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.

Did Freedom Day backfire for the high street?

24 August 2021

The government is accused of scoring an own goal over Freedom Day as it emerges that July's retail figures fell.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail sales figures have revealed a 2.5% decrease in the amount of goods sold during the month, significantly below the 0.4% sale growth that had been forecast by retail analysts. The ONS data shows that non-food stores reported a fall of 4.4% in sales volumes in July 2021 when compared with June 2021.

The end of COVID restrictions on so-called Freedom Day on 19 July was supposed to boost July's retail sales, but it appears that anxious shoppers stayed at home to avoid the spreading Delta variant.

Research by ParcelHero showed that more than two-thirds of consumers (68%) wanted mask-wearing and distancing measures retained after 19 July. It says it warned the government as early as 9 July that its plans to relax COVID measures would backfire because "it did not listen to shoppers' fears".

ParcelHero's head of consumer research David Jinks said: "July's retail sales figures are a train wreck that we saw coming. Over the previous few months, customers had regained confidence about shopping safely in the high street. All that progress has now been derailed. Ending COVID restrictions as Delta variant cases began to climb was always going to lead to this."

ParcelHero had warned that "the end to mask-wearing and queues outside stores will restore the optics of normality, but these are the very measures that will enable the virus to spread faster than ever… It's a move that could well backfire as consumer confidence tumbles."

Meanwhile, online sales grew again in July by 0.3%. Jinks said: "The ONS conjectured that people skipped shopping because of England's run in the Euro 2020 football tournament. However, we believe that Freedom Day was an own goal that ended the high street's return to form. If there's ever a return to the cycle of COVID precautions, we hope that the government and retailers have learned a valuable lesson.

"Customers who were successfully lured back to the high street earlier in the summer now need renewed assurance. We do think it can happen. Our research indicates online's current 27.9% share of all retail is a little high and will settle down at 25% over the next few months. But that's only if retailers successfully integrate safe in-store shopping with online options."

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