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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

2017 is record year for small businesses

5 December 2017

2017 is record year for small businessesSmall businesses contributed £1.9 trillion to the UK economy this year, according to new Government figures.

The latest business population statistics, released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, show that there are now a record 5.7 million smaller businesses in the UK. The figure is up by 197,000 from 2016 and represents an increase of 2.2 million since 2000.

The number of employing businesses has increased by 41,000 (up 3%) since 2016 and the number of non-employing businesses has gone up by 155,000 (up 4%). Total employment in SMEs is 16.1 million, accounting for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.

However, a recent survey by ICM for the British Business Bank has found that the vast majority of Brits underestimate the scale of small firms in the UK. Small businesses make up 99.3% of the total UK business population. However, 98% of those surveyed underestimated this share; 81% said small businesses account for fewer than 60% of the UK's business population.

The contribution of small businesses to UK private sector turnover is also widely undervalued. The latest Government figures show that small firms generate more than 50% of the combined turnover generated by private sector businesses.

Keith Morgan, ceo of the British Business Bank, said: "We want to raise awareness of the incredible achievements of small businesses and reflect on their enormous contribution to our economy and society. They are 'small wonders' and we encourage the public and our partners to get involved in recognising their importance."

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "Small firms are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of UK society. It's critical that we rally UK-wide support for small business owners and the self-employed."

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