Skip to main content
We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.

Search

For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Sales and marketing

A website is a highly effective marketing and promotion tool that requires little maintenance, functions 24/7 and reaches out to people all over the world. It will help you win and retain customers, and generate additional revenue. And because of lower costs, online sales margins can be significantly higher.

Even if the nature of your business means you can't sell online, a good website will provide added credibility and the opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

The internet is a major influence on people's buying decisions and habits. The good news is, getting a high-quality website up and running need not be expensive or difficult.

Should you create your own website?

Building your own website may save money, but the results often look a little ‘home made’, and having a terrible website is worse than not having one at all.

If you choose the 'DIY option', have a good look around at other business websites to see what you like. As a general rule, simple is best.

There are many DIY online website-creation sites that enable people with limited experience to put together their own website, register a domain name, get email addresses, and even set up online shopping and payment facilities. But beware - you could still end up with something that looks terrible.

Investing in the services of a professional web designer to build you a basic website will provide far superior results. A web designer will usually include design, domain name registration and arranging hosting of your site by an internet service provider in their service.

Seek recommendations, look at their previous work and ask for a full breakdown of costs. Crucially, once the site is live, to avoid any further costs, you need to be able to update and add content to it yourself.

Writing good website content

Look, feel and function are critical, but your website must communicate your key messages effectively, too. A visitor must quickly be able to understand why they should buy from you. Don't allow form to triumph over content - your website needs to sell your business and its wares.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial if you will rely on customers finding your website via search engines such as Google. You could also use paid-for advertising services such as Google Adwords, for which you are charged on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis.

If you plan to trade online, your website must include your address and contact details, privacy policy, terms and conditions, exchange and refund policy, information about delivery and making payments. Stock availability and pricing should be kept up to date and you must explain how much VAT and post and packaging is payable per item.

Taking online payments

To collect online payments you need to include a shopping cart function on your website, as well as a secure means by which customers can enter their details. Many web designers provide a shopping cart function and payment facility as part of their packages.

You also need a merchant account. Providers such as PayPal are popular, but also ask at your bank to see if it can help. Normally, you pay a set-up charge, monthly service fee and service charge for each transaction.

Test your website thoroughly before launch – that includes acting on feedback from potential customers. Post-launch, monitor usage via Google Analytics and keep content fresh and current if you want people to keep coming back.