The UK offers a great place for new companies to set up businesses. It has an ever-growing number of business owners both local and foreign. It has a good market for many products and services. Another reason why people flock to the UK is because of the low costs of setting up a business. It is one of the most transparent places to do business.
However, getting started can be difficult.
The process can be complex, discouraging many new businesses from opening. This is even more difficult if you are a foreigner in the UK. In this article, we will look at the process of how to open a business in London as a foreigner?
What you need to start a business
Beginning your own offline start up or opening a branch of business in the UK - particularly London - can boost your exposure in a number of ways. The UK is one of the largest markets in the world. It has the world's fifth largest economy with a population of over 65 million people. So, if you're dreaming of starting a business or have a plan and the finances in place, let's see what you need to know before you start your business as a foreign national.
1. Obtain a business visa
2. Create a business plan
A business plan is a roadmap of what you are going to achieve. It serves as a guide for you and others. It also shows other people that you're professional. A business plan is a basic summary of what your company will do and how you will achieve your objectives. A business plan contains the following:
- description of the plan
- the marketing strategy
- the sales strategy
- how business operations will be conducted
- details on financial transactions
The goal is to make a detailed plan but it doesn't have to long. If you have no experience, make use of one of the many online business plan templates.
3. Work on your brand
There is a lot of competition in the British markets. The only way to have a fighting chance is by standing out. Branding includes choosing a business name to creating a logo. The goal at this point is to provide a unique identity for customers. The logo and business names are the first things that people will notice about a new company.
The company name should be unique and offer an insight into what the public can expect from a business. The logo offers a visual aspect of your company. A good logo is simple, timeless, and appropriate.
4. Register your business
Once you have a plan and a brand, work on registration. There are different structures to use when registering a business. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so think carefully about type of company you want to set up and your appetite for risk. Types of business structures include:
- Sole trader
- Limited liability partnership
- Limited company
All sole traders should register with HM Revenue & Customs once you have started running your company.
If you will be operating a business without a physical address, you can find more information about virtual offices at Hoxton Mix.
5. Learn about business laws
One of the main reasons start-ups fail is because they do not know the UK rules and regulations. Areas that can lead to trouble include:
- Employee regulations
- Imports and exports
- Copyright and trademark
- Customer data protection
- Environmental impact
These legal pitfalls can easily be avoided by educating yourself. The GOV.UK website has information on all the rules and regulations surrounding doing business in the UK. You can also get professional advice from a range of independent advisors.
6. Get a licence
Some businesses need a license to operate. Licences are usually issued by your local authority and the cost varies. There are certain tools such as the License Finder that give information on whether you need a licence and how much it will cost.
7. Insure your business
To make sure you are safe, insure your business. The type of insurance you need will depend on what you do. The commercial property insurance covers you against any damage your premises may face. Another one that you might need is professional indemnity insurance. This protects you from any claims that unsatisfied customers make. Speak to an insurance company to see which one would suit your company.
8. Register as an employer
The UK government requires all business owners who aim to employ others to register as an employer. You also need to have employer's liability insurance to protect you from any lawsuits against your business. Business owners can employ workers as long as they have the right to work.
The UK is a popular and vibrant place to start a small business. With low set-up costs, it is no surprise many start ups choose to operate in the UK. To avoid running into trouble, make sure you're familiar with UK business laws, make sure you have all the necessary permits and permissions and create a robust business plan.
You will also need to register your business with HMRC which regulates taxes and VAT. You will also need to register if you want to employ people. Lastly, make sure that your business is insured. If you are unsure about any of these steps, you can contact professional advisors to help you get started.
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