Skip to main content
Guiding you to a better future


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.

"Amazon tax" could backfire for small retailers

28 July 2020

A digital retail tax intended to level the playing field between online retailers and high street stores would push up prices for consumers, the British Retail Consortium has warned.

The Treasury is said to be exploring replacements for business rates, including "alternative property and online taxes"; newspaper reports suggest that chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering a 2% levy on goods bought online.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic driving more sales online, such a tax could be damaging for small retailers who are trying to boost their ecommerce activity in order to survive.

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: "Throughout the pandemic, many of us have been relying on retailers to ramp up their online services to ensure we can all get the goods we need. The government should not harm these efforts by further taxing the businesses providing these services, and the people they serve."

However, the Guardian reports that Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has called for an "Amazon tax" on online sales to stop more high street shops from closing down. He said that the money raised would be enough to cut business rates by 20% for all retailers.

In April this year, the government introduced a digital services tax levied at 2% on the revenues of big technology firms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook. The Treasury consultation on a digital retail tax is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.

Elliott Jacobs, EMEA commerce consulting director at LiveArea, said: "The online sales tax seems like a short-sighted move … [it] shows a lack of understanding from the government in terms of how ecommerce and retail are intertwined. What they should perhaps be thinking of is a tax break, for instance, for struggling retailers to invest in their digital operations. If consumers want to spend their money online, why would you make a move to discourage this? It's unlikely a 2% tax will change the modern consumer's habits, and make them shop in-store.

"We should really be encouraging the digital economy, and focus on embracing omnichannel. Fulfilment options like click-and-collect and ship from store keep bricks-and-mortar stores relevant in the eyes of the online shopper, so retailers should be encouraged to embrace all channels, and not be penalised for the one that is likely going to be the most profitable at present."

Written by Rachel Miller.

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.

Contact us

Make an enquiry