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How to Start a Business in London

Free start-up resources and useful local contacts.

Improve your chances of success!

How to Start a Business in London

Starting a business in London

If you are thinking about starting a business in London or would like to grow your existing business, we would love to help you.

Start Your Own Business in London contains resources and the information that will help give your venture the best chance of success. It also highlights organisations who offer friendly advice and the services that you are likely to need as a new startup or local business owner.

Grants | Networking groups | Business advice | Mentoring | Co-working spaces

Starting a business in London

Free Startup Resources

Getting it right from the start can help to prevent problems later.

To help you with this we have created a vast selection of resources and they are all completely free!

London Business

London Business Scene
London is an enterprise hot spot and a breeding ground for new business start-ups.

This is hardly surprising really. With a population of around 9 million people, Greater London can provide masses of potential customers even before you start to consider national and international markets. The only downside is that there are already over 1 million privately owned businesses already in existence, which means that there is plenty of competition.

This makes it all the more important to make sure that you have thoroughly thought through your idea, determined that there is likely to be sufficient demand for your new product or service and that you have a good reason why customers should buy from you rather than anyone else.

The good news is that there are a number of organisations who are keen to ensure that your new venture is a success. In the first instance, your local borough wants businesses to survive and contribute to the local economy. This could be as a tax payer, employer, occupier of commercial property or as a business ratepayer. We have created separate sections for each London Borough so you can locate the help that is available on your doorstep.

London Boroughs

Select your local borough: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Southwark, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth

Business Support

I am sure that you are brilliant at what you do but sadly that doesn't always mean that you are going to automatically as good at running a business doing just that.

You are undoubtedly aware that there those niggly considerations like legal structure, accounting, tax, national insurance, marketing, customer service, websites and much, much more! It is almost impossible to be an expert in all of these subjects regardless of how much time you have spent online and reading start-up books.

If there is one bit of advice that I would give to anyone starting a business is that they should seek advice! However, this does not mean that you should listen to anyone who thinks you have a great idea nor should you be put off by those who think you are mad (they may be right though!). We have tried to include details of the businesses and organisations who can offer you impartial advice, and you will be pleased to hear that much of it is FREE! Select your local area and follow the link to 'Business Advice'.

Business Funding

Making sure that you have sufficient resources to both start and maintain your business in the early stages is vital and running out of money is one of the most common reasons that new businesses fail.

Having said that, you don't want to saddle yourself with debt and interest unless you really have to do so. Ideally, you will have saved up enough cash already or maybe be able support yourself in the early stages with a full or part time job.

If you do need to access some start-up funding, the safest route is probably to take advantage of the Start Up Loan Fund . This is Government funded, has a fixed interest rate and applications are judged on the merit of the business. Although they have a moral obligation to try and ensure that the loan will genuinely help and cannot accept applications from anyone who is already heavily in debt or has a shocking credit history, loans are unsecured and their criteria is less stringent than if you were to apply to a bank, who would almost certainly demand some form of security.

You may also like to read our article about funding and grants.

Business Networking
A London based networking group

Even if you are doing this by yourself, you don't have to be alone.

Business networking is a great way to meet like-minded people who can share their experience, offer support and may even become customers (but don't go networking with that sole aim - you will very quickly alienate everyone else in the group). A good starting point could be the London Chamber of Commerce but a search of the business networking section or your borough (see links above) will give you an idea of what is available nearby. Some London-wide networking groups are also listed in the Key Contacts section below.

Key London Contacts

FREE startup workshops

If you are thinking about starting a business, our FREE three-hour ONLINE workshop is definitely for you!

Open to everyone, our sole aim is to increase your chances of success. We do that by explaining:

The reality of running a business; the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them; which legal status is likely to be most suitable; funding, grants and managing your money; business planning and cashflow forecasting; finding and keeping customers.

Free startup guide

Start Your Own Business in 2021

Download the 2024 edition of our Free Start Your Own Business guide

An interactive step-by-step guide which also includes all of the most important subjects covered in an easy-to-read way with links to useful online articles and relevant contacts.

The idea of starting your own business can be incredibly exciting and who can blame you for being tempted?

However, the sad truth is that far too many new enterprises fail in the early stages. Our aim is to make sure that you don’t become one of them.

This guide explains the key start-up subjects in simple English.

There is also plenty of help available in the area and much of it is free - please do make the most of it.

Read more about what our Free guide contains and how you can download it.
Starting a business in London

Key Contacts in London

'You don't know what you don't know' is a phrase that is so applicable to starting a new business.

London is a great place for start-ups but your chances of success are dramatically improved if you make the most of the support that is available locally. Click on logos to visit their websites.


Pros Assist
Pros Assist can ensure that you can concentrate on running your business, leaving us to ensure that your obligations are met, and advising and updating you along the way, so that you always know where you’re up to. We help you navigate the many statutory requirements that come with setting up a new business, including all the procedures from HM Revenue & Customs and Companies House, allowing you to concentrate solely on running your business. Pros Assist is an accountancy firm with a gifted team of qualified practicing accountants with each office headed by highly experienced directors. With decades of experience in private practice and various industry sectors, advising sole traders and partnership clients alike, the directors lead each of their Pros Assist team in offering expert advice in all matters relating to taxation and profit, offering wide ranging business support, advising clients on project viability, business planning and funding.

Web design

Perfect Layout Digital Marketing
Are you looking for a personalised web design and digital marketing agency? With so many brands offering quick and easy website platforms, many start-ups see these as a quick and affordable way to get a website. But will it get seen? Will it be found in the top spots of organic search? Unlikely! As with all things that look easy, there is an art and a science behind it. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is a website design agency and digital marketing company based in Romford. Our aim is to create a visible online presence for all our clients, not just a pretty looking website. We offer affordable packages that enables your website to alter as your business evolves. If you want a website that will bring you leads, call us and let us help your business generate new revenue.


Launch It
We help young people aged 18 and 30 to start and grow successful businesses. We channel our resources in to communities facing challenges to ensure all young people have an equal chance


Business London
At BUSINESSLDN (spoken as Business London), aim to make London the best city in the world in which to do business, working with and for the whole of the UK. We work to deliver the bigger picture, campaigning to tackle today’s challenges and to secure the future promise of London. They harness the power of our members, from sectors that span the economy, to shape the future of the capital so Londoners thrive and businesses prosper. Support business to succeed — locally, nationally, globally. Link up with other cities around the UK, to ensure the capital supports a thriving country.


The Business and IP Centre
The Business and IP Centre at the British Library at St Pancras has many useful free resources to help business start-ups and is open six days a week, including evenings Monday – Friday. Resources include databases, publications and industry guides, which provide essential information such as competitor analysis and intellectual property basics. Start-ups can also access free and low-cost advice through workshops, webinars and one-to-one sessions. The Business and IP Centre’s website also provides a range of articles on starting your business, protecting your intellectual property and growing your business.


Centa Business Services
With over 30 years experience of providing impartial advice and hands on support to start-up and trading businesses; from securing finance, to mentoring, expanding business ideas, training and practical help to set up and run a business. Our offices, in the heart of Kings Cross London, also include conference and meeting room hire, plus office incubation and workshop spaces to rent.


London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capitals largest independent networking and business support organisation. Representing the interests of thousands of companies, we connect thousands of business people every year and offer our members a wide range of practical and professional services. Address: 33 Queen Street, London, EC4R 1AP


Starting a business in the City of London is a great resource for anyone thinking about starting a business and the site includes a series of pages that feature the best places in Britain to start-up. This page is dedicated to the City of London


South East Enterprise Start-Up Advice
Take control of your destiny by working for yourself Are you thinking about starting your own business? Let us help you decide, start your business with guidance from SEE. We provide practical, impartial advice in confidence to individuals thinking about starting in business. No matter what stage you have reached with your business idea, maybe its just a seed of an idea at the moment or perhaps you are well on the way with a fully developed plan or you are on the verge of actually starting to trade, we can offer you guidance, one to one advice and our expert advisers provide on-going support, tailored to meet your needs. Let us help you turn your idea into a practical reality.


Business Propeller
We provide entrepreneurs a full turn key business growth solution - A GROWTH ECO SYSTEM. From one to one advisory and mentoring sessions with our Business Strategy Experts, through to participating on Business Propellers unique and part funded Entrepreneurs Enterprise Programme. Business Propeller offers the ambitious business owner the opportunity to gain knowledge, share experiences and grow influential networks from seasoned professionals, who have all owned, started and led their own multi-million pound businesses. Our services are tailored to the entrepreneurs immediate needs and challenges, focusing on short and medium term goals, utilising business tools to get their business on a Fast Track growth strategy. Working with early stage start-ups through to SMEs with a turnover of up to £5 million, we create long term value and sustainable growth.


Spanish Practice Club
At Spanish Practice Club we help struggling Spanish language learners who want to become fluent go from feeling shy, unmotivated and frustrated to feeling confident, outgoing and consistently understood, by learning and practising both language and culture with our community of ambitious students.


Flex Legal Ltd
Flex Legal is a legal and paralegal recruitment agency that connects you to interim lawyers and paralegals for a flexible, on demand service. Established in 2016, Flex Legal is the UK's fastest growing legal services provider. We are positive, human and responsive.Our work to date has been focused on both helping legal professionals find flexible roles and helping legal teams easily scale up during peaks of work. Here at Flex Legal, we live and breathe the legal industry, so we understand how important this work is. It will always remain our core and primary focus.As legal professionals, we understand first-hand the unique pressures placed on those in our often-archaic industry. This is reflected in terrifying statistics, such as junior lawyers being worked so hard that 83% are having mental health problems. Horror stories about poor diversity and inclusion are all too common. Lawyers are leaving the profession they have spent years training for in droves. Something is clearly wrong, and it is something we want to fix.London020 3887 67065 - 7 Tanner StreetBermondseyLondonSE1 3LEManchester0161 3021591The Express Building9 Great AncoatsManchesterM4 5ADEmail:


Business for London
THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS? There’s a lot to consider when starting a business, and setting up a viable enterprise requires careful planning and research. You will need to know if your idea is feasible; if it will make you enough money; how to prepare your business plan; where to find customers; whether to register as Limited company, work as a sole trader or another form of business; where to go to raise finance; how to comply with legal requirements and a lot more! Research shows that new entrepreneurs taking advantage of professional advice, training and support are likely to perform better in the early stages than those who don’t. Business for London’s FREE Introduction to Starting a Business Seminar provides the ideal opportunity to discover what’s involved in running a business, ask questions and decide whether it’s the right route for you. After you have attended the seminar you will be able to access a whole range of start up support services specifically designed to guide, inform and inspire you to be successful in business. Additional services include: dedicated advice and guidance from our experienced Advisers who can help you get to grips with the essentials such as business planning, marketing, raising finance and managing cash flow and accounts.


Capital Enterprise
Capital Enterprise is a body of connectors, influencers, investors and policy-makers, collaborating to serve and super-charge London’s start-up scene. Together we are committed to making London the best place in Europe to start and scale a business. Startups We plug you into an ecosystem where your ideas can thrive and your business can grow. Members We unite the major enterprise players to deliver prosperity, share knowledge and influence policy. Stakeholders We leverage the power of London’s enterprise community for the good of the capital.


The Lonely Middle Club - From Startup Hive
Starting a business is exciting, and succeeding is rewarding, but what about the bit between? You know, that bit that’s full of self-doubt, endless repetition and feelings of being out of your comfort zone? We call it ‘The Lonely Middle’ and it’s one of the hardest parts of creating a successful business. We know, we’ve been there. So, we created The Lonely Middle Club to help you through it. Each month you get exclusive content to help give you the knowledge and inspiration to succeed. Plus, you get access to a private members-only Facebook group where you can get advice and network with small business owners who are going through similar challenges to you. If you want even more, you can download our 51 worksheets, guides, and journals all designed to do one thing, and one thing only… help you get through ‘The Lonely Middle’ and achieve your business goals. Visit our website today to join the club and benefit from our members price lock and full no questions asked money-back guarantee.


Lina Coaching
I assist ambitious women in boosting their earnings with ease, steering clear of overwork and burnout, by finding equilibrium among their duties and capitalising on their natural rhythm. This method encompasses enhancing their business outlook, increasing self-assurance, and achieving clear vision and direction to simplify their journey to success.Regardless of your current status, a shared objective is to pivot attention from daily tasks to strategic expansion, augmenting both your financial and personal liberation.Imagine unleashing your supreme potential overnight; ponder the immediate changes you would introduce to both your professional and personal life.Picture scaling your business or simply savouring more downtime with your family. I'm here to navigate you through the obstacles impeding your progress, aiding you in pursuing your aspirations and living your dream life.Business Coach LondonElevate your desired business to unprecedented levelsBolster your self-confidenceAttain clarity and momentumHow can a business coach in London assist you?Dismiss the sensation of being trapped! Business coaching isn't solely about presenting new concepts and objectives to you (although it's capable of that!).It's akin to having a personal adviser by your side, rooting for you and unlocking your genuine potential. Here's how:Illuminate your blind spots: We each have them those concealed obstacles that cause us to stumble unwittingly. Coaching aids in identifying these hurdles and comprehending how they may be deterring you, allowing you to finally clear your route to success.Abandon the "I can't" mindset: Negative convictions can act as formidable constraints, but fret not, I am here to aid you in shedding these beliefs! Through supportive guidance and open dialogue, you'll surmount self-doubt and reclaim the confidence you're entitled to.Break free and take action: Paralysed by indecision? Coaching liberates you by formulating a tangible action plan. Consider it a navigational system for your objectives, directing you step by step towards fulfilment.Lead as a leader (and inspire others): Wish to inspire your team? Coaching provides you with the means to become a more effective leader, one who instils confidence and cultivates a thriving work atmosphere.Enhance your business, enhance your bank balance: It's a well-known fact that adept leaders cultivate successful businesses. By refining your business savvy through coaching, you'll not only augment operations and efficiency but also witness a favourable impact on your financial returns.So, are you prepared to unlock your potential and realise your business aspirations? Consider coaching as your clandestine ally it's an investment in yourself and your future!


StartupTuition offers a cost-effective online business startup course to help guide you through the process of setting up your own business. Access our course online and learn from our comprehensive startup course,. We cover everything you need to know to help increase your chances of startup success.

Start-up articles

100's of free startup articles

We have created a collection of 100s of startup articles to help anyone with whatever stage they are on with their business journey. Hundreds of thousands of people have gone before you and we can learn from what they got right and avoid the things that have been proved not to work so well.

You can see the full list of 'articles' at: How to start a business