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Small business start-up

Are you thinking of starting out on your own? Use our selection of books, articles and guides to find more information on all aspects of starting a business.

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The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Financial Times guide to business start up 2017/18

Startup guide for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Starting a successful business

Step-by-step guide to starting and running a small business.

Consultant's quick start guide: an action plan for your first year in business, The

A guide to working as a consultant from a US perspective.

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Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.

Bloomsbury Core Accounting and Tax Service

Eligible firms have free access to Bloomsbury Professional's comprehensive online library, comprising more than 60 titles from some of the country's leading tax and accounting subject matter experts. Find out who is eligible and how you can access the Core Accounting and Tax Service.

Incorporating and disincorporating a business

Jackie Anderson, Mark McLaughlin Incorporating and Disincorporating a Business April 2021

Guidance on the potential tax issues and pitfalls encountered when incorporating a sole trader or partnership business.

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Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the Acceptable usage terms.

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

The art of the pivot: How new ventures manage identification relationships with stakeholders as they change direction

Many new ventures have to ‘pivot’—radically transform what they are about—because their original approach has failed. This article looks at how pivoting risks disrupting relationships with key stakeholders, such as user communities, who identify with ventures.

The 10 mistakes that threaten startups

There are a few common mistakes that cause new business startups to fail. Learn what they are so that you can avoid making them.

Who owns the business?

From PLCs and private equity to crowdfunding and co-operatives, there are now so many ways to run a company it's hard to know which way to turn. Jeremy Hazlehurst and Jack Torrance navigate the ownership maze, assessing the pros and cons of 10 different business structures.

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Useful links


Starting your business
Advice for start-ups with signposts to practical information on tax, legal issues, essential accounting records, insurance and more. It shows you how to find a chartered accountant participating in the ICAEW Business Advice Service – and receive an initial consultation at no charge.

Creative Industries - Routes to Finance
A funding guide for creative organisations from ICAEW’s Corporate Finance Faculty, supported by the Creative Industries Federation and 52 organisations in the UK’s creative economy. It is the first comprehensive and bespoke guide to finance for Britain’s creative industries.


A guide to government support for small businesses
A quick guide to government support for SMEs from Clive Lewis, ICAEW Head of Enterprise.

Help and support for businesses (HMRC)
HMRC offer a range of support services for small businesses. Here you will find guidance on what you need to do for tax and National Insurance purposes when you start up a business as a self employed person, a partnership or a limited company. There is information on return filing and paying deadlines and what records you must keep.

Business incubators and accelerators: the national picture
A 2017 BEIS research paper on the current UK landscape. The page also includes a directory of business incubators and accelerators. 

Growing your business: a report on growing micro businesses
This May 2013 review by Lord Young (a follow-up to his 2012 'Make business your business' report below) investigates the reasons why SMEs struggle to grow, including confidence to develop during tough economic times, strength of ambition, capability and skills, coherence of help on offer and opening up government procurement to SMEs.

Setting up a business
Comprehensive guidance from the government on starting and growing a new business. There are many links and resources, including the Business Support Helplines and the Small Business Forum. Here you can find guidance on finding finance, mentors, increasing sales and developing products and services.

Other sources of information

The British Library: Business & IP Centre
The British Library's Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre incorporates services and information aimed at entrepreneurs and small business owners, including expert advisers to talk through your ideas and a wide range of essential information to help you research your market and start your own business.

Cobweb is an independent publisher of practical and easy to understand information for business start-ups and small business owners, and for the advisers, professionals, and organisations that guide and support them.

QuickBooks Small Business Centre
Comprehensive collection of guides and tips hosted by Intuit QuickBooks on starting and running a small business. A UK-based version of the portal is also available.

Online resource for those starting or running a small business. The website includes startup guides for over 50 different business sectors, business startup news, case studies of successful business startups and a forum to share your ideas with others in your situation. 

Small business organisations in the UK

Federation of Small Businesses
The FSB publish the quarterly Voice of Small Business Index which provides picture of the UK economy from the point of view of the small business owner. The index looks at employment, revenues and the confidence of small firms and provides information on regional businesses with a breakdown by sector across the UK.

Forum of Private Business
Not-for-profit membership organisation which provides guidance and support for SMEs and aims to 'represent small businesses views and be their voice in government'.

Institute for Family Business
The IFB is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation supporting the UK family-owned business sector. It aims to 'promote the vital contribution that long-term family businesses make to the UK economy and the issues that family firms face' and offers courses, conferences and research publications.

British Chambers of Commerce
The website of the network of Chambers of Commerce across the UK provides information on their activities and a tool to find your local Chamber of Commerce.

Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions
Annual statistics on SMEs in the UK published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Previously called 'Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Statistics for the UK and Regions'.

Small business organisations in Europe and worldwide

European Commission: Internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs
Portal for EC information and resources for SMEs, with business-related links and guides to EU legislation and financing programmes.

Doing Business (World Bank)
Laws and business regulations, country profiles and economic rankings for 183 countries compiled by the World Bank for SMEs. 

Atom Content Marketing guides

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

Can't find what you are looking for?

If you're having trouble finding the information you need, ask the Library & Information Service. Contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat or by email at library@icaew.com.

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