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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.

Gender pay gap reporting deadline arrives

4 April 2018

Gender pay gap reporting deadline arrivesBusinesses with more than 250 employees must publish their gender pay gap data by midnight on 4 April.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women. The Government has pledged to close the gender pay gap within a generation.

As the deadline looms, the BBC has reported that 8,870 out of around 9,000 firms have so far complied. Of those that have already published their data, the BBC says 78% of firms pay men more than women, while 13% pay women more. Just 8% said they had no gender pay gap at all.

Prime minister Theresa May has pledged to tackle the "burning injustice" of the UK's gender pay gap. She said the disclosures would make for "uncomfortable reading" but that "equality for women is a right, and our whole society is the poorer as long as it remains unrealised."

Analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the Young Women's Trust has found that women earn £223,000 less than men over the course of a lifetime. Women aged 22 to 29 can expect to earn on average £1,550 less per year than male colleagues, rising to £7,600 each year when they are in their fifties.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, said: "Firms who have not yet published their data need to get their skates on. They've had fair warning. Excuses will not do … it's right to take gender pay reporting seriously. The results so far make for eye-watering reading. The data show how far we have to go to create equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace."

Fairbairn added: "Transparency is a potent tool for change. What gets measured gets done, and the litmus test of success will be what firms do to improve their scores and create more diverse and inclusive workplaces."

The CBI's own gender pay gap is 9.7%; Fairbairn said the CBI aims to close it by "recruiting more widely and improving policies around progression".

HR body the CIPD has created a guide to help employers meet their reporting obligations and close their own pay gap.

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