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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.

Skills shortage is "biggest risk for business"

10 January 2018

Skills shortage is "biggest risk for business"Skills shortages are reaching critical levels, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Based on the responses of over 7,000 businesses, the BCC survey shows that growth in the UK economy remains subdued, with almost all services indicators below their pre-EU referendum levels and the strong performance of manufacturers easing slightly in the final quarter of 2017.

However, finding workers with the right skills has become a critical issue for UK businesses, says the report. The percentage of service firms attempting to recruit fell slightly from 52% to 50% in the fourth quarter of 2017. Of those hiring, the percentage reporting recruitment difficulties has risen to 71%, the highest since records began.

The percentage of manufacturers that attempted to recruit in the past three months has decreased from 71% to 66%. Of those, 75% had recruitment difficulties. And of these, skilled manual labour was the leading area of recruitment difficulties (68%) - again, the highest since records began.

Dr Adam Marshall, BCC director general, said: "Labour and skills shortages are set to be the biggest potential drag anchor on business in 2018, since ultimately it is people that make businesses work. Business itself must do more - by training and investing wherever possible in people - but Government must also give firms the confidence to put their livelihoods on the line and go for growth.

"This must be the year employers act rather than just complain on skills, and the year Government delivers clarity, leadership and investment in people and infrastructure. Kick-starting growth, and boosting wages and prosperity for all, depends on this."

Overall, the survey suggests that 2018 will be a challenging year for small businesses. Suren Thiru, BCC head of economics, said: "Looking forward, the UK economy is set to continue on an underwhelming growth trajectory over the near term with uncertainty over the impact of Brexit coupled with high inflation and weak productivity likely to dampen overall economic activity."

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