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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.

Also in the news this week - 9 September 2016

9 September 2016

Top reasons for running your own business

A new poll by Company Formation Made Simple has found that quality of life is the main reason that entrepreneurs choose to work for themselves. Over a quarter of those polled (28%) said running their own business gave them a better lifestyle. However, 24% said it provided higher earnings than they could make in a regular job and a further 19% said they were reluctant to work for someone else.

Why your staff might be leaving

On a similar note, a new study by Bright HR has found that pay is one of the least important factors when employees decide to look around for a new job. Instead, it's all about quality of life: 39% are lured by an easier role; 38% want to improve their work-life balance; and 34% are seeking a better work culture. Pay is the key factor for just 21% of workers.

Women ask but don't get when it comes to pay

Also on pay, new research from the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin has revealed that women ask for wage rises just as often as men, but men are 25% more likely to be successful. The research was testing the idea that women are not as pushy as men. But the survey of 4,600 randomly-chosen workers at more than 800 employers provides clear evidence of discrimination. Co-author Dr Amanda Goodall at Cass Business School said: "Ours is the first proper test of the reticent-female theory, and the evidence doesn't stand up."

Contactless payments continue to rise

Contactless cards have overtaken cheques as a payment method for the first time according to Mintel. Its findings show that cheques were used by 31% of Britons in the three months to April while contactless debit cards were used by 39% and contactless credit cards by 34%. Cash remains the most common payment method but Rich Shepherd, financial services analyst at Mintel, said the research shows that contactless cards have become much more widely accepted. "They've moved beyond coffee shops and sandwich bars and are now entirely commonplace."

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