Examples are particular shapes of chocolate, bottles or bags.

An IP Audit, such as what Start.Biz offers, can go a long way towards reviewing the status of your IP and helping you figure out the right way forward. For more on this, read our prior article.

Create Comprehensive Confidentiality Agreements

It is also a great choice to enlist the aid of a legal representative when creating non-disclosure legal clauses, which must be precise and explicit. Make sure that every other contract you employ in your business contributes to the protection of your Intellectual Property. Contracts for services, licensing, and distribution are some examples. If you produce artwork, others may wish to licence your work to use on their own products or merchandise, it is important that you invest well in getting the right advice in these areas to ensure what is drafted is fit for purpose to protect you and your business’ IP.

Consult Professionals in Intellectual Property

For assistance with searches and licensing, speak with an IP expert like Start.biz to make sure that any IP you produce is properly protected. Many business owners spend lots on their logos and branding but:

  1. Fail to either ensure that it is truly unique to start with and not infringing on anyone else’s IP
  2. Or they don’t protect it by registering a design or Trade Mark where they can, which therefore allows others to copy their name, work, logo or brand and can result in an entire rebranding exercise being needed which is time-consuming and costly.

Protecting your business’ IP may be done in order to prevent others from imitating you, to add value to your company, or to sell or licence to a third party. Protecting your business’ IP adds to your brand and the authenticity of your business as a whole.

Avoid Co-ownership of IP Rights

Try to avoid shared Intellectual Property Rights where possible. The ability to use your rights is always in your best interest. Co-ownership of IP Rights over time may result in misunderstandings and legal problems that endanger the security of these assets, harming all parties concerned. It is important to really consider who should own the IP when registering these, should it be the Limited company or should it be the owner of the company. This becomes particularly important when additional shareholders join a company or if they are sold.

Co-ownership of IP Rights over time may result in misunderstandings and legal problems

Punish Those Who Violate IP Rights

You can’t afford to go soft in business. Keep your Patent, Trade Marks and Registered Designs secure, and defend your legal rights by reporting infringements and bringing legal action against offenders when necessary. There are many legal cases which have resulted in the profit earned through the infringement of IP being paid to the owner of the same IP.

Have Awareness Training for Employees

As is frequently the case, people are the weakest link in the chain of protection. Because of this, an IP security approach that ignores staff training and instead exclusively depends on digital firewalls and Copyrights will fail. If awareness training is customised to the IP assets that a particular group of employees must safeguard, it will help in resolving and preventing potential Intellectual Property infringements. Also, the majority of the time, a company’s Intellectual Property is compromised through error or ineptitude. Make sure the employees are aware of the ways they could mistakenly expose IP. This is particularly important with registered Design and Patents and when they are in the process of being developed or registered. We’ve heard of ‘leaked’ emails and information by staff both current and former.

Gather Proof of Your Intellectual Property

Quite frequently, competitors find out about an idea through leaks and apply for a Patent claiming it as theirs. As a result, you’ll need to demonstrate that you are the legitimate owner. This can be done by keeping a record of the evidence that shows how Intellectual Property Rights have changed, like dated and original copies of drafts. This is also the case for Copyrights. Although in the UK these are automatic, if there is a dispute over whos work something is and one party has dated draft documents and other evidence of the final work coming together they are more likely to be able to succeed in claiming their ownership of that IP.

Get Your IP More Exposure

The best and safest approach to protecting your Intellectual Property is to be the first to apply to register it, where registered design, Patent or Trade Mark. Aside from this, another typical method to guarantee that your IP is acknowledged as being yours is to publish and quote it widely and credit it to your company’s name. The more exposure your IP receives, the more support it will get.

publish your ip widely

Make Investments in IT security

Technology and the internet are used to conduct almost all business today. This has a benefit in that it could encourage an operation’s development, dynamics, and success. However, the use of technology in business also has drawbacks, particularly if your company’s IP is kept in a system that can be hacked, corrupted, or is directly connected to the internet.

Therefore, it is necessary to adopt strong security measures inside your company’s IT infrastructure. These may consist of (1) encryption of data, setting up password security for all computer networks, creating Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, and using VPN.

It is necessary to adopt strong security measures inside your company's IT infrastructure.

Define Your Copyright Policy Clearly

To direct and inform the public on what is appropriate and inappropriate regarding your IP, you may develop your own policies. Although you won’t necessarily be legally protected this way, you may instruct individuals on how to distribute your information properly.

Simply create a list of acceptable and unacceptable ways to use, share, or reproduce your work. Give them rules about what they may do without your written consent and what they should get your consent for.

Register Your Company, Product, or Domain Name

By registering the company, product, or domain name connected to your intended IP, you will further safeguard your ownership of it as well as your identity. To make sure you aren’t choosing a name already in use by someone else, use our Business and Domain Name Search Tool linked below.

search business name

Even if you’re only beginning the planning process for your firm, it will still be beneficial to reserve these names so that nobody else comes up with a similar idea and creates complications.

Your brand includes your company name, your logo, your products and your domain names. It could even include the typography used throughout. Registration will be beneficial even when you are the sole owner with only your name to go by. Additionally, you will have the legal protection that separates your company and Intellectual Property from you personally.

In Closing, it is paramount that businesses to create and implement a plan for their operations, especially when it comes to how IP is handled. Intellectual Property is one of the most valuable assets that you may have, it needs to be safeguarded and managed. The important thing is to take a multifaceted approach, as detailed above, so that you can remain ahead of your competitors at all times.

At Start.Biz, we know how to protect an IP and make it a simple process. We have worked with all kinds of businesses and have the experts to help you with it. Reach out to us today to get the protection you need and realise your business goals!

Summary

  • A company can use IP Rights and registrations to block rival products, discourage new competitors, and open up the market for future market share thanks to technical developments.
  • Enlist the aid of a legal representative when creating non-disclosure legal clauses and licence agreements.
  • For assistance with searches and licensing, speak with an IP expert to make sure that any IP you produce is properly protected.
  • Attempt to avoid shared Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Keep your Patent and Trademarks secure, and defend your legal rights by reporting infringements and bringing legal action against offenders when necessary.
  • If training is provided to staff to raise awareness to the IP assets that a business has, it will help in resolving and preventing potential Intellectual Property violations.
  • Keep a record of the evidence that shows how Intellectual Property Rights have changed, like dated and original copies of drafts.
  • Publish and quote your IP widely and credit it to your company’s name. This will give it more exposure and prevent others from claiming it.
  • Adopt strong security measures inside your company’s IT infrastructure.
  • To direct and inform the public on what is appropriate and inappropriate regarding your IP, develop your own policies about acceptable and unacceptable ways to use, share, or reproduce your work.
  • By registering the company, product, or domain name connected to your intended IP, you will further safeguard your ownership of it as well as your identity.

Why Business Process Outsourcing Makes Sense

Why Business Process Outsourcing Makes Sense

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Many companies, from Dynamic Start-ups to Large Enterprises, like to outsource non-core business functions in today’s hyper-connected world. These kinds of services are widely offered by Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) enterprises.
In this article, we will tell you everything there is to know about BPO.

What is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

When an organisation contracts a third-party entity to do some business activities, this is referred to as Business Process Outsourcing. Utilising BPO services is meant to assist companies in achieving their objectives while lowering operating expenses. BPO companies may assist with both front- and back-office tasks. BPO can be used by a company for client-facing tasks, including outbound or inbound sales, data input and analysis, and customer support. Human resource management, finance, and help desk support are examples of common back-office outsourcing.

Paying an external organisation to sort out your accounting needs, for instance, saves you from having to hire internal financial employees to handle payroll. In this theoretical situation, your company would benefit from skilled, experienced financial management at a significantly cheaper cost than hiring in-house accountants. Your internal team may therefore focus on important projects that will help your company expand instead of the time-consuming administrative burden of managing workers.

Commonly Outsourced Business Processes

Benefits of Business Process Outsourcing

Let’s look at a few benefits that outsourcing may provide!

Cost-Effectiveness

If a company wants to keep expenses under control, outsourcing could be a better option than hiring for certain positions directly. This is especially true if a company only sometimes needs a certain service (like legal help).
Budgeting the right way is another way to bring costs down. You can find more in our previous blog about it.


Efficiency in Time

Efficiency is the name of the game. Some businesses might save money and time by utilising a BPO service provider. It may be possible to save time by looking to an established BPO business that already has the necessary skills.

Some businesses might save money and time by utilising a BPO service provider.

Businesses can easily manage the highs and lows of work thanks to Business Process Outsourcing. When business is booming, the BPO provider can allocate several employees, who can then virtually do nothing when business is slow. Businesses that see these trends would be wise to make sure their BPO provider has no minimum expenditure requirement in order to prevent bill accumulation during slow times. Some BPO’s have a low ongoing retainer, others you can contract on and off.

Scalability

Scalability is another important advantage of BPO. Businesses can raise or reduce their productivity as needed when they outsource certain operations. This enables firms to scale in accordance with their present demands and long-term goals.

Effective Resource Use

When employees require specific skills, employers frequently expand the scope of their job descriptions. For instance, marketing professionals frequently find their work veer towards PR in reaction to business needs. However, this has a detrimental effect on the business’s capacity to manage its marketing. In this case, hiring a BPO business to handle PR will ensure the effective utilisation of the available marketing resource.

Multilingual Services Provision

Customers demand and expect service in their own tongues. If doing so requires hiring multilingual full-time personnel, not every firm can afford to do so. Therefore, one benefit of the BPO sector is that it can affordably make multilingual help available to businesses.

Increased Expertise

BPO services are experts in their own field. BPOs can supply an upgraded solution that is much beyond what a business could manage to provide in-house, whether they offer legal skills, financial experience, or marketing expertise.

BPOs can supply an upgraded solution that is much beyond what a business could manage to provide in-house

Adherence to Standards

Businesses that must follow particular standards can find it simpler to engage professional BPO services to assure compliance, regardless of whether it is regulatory or quality compliance.

Risk Reduction

A BPO can be used by businesses to reduce their risk in regard to financial or regulatory problems. For example, a BPO in charge of managing payroll or creating a company’s accounts is accountable for producing correct data and guaranteeing adherence to applicable tax and social security regulations.

Primary Goals

By utilising BPO services, organisations may spend less time on activities that divert attention from their primary objectives. After all, their initial motivation for starting their business was to maintain that concentration. It is best if they could give it more focus. Allowing them to concentrate on what they are good at and enjoy the most. This can ensure we avoid the phrase ‘Jack of all, master of none’ does not apply to them and their business.

Rapid Reactions

Even in the best of times, dealing with shifts in client demand may be challenging. A BPO organisation is frequently able to assist a business to adjust more effectively and easily when the speed of those shifts increases, for instance, as a result of an outside situation like COVID-19.

Tech Access

BPO services that excel in offering particular services will have access to the most recent technologies. This might refer to anything, including expensive financial software and effective email marketing tools. As a result, the business employing the BPO service has access to cutting-edge technology without being required to pay for it directly.

BPO services that excel in offering particular services will have access to the most recent technologies.

How to Pick a Good BPO Provider

The next thing you need to know is what are the steps in Business Process Outsourcing. Finding the ideal provider for you is the next step once you have decided which BPO service to outsource. There are a number of Business Process Outsourcing companies out there, and making a pick might be difficult due to the abundance of services. Here is what you should consider:

pick a good BPO provider

Evaluate Your Needs

Start by thinking about the qualities you seek in a provider. What particular services do you require? How much can you spend? Do you prefer a local or international provider? What value do you place on industry experience?

Conduct Research

When you believe you have figured out your requirements, it’s time to perform some research. This goes beyond just perusing internet reviews. It’s crucial to chat with the supplier personally in order to get a feel of their general skills. In some cases you may know other clients of the BPO company, speak to them, get a feel of what they are happy with and what they may like to be done differently.

Compare the Providers

There is no uniform solution, and each provider has unique strengths and shortcomings, so this can be challenging.
The most crucial thing is that you choose a provider who shares your goals and values. Spend some time evaluating several providers to determine which ones give the services you require at a cost you can work with.

Make the Final Choice

Make sure you’ve gathered these essential details before making a final call:

  • Costs
  • Expertise in your sector
  • Compatibility with your existing systems
  • Quality control procedure
  • Contract-specifics

How-to-pick-a-good-BPO-provider

Concluding Thoughts

BPO can handle all of your administration and customer support-related needs, freeing you up to concentrate on your primary company objectives.

It’s crucial to conduct research before selecting a BPO provider because several variations of these companies are available. Find a business that has a solid reputation and can offer the services you want at a cost you can afford.

BPO is an excellent way to advance your company. You may concentrate on your strengths and more effectively expand your business by outsourcing the work that does not necessarily have to be done in-house.
Remember you do not need to do this all at once, you can add BPO companies one by one at a time when the business can finance this so try to list your priorities in terms of external expertise and go from there.

At Start.Biz, we help you figure the best solutions for Business Process Outsourcing. Reach out to us today to optimise your business operations and realise your goals!

Summary

  • When an organisation contracts a third-party entity to do some business activities, this is referred to as Business Process Outsourcing.
  • Outsourcing could be a better option than hiring for certain positions directly for cost-effectiveness.
  • It may be possible to save time by looking to an established BPO business that already has the necessary skills.
  • Businesses can raise or reduce their productivity as needed when they outsource certain operations.
  • Hiring a BPO business to handle PR will ensure the effective utilisation of the available marketing resource.
  • Multilingual Services Provision
    BPO can affordably make multilingual help available to businesses.
  • BPOs can supply an upgraded solution that is much beyond what a business could manage to provide in-house..
  • Businesses that must follow particular standards can find it simpler to engage professional BPO services to assure compliance.
  • A BPO can be used by businesses to reduce their risk in regard to financial or regulatory problems.
  • With BPO, businesses spend less time on things that divert attention from their primary objectives.
  • A BPO service helps a business evolve to client needs quickly.
  • BPO services that excel in offering particular services have access to the most recent technologies.

8 Less Conventional Ways to Fund Your Business

Less Conventional Ways to Fund Your Business

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It can be challenging to Plan and Launch a New Business, and you’ll probably need to get funds for the business. People typically find the Business Funding Process to be incredibly stressful and quite draining.

Getting funding is one of the difficulties in starting a business, especially a smaller one.
Fortunately, the landscape of financing for a new business is continuously evolving and is beginning to provide entrepreneurs with more alternative funding choices.

Do not let funding hold back your business goals. There are many options you may not have thought of in terms of your funding to start a business:

Self-Funding

Before you explore how to get funding for a new business of yours, the first step is to look at your own financial situation. One of the best sources of funding is your own money. You will be able to fully take control of your company’s financial transactions this way and present a more promising picture. If you have committed your own money, you will also be better able to persuade other investors of the viability of your Business Idea. It will help minimise the perceived risks for investors and open up more avenues of funding. After all if you aren’t backing yourself how do you expect others to.

If you have committed your own money, you will also be better able to persuade other investors of the viability of your Business Idea.

Crowdfunding

Over the past few years, crowdfunding has become very popular. You may be curious about how crowdfunding operates. The way it generally works is that you must first provide accurate and comprehensive information about your new company on the crowdfunding site. If your clients or customers back the concept of your Business Idea, they will provide you with the cash. You will need to express the goals and purpose of your business as well as how much profit you plan to generate annually or monthly, why you started this specific business, and much more.
There are four distinct kinds of crowdfunding, and the key difference is what you provide your investors in exchange for their money:

crowdfunding

Equity Crowdfunding

This is based on the premise that you give up an interest in your business in exchange for money. This means you can raise a lot of money, but you’ll have to be very transparent about your business and cautious about what portion of it you give away.

Crowdfunding with Rewards

This is generally about incentivising your backers by selling the products or services you’re selling at a relatively lower price.

Peer-to-peer Crowdfunding

Peer-to-peer crowdfunding is similar to receiving a Business Loan from a group of investors with the understanding that you would have to pay interest on the loan.

Donation-based Crowdfunding

Donation-based crowdfunding allows you to get funds without needing to do anything in return. However, this generally applies to businesses that help out local communities and so is perfect for Charities or Community Interest Companies.

Community Development Finance Institutions

It’s understandable if you don’t know about CDFI. They happen to be a very obscure feature of the UK financial system.
The term “CDFI” refers to Community Development Finance Institutions, which are ethical lenders who assist businesses they lend money to.

This includes financing at competitive rates, so CDFIs aren’t exactly cash cows. In fact, many of them run on a non-profit model and depend on donations from the Government, wealthy individuals, and Philanthropists.
Funding from a CDFI may be an excellent option for your company if you want a Business Loan but are unable to be approved by a commercial bank. Use the search feature on the Finding Finance website to explore what CDFI possibilities are available to your business.

You can also find UK Government Business Finance Support online.

Home Equity

Another way of financing for a new business is through Home Equity. Your home’s equity can be used as security for loans, allowing you to borrow money. Due to the presence of collateral, you will be able to formally promise to repay the loan within a set period of time, and if you are unable to do so, the Lending Institution will be able call the loan in as they may have a charge against your property, this means unless you can find the funds elsewhere a forced sale of your property can be completed to allow the institution to recoup its loss. Although this is a risky operation, there are specific rules that both you and the lender must follow.

You can find more about loans and borrowing in our Step-by-Step Guide to Financing a New Business in the UK.

home equity

Friends and Family Loans

If getting funding for a business is leading you to dead ends elsewhere, there is always friends and family to help raise a one-time investment for your new company.

According to research, family members and friends of the entrepreneur spend money on their Business Initiatives three times more often than Angel Investors. Although asking for a loan from friends and family can be awkward, you must have some trust in both yourself and them. This leap of confidence from you is required. To get them on your side, you may show them your company strategy along with a Cost-Benefit analysis of investing.

The secret to ensuring that a family loan doesn’t result in any uncomfortable situations down the road is to make sure the conditions are clear, and there is a suitable agreement that can be pointed to afterwards. The two parties must acknowledge their shared risk by signing an agreement, which is a requirement in many nations. Startup Enterprises are typically risky, and you, your friends, or even your family may lack relevant experience. This is why it is advisable to work with a lawyer to prepare the Loan Agreement.

According to research, family members and friends of the entrepreneur spend money on their Business Initiatives three times more often than Angel Investors.

Retirement Funds

You can use some of your Retirement Funds to invest in your new business. It’s likely to be helpful to talk to your friends and family about your intentions before you do that. You must also get expert advice from licensed accountants and lawyers. They will assist you in knowing more about the business Startup approach and the risks you will have to accept. You must exercise caution even though it may occasionally appear attractive to use retirement assets to make investments in your company.

Business Incubators

There are several organisations out there that are willing to assist a new business in obtaining funding. Business accelerators, also known as Incubator Programmes, support the growth of Startup companies by providing seed capital in return for an ownership part in the company. Incubators offer mentor programmes, networking possibilities, and the necessary funding.

Incubators offer mentor programmes, networking possibilities, and the necessary funding.

Business Grants

There are often Business & SME Grants available that tend to be match funded so will require you to put in a certain percentage of funding and then a funding source with match it with another percentage. The Business Grants available can vary on location and the type of business you wish to start but it is always worth looking into this as part of your research both before starting and during the set up of your business. There will be lots of different criteria that apply and this will vary with all available Business Grants depending upon who the lender is and what the purpose of the grant is. Your local Growth Hubs are a great place to start when looking at this along with the UK Government Grants.

Bank Overdraft

Anyone who has ever had a bank account is likely familiar with how an overdraft operates. It’s basically a way to continue spending (and entering negative numbers) after your balance reaches zero. Interest will, however, be levied on the negative amount.

Similar to a Personal Overdraft, a Business Overdraft is tied to your business bank account, and the rate of interest you pay is determined by the financial health of your company.

Overdrafts may be arranged or unarranged. When you and your bank agree on a certain sum, you can overdraw and the associated fees that come with it, this is known as arranging. Unarranged Overdrafts occur when you don’t notify your bank and often incur astronomical fees as a result.
They may also be secured or unsecured. A Secured Overdraft is secured by property owned by your company. If you are unable to repay the overdraft, the overdraft may be secured by your company property or car, for instance. Such terms do not apply to Unsecured Overdrafts.

When it comes to financing your business, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The ideal option for you will hinge upon the stage your company is in and the use you want to make of the financing.

At Start.Biz, we help you navigate the funding landscape to start a business. Reach out to us today, and we will help you get the funding you need to realise your business vision!

Summary

  • One of the best sources of funding is your own money. You will be able to fully take control of your company’s financial transactions this way and present a more promising picture.
  • Crowdfunding is another avenue to explore. If your clients or customers back the concept of your Business Idea, they will provide you with the cash.
  • Funding from a Community Development Finance Institution may be an excellent option for your company if you want a Business Loan but are unable to be approved by a commercial bank.
  • Another way to finance your new business is through Home Equity. Your home’s equity can be used as security for loans, allowing you to borrow money.
  • You can raise a one-time investment for your new company from friends and family. According to research, family members and friends of the entrepreneur spend money on their Business Initiatives three times more often than Angel Investors.
  • You can use some of your Retirement Funds to invest in your new business. You must exercise caution even though it may occasionally appear attractive to use retirement assets to make investments in your company.
  • Business accelerators support the growth of Startup companies by providing seed capital in return for an ownership part in the company.
  • Similar to a Personal Overdraft, a Business Overdraft is tied to your Business Bank Account and may be used for funding in certain situations.

Legal Requirements You Need To Know To Start a Small Business in the UK

Legal requirements you need to know to start a small business in the UK

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It can be challenging and confusing to understand all of the legal requirements for Starting a Small Business. One of the major concerns has to do with hiring employees and being aware of the laws and regulations for a business to meet employment regulations in the UK.
In this article, we want to put your concerns to rest by outlining the measures for consideration when Starting a Small Business in the UK.

Intellectual Property refers to Intellectual Assets, Ideas, Patents, Trademarks, Copyright etc.

Name Your Company

Your first job is to give your new company a name and make it distinctive. You can be accused of trying to present your company as another if the name is too close to one of an already existing company. Therefore you should do your research when selecting your business’ name.

Start.Biz has a unique Business Name Search Tool which allows you check whether the name of the business you want to use has already been registered with Company’s House, it also allows you to check various Social Media Handles, Domain Names and allows you to see what email addresses are available.

Companies House is a typical place many go to check whether the business name they want has already been taken, but it must be remembered that this does not cover the work of Sole Traders and Non Limited Businesses. There are also some words that are sensitive terms that are unable to be used when forming a company. It is also good practice to also complete a Trade Mark Check to ensure your business’ name hasn’t already been registered as a trade mark as you may be infringing someone else’s IP before you even start.

Start.Biz is on hand to assist in this, either through the tool or by contacting our team we are able to ensure the business name you register is not a copy of someone else’s business and no infringement of trade marks is taking place.

Register Your Company

You must officially register your business in order to start trading. You need to decide which business structure—Sole Trader, Partnership, or Limited Company—best meets your goals. It can be intimidating to launch a small business, but once you’re registered, the possibilities are endless!

It can be intimidating to launch a small business, but once you're registered, the possibilities are endless!

For more on this, read our Ultimate Guide to Registering a Business Name in the UK. It lays out in detail how you can pursue Business Name Registration or Trade Mark Registration.

Obtain a Licence

For certain enterprises to operate lawfully, the local government must provide a licence. Hotels, hair salons, street vendors, boarding kennels, and restaurants are a few examples.
To find out if you need to register or receive a licence, get in touch with your local government and ask to talk with Local Planning or the Building Control Office.

Get Insured

Once you’ve established your company, it’s vital to safeguard it in case something goes wrong. This is where insurance comes in.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

All companies with employees are required to have employer’s liability insurance. This is to shield you against any disputes an employee could bring after experiencing sickness or injury while working for you.

Commercial Motor Insurance

If staff need to use vehicles, commercial motor insurance is also required. You might also need to apply for licences if you sell food or perform music.

Public Liability Insurance

This covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with your business activities, for example, personal injuries or the loss or damage to property.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

This is mandated by law for certain professions, such as those of architects, attorneys, and some healthcare providers. This takes care of the price of any compensation granted to clients for losses or damages brought on by poor service.

Employing People

When the question is to describe the legal obligations of a small business, employing people is the front where much of it applies. If you plan to hire people, you must ensure that you abide by all applicable employment laws. You need to ensure that you are undertaking or setting up the following:

Icon Row

Perform Applicant Screening

It is your legal obligation as an employer to confirm that all potential employees are eligible to work in the UK. You can also be required to undergo a DBS check, often known as a criminal records check, depending on the industry you work in. If you and your company don’t, you might be subject to a civil fine.

It is your legal obligation as an employer to confirm that all potential employees are eligible to work in the UK.

Register with the HMRC

After hiring your first employee, you typically have four weeks to register with HMRC. Any taxes and National Insurance contributions must be withheld from your staff members’ salaries by you. If you don’t make the necessary preparations, you’ll also be accountable for paying any outstanding business or employee taxes at the year’s end.

Ensure Minimum Wage

The national minimum wage must be paid to all employees for all hours worked. Each employee’s age and position do, however, affect their pay.

Auto-Enrol in Pensions

Employers are required to enrol all eligible employees in workplace pension plans. There are a number of things such as age or hours worked/salary earned which may make an employee ineligible but this needs to be looked into on a case by case basis. There are many pension plans that either demand that you or the govt match a certain amount of each employee’s pension.

Employment Statement

All employees who will work for you for more than a month must have a formal statement of employment from you. Within eight weeks of their date of joining, employees must receive this statement that outlines the terms of their employment, including the hours and salary. In addition, staff should receive a contract. You can do so by integrating it to the statement of employment. Their rights, obligations, and working circumstances are specifically described in the contract.

Health and Safety

All businesses are expected to give their employees a safe place to work. A formal, documented health and safety policy is required if you employ more than five people. This covers a safe working environment, safe entry to the workplace, safe work processes, safe use of tools, safe worker relationships, and protection against injury hazards.

Create Internal Legal Documentation

Making internal legal documentation is one of the key requirements to start a business and a way to give your customers, workers, and possible investors trust in your company.

internal legal documentation

Privacy Policy

The current GDPR requirement in place mean that you need to ensure you have a Privacy Policy. Describe how your customers’ data will be gathered, utilised, kept, and safeguarded in your privacy policy. It ought to specify whether sharing of any personal information could be necessary.
Small firms are also legally required to protect employee information and to lay out a clear plan for its usage. The best approach to safeguard data is to store it in HR software. To guarantee that your employees are fully informed of how their personal data will be held, for what reason, and how long it will be retained, have a transparent Privacy Policy and make it accessible and up-to-date.

Company Manual

You will probably update and add to your company manual as your firm expands. In essence, it is a book that summarises how you run your firm. It must always be accessible to the workforce; you may either provide each employee with a copy or keep it easily accessible in another way for review. It may include:

Mission Statement

The mission statement should outline your company’s history, goals, and desired outcomes.

Rules of Your Business

Your company’s rules, together with any other company-specific regulations, are often extensions of any additional legal requirements. This might include things like responding to calls, desk policy beyond work hours etc.

Ensure Equal Opportunity

Employers are not permitted to discriminate against any employee based on protected traits like race, age, gender etc. There are several points in the hiring process when businesses might unintentionally slip up, so it’s critical to get knowledgeable about discrimination laws right away and ensure that you do not fall foul of them!

Employers are not permitted to discriminate against any employee based on protected traits like race, age, gender etc.

Don’t let legal obligations overwhelm you.

There is a lot to consider, so this may all seem overwhelming, but I hope this information will help you prepare and fulfil your legal requirements. It is preferable to begin small while keeping the overall vision in mind. To stay focused on your original goals, keep returning to your standard business strategy.
Visit the official UK govt website or get in touch with a legal professional immediately for help or advice if you ever have concerns or questions about certain legal obligations. Good luck with your business endeavours!

At Start.Biz, we help businesses get things set up. So, reach out to us today for all your business needs–legal or otherwise–and let’s position you for success!

Summary

  • Research potential names to ensure no infringement.
  • Register your company and give it a distinctive name.
  • Obtain a licence if your business is required to have it.
  • Get insurance coverage to mitigate possible risks. This may include employer’s liability insurance, commercial motor insurance and professional indemnity insurance.
  • When employing people, perform a DBS check, register with HMRC, ensure a minimum wage for employees, auto-enrol in pensions, provide an employment state that may possibly also include the contract, and set out a health and safety policy.
  • Create internal legal documentation, such as a privacy policy and a company manual.
  • Lastly, ensure equal opportunity.

How To Prepare For And Carry Out An IP Audit

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Intellectual Property (IP) rights are increasingly the most valuable and effective tool for businesses in today’s demanding and competitive commercial environment in the UK. Intellectual property refers to intellectual assets, ideas, patents, trademarks, copyright etc. The proper administration of IP rights provides a launchpad for a firm to get ahead. Conducting IP Audits is thus necessary to create a successful and efficient Intellectual Property Asset Management System and to evaluate the company’s current and future intellectual assets. These audits would provide information and recommendations for a methodical approach to the management, protection, and use of intellectual property.

Intellectual property refers to intellectual assets, ideas, patents, trademarks, copyright etc.

What Is An IP Audit?

An Intellectual Property Audit program in the UK identifies IP assets, evaluates their legal status and valuation, and identifies methods for protecting and monetising the said assets. It is a systematic, exhaustive, and solution-focused evaluation of the IP that a UK business owns, utilises, or acquires. An IP Audit can be made to measure to business’ unique requirements, and it often has two main goals:

  1. To foresee and manage risks associated with a business’s IP portfolio and
  2. To allow informed business decisions to be made in relation to IP strategies that help maintain and improve its competitive position in the relevant markets. – You can read more about it in our previous blog.

Is an IP Audit necessary?

It can be an uphill battle for businesses in the UK that are not experienced in the complex IP laws to effectively identify and employ their intangible IP assets as a tool: to achieve their goals, establish a space in the market, and maximise the business’s value, growth, and success.

An IP Audit can assist in achieving business objectives such as:

  • Recognising and keeping track of the company’s IP assets
  • Enhancing the company’s IP asset security
  • Increasing both current and future value
  • Erecting a functional IP administrative framework
  • Estimating the current and future value of IP assets
  • Identifying and managing possible dangers in the future.
  • Identifying and fixing any issues with the IP chain of titles
  • Encourage innovation and creativity
  • Designing a plan to provide protection in important markets
  • Identifying the IP-related advantages, disadvantages, strengths, and dangers.
  • Creating a plan to increase the value of IP assets leading up to a future sale, merger, acquisition, growth, financing, capitalisation, or liquidity event.
  • Cutting expenses

 

What are the types of IP Audits?

There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to IP Audits. This is because they are customised to the unique requirements and goals of a firm, but they may typically be divided into three groups: (1) General-Purpose IP Audit, (2) Event-Driven IP Audit, (3) Limited-Purpose IP Audit.

General-Purpose

New businesses or those thinking about establishing new IP rules, standards, or processes employ this widest sort of IP Audit.

It is also appropriate for businesses making significant organisational changes, such as new marketing strategies.

Event-Driven

The term “IP due diligence” is another name for this kind of examination. It’s used to evaluate the risks and value propositions of a company’s intellectual property assets. Event-driven auditing is frequently used before engaging in a financial deal involving IP (such as an initial public offering), when introducing a new service or product, when thinking about IP licensing, and in situations including bankruptcy and layoffs.

Limited-Purpose

The scope of this IP Audit is the smallest one. It is contextual in type and frequently utilised to support a legal stance or the estimation of a specific intellectual property asset. It can be used in situations like overseas IP filings, engaging in e-commerce, avoiding infringing on third-party copyright content, litigation planning, and IP Law changes.

Magnifying Glass

How to prepare for an IP Audit

It is crucial to establish clarity about the audit's goals, available resources, and strategy before starting the audit process.

It is crucial to establish clarity about the audit’s goals, available resources, and strategy before starting the audit process.

how to prepare for an ip audit

Purpose

Making sure you understand the goal of the IP Audit is the very first step in planning one. This entails deciding the audit’s type and relevance as well as its time and financial budget. The execution of the audit and its result will be significantly impacted by these decisions.

Research

Compile as much necessary data as you can about your IP assets’ relationships to internal and external relationships, your business plan, other assets, your present IP management position, any ongoing IP issues, and connections to your company’s finance.

Plan

An audit plan outlines the business areas that will be examined, the audit’s scope, the time frame, the budget, the duties and assignments of the team, and the format of the final report.

Checklist

The likelihood of omitting one or more important phases in the auditing is reduced by a thorough checklist. Every checklist is customised to the kind, size, location, and audit scope of each particular organisation. Every individual on the audit team will utilise the checklist.

Contracts

Any agreements that might significantly affect intellectual property should contain adequate, relevant clauses that can be identified and evaluated. These cover contracts for R&D funding, employees and contract workers, joint ventures and partnerships, licensing, and projects.

How to Carry Out an IP Audit

The required preparatory stages are followed by four primary processes that make up the IP asset audit:

how to carry out an ip audit

Inventory

The first phase entails a straightforward inventory activity where all intangible assets are listed, and each is given a brief description. This highlights any discrepancies in the utilisation of these assets and specifies how they are being used.

Ownership

This phase involves determining if all the assets included in the inventory are, in fact, held by your business and, if not, by whom. Where you have ownership of assets, the next step is to determine the kind of ownership (sole, shared, licenced, etc.).

Infringement Check

In this stage, you collect information on any assets that your company owns that may be vulnerable to infringement by third parties, as well as any assets that your company does not own but that may be violating the rights of other parties.

Plan of Protection

This stage highlights possible changes to policies, procedures, and IP management practices and discloses any flaws in the legal, regulatory, and administrative processes associated with the management of IP assets.

What to Do After the IP Audit?

cost benefit analysis

The next step is to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining IP rights for the assets you have identified.
Protect your IP to protect your business and take action in areas of the market you want to dominate. Once you’ve secured IP rights in the UK, you’ll need to keep an eye on and strategically employ these assets to further your business’s larger commercial goals. This should be supplemented by routinely reviewing trademark and patent databases to keep yourself updated on the actions of rivals and other relevant parties.

At Start.Biz, we help make IP audits a complete breeze and position businesses for success. So, get in touch with us today for all your IP needs and let’s take your business to the next level!

Summary

An Intellectual Property audit program identifies IP assets, evaluates their legal status and valuation, and identifies methods for protecting and monetising the said assets.

Conducting IP Audits is necessary to create a successful and efficient Intellectual Property Asset Management System and to evaluate the company’s current and future intellectual assets.

An IP Audit helps identify and assess IP assets and foresee and manage risks associated with a business’s IP portfolio.

IP Audits are of three types: (1) General-Purpose IP Audit, (2) Event-Driven IP Audit, (3) Limited-Purpose IP Audit.

In preparing for the IP Audit, the first step is to understand the goal of the IP Audit. This is followed by researching relevant data about the IP assets, a plan about the audit’s scope, timeframe, and budget, and lastly, contracts that cover things like funding, licensing, R&D etc.

There are four primary processes to carry out an IP Audit. These include listing the assets as part of the inventory, determining the ownership of each asset, checking for infringement, and finally, planning for protection by addressing the management of IP assets.

After completion of the IP Audit, the next step is to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining IP rights for the assets you have identified.

UK Trade Mark Registration Guide To Get Started

UK Trade Mark Registration Guide To Get Started

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Trade Mark registration in the UK does not have to be a hassle, and there are many advantages once completed. It ensures that when you go on with your day, you have peace of mind knowing that your brand and business name are protected, whether you’re forming a limited company or registering as a sole trader.

Registering a Trade Mark offers you a level of protection. This blog will examine what registering a Trade Mark is and what the benefits are of doing so.

What Does Trade Mark Registration Mean?

You could find it easier to protect your company and brand if you Trade Mark its features such as your business’ logo, company name or even the names of your products or brands within your business.
Your level of brand control will increase, allowing you to sell or licence it as you see fit. If someone uses your branded items without your permission, you are able to ask them to stop doing so and have the option to initiate court proceedings against either the person or business that is doing so. In effect, suing them for doing so. In order to stop others from utilising the Trade Marked name, you may also place the ® sign next to it. This sends a warning to others that you own the Trade Mark and that others are not able to use this.
Find more about Trade Mark Registration in our other blog.

What Can You Register?

When looking at how to register a Trade Mark, you first need to know what you can actually register. UK Trade Mark law is fairly clear on this question. Your Trade Mark can include text, logos, images, and more, but it must be simple to recognise. However, you are not permitted to register derogatory phrases or pictures, and your Trade Mark cannot represent a summary of the products or services you offer. You are also prohibited from Trade Marking any deceptive statements about your company or unoriginal terms and phrases.

It goes without saying that your Trade Mark cannot be identical to something that already exists, but to make sure, check the Intellectual Property Office to see if anyone has previously registered something with the same identity or brand.

Start.Biz is able to undertake Trade Mark searches and offer you advice based on your business’s specific assets and identity. Furthermore, if you do not wish to undertake the process of registering a Trade Mark yourself. Start.biz can register Trade Marks on your business’ behalf and act as your agent, ensuring no one attempts to register a Trade Mark, which is similar to your business.

What are the Benefits of registering a Trade Marking for your Business?

The name, logo, graphics or branding of your company are in the public domain; this means that they are out in the open and thus open to use by anybody. This can’t happen if you have registered the item as a Trade Mark because when you register it, other businesses hoping to trade under identical names or with the same logo or branding won’t be able to use them.

A Trade Mark is not mandatory, but it can hold the key to success for your business. 

Following are some of the benefits a Trade Mark offers:

BENEFIT 1: Although unregistered Trade Marks used in the sale of goods or services could be legally protected, the burden of proof is on you and is substantially greater in the event that someone copies or infringes upon your work. The burden of evidence is lessened, and the business owner is given additional protections when they have a registered Trade Mark on file. Your Trade Mark will be date registered and held at the Intellectual Property Office as evidence of your ownership.

BENEFIT 2: By filing for Trade Mark registration, you may ensure that your brand is distinct from any existing businesses that have registered a Trade Mark. If you unintentionally use someone else’s name or Trade Mark, you risk being sued by the owner of the registered Trade Mark, having to pay fees and fines, and being forced to forfeit any profits you made using the unregistered mark. Court proceedings can be lengthy and costly in this arena.

BENEFIT 3: By registering your Trade Mark, you may prevent other businesses from using a mark that is identical to yours or one that is very similar and may cause confusion over which business they are contracting with.  A Trade Mark grants your business the only right to use the mark in commerce. You own your brand once you’ve registered your Trade Mark.

BENEFIT 4: If someone uses your Trade Mark without permission, you may be able to sue them. It is possible that the income raised by the use of your Trade Mark could be assigned over to you. 

BENEFIT 5: You can use the sign “®” after your Trade Mark to denote that it has been registered with the Intellectual Property Office ( IPO), raising the status of your business.

BENEFIT 6: If your business plans to grow internationally, you register your Trade Mark globally, but you need to be mindful that you would need to file your application at the national office in each country that you wish to register your Trade Mark, save for within the EU, where you can file your application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. 

For more on the benefits of Trade Marking, read our previous blog about the 7 reasons why you need to Trade Mark your business in the UK.

How to file a Trade Mark Application?

How to file a Trade Mark Application

You must decide who is registering the Trade Mark, whether you’re doing it on behalf of yourself, this is the case if you’re registered as a sole trader.  If your business has been formed as a Limited Company, the company could own the Trade Mark.  You are also able to use an agent such as Start.Biz or a firm of Solicitors to register your Trade Mark.

Additionally, you’ll need to provide a picture and offer the Trade Mark in an advanced format (one that includes more information than simply the name). A single Trade Mark is for a single phrase, sentence, or design, for example, and a series is the variant of a certain term, expression, logo, etc. It would be helpful to decide whether you require a single or series of Trade Marks before registering.

The Trade Mark class, or the category of your Trade Mark, is important for you to know. Make sure you choose wisely since only the goods and services you list in this section will be covered by the registered Trade Mark.

Follow the steps below on how to get a Trade Mark:

file a trade mark application

Step 1: Search

A Trade Mark search should be your first course of action before filing.

Step 2: Filing a Trade Mark Application

To apply for a UK Trade Mark:

  • Trade Mark name
  • A photograph of your company’s Trade Mark logo (.jpg is preferred);
  • Name and address of the applicant (which may be an individual, a pair of individuals, or a business such as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or a corporation);
  • A list of the products and/or services that your Trade Mark is currently being used on or will be used in connection with.

If your application seeks priority from a matching international Trade Mark application, present the application number, filing date, and country of the initial filing.

The UK Intellectual Property Office issues a formal filing receipt 2-4 days after filing. The filing receipt certifies the application’s filing date and provides a number for it.

Step 3: Examination

Your Trade Mark application in the UK will generally be assessed within five to fifteen days.

Your application will be looked at based on the following criteria:

Relative Grounds: If the Examiner determines that your Trade Mark is confusingly similar to a Trade Mark that has already been filed or registered in the UK, he or she will notify the UK applicant. Be aware that the Trade Mark Office won’t reject your Trade Mark if there is a comparable mark.

Absolute Grounds: The Trade Mark’s distinctiveness or descriptiveness is decided by the Examiner. Your mark will be scrutinised by the Examiner to ensure that it is neither offensive nor unethical.

The Examiner may also have other inquiries, such as requesting a clarification of the products or services if they weren’t clear.

In the event an examination objection is lodged, the Examiner will give the applicant time to reply.

Step 4: Publication

The application will be placed in the online Trade Mark Journal when the examination phase is finished. Third parties have two months to submit an objection based on previously unregistered or registered rights.

Confusion with a previously filed or registered Trade Mark is the most frequent basis for an objection.

Bad faith and descriptiveness are two other justifications.

When a third party is involved, they often ask to prolong the objection time by a month in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Oppositions are frequently settled via the straightforward change of goods or services. Without a formal objection, many cases are settled.

stamp

Step 5: Registration

The UK IPO will provide an electronic registration certificate two weeks following publication. There is no longer a paper certificate programme. The electronic copy will be emailed to you.

The registration certificate attests to the registration’s specifics and dates.

As mentioned earlier, you may use the ® sign to denote that your Trade Mark has been registered after the UK Trade Mark application is approved.

You may use the ® sign to denote that your Trade Mark has been registered

What is the timeframe for UK Trade Mark Registration?

If things go smoothly, the registration typically takes four months from the date of application, assuming the examiner will not raise any issues and no one objects to your application.

What is the cost of Trade Marking in the UK?

If you register a Trade Mark yourself in the UK: a single class of products and services, it costs as little as £170 to do so online and £200 by post.

The cost of filing slightly increases with the number of classes covered because each class costs an additional £50. In addition to application and payment, you must provide a fee sheet as well.

You must be aware that if your application is unsuccessful, and it may be for a minor issue, you will forgo your application fee. Further applications will warrant the full application fee again. It is for this reason some business owners prefer to work with an agent such as Start.Biz as this would offer them the security of advice around their application ahead of filing, and any amendments necessary and likely objections are known ahead of paying the application fee.

How long does a Trade Mark last in the UK?

Trade Marks don’t last permanently and must be renewed every ten years if you intend to keep using them. You should note that if you wait until after the six-month period before or after the expiration date, you will not be able to renew it online.

Make your brand your own – Trade Mark it today!

Trade Marks don't last permanently and must be renewed every ten years.

At Start.Biz, we have extensive experience in helping a wide range of businesses with Trade Mark Registration. We make the process hassle-free for our clients and get the job done quickly. Our ultimate goal is the success of your business. So, get in touch with us today for all your Trade Marking needs, and let’s take your business to the next level!

Summary

You could find it easier to protect your company and its brand if you Trade Mark its features

Your Trade Mark can comprise of text, logos, images, and more.

Trade Mark lessens the burden of proof in the case of infringement, mitigates the risk of getting sued, prevents other businesses from using a mark identical to yours, allows you to initiate legal proceedings against anyone using your Trade Mark, elevates the status of your business, and assists business growth internationally.

Steps for filing a Trade Mark application in the UK include: (1) Trade Mark search before filing, (2) ensuring the availability of required documents, (3) getting the application examined, (4) getting the application published in the Trade Mark journal, (5) receiving the electronic registration certificate.

UK Trade Mark registration takes about four months.

The application fee if filing directly at the IPO is between £170 and £200 per class and per Trade Mark.

Trade Marks have to be renewed every ten years.

Financing a New Business in UK: Step by Step Guide

step-by-step-guide-to-financing-a-new-business-in-the-uk

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The biggest problem most budding entrepreneurs face when starting out is acquiring the funding to get their business idea off the ground. A survey from FreeAgent recently found that 61% of UK residents would like to start their own business, but 51% of them cited ‘the financial burden of setting up’ as their number one concern. In this article, we will walk you through the process of funding your venture and signpost to useful resources along the way. Planning is key when it comes to raising money; you must have an in-depth understanding of your business’ financials, solid projections drawn up and a clear plan for the future in place.

61% of UK residents would like to start their own business, but 51% of them cited ‘the financial burden of setting up

Draw up a Budget

When starting out, it is essential that you draw up a business budget as evidence to support your finance applications and to enable you to answer important questions from banks, lenders or investors. If you start small, you’ll be able to scale these budgets with your projected growth. Huw Moxon from Informi has shared his top tips and real-world examples to help you create your first business budget–read more here.

Decide How Much You Need

Drawing up a budget will enable you to see how much you actually need. A common mistake early-stage business owners often make is asking for too much money. Be realistic with growth plans and forecasts so that when you’re quizzed, you can back up your figures. As part of this plan, there may be different stages of funding that you will go through. This round may be to acquire premises, purchase machinery or get your branding designed. As you grow, there will be different needs, so be clear about what is essential now and what can be slotted in further down the line. Once you’ve come to a figure you feel confident about, it’s good to get some feedback from another business owner or mentor. Alternatively, search out your local growth hub; they can be a useful centralised information point and offer valuable resources, advice or signposting.

Short-Term Borrowing

After putting your plan in place, you may identify that you only require funding in the short-term. Generally, short-term lending means the money will be repaid within 12 months and is considered cash flow management rather than a financial investment.

  • Invoice Financing –

    This is a great way to quickly free up cash on outstanding invoices owed to the business. As a smaller venture, you may have longer terms of payment on your invoices, leading to periods of poor cash flow. Invoice financing has become more flexible in recent years, with companies like Penny revolutionising the industry.

  • A Short-Term Personal Loan –

    If the business hasn’t been operating long and you just need a small injection of cash to get you up and running, this is a good option. Ensure you have thought it through and can afford the repayments however things pan out. Your first port of call should be your bank. If you don’t have any luck there, we would advise consulting your local growth hub for alternatives.

Close-up of businesspeople shaking hands

Long-term Borrowing

If you decide a larger amount of money is needed, it’s important to do your research before signing on the dotted line. It is worth ensuring the company structure is in place to protect you, or that you have a backup plan if everything doesn’t proceed as predicted.

  • Bank finance –

    the traditional route for many businesses. You can apply for a business loan with any high street bank. They will request documentation and forecasts from you and may require guarantees.

  • Alternative debt finance –

    if you are turned down for a loan from your bank, there are other responsible lending agents out there. The application process is similar, but the interest rates may be slightly higher than a bank-backed business loan.

  • Start-up loans –

    are government-backed loans where the borrower/s can each borrow up to £25,000 to a maximum of £100,000 for any one business. Critically, these loans are personal loans, and repayments will be made by the individual, not the business.

  • Investors –

    this is referred to as equity capital and will require you to relinquish a portion of ownership. This could be a great way forward but can become complicated; more on this later.

  • Crowdfunding –

    this is a fantastic way to raise capital that you don’t necessarily need to pay back in ‘money’. It is particularly effective for product-based ventures with a strong brand identity that people can get behind.f

Start-up loans are government-backed loans where the borrower/s can each borrow up to £25,000 to a maximum of £100,000 for any one business

What should I have prepared before seeking finance?

Each institution and application will be different, but there are a few key documents you should have together to make the process run as smoothly as possible. If you are at a very early stage, you may not have all of these documents, but you will still need an understanding of what they are, along with predicted figures based on evidence and analysis. These documents include:

  • Annual Statutory Accounts
  • Management Accounts
  • Profit and Loss Account
  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Forecast
  • Personal Assets & Liabilities Statement

It is also wise to grasp the abbreviations used within the business finance world. We have explained some of the most common ones here.

Ways to Finance Your New Business

We’ve briefly outlined some of how you can raise capital for your new venture. In this section, we’ll look more into your options so you can decide which is best for you.

Ways-to-finance-your-new-business

Personal Investment

Investing your own money is the simplest way to set up your business. Save up and don’t put in more than you can afford to lose.

Friends and Family

If you do require a little extra help, friends and family can provide a resource of finance. As you can imagine, this one can get complicated. We would always advise having a written contract in place, so everyone is on the same page. This document should also outline what will happen if things don’t go according to plan. It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being practical.

External Investors

Investors come in all shapes and sizes, and you need to be clear on their motivations before agreeing to take their money. For example, angel investors are interested in exciting start-ups that they can contribute to, venture capital firms will be looking for strong growth potential, and private equity firms will want a controlling stake in your business. All will want to see a return on their investment, but what they can bring to the table massively varies. Your decision should be based on what you feel the business needs from them and the outcome you want. Is the business a lifestyle for you, or is the goal to be ‘private-island’ rich within 10 years?

Business Loans

If you are just setting up your business and have no trading history, it may be difficult for you to obtain finance from a bank. Similarly, alternative lending organisations will still want to see some sort of financial records and usually only deal with companies that have at least 12 months of accounts to show. As previously mentioned, you can take out a Start-Up Loan. However, you are personally responsible for repayments even if the company folds.

Business Grants

There are many different business grants available from the government. Focuses include the promotion of diversity within the entrepreneurial community, job providers in deprived areas and technology-based businesses. They do come with strings attached though. Most will require you to have been trading for a period of time and require lengthy application processes. They may also only part-fund projects or have strict qualification criteria. If you want to find out more about schemes available in your area, contact your local growth hub, and they will be able to advise.

Product-based businesses with a good social media following usually do well on crowdfunding websites

Crowdfunding

There are many platforms where businesses can now ask for donations to help them fund their business. As mentioned, product-based businesses with a good social media following usually do well on crowdfunding websites. You will need to give a token back to everyone that donates, which will usually increase in value the more they put in. You will have to pitch and provide information about the business to be accepted onto a crowdfunding website, and if the target you set is not met, you will have to return all of the money.

Asset Funding

This type of finance requires the business to have assets on the balance sheet that can be used to raise capital. These assets can include stock, machinery, equipment or outstanding invoices. You are more likely to get this loan quickly as the lender has collateral they can repossess if you default on the loan, however valuations can be lower than if you sold assets yourself.

Conclusion

When starting a business, the feeling of overwhelm is very real. It all comes back to having a well-informed plan. Using data analysis, forecasting and carefully considering what outcomes you want will lead you to the correct source of funding. Continue to test and assess whilst in the early days to figure out what works in the real world. If you’re unsure what the best option is for you, our financial experts are on hand to guide you through the process. To find out more about our free, no-obligation ‘Access to Finance’ consultations, click here.

Summary

The first step when starting out is to draw up a budget. It will help you decide how much you need, so you ask for the right amount and maximise your chances of getting it.

Short-term borrowing is an option worth considering if your funding needs do not need much time. This can include invoice financing or short-term personal loans.

Long-term borrowing is useful if you need a larger amount of money. This can include bank financing, alternative debt financing, start-up loans, investments, and crowdfunding.

Before you seek financing, it is important to be prepared, and this includes having the right documents, like Annual Statutory Accounts, Management Accounts, Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Forecast, and Personal Assets & Liabilities Statement.

Ways of financing your business can range from personal investment, money from friends and family, external investors, business loans, business grants, crowdfunding and asset funding.

Registering a Business Name in the UK: The Ultimate Guide

Registering a Business Name in the UK

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There are many benefits to registering your business name and a few different options available to business owners looking to maximise this important asset. Start.biz have been helping budding entrepreneurs set up and protect their businesses for over 37 years. In this article, we’ll outline how to pick the perfect name, why you should register it and which protection is best for your situation and type of business.

How to Pick Your Business Name

As intellectual property (IP) protection and business set-up specialists, we understand how valuable a strong business name can be to the success of your venture. Some entrepreneurs have picked a name before they’ve chosen what the company will do, but others struggle with the decision. Over the years, we have registered thousands of business names and know the common pitfalls. In this section, we’ll outline what laws you need to be aware of, vital research to undergo and how the different types of brand protection should affect your decision process.

Are there any rules when naming my business?

Yes, there are laws in place in the UK to prevent offensive or misleading names from being used.

  • Words that make your business sound like it is affiliated with the UK government or an official body cannot be used, for example, ‘British’, ‘National’, or ‘Parliament’. This is designed to prevent companies from marketing themselves as a governing body or influencing customers to buy because they believe it is a legal requirement for them to do so. Permissions can be applied for, but it is at the relative authorities’ discretion whether you will be allowed to use these words or not.
  • Similarly, you can’t include a word that would be used to denote a status, like ‘charity’ or ‘trust’, unless you have officially registered as such.
  • Restrictions also apply for accredited professions requiring a qualification, such as ‘Solicitors‘ or ‘Patent Agents’.
  • Finally, there are regulations to hinder offensive names from being registered. This is one to watch if you are choosing a pun name for your business.

Test Your Business Name

Ask friends, family and colleagues about your potential business name to gain some insight into how potential customers might receive it. Listen to people’s feedback objectively, especially if they are your target audience. They may notice something that you haven’t. A good way to break it down is by doing the ‘Hear/Speak/See’ test.

  • Hear – your name needs to be easy to understand and have a memorable element to make it stick in people’s heads.
  • Speak – it needs to be simple to say and have a nice flow to the words. If folk enjoy saying the name, they will enjoy telling people about it.
  • See – does it work visually? This will play into your branding and logo design.
register business name

 

Registered Name vs Trading Name

The main benefit of forming a company is that you limit your personal liability.

When setting up your business, you may wish to form a limited company with Companies House in the UK. The main benefit of forming a company is that you limit your personal liability, so your personal assets are not jeopardised if the venture runs up debts. However, limited businesses do require slightly more paperwork and administration than being a sole trader. To find out which is best for you, please read our article comparing both here. No two businesses with the same name can be registered with Companies House, so you will first need to check if your chosen name is available. You also do not need to ‘trade’ under the name you have registered with HMRC. This means that your business can have a limited name. For example, ‘National Business Register Group Limited’ is our company name, but we operate under the brand name ‘Start.biz’. It’s an important distinction to make if you are going to set up a business with multiple brands underneath it. These brand names will still be subject to intellectual property law, so it’s worth checking them out to ensure you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s current IP.

Why Should You Register Your Business Name?

Registering and protecting your business name from the start is the best way to ensure there are no IP issues further down the line. However, we appreciate this isn’t always how it works. If you have been trading for a while with no IP protection, we advise getting in touch with an expert to evaluate and advise on the best way forward.

Protect the Brand You’re Building

he most immediate benefit of registering your business name is that you are taking proactive steps to protect your name from being copied. However, simply registering your company may not be the whole story. Many forms of IP protection need to be applied for separately to ensure you are fully covered and reap the most from your hard work. Companies can register at Companies House with confusingly similar names and benefit from your reputation. Similarly, if you have no IP protection in place, persuading another company to change its name or branding can be a long and expensive process.

Enhances Your Reputation

Having a trade mark or other form of IP protection adds prestige and validity to your business.

Having a trade mark or other form of IP protection adds prestige and validity to your business in the eyes of customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. It also gives you peace of mind that when you’re building your brand, you won’t need to change it further down the line if someone disputes your IP ownership. IP protection also acts as a fantastic deterrent to potential copycats.

Future-proofing Your Business

Whatever your entrepreneurial goals are with your business, having a solid foundation is key to growing a thriving company. No venture is without risk; however, preventing legal battles and disputes over branding, business names, or logos is a great way to avoid costly problems down the road. Also, when it comes time to seek investment or sell the business, your brand will become one, if not the most, valuable asset the business owns.

How to Register Your Business Name in the UK

You’ve trusted the process and come up with the perfect name for your business. What is the best way to register it? This depends on a few factors. The main factor will be what status your business has and how much budget you have available. In this section, we’ll detail the three most common ways to register and protect your business name within the UK.

Business Name Registration (BNR) from Start.biz

BNR is a unique service from Start.biz and the National Business Register that protects your business name from ‘Passing Off’. The common law of ‘Passing Off’ stands to protect a trader’s goodwill and business against copying. Anyone can bring an action of ‘Passing Off’; however, with BNR, all representation, administration and legal fees up to £10,000 are covered. Business Name Registration is ideal for sole traders, limited companies and freelancers looking to protect their name and reputation. Find out how you can be protected for £100 per year here.

Forming a Limited Company

In the UK, you can register a business with Companies House, preventing anyone else from forming a limited company with exactly the same name. However, this doesn’t stop companies with similar names from registering. Seeking advice from a formation agent is advisable, as well as conducting some research into your competitors’ trading names.

Register a Trade Mark

Trade marks are something that customers recognise and associate with your good reputation.

A trade mark is a type of Intellectual Property (IP) connected with a particular company, product or service. Trade marks are something that customers recognise and associate with your good reputation and the quality of your product or service. These could be words, names, logos or designs. To register a trade mark in the UK, you have to make an application to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The process takes around 5 months, and your mark can be objected to and denied with no refund. We would always advise consulting an IP expert when applying to register a trade mark. They will be able to fill out the forms, advise on the likelihood of registration and defend your application against objections. Start.biz are trade mark specialists and have successfully registered thousands of marks for business owners, find out more here.

Conclusion

There are a few different ways to register your business in the UK. The best option for you depends on how you plan to run your company and what level of protection you need. Registering your business and your IP not only protects your business from imitation but also adds integrity, prestige and value–authenticating a brand’s identity. We would always recommend seeking professional advice when setting up your business to ensure your company is compliant and properly registered. This will put in place a solid foundation from which you can grow your business.

Summary

  • When picking a business name, you have to adhere to a set of UK laws that do not allow for offensive or misleading names.
  • Before putting your business name out, it is always recommended to first test it and see how it is received. Asking a friend, family or colleague can help. Feedback lets you determine if your name is easy to understand, simple to say, and looks good.
  • There is a difference between a registered name and a trading name. The registered name is for official purposes, whereas the trading name is used for business.
  • Registering your business name comes with many benefits. The most immediate benefit is you protect your name against copying.
  • Registering the business name also adds prestige and validity to your business in the eyes of the customer. Moreover, it future-proofs your business by reducing the likelihood of potential legal battles and disputes.
  • Business Name Registration (BNR) is a service from Start.Biz and the National Business Register that protects your business name.
  • In the UK, you can register a business with Companies House and thus prevent others from using the exact same name as yours.
  • To register a trade mark in the UK, you have to make an application to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)