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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.

FSB: Business rates appeal system is "shambles"

26 July 2017

FSB: Business rates appeal system is "shambles"As many small businesses across the UK continue to struggle to appeal against big rises in their business rates, the Federation of Small Businesses has described the new system as a "total shambles".

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "The Government's new business rates appeal system has proven to be a total shambles. Ministers promised that the check, challenge, appeal platform would simplify the process of establishing fair business rates bills following April's delayed revaluation. In fact, the opposite is true."

His comments come in response to the appointment of Melissa Tatton as the new chief executive of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). An executive agency of HMRC, the VOA is responsible for providing the valuations and property advice that support taxation and benefits.

Melissa Tatton said: "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Valuation Office Agency as it continues to invest in and improve its services, and to be joining HMRC's Executive Committee. It's vital that VOA customers continue to have confidence in its valuations and advice."

However, Mike Cherry is calling on Tatton to address the problems with the appeals process as a priority. He said: "We urge the new head of the VOA to publish data on how many businesses have successfully lodged a check, challenge or appeal across England. Equally, we need to see the Government commit to a timeline for improvements to this excessively bureaucratic and cumbersome platform.

"It can't be right that the burden of proof falls so heavily on business owners under this new system. The requirement to produce all information at stage one puts our time-strapped entrepreneurs under huge pressure and will inevitably mean that some legitimate claims are not brought forward. Many small businesses simply don't have the time or money to bring together their case in full. Our strivers want to get on with running their firms. Instead, they're spending time protecting themselves from unfair hikes to the regressive business rates tax."

Last week, a coalition of retailers and pub owners wrote to secretary of state for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid to demand "immediate and thorough" reform of business rates.

The authors of the letter included the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). They said: "The businesses that contribute so much economically and socially, and which have helped to regenerate high streets, are in danger of being forced out of business by a system that does not work."

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