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.

Micro-businesses need more help to get to Net Zero

2 August 2022

Over two million of the UK's smallest businesses believe reducing their own carbon emissions "will not make a significant difference to climate change" according to a new survey.

Research by Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, has found that 67% (3.7 million) of micro-businesses have never sought information on how to reduce their carbon footprint and 40% (2.1 million) don't believe reducing their own emissions will make any difference.

The UK government has set out its plan for reaching net zero by 2050. However, these findings suggest that it has a very long way to go to convince many of the UK's estimated 5.3 million micro-businesses - defined as any business with 0-9 employees - to do their part in reducing emissions.

The findings of the study show that:

  • 50% find the language, terminology and information around sustainability inaccessible;
  • 78% don't fully understand the term Net Zero;
  • 72% don't fully understand the term carbon neutral;
  • 67% have never sought information on how to reduce their carbon footprint;
  • 46% don't know where to go for information.

On a positive note, 50% of the micro-business owners surveyed said they would value information that would help them assess whether reducing their carbon footprint would make financial sense for their business.

The British Business Bank's #GreenToGrow campaign aims to help smaller businesses to see the commercial benefits of investing in decarbonisation. It offers free online resources, including the Green Decoder, an online guide co-created with Nottingham Trent University to help smaller businesses decipher the terminology surrounding decarbonisation.

A key factor for small firms could be the attitudes of consumers. Research suggests that it makes economic sense for micro-businesses to consider reducing their carbon footprint. A survey published by Hearts & Science has found that half (52%) of consumers now take a brand's eco-credentials into consideration when choosing products, and one in five (21%) have made the decision to stop buying from brands because of their environmental impact.

However, small business owners say that reaching Net Zero is challenging. Jeroo Doodhmal, founder of Pip and Henry, a sustainable children's shoe company, said: "There is a lot of energy and ambition among small business owners to make their operations sustainable and Net Zero, but I think it's fair to say that in practice it's more complicated to implement both at the same time without consistent support and access to the right information.

"While we create sustainable products, we do have an international supply chain which results in a greater carbon footprint than if we were entirely UK-based. Because a lot of our sustainable materials such as pineapple leaves and coconut fibres are sourced abroad, that's likely to be an ongoing challenge."

Richard Bearman, managing director of Start-Up Loans, said: "The UK's start-up and micro-business community has enormous potential to contribute towards our national Net Zero agenda and it's clear that there is a job to be done in helping many to understand how important they are to that crucial process. This is especially true amid a backdrop of continued economic turbulence and rising operational costs, which is putting unprecedented pressure on smaller businesses.

"However, it's more important than ever for consumers to see the companies they buy from taking positive steps towards the climate crisis, even if they're not able to be completely carbon neutral."

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