As you work up and refine the details of your business idea, you can seek additional advice from a number of support organisations.
There are national, publicly funded agencies whose principal role is to support business – these are called economic development agencies. Business Gateway operates across Scotland in local areas as do Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise. Skills Development Scotland is the national agency for the development of skills and jobs, and oversees programmes such as apprenticeships and careers guidance. The best place to find out more about public agency support and the help you may be able to access is the Find Business Support site.
As well as Women’s Enterprise Scotland, the organisation behind Women’s Business Centre, a number of other businesses and organisations deliver programmes supporting women in business. You can find links to these organisations here.
For those interested in starting up businesses with a social or environmental focus, support may be available from Social Enterprise Scotland and Social Investment Scotland. There are also organisations providing specialist support for young people, and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.
Banks can also be a source of help and support, for example the Royal Bank of Scotland runs free local events for those starting and growing businesses. You can hear from business speakers at the events and speak with other businesses and bank staff.
A key step in starting a business is registering your business for tax and preparing financial projections for your business. An accountant can give you advice on how to set up your business and help with book-keeping and financial records and planning. Depending on how your business is set up you may need to appoint an accountant for support in preparing and filing annual accounts.
Deciding on the legal status of your business is another decision which needs to be made. Read our article here first for some general pointers – but, as we’re not legal experts, we would always recommend for specific advice contact a lawyer.