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How to Register a Business in the UK (10 Important Steps to Follow)

how to register a business

How to register a business

Embarking on the journey of starting your own business is an exciting venture, and one of the fundamental steps in this process is learning how to register a business. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps, providing a roadmap for entrepreneurs in the UK. Whether you’re a sole proprietor, partnership, or limited company, understanding the registration process is key to establishing a solid foundation for your business.

Step 1: Choose a Business Structure

Before diving into the registration process, it’s crucial to decide on the structure of your business. The three primary structures in the UK are:

  1. Sole Trader: A single individual running the business alone.
  2. Partnership: A business owned by two or more people.
  3. Limited Company: A separate legal entity from its owners, offering limited liability.

Step 2: Select a Business Name

how to register a business

Choosing a unique and memorable business name is an important step. Ensure that the name reflects your business and is not already in use by another company. You can check the availability of a business name using the Companies House WebCHeck.

Step 3: Register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

All businesses must register with HMRC for tax purposes. The registration process varies based on your business structure.

  1. Sole traders and partnerships: You can register online on the HMRC website.
  2. Limited Companies: You need to register your company for corporation tax within three months of starting your business. You can do this online via the HMRC website.

Step 4: Register as an Employer

You have to register with HMRC as an employer if you want to hire staff members. Getting an employer’s PAYE reference number is necessary for this. The HMRC website has further data and registration information.

Step 5: Set Up a Business Bank Account

how to register a business

It’s critical to keep your personal and corporate finances separate. To handle transactions and uphold financial transparency, open a company bank account. You can compare choices to discover the best fit among the business account services offered by most banks.

Step 6: Register with Companies House

Limited companies must register with Companies House, the UK’s official register of companies. This involves providing information about your company’s structure, directors, and shareholders. You can register online via the Companies House website.

Step 7: Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your business type and industry, you may need specific licenses or permits to operate legally. Check the UK Government License Finder for guidance on the licenses relevant to your business.

Step 8: Consider VAT Registration

If your business turnover exceeds a certain threshold (currently £85,000 in a 12-month period), you must register for value-added tax (VAT). VAT registration can be done online through the HMRC website.

Step 9: Create a Business Plan

The creation of a business plan is an essential stage in the startup process, even though it is not a direct registration step. It includes a summary of your target market, financial estimates, and other business goals. Securing capital and directing your business strategy both benefit from having a well-thought-out business plan.

Step 10: Seek Professional Advice

how to register a business

Navigating the business registration process can be complex, especially for limited companies. Consider seeking professional advice from an accountant or business advisor to ensure that you’ve covered all legal and financial aspects.


Selecting a business structure and acquiring the required licences and permissions are just two of the important processes involved in registering a business in the UK. By adhering to this comprehensive advice, you’re laying the foundation for a prosperous business endeavour. Recall to frequently check official government websites for updates and, if necessary, seek professional guidance.

Visit the UK Government’s Business Support portal for further tools and in-depth information about registering a business in the country.

Take off on your entrepreneurial adventure with assurance, having learned the process of registering a firm. Your dedication to this procedure creates the conditions for a successful and legal firm in the UK’s changing business environment.

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