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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.

Millions of would-be entrepreneurs need more support

9 April 2018

Millions of would-be entrepreneurs need more supportThere are almost seven million potential entrepreneurs in the UK who have plans for a business but are being held back because of a lack of support.

A survey of 8,500 Brits conducted by AXA Business Insurance has found that 13% of the UK population have plans to start their own business. The biggest untapped source of business activity is among the under 25s, where 27% have a business idea that they want to get off the ground.

But six in ten of all budding entrepreneurs said they needed to acquire skills before they could set up and only 37% said the training they need is available and accessible to them.

The most sought-after courses are: business management, marketing, finance and digital skills. Expense is the key barrier to further education, followed by a lack of courses locally.

Just one in ten said there was good start-up support available to them in their area. The exception is Wales, which has seen significant digital investment and promotion of the tech economy in recent years. Welsh people are three times more likely to know about available support and rate it as "good".

Top locations for start-up support are:

  • Swansea (with 57% saying there is good support);
  • Edinburgh (27%);
  • Southampton (24%);
  • Birmingham (17%);
  • Glasgow (16%).

When asked who they would turn to for advice on starting a business, just 15% named a Government institution, local authority or bank. Instead, 19% said they didn't expect anyone to help them and 52% said they would turn to family.

Self-doubt has also been identified as another significant stumbling block. Almost half (46%) of those polled said they felt people would not take them seriously as an entrepreneur because they don't fit a certain profile.

When asked to explain, a third cited appearance, weight, gender (female), age, class and ethnicity. Many respondents also said they did not have the right personality to become an entrepreneur - because they were not "extrovert", "ruthless" or "confident" enough.

Gareth Howell, managing director of AXA Insurance, said: "The UK population has an enormous pool of latent entrepreneurship, and it will be a tragedy if it goes to waste. It's a personal tragedy for individuals who don't realise their potential, and a national issue as the economy misses out on talent and revenue.

"This isn't just about dreams, it's also about economic survival. With such a rapidly changing workplace and impending challenges like automation, self-employment will become a rite of passage for future generations."

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