Starting a Business in the UK as an International Businessperson: Checklist


With a population of 66.44 million and 4.2 million companies on the Companies House register, there are a lot of prospects for an international businessperson who is looking to start a business in the UK. If you are thinking about starting a business in the UK, these are some things you should consider and check off your list.

1. Obtain a Visa

If you require a visa to start a business in the UK, it is important that you conduct some research and find out which visa you need and apply for this. You can apply up to three months before you intend to start your business, and as it can take three weeks to either accept or decline a visa, it is worth doing this as early as possible. There are a range of business visas available, so it is worth looking into these before you decide which one is the most suitable for your needs.

2. Legal Structure

When you receive formal acceptance of your visa, you can now consider the legal structure of your business.You may want to work as a sole trader, a limited company or go into a partnership. This depends on what you are looking to achieve. If your business will solely be you, then it is worth starting off as a sole trader, at least until you build the business up. If you are looking to hire staff straight away, a limited company is a better option.

3. Business Name

At this point, it is a good idea to start considering names for your business. This can be quite a long process, as so many names are taken, but it is an important step in the process. While you search for business names, it is also worth checking that the domain is available.

4. Register Business

If you are registering as a sole trader, you will not need to register the company via Companies House, although it is favourable to do so. You will, however, need to register to pay tax in the UK as a self-employed person, and you will be required to do a tax return each year. If you are registering as limited company or partnership, both will apply.

5. Create Business Plan

It is important to create a business plan as this will be required if you need funding or investment. It will also help keep you on track as you’ll be projecting your plans. Without a business plan, it is difficult to stay on track and really plan out your future goals.

6. Register Domain and Trademarks

Every business should have a website and you will need to register a domain for your business. You might find that the domain has been taken if you are looking at .com or addresses, but there are other options, such as .me. All is not lost, just because your domain isn’t available in the format you might have liked.

7. Business Account

It is a good idea to keep your business and personal account separate, even when you are just starting out. It can make it easier when the time comes to pay tax returns, and to work out your expenses. A good strategy is to have your invoices paid into your business account and pay yourself a wage from this. Most banks and building societies offer business accounts and it is worth shopping around to find the best options based on your circumstances.

8. Business Insurance

Most businesses, even small businesses need insurance, especially if you are employing people. It is important to find out exactly what type of insurance you need and make sure you take this out.

9. Creating Website

You will have your domain and now its time to create your website. There are free websites available, where you can create your own website, or you may want to hire an experienced professional to do it for you. It is important to have a website for the purpose of gaining new leads and having an online presence. Businesses with a strong online presence seem more credible than those who have no or little visibility.

10. Get Reviews

Most people don’t want to use a business unless they can find some positive reviews. This can be difficult to obtain if you have just started your own business, but it is important. If you have friends or family who can vouch for you, this is a good place to start for obtaining positive reviews.

11. Social Media

A strong social media presence is also a good way to gain sales and to improve your business brand awareness. It is a good idea to try and post on social media platforms once or twice a day, if possible. It is often a better to leave social media management to a professional, especially if you don’t have the time or expertise.

12. Other Marketing

Although social media is the most obvious and useful form of marketing, there are various others you may want to consider, including email marketing and offline marketing. Marketing is the way you will gain more business, and it is important to use various avenues to allow you to attract more business.

13. Networking Events

Attending events is a good way to grow your business, especially when you are an international businessperson and perhaps have little contacts in the UK. There is the potential to attend networking events in your local area, as well as throughout the whole UK, depending on where you want to grow your market.

Taking your next step and opening a business in the UK is a great way to increase your business prospects. It is a good idea to follow this checklist and make sure you take the necessary steps to fulfill your legal requirements, as well as to give your business the best chance of being successful. Also, if you are currently considering a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa extension then get in touch with an Immigration lawyers London. The UK offers many prospects, but you need to be prepared to go out and get business.

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