Set up a business - step by step


  1. Overview
  2. What kind of business should you set up
  3. Plan your next steps
  4. Register your business


You will want to know if your idea for a business will work in the real world.

You can do this by understanding:

  • Exactly what you will sell or what service you will provide
  • Who will buy your product or service
  • How you will reach your customers
  • How much customers will pay for your product or service

For more information, see market research.

It can be daunting setting up in business. For more information and advice, see considering starting up.

What kind of business should you set up

Setting up a business does not necessarily mean you will need to set up a company.

You can be self-employed and not have "company" status.

The structure of your business will mainly depend on the:

  • type of business you will be running
  • level of financial risk you want to take

Find out more at overview of business structures.

Plan your next steps

It is useful to have an understanding of what you will do next when setting up your business.

An easy way of managing this is with a business plan.

A business plan is an easy to follow document that will describe your business and its objectives.

There will be several sections to complete, depending on the purpose of your plan.

Business plans are written:

  • to secure funding, or
  • so that owners can measure performance and success

For more information, see prepare a business plan.

Register your business

Depending on the type of business you choose to set up, there will be requirements to register for:

  • Self assessment
  • VAT
  • Corporation Tax
  • PAYE (for employers)
  • HMRC

Find out more at HMRC: Business or GOV.UK: Setting up a business.