The UK has always been an attractive place for foreigners to invest money and start businesses. Many foreigners are under the impression that only UK or EU citizens can start businesses in the UK. This is not the case. The process differs slightly, and there are a few conditions, but with the correct legalities, paperwork, and documentation, you can quickly start a business in the UK.
Before you start a business in the UK, you should check with an immigration lawyer Manchester if you are legally allowed to work in the UK, or you would also require a visa. Most foreigners prefer getting a work permit or visa to visit their businesses in the UK but keep their home country’s original residency and citizenship.
Let’s look at a few steps to register a business in the UK as a foreigner.
- Do You Need A UK Visa: Foreigners from the EU can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme if they lived in the UK before 1st January 2021. If not, foreigners will have to apply for a work visa to visit their businesses and account for any business income and earnings.
- Apply For The Correct Visa: Entrepreneurs can apply for Start-Up visas or Innovator visas. They do not need to only apply for a Work visa.
- Research New Business Names: Your business name should be unique and resonate with your products or services. Your brand name can be creative, legal, or quirky. It should not contain profanities or foul language.
- Write A Business Plan: The business plan will help you understand all the strategic goals, financial implications, market research, and pitfalls and obstacles as you start a new business in the UK. You should also create a budget and prepare for all taxes, licenses, and legal fees.
- Hire A Local Consultant: The UK has many laws and legalities associated with starting a company and showing requisite funding, paperwork, and fees. Hiring a local business consultant to help with the set up can save thousands of pounds in errors and documentation failures. Outsourcing the set up initially will also help find and hire successful talent later.
- Decide The Legal Structure: Foreigners setting up businesses in the UK need to decide on the company, and legal structure before registration commences. Since the UK has its own laws and rules, the business’s legal structure must be informed to Companies House while registering the company. Legal structures in the UK are sole trader, partnership, and limited company.
- Register/ Incorporate the Company: All businesses in the UK must be registered with Companies House. Your company will not be incorporated till the registration process is complete.
- Tax Obligations: As a company registered in the UK, you would have to register for Corporation Tax. If you are self-employed and are not registering a limited company, you would need to register as a Self Assessment Taxpayer with HMRC.
What do you need to do immediately after registering your business?
Secure Finance/ Funding: Depending on the scope of your business, you would need to secure adequate funding that takes care of the initial set up costs, first six months of operations, utility bills, marketing costs, rent, salaries, legal fees, and taxes. The initial investment cost should also consider capital expenses like equipment, furniture, office interior, warehouse rent (if needed), and any other asset purchases. This funding can be borrowed from a bank, a friend, or from diverted profits from other businesses. The money must be declared to the government and should be in the company bank account for expenses and transfers. Crowdfunding and Kickstarter campaigns are other avenues to raise funds for your business.
Advertising Strategy: No business is complete without customers. You need to plan for advertising strategies, PR, and any other form of branding activity. Digital marketing and social media marketing also cost money (PPC, Google Ads, Paid Ads, and more). You would also want to promote content related to your brand, its products and services. Each of these things takes a lot of planning and budgeting. You should hire a web designer to make an SEO optimized website, add the products and services, and promote your branding content to get footfall and recognition.
Buy Business Insurance: Business insurance in the UK depends wholly on the type of business activity. Business insurance helps with risks like damage, legal fees, and accidents in the workplace. Business insurance and its schemes also help provide healthcare covers to you and your employees.