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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 stock - checklist

Poor stock control can cause serious cash flow issues. Your working capital could be tied up in excess stock while insufficient stock can make it impossible to supply customer demand. You could also face increased storage costs and product wastage. Here's how to control your stock levels

  • Identify and list the different items you use and produce: raw materials, other consumables, spare parts and your own products.
  • Establish who uses each stock item and who should be responsible for managing it.
  • Focus your stock control efforts on critical items which are most important to your business and which must always be available.
  • Analyse your usage of each item; note any seasonal variations.
  • Identify the lead time for restocking each item and other options such as faster delivery for an additional cost or from a local supplier.
  • Set a minimum stock level to cover your requirements over the delivery lead time.
  • Assess the costs of holding stock, including financing, insurance and storage, and the risk of losses through deterioration or obsolescence.
  • Calculate the most cost-effective order size, based on delivery costs, volume discounts, usage requirements and stockholding costs.
  • Plan and organise your storage areas. Take into account environmental requirements (eg temperature and humidity), handling and safety (eg heavy items), accessibility to the most frequently required items, and security.
  • Set up systems for receiving and issuing stock; ensure that perishable stock is properly rotated and the oldest stock is issued first.
  • Consider whether inventory control software can save you time and money, and reduce wastage.
  • Decide how you will check stock to determine reorder requirements (eg by counting, weighing or casual inspection) if you do not have an automated system, and how often this should happen.
  • Periodically carry out a complete stock check; check items more frequently where you suspect problems (eg theft or excessive wastage).
  • Periodically identify and dispose of excess or obsolete stock - for example, through special offers or simply by scrapping it.

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