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Useful Links for start-ups and small businesses

This page contains a number of links to companies and organisations that provide help and information to small businesses. You'll find government departments, government-funded organisations and a large number of companies that provide free advice and/or information to help small businesses.

If any of the links are broken or incorrect, please let me know. If you come across other links that might be of use to other people like you, please drop me a note and I'll add them in.


Government sites

Inland Revenue The Inland Revenue site. Has sections for the self-employed (sole trader,) under Individuals & Employees, and for limited companies & partnerships under Businesses & Corporations. Lots of guidence on all aspects of starting & running a business - and, of course, on all the tax aspects.

VAT office logo

The government's VAT site. A whole host of documents and papers that can be downloaded or requested in paper format. Lots of useful links too.
Companies Ho The Companies House site. It's here that limited companies are registered, accounts filed etc. There's a wealth of information on limited companies, limited liability parnerships, auditors and even winding up companies.
It's here that trademarks, copyright, designs and patents are filed or registered. If you want to know whether your product or name has already been claimed by someone else, here's the place to look. Also contains lots of brochures and documents to download and a great selection of links to other Intellectual Property sources on the 'Net
This government site provides official statistics on just about every aspect of business and consumer affairs. If you want to know how many people have internet access from home - this is the place to look.

Government-funded companies and agencies

Business Link (Berks & Wilts) provide an extensive range of startup and support services to businesses in Berkshire & Wiltshire. They are part of a country-wide network of offices, subsidised by the government, and devoted to helping businesses of all types.
UK online for business is a government initiative that provides small businesses with impartial advice about e-business and information & communications technologies (ICT). Here you can learn about the newest technological developments and find out how they can directly help your business.
Wired Berkshire is the network for small and medium sized companies operating in the worlds of media and ICT. A resource for businesses in Berkshire and its environs, Wired Berkshire aims to increase competitiveness by providing events, projects & services and a forum for collaboration and the promotion of new technology.

Business Support and networking groups

The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's largest organisation lobbying on behalf of and working for small businesses. They offer wide range of benefits to their members covering networking dinners, insurance, legal support, regular business-oriented magazines & publications and much more. See the Thames Valley section under Regions for more info on activities of Berks & Bucks branches

They offer business support, business development and cost saving services to members. A membership owned and led organisation and their aim is to provide services best suited to the needs of members. They have 8 Chambers throughout the Thames Valley.

Business Referral Exchange is a contact network of professional people who meet weekly. The purpose of the members is to generate qualified business leads for each other. BRE have a strict policy that each group contains only one member from each particular trade or profession to ensure that the group works together as a team and there is no internal competition.

BNI provides a supportive, business environment in which local business people can get together to network, learn new marketing skills and develop personal relationships that lead to the generation of significant business for each other. Like BRE, they have a policy of one member of a trade or profession per group.

Refer-On is a business referral organisation. Their structure helps business relationships and enables individuals the opportunity to contribute and share success. They have regular weekly meetings in a network of groups throughout the Thames valley.


Small business & Start-ups support sites

Citizen's Advice Bureau checklist for becoming self-employed. Covers all sorts of administrative, legal and financial aspects of becoming self-employed.
Huge array of relevant links for people starting up in business. All aspects of starting a business are covered. The only downside is the number of adverts and popups. Otherwise a tremendous resource.
Site with lots of links to services useful to small and start-up businesses. It's possible to pose business questions on this site and get answers and advice from experienced business people.
Although the is only sponsored by Lloyds TSB, it is owned by the same company that wrote the Lloyds TSB Small Business Guide. Like the Clearly business site below, despite the many commercial links, there is a lot of useful information there.
Clearly Business is Barclays' own Small Business resource site. Although there are links to a number of Barclays services, there are a lot of very good articles on all aspects of running a business. Well worth a look.

Banks and Building Societies

The British bankers Association is the Banks' trade association. They are responsible for the Banking Code, the Small Business Banking Code and much else. They provide advice and comparisons on the services offered by the major banking organisations and, of particular interest to Small Businesses, a comparison of banking charges!
Lloyds TSB have two sites for Small Businesses. This one is under their own banner and offers general financial and business management advice. They offer a good business start-up pack which can be requested on-line, after registering.
Natwest offer a range of useful business guides covering areas such as marketing, finance, e-business, basic management and starting up. Like Lloyds TSB, and all the other banks, they offer a business start-up pack.
HSBC can provide a range of information on running a business. The site is more geared up to doing business with HSBC (opening an account etc) but they do have a Start-up section where you can request business profiles (2-pager showing what a particular business, e.g. web design, does and how it operates), factsheets covering various business aspects and a 'Starting a business ' enquiry pack.
Barclays have a separate section for start-up businesses and small businesses - both of which offer a wealth of information - including the ubiquitous Start-up pack.
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