If you’re thinking about setting up your own business, then your first step is to do some research and write a business plan.
A good business plan should keep everything as simple as possible.
You will need a business plan if you are looking to secure any funding to support your start up. Even if you don’t require funding, a business plan is an essential working document to go back to and reflect upon once you have started trading.
- website: GOV.UK business plan templates
You can also find lots of free information on starting and running businesses, including marketing, finance, sales and human resources:
- look at the ‘Start a business’ section of Entrepreneur Handbook website
- Federation for Small Business website
- NatWest Entrepreneur Hub
- Enterprise Nation
There is also another great website called informi. They are a charitable division of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) This site contains hundreds of free step by step guides, e-books, business templates, self employed tax calculators and much more.
If you want to take your business idea online then have a look at Amazon's small business accelerator programme. Its completely free and provides everything you need to know to start trading online.
Using a business plan
Use your business plan to:
- Set objectives and show how and when you will measure your performance against those objectives.
- Consider the steps you need to take to develop your business and what barriers might get in the way.
- Think about the potential risks and how you will manage those. Do you have a 'plan b'?
You can also get help with writing your business plan by attending a free business start-up course, like the courses suggested on this page.
Head-start - Enterprise Ashfield
This is a business support programme designed to help young entrepreneurs in Kirkby in Ashfield and Sutton in Ashfield acquire the skills and information they need to start-up and grow their businesses. Businesses may be eligible to receive £1000 grant at the end of the programme to help them establish their new venture.
- closes: March 2026
- email: email@example.com
- email: Richard Lapido, Enterprise Advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
- website: Ashfield Enterprise Project
Kick-Off business course
This is a free online course to help individuals that are interested in becoming self-employed. The course will explore useful topics such as the formalities of setting up, legal requirements and insurances, finance, money, and grants, opportunities and risks, business planning, branding, creating an identity, finding a USP, building a proposition, social media, and marketing.
There is no closing date for this course.
Page last updated: 22 November 2023