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Setting up a Company - your main options

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by Startacus Admin

Fancy starting a business but have no idea how to start in formalising the business itself? We’ve picked out four of the main options for you to consider and provided a brief overview of each for you to peruse:

Sole Trader
You, yourself and you. In fact only you. The title is a give away really, but you are the sole owner and proprietor of the business. That does not mean that you cannot contract other people to work setting up a companyfor you however, but it does mean that you have sole responsibility for the administration and running of your business. You can take the profit you make after you pay for any operational costs and any associated taxes. Remember too that as the sole proprietor you are also responsible for any debt. If you are based in the UK here is the link to all the “to do’s” and responsibilities. If you are based in Ireland this should be a handy starting point too if you are looking to set up a business too. 

Partnership
Again the title is pretty suggestive of the legal entity of this business. There are at least two of you that are Partners in this business - yourself and at least one other. There can be more than two partners however, that is up to you all to decide. In terms of business responsibility, there are more of you to carry the weight of owning the business, and you each take a share of either the profits and losses that you may make or lose throughout the year. Each Partnership will have a nominated Partner who is responsible for the administration and recording of official business paperwork and tax returns and the like (hint! - choose a partner who likes that kind of thing!). Again, here is the UK official government link to help you along the way.

Ltd Company
Sounding quite official and such like, having a Ltd Company means that you must set up a Ltd Company to run your business. Limited Companies are most often or not Limited by shares , but there are other options to consider. Again the best place in the UK to check out your options is the gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/business-legal-structures/limited-company
There are lots of legal responsibilities as a Director / Owner of a business in both the set-up of said Ltd Business and in the operational and legal runnings of the company going forward. Most Ltd companies will have in house accountants, or use high street or online accountancy services to manage all the bureaucracy that you have to deal with. 

Social Enterprise
A social enterprise is a business that is set up with the core function of helping people or communities. However a Social Enterprise is itself not a business structure, you will still need to formalise the type of business you are, whether that be Limited, charitable, Community Interest and so on... There are plenty of options available and socialenterprise.org.uk seems like a pretty handy place to start considering your options.

Also - hold ye horses! You may also want to read our tips article on naming your business. Well that's a handy link! 

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Published on: 21st March 2013

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