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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.

Consumers don't trust businesses with their data

30 September 2016

Consumers don't trust businesses with their dataAs news of the massive Yahoo data security breach hits the headlines, two new pieces of research show that consumers are deeply worried about how their data is used by businesses.

The latest research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) reveals that 92% of consumers "do not fully understand" where and how businesses use their personal information and data; and one third (31%) say they have "no idea" how their personal data is used.

The CIM study, Whose data is it anyway?, surveyed more than 2,500 consumers and marketers. More than half of all consumers (57%) said they do not trust an organisation or business to use their data responsibly - the biggest issue being that their information may be passed onto others without consent (40%).

The CIM research found that 51% of consumers have received communications from organisations they feel have misused their data. Most consumers (70%) still do not see the benefit of sharing their personal data at all.

Chris Daly, CIM chief executive, said: "Our report shows that people are nervous about sharing personal data - fears of data breaches and misuse has them on high alert. However, two-thirds (67%) of customers actually say they would share more personal information if organisations were more open about how they will use it."

Businesses need to improve their data handling processes, he said. "Marketers need to brush up on the rules, demonstrate clearly the value-add personal data offers in delivering a more personalised experience and ultimately reduce the fear by being open throughout the process."

Meanwhile, research conducted by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) reveals that data handling is the single biggest issue that consumer worry about when making decisions on who to do business with.

Its poll of 2,000 UK adults found that 44% are concerned about how businesses handle sensitive client data. Aggressive tax avoidance was the second most important issue to the public, cited by 42% of respondents.

Rob Alder, AAT head of business development, said: "All businesses are reliant on their good reputation in order to survive and thrive, and this research shows the things businesses need to do to strengthen their reputation."

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