[The following is a guest post]
We’re not going to claim that the internet is some all-seeing, omnipotent source of expert advice. Of course it can be, if you know where to look, but as you’re no doubt already aware, there’s also a mother load of advice or ‘how to’ articles out there in the internet ether which are not worth the virtual paper they are written on.
The trouble is that it’s all too easy to pose as an expert. There’s minimal vetting and anyone with a computer can create their own blog and set themselves up as whatever they want to be. So, if you’re searching for the best sources of advice for start-up businesses, where should you turn online?
Commercial isn’t always bad
There’s a tendency for people to assume any advice pages or business blogs produced by commercial entities pedalling business services are probably best to avoid. The logic is that the advice provided will often push small business owners towards the services they sell, but this is not always the case. Companies like Simply Business (a business insurance retailer), and Everline (a short term business finance provider) have created genuinely high quality blogs and articles which provide well researched, impartial and trustworthy advice.
Government supported advice
We can trust the government to provide us with well-researched and impartial advice can’t we? It’s easy to be cynical, but there are some excellent government resources out there which you’d been crazy not to use. As a quick disclaimer, government websites are not always the easiest to navigate, but once you find the information you’re looking for, you can usually be confident of its accuracy.
This government supported website for start-ups provides in-depth advice on how to set up your business, providing invaluable assistance with issues like:
- Writing a business plan
- Registering and financing your business
- Growing your business
- Setting up a private limited company
- Avoiding cash flow problems
- Legal structure
- Employers’ liability insurance
- And plenty more besides…
National Insurance and tax assistance
One of the most daunting aspects of business ownership for many start-ups is the prospect of administering tax returns and arranging your National Insurance payments. Of course there are professionals who will take care of your tax returns on your behalf, but that’s just another expense you could probably do without.
The HMRC website provides plenty of guidance for start-ups, helping you to understand and meet your tax and National Insurance obligations, whether you operate as a sole proprietor, partnership or Ltd.
Companies House provides a wide range of advice for start-up business on topics as diverse as registering the business itself, registering company names and trademarks and even protecting your business’ intellectual property.
If you have found a great source of online advice for start-ups then we would leave to hear from you. Please get in touch using the comments section below.
photo by ocegep