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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.

Sprucing up your premises - checklist

Are your premises feeling cramped, cluttered or shabby? Follow our tips to give them - and your staff - a new lease of life.

  • Ask staff and customers how they think your premises could be improved. Involving staff is good for morale and they may suggest changes which improve their productivity. Ask customers what they think, too, and focus your efforts on areas they identify.
  • Get rid of clutter. If your premises are cramped, clear out unused items or documents. Tidy surroundings can have a calming effect. Creating an uncluttered working environment is also good for staff productivity and is more welcoming for visitors.
  • Ensure that you follow the WEEE regulations when disposing of electronic and electrical equipment. These laws allow you to send back equipment to the manufacturer for disposal, free of charge.
  • Use free programmes such as Freecycle to get rid of old furniture. By signing up to the scheme's email alert service, you advertise your unwanted furniture and arrange for its new owner to collect it.
  • Make the most of space. Move your furniture or equipment around, so that your employees have as much breathing space as possible.
  • Make use of natural daylight. Make sure your windows are clean and aren't blocked. If your premises don't benefit from much natural light, make use of artificial lighting, lightly coloured and reflective surfaces to give the illusion of light and space.
  • Review your interior decor. There may be small changes you can make that create character or improve the atmosphere - for example, a restaurant or café might use pictures, mirrors, lampshades and candle holders, all of which can be bought cheaply from second-hand antique and charity shops.
  • Consider your use of colour and finishes. Some colours are known to have energising or inspirational qualities and some finishes will naturally reflect more light.  
  • Think about your company brand.  Do your premises reflect your brand values and what they stand for? Can you incorporate your company logo or colours in your décor?
  • If your walls look shabby, give them a lick of paint. If yours is a creative or community-based business you could consider inviting local artists to paint your walls, providing a canvas for them to display their talent in return for brighter, more interesting premises.
  • Consider your curb appeal. Are your windows and the pavement outside your premises clean and welcoming? Could you add planters with brightly coloured flowers or interesting shrubs to brighten the exterior?
  • Do you need to update your façade? This can dramatically change the appearance of your premises without costing as much as a full refit. You might just want to order new signage or clean up the outside of the building, but there are also agencies that specialise in designing facades.
  • If you have a shop window, make sure the display is changed regularly - otherwise, customers may think you have nothing new to offer them. Don't clutter your display, ensure it is well lit and make sure the contents are timely.

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