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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.

Controlling costs - checklist

Our helpful checklist will show you the areas to target when you're trying to understand or reduce business costs.

  • Identify your major costs, such as staff, raw materials and other supplies, premises, utilities, travel, transport, capital expenditure and financing costs.
  • Decide which costs to control centrally and which should be the responsibility of individual cost centres (eg production, sales).
  • Involve employees by explaining what you are doing and encouraging cost-saving suggestions - consider offering incentives.
  • Establish cost budgets and monitor actual costs against budget as part of a systematic cost-control process.
  • Review how activities and costs contribute to achieving your business objectives and quality standards.
  • Benchmark key activities and costs to identify long-term opportunities for significant cost reductions.
  • Consolidate purchasing with a small number of suppliers and negotiate improved terms and discounts; check invoices for overcharging.
  • Eliminate unnecessary activities, duplication of effort and avoidable waste; reduce obvious overcapacity.
  • Control excessive costs - for example, over-specified supplies or excessive spend on taxis and business lunches.
  • Identify opportunities to improve efficiency; use time-saving tech, streamline processes and consider outsourcing non-core activities.
  • Design products and production to use standard components and efficient processes; improve quality control to minimise waste.
  • Improve financial control; refinance expensive overdrafts with loans and minimise working capital.
  • Before making any changes, assess the potential downside, such as damaging morale, reducing quality or creating long-term vulnerability.

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