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.


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. – 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!


  • 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, and HubSpot.
  • Consider employing or outsourcing for professionals such as Accountants, Bookkeepers, Website Developers.

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:


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.


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:


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!


  • 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.

Financing a New Business in UK: Step by Step Guide


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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.


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


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.


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.


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. 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 ‘’. 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

BNR is a unique service from 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. are trade mark specialists and have successfully registered thousands of marks for business owners, find out more here.


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.


  • 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) teams up with newly renovated JQ Modern to provide an advice clinic for local businesses teams up with newly renovated JQ Modern to provide an advice clinic for local businesses

We’re taking our free business advice clinics on the road and holding one in the newly renovated JQ Modern in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham on 13th September 2022. specialise in: Intellectual Property (IP) protection, ‘Access to Finance’ and business services & compliance. To book your place please register here.

JQ Modern (formerly The Big Peg) has undergone a £5m refurbishment to create the most stylish private offices in the Jewellery Quarter.

The iconic landmark building now offers stunning private offices and boutique communal lounges with fresh coffee, meeting rooms and a stylish new reception. The transformation included the installation of a fully live 10GB internet connection providing superfast wifi throughout the building. All of this in a location with a train station, a tram stop, several bus routes, cycle parking and a 10 minute walk from the city core, but with a neighbourhood feel.

Sky high on the 7th floor, flooded with natural daylight are JQ Modern’s fully serviced offices – named LUX, meaning light. Ideal for businesses of up to 5, with impressive views of Birmingham and beyond, these characterful offices are available on flexible terms and come fully equipped.

For growing teams, the building offers scalable options of up to 50 people.

Tara Elwell, Sales & Marketing Manager said ‘JQ Modern offers everything you need with great facilities on flexible and affordable terms. We can provide options to scale up over time. We have fantastic communal spaces for when you want to step out of your private office. These are great for making new connections, as is our events programme. We are building the most exciting community of dynamic small businesses in the city.’

Matthew Cusack, Director at said of the upcoming business advice clinic, ‘We find these face-to-face sessions really productive when it comes to solving challenges businesses are currently facing and we’re really keen to take these sessions to different areas to broaden our reach. JQ Modern is a fantastic space and the refurbishment has further enhanced the thriving Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.’

To learn more or enquire about pricing and office availability please visit their website.

6 Steps to Take When Creating Your First Business Budget

Starting a business is always a challenge. But, right now, the conditions are extra tough. The UK is experiencing its highest rate of inflation in 40 years and many businesses are struggling to cope with rising costs. It’s in that context that smart financial management takes on added importance.

One of the most important areas of financial management is budgeting. This is the process of projecting your expected income and expenditure. Just like in your personal life, you need to ensure enough money is coming in to cover your investments and everyday costs – and there are various levers you can pull to ensure this happens.

Whilst that sounds simple enough, creating a budget from scratch can be difficult if you’ve never done it before. We’re going to take you through some simple steps to follow to ensure your business finances are in good shape when you’re starting out.

Have a business plan in place

First and foremost, if you’re serious about your business you need to have a business plan. Your business plan sets out the context for how you plan to make your business viable and, ultimately, successful. This will include an overview of what your business does and consider the landscape in which you’ll be operating. That means you should be researching competitors and understanding who your target audience will be – plus how you plan to market and sell to them.

By having this context laid down, you’ll be in a much better place to know how much money you’ll need to spend and, in turn, how much you’ll need to be bringing in.

Prepare a pricing strategy

When it comes to budgeting in business, a good place to start is to think about the products you plan to sell and at what price. Through your business plan, you’ll have an idea of the market landscape, including your competitors, and this will inform your pricing strategy. It’s important to say, there’s no one-size-fits all – you need to work out the right approach for your business – but looking at what your competitors are doing is instructive.

And then, there’s your costs…

Work out your costs

Your business plan will detail your startup and running costs. Whilst some investment will be needed at the outset to get your business launched (think essential equipment), your running costs will play a greater role in your budgeting plans. These costs can usually be split into two categories:

  • Fixed costs: Yes, you guessed it – these are costs that stay the same for the period in question. Things like rent and business rates would fall into this category.
  • Variable costs: These are costs which vary depending on the number of units you produce e.g. material, postage costs and labour (if people are paid on a per unit basis)

Variable costs are where the process of budgeting gets more complicated as it relies on you understanding the cost impact of your sales and production volumes. For example, the more you sell and item that you make, the more you’ll have to spend on labour, materials and fulfilment. There are plenty of budget templates out there to help you do this. This will also allow you to play around with your unit pricing so you can see the impact of increasing or decreasing what you plan to charge your customers.

Project your sales

For a small business, especially if you’re managing the budgets on your own, you’re likely to want to keep things simple. This usually means having one overall operating budget.

The first thing you’ll need to plot into your operating budget is your projected sales. Here’s a quick example of how that might look, taking into account seasonal variations in sales volumes:

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150

Now, plot in your expenses

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150
Cost of goods sold 125 100 110 150 155 75
Wages 60 60 60 70 75 60

We can see that the two biggest expenses have been added. The cost of goods to be sold are shown at about half the selling price and the wages are shown to be consistent with extra staff for the busy months.

You’ll then want to expand on this further and add other expenses (overheads such as rent and utilities).

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150
Cost of goods sold 125 100 110 150 155 75
Wages 60 60 60 70 75 60
Other overheads 30 29 30 35 38 28
Total expenses 215 189 200 255 268 163

Calculate your profits

Deducting your total expenses from your sales will give your profit figure.

£ Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Sales 250 200 220 300 310 150
Cost of goods sold 125 100 110 150 155 75
Wages 60 60 60 70 75 60
Other overheads 30 29 30 35 38 28
Total expenses 215 189 200 255 268 163
Profit 35 11 20 45 42 -15

At this point, you’ll begin to see where your joy and pain points might be. For example, in Month 6 we can see that the business loses money. However, this might be tolerable as Month’s 4 and 5 have seen a decent profit levels.

Going forward…

As you proceed, checking in regularly and monitoring variances is a key activity, particularly in your first year where you won’t have the figures from previous years. You should include in your budget a column for the ‘Actual’ figures and monitor your performance against what you budgeted. Are you up or are you down? You may decide to do a reforecast every quarter where you can respond to changes in prices, sales volumes, and changes to the economic climate.

Whilst this is only a very simple business budget, it hopefully gives you an idea of the steps you’ll need to take when drawing up your own plans. As your business evolves and expands, it’s quite likely you’ll need to produce multiple budgets that work in tandem – for example, stock and production budgets, overhead budgets and cash budgets. But just getting a grip on the basics to begin with will go a long way.

Guest blog written by Huw Moxon Digital Marketing Manager at Informi and AAT

8 Places to find your Perfect Business Mentor

Running your own company can be a lonely business, even if you have higher management or a business partner it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Finding a mentor could be the perfect solution for you, provide you with a fresh perspective and help you grow your business.
Before you go on the search have a think about what you would like from your mentor. Identify some public figures you admire in the business world, then go closer to home. Is there a particular independent business in the place you live that you like? Is there a smaller influencer on social media that provides good content? Having these things in mind you can start the process of finding a mentor(s). Keep the process as organic as possible and we would not advise asking someone to be your mentor when you first meet, unless they explicitly say they are looking for a mentee. We have outlined below some places you could find a mentor and there is no harm in introducing yourself. Keep it professional, friendly and be prepared to have some of your messages go unanswered.

1. Official mentor sites 

Some sites will be free, some have paywalls or there may be products/services you will need to purchase to gain access to their network of mentors. Depending on what you want from the relationship this could be a quick and straight-forward way to get the ball rolling.

2. Traditional Networking 

This doesn’t have to be a lot of bored looking business folk in polyester suits standing around a beige buffet, unless you want it to be. Networking in the traditional way may not suit your industry or might not be your thing. But go to events or places business owners you admire go to, you never know who you could get chatting with.

3. LinkedIn 

Make sure your profile is up to date, your photo is appropriate and you have filled out the bio section so people can understand who you are and why you are relevant to them. Send personalised messages with connection requests and follow companies and public figures. Don’t forget to join applicable groups as well!

4. Peers 

Mentors don’t necessarily have to be older and more experienced than you, or even in the same industry. Getting an outside point of view that totally refreshes your perspective or triggers a fantastic business idea can come from the most unlikely places. Talk through your issues with someone you click with and that you trust their opinion.

5. Communities 

There are a lot of online communities you can join for a monthly subscription fee that will give you access to mentor or peer directories. Try one out for a couple of months and see how it goes. These communities may be better tailored to your needs, e.g. women in business, creative businesses etc.

6. Memberships 

You can join local groups to meet other business owners, for example your areas Chamber of Commerce or National Enterprise Network.

7. Business Consultant 

This is a bit of a short cut and you will more than likely have to pay for the service as it’s a customer/service provider transaction. This could work for you if you just need to solve some issues or have an outside point of view and aren’t comfortable with building a traditional mentor/mentee relationship.

8. YouTube & Other Social Media. 

This again may be a bit of a cheat as it’s a one-way street of you consuming the business ‘gurus’ content and you probably won’t get the opportunity to ask personalised questions. When researching or strategizing watching advice channels, they can spark ideas that you can translate to your business. And you never know if you do reach out, they may become your dream mentor!
Once you’ve found someone that is happy to be your mentor and you their mentee set boundaries, be fully prepared whenever you have a meeting and don’t over run your allotted time agreed with them. You also don’t have to stick to one mentor or continue being mentored by them if you feel it’s run its course.


Find or become a mentor with Mentors Me.
Find a mentor with Meet a Mentor.
If you get a start up loan through the British Business Bank you will gain access to their mentoring program

Finance & Funding Jargon Buster

You can’t know what you don’t know, especially when it’s wrapped up in abbreviations and buzzwords. Start.Biz are decoding the most commonly used jargon words when looking for business finance or a funding.


Profit and Loss Account – a record of Income and Expenditure within a given 12-month financial period to ultimately determine profitability.

Balance Sheet 

A snapshot of the Assets and Liabilities owned/owed by a business at any particular moment in time i.e. Cash Balance or Value of Outstanding Loans. The value between the Assets owned by a Company after deducting the Liabilities it holds equates to its Net Assets.

Cash Flow Statement 

A log of monthly cash inflows/outflows often using a combination of retrospective and forecast information. For a small business, this is probably the key document to managing cash flow.

Working Capital 

This represents a measure of liquidity on a day-to-day basis within a business and is calculated after deducting liabilities such as supplier invoices/debt/PAYE/VAT from assets such as cash/customers invoices/stock.


Management Information – lenders often require Management Information such as Aged Debtor/Receivable reports and Management Accounts.

Statutory Accounts 

Financial year-end accounts as produced by the Directors of a business and filed with Companies House.

Management Accounts 

Monthly record of Management Information usually comprising Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement

Aged Debtors 

A report of amounts owed by your Customers to the business.

Aged Creditors 

A report of amounted owed to Suppliers by the business.


Statement of Assets and Liabilities – a form usually completed when looking to borrow money comprised of i) Personal Assets & Liabilities (owned/owing), ii) Monthly/Annual log of income/expenditure.

If you have any questions about financing your business or would like to discuss your personal circumstances, please contact our expert team today. 

Access to Finance Consultation Line: 0800 069 9090 (freephone) or email

Business Finance & Funding FAQ’s

What finance is available to me if I haven’t started trading? 

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 at a Fixed Interest Rate of 6% Start Up Loans – click here to find out more.

What funding can I access if I have been trading for 6 months, 1 year, 2+ years? 

There are lots of options ranging from High Street banks to Alternative providers (i.e. Responsible Finance providers) to Asset-backed lenders (Invoice & Equipment finance specialists).

What key business documents do I need when applying for trading? 

Annual Statutory Accounts, Management Accounts, Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow forecast and Personal Assets & Liabilities Statement.

Who should I go to first when looking for a business loan/access to finance? 

If you have been trading for more than 6 months, try your local Growth Hub – they are a great centralised place to receive connections to finance providers from. Alternatively, give us a call at Start.Biz.

If I get turned down by high street banks for a business loan is there any alternatives? 

There are lots of alternatives. A good place to start would be to look for local Responsible Finance providers who often offer the required level of finance whilst also appreciating the need for SME Business Owners to get decisions on funding quickly. Click here to find out who provides responsible finance in your area.

How much can I borrow? 

This will depend on a number of variables:
i) The level of profitability currently within the business and moving forwards is critical. The more profitable you are, the more likely you are to get higher levels of finance.
ii) Whether the Business Owner is offering a Personal Guarantee to secure the loan
iii) The quantum of investment that the Business Owner is putting in

Can I get a grant? 

Yes but this will be dependent upon the criteria of each individual grant. A good place to start would be to sign up The Innovation Factory’s (Drew Currie) monthly newsletter, click here to sign up for free.

Can I get a project funded? 

Possibly but a bit like Grants, it is entirely dependent on the funding resource in the market at that time. Innovate UK offers Loans and Grants with a focus on business’ growing via Innovation, find out more here.

What kind of business activity can I get finance for? 

You can apply for finance for a multitude of activities including:
– Business acquisition/merger
– Asset purchase
– Invoice Finance
– Refinance
– Working Capital/Cash Flow

Are there still any covid recovery schemes available? 

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is available until 30th June 2022

What is a good interest rate? 

The Interest Rate applied is often directly linked to the perceived level of risk with the loan itself. High Street lenders will lend at 3% + the Bank England’s base rate of lending. Currently, SMEs are finding it harder and harder to access funding at these rates via the High Street. Rates for SME’s can range from as little as 6% right up to 14%. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is secure finance at a higher level of interest to get the required funding before then refinancing at a later date at a better rate of interest.

If you have any questions about financing your business or would like to discuss your personal circumstances, please contact our expert team today. 

Access to Finance Consultation Line: 0800 069 9090 (freephone) or email 

Intellectual Property (IP) Essentials for Small Businesses

We speak to business owners daily about their professional business service needs and one thing that often gets lost in the mix is their IP protection. Many consider it an issue for larger companies, designers, or inventors however, as experienced IP experts we know it can be one of the most valuable assets of any sized business. We also unfortunately know, how much of a headache it can be in cases of coping or unintentional infringement. In this article we’ll get you IP savvy in less than 5 minutes so you can make informed decisions about how best to protect your business.

1. What intellectual property does my small business have? 

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to many different creative outputs your business may have or use commercially. In includes but isn’t limited to imagery, logos, processes, symbols, designs, ideas, writing, names, website layouts etc. Every size and type of business will have some sort of IP which is valuable, how it is and what can be protected needs to be investigated.

2. What IP do I get automatic cover for and what do I need to apply for? 

To understand the value of your IP assets, we’ll look at what is covered automatically by UK law and what type of protection you’ll need to apply for:
Automatic protections – 
Copyright – This is automatically covered in UK law when the new piece of writing, photography, music, recording etc. is created. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to go to court if someone uses or copies your copyright.
Employee output – The creative output of your employees is also property of the company they work for if the work was created in company time or using company equipment. This should be stipulated in their employment contract however automatic protections in law come into play here. Please note this IP does still need to have protection applied for to stop others, outside the organisation, copying or using it.
Third-party designed logos – Do not assume this is a given, externally designed logos are not automatically your property. But all you have to do is be really clear when you engage a designer that you want it stated in the contract that the IP rights are signed over to you as part of the job.
Business Name Protection – ‘Passing off’ is a common law action that can be used to protect unregistered trade mark rights in the UK. For example, if you believe another business is copying your business’ name and customers may confuse the two businesses, you can legally ask the company to cease and desist. You will be responsible for the legal fees should the case go to court, and it could take some time to resolve. Alternatively, you can register your business name with Start.Biz for £99 (+VAT) per annum. As part of their Business Name Registration package from Start.Biz who will cover up to £10,000 of legal fees and deal with the administration of the case for you if a ‘Passing Off’ incident arises. Find out more here Business Name Registration.
Protections you will need to apply for – 
Trade marks (TM) – you can trade mark a name, word, logo, monogram, shape, letters, numerals, signature, or any combination of these.
Digital – this includes domain names and social platform handles. It is good to have your handle as close to the trading name as possible so people can find you easily online and know it’s you. Even if you aren’t planning or building a website just yet or putting content out on all social media platforms it’s wise to buy the domain name and set up the accounts on all major platforms. When you start to grow and want to develop your sales channels and marketing they’ll be ready waiting for you and not taken by someone else. Individuals and companies can buy/reserve domains and social media handles which they may offer to sell to you at a much higher price.
Registered design – A Registered Design protects the appearance, physical shape, configuration and the decoration of products whereas trade mark registration protects the names of your products or brands.
Patents – these are usually applied for by inventors or larger companies in the manufacturing or pharmaceutical industries. If you think your business may need a patent it is advised you seek professional advice from an expert.

3. How much is IP protection going to cost me? 

The costs of IP protection can vary dramatically so it’s good to shop around and understand all of your options:
DIY applications
It is possible to apply directly to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) yourself in the UK. There are helpful guides on YouTube and their website, and if you have the time to work it out, this could be the cheapest way of seeking IP protection. However, it isn’t without its drawbacks. Your application may be challenged, contain mistakes, or be submitted incorrectly with little recourse. All of these will come with extra costs meaning it may not actually be as cost effective as you first thought.
Engage an IP lawyer
Their expertise and familiarity with the process will offer peace of mind however lawyers charges start from around £200-250 per hour so this is out of budget for many small businesses.
IP experts
There are companies that specialise in IP protection, that have qualified experts and will charge a lot less than a solicitor. They will also have packages aimed at smaller ventures including Business Name Registration which will help you if your business is a victim of ‘Passing Off’. Start.Biz offer a free, no obligation IP consultation where we advise what IP your business has and how best to protect it, get in touch today to find out more 0121 678 9000 or email