Registering your business: the steps you need to take

The excitement of starting your business can often be coupled with exhaustion at the amount of things you need to take into account – especially for small businesses, which often need to do things independently at first. Having an overview of what needs to be done in the early stages can be really helpful – especially for bureaucratic processes such as registering your business. In this article you’ll find a checklist of the information you’ll need to have at hand, as well as the registration processes you’ll need to go through to make sure your business is registered so it can stay up and running!

Checklist for registering your business

Before diving into the steps you’ll need to take to register your business, it is a good idea to make sure you’ve checked off these business basics. Having a clear overview of the following things will help you register your business quickly.

  • Business location: Where is your business based?
  • Business structure: To register your business, you’ll need to know if it will be set up as a sole trader, limited company, or partnership.
  • Certain things like your businesses name are probably something you’ll already have thought of just make sure the name is not already registered, and if you want to use the same name across the board, that the domain hasn’t been taken.
  • Ownership: Again, this may seem obvious, but having the details on this information is vital for registering your business. This also includes the director of your business, and information on how the management system is structured.

Simply being aware of this information will help make the registration process easier, so make sure you have it at hand – or at least in mind!

Find out if you need to register your company

You may need to register your business with Companies House. This depends on the legal structure of your business, and this is why it is good to have planned this out in your business plan before you go ahead and open for business. Sole traders, for example, do not need to register with Companies House. In the case of sole traders, they just need to register as self-employed, and return an annual self-assessment tax return to HMRC each year.

If, on the other hand, you are starting up a limited company, or an LLP, you are legally obliged to register with Companies House.

Register with Companies House

Depending on the specifics of your business, you may have to register. If this is the case, you’ll have to register with Companies House. The costs of this vary between companies, but it can cost as little as 12GBP. The cheapest way to register is online, by doing it yourself, and the application usually takes 24 hours to process. Alternatively, you can register by post, but this costs 40GBP, and takes eight to ten days. Our recommendation is to consider an online application. If you are in a rush, and need a same day registration, there is an express service, however this costs 100GBP, and requires you to have filled out and submitted the form online by 3pm.

Furthermore, if you have a lot on your plate, you may want to consider asking a third party to do this for you, which is also a possibility. There are many registrars that will take the hassle of having to sort this paperwork and the forms off your hands, but they will charge a fee for this. There are advantages to asking a registrar to perform this service, however, as they will usually be experienced in handling these types of applications, and you can be assured that the application process will be handled correctly, and without delay.

How to register with Companies House as a limited company

The process to register your business with Companies House as a limited company is very straightforward. Make sure you have the information in the above checklist to hand, as well as a memorandum and articles of association (you can find professional templates for these online). Then you can register with Companies House, making sure that you keep these details secure, as you will need them at least once a year to upload documents. Once you’ve registered online, you can follow the simple step-by-step instructions on the gov.uk registration site, and then provided all your forms and the correct fee has been paid, you should be registered within 1 working day.

Please note the legal disclaimer relating to this article.


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