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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.

Q&A: Setting up a home-based business

Starting your business from your home can be one of the most effective ways to keep your overheads down. Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation and StartUp Britain answers some questions about how to get it right

Is starting a business from home still popular?

It's the most popular option. More than 60% of people who start a business do so from home. From fashion design, IT and catering through to pet care and arts/crafts to accountancy and legal services - you name it - it's being run as a business from someone's home.

What are the key advantages of operating from home?

It's low cost and therefore less risky, because there aren't any expensive premises overheads. You can also claim for a percentage of your domestic bills, for lighting, heating, telephone calls, etc. A home office means no commute, so you save money and time too. Cutting out a daily commute of 60 minutes each way frees up one whole extra day each week. That day can be spent earning money or with family/friends or enjoying leisure time.

Can a home-based business employ people?

Absolutely. The same employment rules apply and interestingly, because of such regulations, some home-based businesses are outsourcing and sub-contracting, rather than taking on staff. If you have people working in your home premises, you must carry out a proper health and safety risk assessment and be sure to find out about employment law.

But can't the lines between work and home become blurred?

Possibly, if you don't remain disciplined. People need to think about how the business will affect their home life - and vice versa. I recommend creating a dedicated work area, possibly a spare room, garden shed, attic or space under the stairs. This way, when you're in that space everyone knows you're working. And you can close the door at the end of the day and leave work behind.

Running a home-based business isn't an easier option?

Not necessarily, no. When you're starting out, you'll need to put in the hours if you're to make sales, keep customers happy and stay on top of your admin. Plus, there will be domestic responsibilities to take care of. Basing your business on something you enjoy helps. That way it doesn't feel like work so much.

What other legislation applies to home-based businesses?

To run certain businesses, you must seek a licence. Also, you'll need planning permission if you want to make significant changes to your property. This could be opposed. You can also run into problems if you become a nuisance to your neighbours, for example, through strange smells, excessive delivery or customer vehicles. And whether yours is simply a small sole trader business, or even a part-time venture, you must inform HM Revenue & Customs or register with Companies House. All earnings must be declared, of course and tax may be payable.

What about insurance?

You can add a business element to your home insurance - it doesn't cost much extra. It's better to be protected. You should also inform your mortgage provider or landlord, as some agreements prevent people from running a business from their home without first seeking permission.

Is there any need for additional security?

As long as you already have good quality locks on doors and windows, maybe an alarm, you should be fine. You might need to take additional steps, if, for example, you're planning to hold valuable stock or handle cash.

Sounds like you enjoy running a home-based business...

I do. Every day is different and one of the most wonderful things about being your own boss is the feeling of being in control, yet you still don't quite know what tomorrow will bring.

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