Setting up a Business in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Setting up a business is an exciting and rewarding venture one can have more so if you want to explore market opportunities in the UK. Setting up a business in the UK from anywhere in the world is achievable.

But where do I even begin? Well, Icon Offices is here to help you. Below, we will discuss the steps that you need to take to set up your business in the UK.

What to know about setting up a business in the UK

To set up a company in the UK, you will have to choose a company structure that best suits your business. There are different types of company structures in the UK such as; sole trader, limited corporation, or partnership.

Choosing the best company structure for your business

Each company structure has different rules and regulations, as well as benefits.

A sole trader structure is 100% attached to your accounts. It is owned and managed by an individual, meaning there is no legal distinction between the owner and the company.

The main benefit of this structure is that it is a very simple process to get started and your privacy is protected because the company is viewed as an extension of you, the owner.

The downside of a sole trader corporation is that it has unlimited liability, which means that your company’s debts are your debts.

A partnership is where two or more people agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests and form a joint sole trader. You and your partner(s) personally share responsibility for your business. Partners share the business profits, and each partner pays tax on their share.

A partner does not have to be an actual person. A limited company can also be a partner.

The benefit of having a partnership structure is that there are more people to share the workload. Partners bring diverse skills and expertise and also make it easier to afford overhead costs.

Unlike the sole trader structure, a partnership has fewer tax forms, where taxes pass through to individual partners.

However, a partnership also has unlimited liability. Their assets are at risk in case of debts or insolvency.

A Limited liability partnership (LLP) is a legal structure where the number of partners is not limited, but at least 2 have to be ‘designated members’ responsible for filing annual accounts.

The benefit of an LLP structure is that it protects its members’ assets, limiting their liability to however much they have invested in the business and any personal guarantees they may have given when raising loans.

A limited company is a private company that is incorporated and limited by shares. This means that the company has shareholders and the liability of the shareholders to creditors of the company is limited to any money they originally invested.

The main benefit of a limited company is that it protects the individual if the business ever has financial troubles.

Icon Offices provides a UK Limited (LTD) company formation service for a one-off fee of only £43.99 including VAT.

Choosing the location of your business

The second factor is to determine where you’ll run your business either home or rented premises. If you rent or buy property, you may need to pay business rates.

An office space however allows businesses to be in a more accessible location for customers and employees. We have 3 Business Centres in London and Essex that provide luxury serviced office accommodation at affordable rates. From only £475 inclusive of VAT, you will get a 4-person office with an internet connection.

For a remote office, you can choose from a wide variety of options ranging from your home address to a virtual address.

The majority of start-up businesses start at home and grow from there. It is often viewed as cheaper and simpler to set up a home-based business, however, using your home address will bring about a lack of privacy.

One can opt for a virtual office as your registered business address. Using a registered office service to register your business gives you privacy by keeping your home address secure.

What is a registered office service? It is a service that allows businesses to use an official address for their incorporated company.

Companies House always puts the address on the public record for statutory correspondence. It serves as an official correspondence to government agencies like HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Companies House.

A virtual office can provide a prestigious location for your business without paying exorbitant rent. Often virtual office services will forward your mail or even scan and email to you.

Icon Offices provides Virtual Address and Virtual Office Services for only £0.99 per week. The package comes with mail handling services and you get to choose from our 4 fantastic addresses.

Register your business

Once you have chosen a structure and the location of your choice, you can proceed to register your business.

Requirements needed for your company are;

  • ·         Proof of identity. You can provide your National Identity Card, current passport, and driving licences.
  • ·         Proof of address. You can provide a utility bill, electricity bill, bank statements, residential agreement
  • ·         Information on the company activities. Provide information on services or products that your business offers.
  • ·         A clear structure of your business. Include names and other relevant details of the owner and secretary if you have one.
  • ·         Directors and shareholders’ information. Include their residential addresses, nationality, and date of birth. To qualify to be a director, one must be above the age of 16.

On Icon Offices online application, you will fill in all your company details and we will help you with the registration process. Make sure that all documents you provided are accurate and up-to-date.

Documents in all languages are accepted and, in most cases, we can translate them for free. However, if we cannot translate the documents ourselves, an independent translator will need to be hired for a one-off fee of £12.00.

Our company formation package comes with a free UK business bank account formation with an easy online Bank account application with no signatures or paperwork. For more information, contact us at

Setting up a business in the UK is very much achievable. With a virtual office, you can operate your business from anywhere regardless of whether you are at home or traveling. Having the right information and good guidance, your application process will be smooth and quick.

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