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Essential tools

Companies House

All limited companies in the UK, and overseas companies with a branch or place of business in the UK need to be registered with Companies House. The primary function of Companies House is to be the registrar of UK Limited companies.

Unlike sole traders, which are people, Limited companies are created as entities in their own right. You can think of Companies House as the Births, Deaths and Marriages for companies.


When you start a business you need to let HMRC know that you're self-employed and if your company is liable for Corporation Tax within 3 months of starting any business activity.

Try the HMRC E-learning tutorial 'Starting your own Business'. Use this self-paced e-learning tool from HMRC to help you get to grips with tax when starting your business.

Intellectual Property Office

Find out how to register your intellectual property to make sure nobody copies it without your permission. Understand how to safeguard your ideas and creations and ensure you're the only one cashing in on all your hard work.

Read a simple guide to intellectual property

Watch video case studies on IP from real businesses

Business plans

A business plan is a good way to sum up:

the customer need you’re aiming to meet

how your business will meet that need while making a profit

It should clearly show the results of your customer research, and that you’re able to explain how you can turn your idea into viable business before you invest lots of time and money. Your plan can also be a very helpful tool to convince other people of the value of your business. This includes potential partners and sources of funding.

You can find a free business plan template HERE

Find an accountant

An accountant can help with things like financial advice and managing growth. You can also appoint them as an ‘agent’ to deal with your tax affairs, submit your VAT returns and deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on your behalf.

‘Chartered’ accountants are fully-qualified members of a professional body. There are several UK professional accountancy bodies and you can find chartered accountants through them:

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Get online

You can also attract customers and increase awareness by setting up a website for your business.

Search online for resources, as well as local web design and development companies you can work with.

You may also be able to sell your product or service directly through your website.