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Overview of business structures

Sole trader

The advantages of being a sole trader include independence, ease of set up and running, and the fact that all the profits go to you.

The disadvantages include a lack of support, unlimited liability and the fact that you are personally responsible for any debts run up by your business.


Similar to setting up as a sole trader, the advantages of being in a partnership include its ease of set up and running, and the range of skills and experience that the partners can bring to the business. However, problems can occur when there are disagreements between partners. There is unlimited liability and, as a partner, you are personally responsible for any debts that the business runs up.

Limited liability company

In a limited liability company your personal financial risk will be restricted to how much you invest in the business and any guarantees you have given in order to obtain financing.

Social enterprises

Social enterprises are businesses that trade for a social purpose and represent a diverse and growing range of business activity across the UK.

Limited liability partnership (LLP)

LLPs retain the flexibility of a partnership and your personal liability is limited. At least two members must be 'designated members' - the law places extra responsibilities on them.

The formation of an LLP is more complex and costly than that of a partnership and problems can occur when there are disagreements between the members. If the number of partners is reduced, and there are fewer than two designated members, then every member is deemed to be a designated member.

However, you should remember that this type of company also brings a range of extra legal duties, including the maintenance of the company's public records, e.g. for the purpose of the filing of accounts.


The major advantage of a franchise is that it takes advantage of the success of an established business and support networks.

However, your freedom to manage the business is limited by the terms of the franchise agreement. Also franchisees often pay a share of their turnover to the franchiser, which reduces overall profits.

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  • Inward Investment Services
  • Town Hall & Civic Offices
    Westoe Road
    South Shields
    Tyne & Wear
    United Kingdom
    NE33 2RL

  • 0191 424 6262

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