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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.

Assessing your management ability - checklist

Many managers wonder whether they're doing the best job possible for the business and their staff. This checklist will help you review your skills and see where you could improve.

  • Review the abilities and knowledge you need to do your job effectively; research any relevant published frameworks (eg from your professional body).
  • Prepare a checklist with specific indicators of competence; assess yourself by scoring how well you meet each indicator.
  • Approach other people whose opinion you value, or whose perceptions of you are important, and ask them to assess you as well.
  • Review your work performance for evidence confirming your abilities; analyse any problems to see where your weaknesses were a factor.
  • Confirm that you understand the business, its key drivers and performance indicators, and the contribution you and your team make to it.
  • Confirm you have the legal and technical knowledge you need, keep up to date with necessary information and use it effectively.
  • Assess your understanding of finances and ability to draw up and control budgets.
  • Examine how well you prioritise, set objectives, and implement plans.
  • Evaluate your ability to develop and implement effective policies and procedures.
  • Assess your working relationships and your ability to build teams, motivate employees, communicate effectively and influence people.
  • Consider how you deal with customers, suppliers and others.
  • Assess how well you manage employees' performance and their training and development.
  • Consider your abilities in other areas particular to your role - for example, marketing and selling, production or human resources management.
  • Assess your ability to manage change.
  • Evaluate your attitude, creativity, self-confidence and ability to manage stress, and how well you manage your own personal development.
  • Use your assessment to drive your personal development programme.

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