I am assuming you have already decided on your business format and if you haven’t there is loads of advice to be had online (see links at end). So, you are ready and raring to go. However, as a permanent reminder, here is a check list of the issues you should have dealt with:

The legal structure of your business:

Self-employed sole trader; have you:

§ Registered as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs?
§ Obtained any permits and planning permission that you may need from your local authority?
§ Found out from your local authority whether you need to pay business rates?
§ Contacted HM Revenue & Customs
§ Set up a record-keeping (filing) system?
§ Set up a basic profit and loss account?
§ Identified the National Insurance contributions you must pay?

Private limited company; have you also:

§ Clearly displayed its name on the outside of the office (or your home)?
§ Ensured its name is clearly displayed on all its business stationery, including letters, invoices, receipts and cheques?
§ Ensured its place of registration, registered number and registered office address are clearly displayed on all its business letters and order forms?
§ Completed and signed all the necessary registration documents and forms and returned them to the Registrar of Companies?
§ Received confirmation (Certificate of Incorporation) from the Registrar of Companies that your application for limited company status has been successful? The company comes into existence when the Registrar of Companies issues a Certificate of Incorporation.
§ Contacted HM Revenue & Customs?

Whether you are to be a sole trader or private limited company, have you:

Appointed an accountant?

Appointed a solicitor, if required?

Registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (Data Protection)?

Registered with the Health & Safety Executive?

Useful Internet Resources

Companies House –
Directgov –
Small Business Service –
Achieving Best Practise –
Business Advice (Wales) –
Business Advice (Scotland) –
Business Advice (Northern Ireland) –
Information Commissioner’s Office (Data Protection) –
HM Revenue & Customs –
Health & Safety Executive –
Federation of Small Businesses –
Royal Bank of Scotland (Small Business Service) –
Cobweb Business Information –
Microsoft Business Centre –
Thomson Directories (Mailing Lists) –
Google Internet Search Engine –