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Business start-up online resource directory

March 19, 2016

business

 

You know the saying “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” well it’s very true and especially so when starting your own business.

It is important to gather as much information as possible so as to be prepared for every challenge, opportunity, and problem when setting-up on your own.

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But with so much information out there, where can you turn for the most reliable advice or the best solution to your problem? Well, below we have outlined some of our favourite organisations which offer sound business help and guidance. Check out some of our suggestions and let us know which of them you have found invaluable.

General Advice

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation helps start-ups online through their forums, books and eBooks. They also offer offline resources like weekly classes and national conferences. Check out their super handy online StartUp Kit which offers all the tools and tips you need to start a business and hundreds of pounds worth of offers on essential items such as a website, business cards, phone contract, insurance and meeting space.

Government Funded Organisations

Business Gateway (Scotland)
Business Gateway provides practical information and help to you and your business. This site will help you find support, offer you the latest on regulation and tax, and provide an access point for other public sector services you might need now or in the future. They have a wealth of information available online and are a great place to start.

Business Link (England)
Business Link provides useful information for entrepreneurs in England. This is a great website to start your information search on since they feature resources in several of the main business support areas.

NI Business Info (Northern Ireland)
NI Business Info is the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland. The website features information relevant to start-up businesses in Northern Ireland and even provides business support videos which make some of the more complicated information easier to digest. You can also submit and manage any vacancies your company has online for free!

Welsh Government (Wales)
The Welsh Government’s online information service is a good place to start when thinking of setting up your own business. There is a broad range of information available as well as access to interactive online tools. 

Business Accounting

HM Revenue & Customs
HM Revenue and Customs is the first place to start looking for answers to your accounting questions. There is information about VAT, corporation tax and starting up in business. If you have problems understanding the information provided you should consult a qualified accountant.

FreeAgent
FreeAgent is an easy to use, award-winning online bookkeeping and accounting system specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers. This company is extremely helpful and are always available to answer your small business accounting software queries via Twitter, Facebook or their blog; so check out these sites to keep-up-to-date. They also run online webinars which take you through: invoicing, banking, expenses and VAT in layman’s terms and give you top tips on how to use FreeAgent to help you run your business.

Legal advice

The Law Society
You will find several step-by-step PDFs concerning important business law issues on this site, for example, there is advice about employing staff and leasing a business premises. This site also has details of Lawyers For Your Business which is a network of 1,000 solicitor firms in England and Wales offering specialist advice to small and medium-sized businesses.

Forums

Forums are a great place to chat to other entrepreneurs about their experiences but make sure you never make any business decisions based on advice you receive in these online environments. Always consult a qualified professional before making any business decisions.

Free Business Forums

UK Business Forums

Forum of Private Business

Government Support

There are a number of Government funded support programmes for businesses or specific projects. Grants are available for individuals or businesses with a specific project which can cover part of the cost.

You do not need to give shares or return the grant, however you must stick to the conditions which are attached to the grant.

Government can also provide support to businesses who are:

  • Starting up
  • Growing
  • Struggling in financial and economic difficulties
  • Looking to innovate
  • Wanting to trade internationally

This support can be provided by the UK Government and can be financial, providing advice or information or training.

Factoring

Factoring is something which is not widely known about, but it can be a great support to a business. Factoring is more useful for smaller businesses which do not have a substantial finance department and are in need of some professional advice and support. RBS Factoring for example, become your credit service whereby they control how your invoices are paid and protect you against late payments.

The bank will pay you up to 85% of your incoming invoices as soon as you have sent them out and then you pay the bank once the invoices have been paid, plus a small fee. This really helps a business’ cashflow by keeping it healthy so you are free to buy more stock, take on more staff etc, knowing that your cashflow is healthy and protected.

National Loan Guarantee Scheme

The NLGS from the Government and high street banks is a one off scheme for small businesses in an attempt to get banks’ lending again.

Under the scheme, businesses can get access to loans from various banks with a much lower rate of interest on their loan. This scheme is limited so if it is appropriate for your business, it is advisable to apply soon before it runs out.

Which types of finance are right for my business?

If you are still unsure of which finance type is right for your business, try using this questionnaire from Business Link which is designed to help find the more appropriate finance options for your business.

Still need some more help? Have a look at our bundle which collated sites which are aimed at helping new businesses develop and grow.

This resource directory will updated regularly so let us know if you have found any other useful resources for entrepreneurs starting up their own business and we will add them to the list.
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