If you’re thinking about setting up your own business, then your first steps are 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 return to and reflect upon once you have started trading.
- website: GOV.UK business plan templates
You can find lots of free information online about starting and running businesses, on topics such as marketing, finance, sales, and human resources at websites including:
- The 'Start a business' section at the Entrepreneur Handbook
- The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
- NatWest Entrepreneur hub
- Enterprise Nation.
There is another handy website called informi, which is 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. It is 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.
Enterprising Ashfield programme - HeadStart
This business support programme is designed to help entrepreneurs, living or working in Kirkby in Ashfield and Sutton in Ashfield, to acquire the skills and information they need to start and grow a business. Participants may also be eligible to receive a £1000 grant at the end of the programme to help establish their new venture.
- closes: March 2026
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- email: Richard Ladipo, enterprise advisor: email@example.com
- website: Enterprising Ashfield programme - HeadStart
Kick-Off in Business course
This is a free online course to help individuals that are interested in becoming self-employed. The course explores useful topics such as the formalities of setting up, legal requirements and insurances, finance, money, and grants. Other useful subjects include 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: 7 February 2024