Who to talk to

Which professionals do I need to talk to?

When you have carefully weighed up the possibilities, why not talk to professional advisors? These advisors include Business Links, Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs), Enterprise Agencies, Regional Technology Centres, Local Government, Chambers of Commerce, the professions (accountants, solicitors, property specialists and so on).

Whatever your business, there will be times when you will need professional help from accountants, solicitors or other specialists.

Most of these people know that new businesses cannot afford to pay large fees and so the first consultation is usually free of charge. This gives you a chance to find out how they can help you and what it will cost! Always agree the fee or how the fee will be calculated before any work is done.

How can I help myself?

It is important to know how to look after your finances and office administration, even if you are going to employ someone else to do it for you. There are a number of courses run throughout the UK for small business owners; these cover basic marketing, book-keeping, business and the law, taxation, office administration and other things you will need to know.

How can the Government help me?

National and Local Government is deeply committed to small and new businesses, and subsidises a range of services to encourage them. There are several agencies that offer these services and give help to new firms starting up, and small businesses that are already running.

The Government also provides financial assistance to new companies. This can come in grant form as well as:

Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme
- This is a loan for businesses that do not have a track record or the necessary security. The Government guarantees a loan, which can be paid back over a period of 2-10 years. A premium is paid to the Government for this service.

Small Firms Training Loan
- This is a loan for businesses to help pay for training or consultancy costs. Interest payments will be paid by the Government for a set period.

Tax and National Insurance?

Tax and National Insurance are important issues which you need to sort out at an early stage. The Inland Revenue can give you valuable guidance, whether you are starting a business on your own or if you intend to take on employees.

Your local Inland Revenue can provide helpful services including the following.

Touch Screen Kiosks are available throughout the country giving information from the Inland Revenue as well as from the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise. Your local Inland Revenue can tell you the location of your nearest kiosk.