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Top tips for setting up your own business

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Nicole Anderson-Mort is business development director of Sage UK, a FSTE 100 business software giant, which helps businesses of all sizes to manage their money, their time and their people.

Nicole will join us on Friday June 21 at 1pm for an hour-long Lunchtime Masterclass, when she will answer your questions and offer business tips and advice in a live webchat. In the meantime, here are her top tips for setting up your own business, from funding to registering your company.

Loads of people do it

Each year, more than 500,000 people in the UK start a business. And there are varying motivations for women. According to Sage's Entrepreneurial Britain Study, a fifth are motivated by money, while for one in four it's about taking the opportunity to do something full-time that they are really passionate about.

It could be the best thing you'll ever do

Although you'll face many challenges and things might not work out, many new businesses survive beyond their first two years. Being your own boss could give you more money and a better life. You can gain greater job satisfaction by turning your passion into profit, or get a better work / life balance. There will be hard days, sure, but opting to do your own thing could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

You need a great business idea

You might spot a gap in the market that isn't currently being served, or your inspiration might come from a desire to solve a problem that affects you or your friends and family. Or perhaps you're just so passionate about something, that you want to immerse yourself in it every day.

Registering a business is simple

To become a sole trader (i.e. 'self-employed') call the HMRC Helpline for the Newly Self-Employed on 0845 915 4515 or register online. It's quick and there's no charge. For more information visit the HMRC website. Setting up a limited company is simple, too, although it takes longer, involves a fee and you might need help. Visit the Companies House website for more information.

Think about funding

Many people use their own savings to launch their own business, while others borrow from family members. You could stay working for someone else and start a business as a part-time venture until it becomes established. You can also get financial help from your bank or a grant or loan from a public organisation.

Access free information and support

There are loads of websites that offer free advice and resources to would-be entrepreneurs, including Sage Discover Your Business Potential website and startups.co.uk. Your local enterprise agency or bank might also be able to provide information. Also, it's a great idea to get tips from others who have successfully started their own business - often the best way to learn about starting up is from those who've done it.

Starting a business involves risk, but the rewards are worth it

Even if you work hard, are totally committed, have a great business idea and have the right qualities and outlook, your business could still fail. Otherwise, it could take time before your business is profitable. However, many new businesses do succeed - and you must believe yours could be one of them! If you come up with a good idea, test it properly, know your market, and address each start-up challenge properly, you could find yourself in charge of a highly profitable business.

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