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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.

Carrying out market research - checklist

Knowing your market, and the trends in your sector, is vital if you want to maximise sales and stand out from the competition. We explain how to find and use market information.

  • Focus on market research which will help you make better business decisions.
  • Work out what you need to know, and whether you need an in-depth understanding of the situation or a quick snapshot.
  • Decide how quickly you need the information, and how accurate it needs to be.
  • Start your research project with a clear brief, including objectives, deadlines and any important background information.
  • Decide whether you have the expertise to carry out larger research projects yourself, or need to use an external agency or freelance researcher.
  • Make full use of easily accessed information from internal records, employee and customer feedback, publications and the internet.
  • Ask your customers who they see as your competition, and why they have chosen you.
  • If necessary, invest in surveys, focus groups and observation studies to back up decisions.
  • Analyse research results carefully and objectively.
  • Be prepared to carry out further research if the information you have is insufficient or out of date.
  • Use your research to make decisions and plan business strategy.
  • Regularly update your understanding of customers and market conditions.

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