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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.

Preparing your premises for winter - checklist

Don't let your business be stopped in its tracks by burst pipes, boiler breakdowns or huge heating bills. Use our checklist to prepare your premises for cold weather.

  • Get an expert to check that gas fires, boilers and central heating are in full working order. Ensure that any portable heaters are working and bleed radiators where necessary.
  • Leave heating on in empty buildings, to maintain a temperature of at least four degrees Celsius, to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking. Check the timers on your heating to ensure it turns on and off at the right time.
  • Repair any dripping taps. If the weather is cold enough, drips can freeze up before they drain away, causing pipes to block and burst.
  • Ensure that internal and external stopcocks are accessible and labelled properly, in case water pipes burst and you need to turn off the supply to your building. Advise staff of their location.
  • Reduce heat loss and save money on your energy bills. Fit draught excluders to seal any gaps around windows and doors. Ensure that pipes are properly insulated. Consider replacing old windows with double-glazing – you are likely to keep in 25 per cent more heat.
  • Assess your energy use and take steps to improve your efficiency. The Carbon Trust's free online resources can help you identify the steps you need to take to make your building more energy efficient.
  • Allow as much natural light into your premises as possible. This can help boost staff morale and reduce tiredness and low mood. Using natural rather than artificial lighting can also cut your energy bills.
  • Make sure you have adequate contents insurance and utilities service cover so that your premises are serviced quickly in the event of a breakdown or if you need any emergency repairs.
  • Inspect your roof for loose tiles and ensure that guttering is clear from blockages. Check nearby trees for low hanging branches or unstable root structures – they might damage your building.
  • Move stock and equipment above flood level. If your building is prone to flooding, consider getting items such as water absorbent cushions, flood alarms and airbrick covers. Visit the Environment Agency website to find out the flood risk in your area
  • Review and update your business continuity plan. Consider what you would do in the event of a natural disaster. Get hold of insurance company details and ensure your emergency contact staff have copies.

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