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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.

Business premises

Crime potentially threatens all businesses, with criminals finding ever more sophisticated methods. Protecting and insuring premises and their contents is crucial to all businesses.

You could begin by contacting your local police station (on 101 or another non-emergency number) to ask for crime prevention tips. Find out which particular forms of crime you need to watch out for in your area or sector.

Assess your security risks

Carry out a crime risk assessment of your commercial premises (or house if yours is a home-based business). Identify areas most vulnerable to crime. For example, you could have valuable equipment, keep cash or store stock. Knowing where you're most vulnerable enables you to put in place security measures where they're most needed. This should also help you keep your insurance premiums as low as possible.

Pay particular attention to the exterior of your premises. All access areas should be adequately lit at night and secured. Many businesses now use CCTV, but be advised - data protection regulations apply.

You need to restrict roof access. You can use anti-climb paint, but its application is not permitted below a certain height and (ironically) you must display a sign to warn of its presence. However, this can deter casual criminals.

Practical security measures

Protect doors and windows with strong locks. If necessary, strengthen or replace doors and windows. Consider whether shutters or grilles should be installed, although you might need planning permission from your local council.

Having a modern alarm system fitted by a reputable contractor is a no-brainer. It should be tested regularly. This, too, is often stipulated by insurance policies.

If you rent, your landlord might agree to contribute toward improving the security of your premises. If you haven't yet moved into new premises, security should be foremost in your mind - something you use when negotiating with a prospective landlord. Speak with other business people operating nearby and find out how crime affects them.

Taking responsibility for security

Decide which staff member(s) will hold keys for your premises and possibly who will be on call if your alarm goes off. Also think about how you will manage visitors, perhaps by making them sign in on arrival. Often shops put up security mirrors to cover blind spots. You might also restrict access to certain areas within your premises, and put up 'Staff Only' signs. Many cash-handling businesses provide panic buttons or secure areas for staff.

Minimise risks to valuable items that are easily stolen by locking them away when not in use. Don't park vehicles onsite at night. Make sure vehicles are alarmed and don't leave valuables inside - and most definitely not on view.

Undertake regular checks to make sure that your security measures remain effective. Do this at least once a year.

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