Home > Business Insurance > How to Start a Business in the UK in 2024 – A Complete 10 Step Guide

How to Start a Business in the UK in 2024 – A Complete 10 Step Guide

By Dean Laming on February 28th, 2022

Starting a business in the UK can be an exciting and rewarding endeavour, but it also requires careful planning and preparation. This comprehensive guide breaks down the 10 key steps you need to take to successfully set up your business in the UK in 2024.

From registering your company to writing a business plan, opening a business bank account, understanding the legal business structures, and more – we cover everything you need to launch your startup in the UK.

Step 1: Develop and Validate Your Business Idea

Every successful business starts with an innovative idea that solves a real problem for potential customers. Brainstorm ideas based on your interests, skills, experience and market gaps. Research the competition, target audience, and costs involved before settling on an idea.

Validate your concept early by surveying potential customers to see what they want. Refine your offering based on feedback to ensure you’ll meet market demand before investing time and money into it. A scalable business model is key.

Step 2: Write a Convincing Business Plan

Your business plan is the roadmap that describes all key aspects of your envisioned company – from products/services offered to marketing and finances. Outline the problem you’re solving, your solution and your target market.

In addition, include projected costs and revenues over the next 1-3 years and highlight what makes you stand out from the competition. Having a well-defined business plan is essential when seeking funding from investors, loans or when registering your company later on.

Step 3: Choose the Best Legal Structure for Your Business

The UK offers various business structure options, each with different regulations, legal and tax implications. Choosing the right one ensures proper protection for you:

Sole Trader – simplest structure for individuals starting out. You personally own and run all aspects of the business as an individual.

Partnership – for 2+ people running a business together. You share personal liability based on your percentage of ownership.

Limited Company – separates your personal finances and liabilities from the business for added protection. Most popular for scalable startups seeking outside investment due to limited personal liability. It requires more admin, like registering with Companies House, submitting annual accounts and filing corporation tax.

Step 4: Officially Register Your Business with HMRC and Companies House

To legally operate your business in the UK, you must:

  1. Register as Self-Employed with HMRC – Declares you’ll be operating a business for tax purposes. Done online via the gov.uk website.
  2. Register with Companies House – For limited companies only. Submit your company name, business details, owners/directors, share distribution, etc.

Failure to register your business officially can result in penalties later on.

Step 5: Set Up a Business Bank Account

A separate business bank account is a must, even if you’re a sole trader or freelancer. It helps manage your business money and expenses distinctly from personal transactions.

Choose a bank that offers the features your new business needs, like accounting software integrations, payment acceptance tools, overdraft facilities and more to support your growth.

Step 6: Get Business Insurance Cover

Unforeseen events like lawsuits, data breaches, property damage or inventory destruction can quickly derail startups. Protect your company by obtaining the right insurance policies based on your business type and scale of operations.

Common covers are professional liability insurance, cyber liability insurance, general liability insurance, commercial property insurance and more.

Step 7: Understand UK Business Visa Options

If you’re a foreigner looking to start or invest in a UK business, review the range of business visas available first.

Key options include:

  • Sole Representative Visa – for establishing a branch/subsidiary of an overseas company
  • Start-up Visa – for launching an innovative business in the UK
  • Innovator Visa – for more established business owners

Each has specific eligibility criteria regarding business activities, funding, and more, which you’ll need to meet.

Step 8: Find and Secure Suitable Business Premises

Whether you operate from home or need a standalone commercial location, it will depend on your business type and activities.

Review costs carefully, as rent, required renovations, equipment, inventory, etc. will all add up. You’ll also need to pay local business rates. Consider flexible coworking spaces first before committing to long term leases.

Purchase business insurance for your premises to cover assets housed onsite.

Step 9: Handle Legal Compliance and Agreements

Stay compliant from day one to avoid hefty fines. Key areas include:

  1. Business Name Registration – can’t use a name already taken as it leads to legal issues down the line
  2. Employment/Supplier Contracts – protect IP and interests when outsourcing work or hiring
  3. Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions – mandatory for customer data collection on websites
  4. Accounting, Tax Filings – keep accurate records for taxes. Use HMRC approved software.

Step 10: Promote and Market Your New Business

You have an innovative product/service, great branded collateral, an optimised website and legal foundations in place. Now get the word out! Network actively, run targeted online/offline ads, and offer promotions and deals to acquire customers.

Ongoing marketing and customer satisfaction are key to ensuring your new business succeeds in the competitive UK landscape in the long run. Also, review funding options like small business loans or government-backed start up loans if you need financial support to promote your new business.

Protect Your Startup with Brisco’s Business Cover

With so much to navigate when launching a new business, having the right partners in place provides confidence and support. Here at Brisco Business, we offer comprehensive business insurance policies tailored to the unique needs of UK startups and small businesses across industries. 

Our experts aim to provide both robust cover and a trusted resource so you can focus on accelerating growth rather than worrying over vulnerabilities. As your business evolves, so do your risks and insurance needs. Get bespoke advice today by contacting us.

Dean Laming

Dean is a Chartered Insurance Broker with more than 25 years insurance experience. Through various underwriting, operational and management roles, Dean has built up extensive knowledge of how to run a business and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Dean Laming

Protect Your Business Today!

Find comprehensive business insurance at the right price. Quickly and easily compare quotes from leading insurers and choose the perfect policy for you.

Compare Quotes

More Business Insurance Articles

Our Reviews