Setting up your own business

Find general information about starting a business on Business Gateway. Business Gateway can explain:

  • funding
  • business structures and planning
  • working from home
  • starting a business in tough economic times
  • mistakes to avoid
  • tax
  • legal issues
  • useful video diaries from real businesses

Form a company or business

Business Gateway has created a guide on forming a company or business. It has information on:

  • how the legal structure you choose for your business will affect your tax
  • paperwork
  • personal financial liability

Naming your business

There are a few rules you need to follow when you’re naming your business. Business Gateway has published guidance to help you pick the right name.

Creating your first business plan

Writing a business plan can help you secure funding and understand your business better.

Tools to help your develop a business plan:

Different business options

Running a limited company

This GOV.UK guide on running a limited company includes information on:

  • directors’ responsibilities
  • keeping company and accounting records
  • completing an annual return

Invention-based business

If you’re an inventor with an idea you might want to turn it into a business. Business Gateway has a guide on how to set-up an innovation start-up business. If your idea comes from an existing business, the new business is called a ‘spin-out’.

Support is available for businesses that want to grow by innovating.

Buy an existing business or franchise

You don’t have to start a business from the beginning – you could buy an existing business or franchise. This guide from Business Gateway will help you to understand:

  • the actual business you’re considering buying
  • obligations to staff
  • the details of contracts and agreements

Family businesses

Another option is setting up a family-run businesses. This Business Gateway guide includes information on:

  • the advantages of running a family business
  • managing conflict
  • pay and benefits

Starting a co-operative

If you’re thinking about setting up a co-operative, Co-operative Development Scotland gives advice to new and growing co-operatives and employee-owned businesses. It can help you:

  • choose the best business model
  • guide you through the process
  • access funding and legal models

Set up a business partnership

Visit GOV.UK to find out about how to start a business partnership. This includes information on:

  • naming a partnership
  • registering with HMRC
  • partnership tax returns
  • legal responsibilities

Business support

Choosing and managing suppliers

As a business you may need to choose and manage suppliers. This Business Gateway guide includes information on:

  • what to look for in a supplier
  • how to negotiate
  • service level agreements
  • building good relationships
  • ending contracts

Selling a product or service

If you plan to sell a product or service this Business Gateway guide includes information on:

  • identifying your market
  • choosing your sales channels
  • preparing sales plans and sales forecasts
  • how to promote your product or service

Council services

As a business, you may need local council services. This guide explains the services your business may need that your local authority is responsible for.

Intellectual property

If you’ve created something for your business, you need to make sure your intellectual property is protected. This guide from Business Gateway includes information on:

  • what intellectual property is
  • how you can protect your intellectual property

Storing goods and materials safely

All businesses must store goods and materials safely. Legally you must protect the health and safety of those affected by your business.

Business Gateway can help you store goods and materials in a safe way. lists funding, advice and training options from several different public sector providers.

Search for funding, advice or training in Scotland on