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Business Start-up Advice

If you bring the passion, we can try and point you in the right direction to get appropriate help and advice, whatever type of business you are thinking of starting.

Small and medium businesses are acknowledged to be vital to the economy, employing more than 13 million people and turning over £1,440bn a year.

There a number of organisations able to offer you support and assistance such as finance for start-ups and advice on how to get your idea off the ground.

If the topic you need help with is not covered within these pages, or if you would like to discuss an issue in more detail, please contact the economic regeneration team on 01782 742461 or e-mail economic regeneration.

Taking the first step

The Stoke and Staffordshire Growth Hub can provide a wealth of information on starting your own business. Check the website 'Starting in Business' section of their website or contact the Business Helpline - call 0300 111 8002 or e-mail business enquiries

Staffordshire Chambers offer a business start-up programme providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the platform to succeed through training, support, advice and commercial investment.

The Gov.uk website provides a comprehensive guide to the things you need to think about including an on-line start-up organiser.

Free advice from Business Enterprise Support (BES) for those wishing to go into business on their own. BES is the local delivery agent for Virgin StartUp loans.

The Prince's Trust Business Programme provides money and support to help 18-30 year olds start up in business.

Staffordshire University Graduates thinking of starting their own business, regardless of year of graduation, could be eligible for the university’s ‘Be Inspired’ programme. The programme has already helped create 124 start-ups and 152 jobs in Staffordshire in the last three years. Be Inspired is open to graduates of any university who live in Staffordshire, regardless of the year of Graduation.

Business planning advice

There is an old saying, "Businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail". So, before you start, get your ideas down in writing. For example, what are you going to sell? To whom? Who are your competitors? Do you need to buy stock? How are you going to fund your business?

The Gov.uk website includes templates to help you to prepare a business plan and an interactive start-up organiser.

Spend some time looking through all the other links on these pages – there are many other interesting pieces of advice about business planning.

Useful documents

A number of useful guides are appended at the bottom of this page including a business planning guide, a cash flow template and information about setting up a food business.

Company structure

Advice from the Gov.uk website on business names and structures

Information about limited companies from Companies House.

What is your business called?  Check if it is already registered.

Do I need a licence for my business?

Check out the requirements for private hire drivers, public entertainment, door supervisors, venues wanting to sell alcohol, house-to-house collections and permits for fund raising on the Council’s licensing pages

For food and animal related businesses, hairdressing and those that involve skin piercing check the requirements from the environmental health team.

Use the Gov.uk website licence and permit checklist to determine what you might require.

Financial matters

Grants and loans

The basics – Gov.uk advice on start-up finance.

See the 'Finance for Business' section for details of funding for which you may be eligible.

Do I need to pay business rates?

The Council provides comprehensive information about business rates and whether you need to register for these.

A useful introduction to business rates can be found on the Gov.uk website.

VAT and Income Tax

The Gov.uk website contains a useful introduction to business tax including VAT, how and when to file accounts and claiming expenses for the self employed.

Food related businesses

If you are making or selling foodstuffs you will need to ensure that they are being produced and sold in hygienic conditions. All food businesses are legally required to register with their Council at least 28 days before they intend to start trading.  Registration is free and involves completing a simple form to confirm the business's trading name, address, ownership, type of food activity and the opening date.  Registration is a one off process and the food business only needs to notify the Council if there are any significant changes.

Inspections will be carried out by environmental health officers from the Council who are happy to help with start-up advice to make sure that you get it right first time. They can also advise if you will need a licence. See also the guide to 'Starting a Food Business' in the Useful Documents section.

Contact the food safety team on 01782 742590 or e-mail food and safety

The Gov.uk website also contains a lot of information regarding regulations for food related businesses including advisory labelling, packaging, food law an so on.

Social enterprises

A social enterprise is a business with mainly social objectives. Any profit is reinvested in the business or in the community rather than shared out to shareholders or owners. Social enterprises operate across the economy in areas as diverse as retail, construction, training, transport and catering.

Advice from Gov.UK on starting a social enterprise.

Social Enterprise UK is the national body for social enterprises and provides a wide range of advice about starting and running social enterprises.

Premises for small businesses

If you are going to need premises for your new business there is a wide choice of office, retail and workshop accommodation of all sizes and in various locations throughout the borough.

There are a variety of factors to consider when thinking about premises. For example:-

  • Will you be reliant on passing trade? If so, you may need a high street location for your premises, which will be more expensive but makes sure that your customers can find you.
  • Do you need premises that will impress customers? One of the newer business centres or period premises in the the town centre may be a good option.
  • Would you like on-site support and assistance? We have several managed business centres in the borough with a range of unit sizes from a single desk to roller shutter workshops.
  • Do you want to be accessible by public transport? Offices or industrial units in or close to the town centre may be best.

For more information about available premises:

Units owned or managed by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.

Managed workspace on offer from Staffordshire County Council.

You can find a comprehensive database of property for all sizes of business on Make it Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire.

As a small business, you may also be eligible for rate relief so check out the Business Rates information.

Last updated 30 July 2019

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