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Give your start up business the best possible chance: useful resources for budding business owners and start-ups

The prospect of leaving work to start a new business can be daunting, especially if you’ve no prior experience.

But you shouldn’t let a lack of business knowhow get in the way of your ambitions.

Nowadays, there are so many useful resources that can help you with every aspect of starting a business, from handling your tax to employing staff.

We recently caught up with Elsa Caleb, a business advisor at the government-backed Start Up Loans Company, to find out about the best learning services for prospective business owners.

Start up courses – business schools, night colleges, adult education centres

A startup course is essential for gaining a clear insight into how best to get your business up and running. Having a great idea is just a small part of the initial process; you’ve also got to consider your business plan and cash flow forecast.

On top of this, there’s the matter of tax, national insurance, VAT and employing your workforce. No one is expected to have an in-depth understanding of these processes, which is why it's a great idea to seek out a course at your nearest business school, night college or adult education centre.

If you work unsociable hours or can’t find the time to attend a course, there are also a number of online courses from organisations like the Open University.

HMRC web-courses

Tax and national insurance is often a factor that deters people from starting a new business.

The process of paying your own tax, filling out a self-assessment tax form and determining your company’s trading status can be confusing for new business owners, but help is out there.

HMRC offer a range of free web-courses and services to help new business owners get a better understanding of the process when starting a business.

You’ll find information about the best legal status to consider before starting your business i.e. being a limited company or a sole trader, as well as information on which records to keep hold of and what is expected of you at the end of each trading year.

The City Business Library, London

The City Business Library is one of the best establishments in the country for new business owners, with regular seminars and workshops that cover everything there is to know about starting a new company.

Aside from tax, you’ll also find classes on employing a workforce, pensions, staying within the law and insurance – professional indemnity, home-based insurance, product liability and car/van insurance are all policies you may encounter.

It’s also worth checking out the Business IP Centre at London’s British Library for more great literature on business and further support through courses and talks with key figures.

The Start Up Loans website has a number of useful resources including the Essential Guide to Starting a Business, various toolkits and looks of articles and tips and hints videos.

Speak to accountants

If the number crunching aspect of setting up a business is putting you off, you might want to consider speaking to an accountant.

You can often book a consultation with an accountant to find out what services they provide and how they can help with your business.

Most accountants will tell you that they are generalists, however, if you are in a specialist area like fashion or music, you may want to seek an accountant that knows your industry inside out.

Visit your bookstore or library for books on social media and marketing

Often the success of a business is determined by how well it’s marketed. Nowadays, social media plays a huge part in the marketing process. It’s also a way for your audience to keep in touch with your business.

A good understanding of social media is vital for business owners, so get your hands on a book either from a bookstore or your library.

You may already use social media to keep in contact with friends and family members, which is great. However, it’s still worth conducting additional reading to find out how these platforms can be used for business.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are some of the most common social media platforms you will encounter. Why not use the buttons below to folow us and see how we're connecting with our followers?

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