A collection of 28 four-page briefings from BHP Information Solutions focussing on the key issues every start-up business needs to address.
The briefings can be downloaded free of charge by clicking on a heading.
Advertising is the fastest and simplest way for a start-up business to let a large number of people know about its products and services.
Are you going to be in control of your new business? Will you know in advance about any looming cashflow problems? Unless you use properly prepared budgets, the answer is probably going to be no.
Whatever the commercial activity you are engaged in - from buying supplies to selling your product - you need to be aware of the legal issues involved.
Buying a franchise allows you to set up your own business without starting from scratch. You use a tried and tested formula, and benefit from the experience and support of the franchisor (the company offering the franchise).
Unless you happen to be an expert on accounting, tax and finance, you need an accountant.
Credit control is a vital part of running any business - and especially any new business with limited cash resources.
Caring about your customers - and showing it through your service - gives you a high return on the time, effort and money you invest. Loyal customers are well worth nurturing. They buy more, more regularly. And the cost of selling to them is almost nil, whereas finding new customers is an expensive business.
Direct mail is personally addressed advertising, delivered through the post. It can be extremely effective for start-up businesses, because it is so flexible — and because its effects are so easily tracked.
Good public relations can be the making of a start-up business. Inept PR can ruin it. In its broadest sense, PR is a way of effectively and accurately communicating with your audience to make sure they understand your company. It also enables you to develop a positive image in their mind.
Making sales is the biggest hurdle facing most start-up businesses. It's often the make-or-break factor. But there are several ways to boost your success rate when it's just you and the customer.
Although the laws covering employment are extensive, the main issues for small and start-up businesses are fairly straightforward.
A solid financial base is essential when you are starting up a new business.
Once you have made up your mind to go ahead, you need to get to grips with the legal requirements for forming a business.
Even experts can find it difficult to keep track of the hundreds of different grant schemes which keep appearing - and then disappearing.
Insurance can provide financial compensation and peace of mind when things go wrong. But insurance premiums can also represent a significant cost. You need to choose carefully which risks to insure against.
If you think marketing is just another term for advertising - think again. While advertising plays a part in promoting your business, marketing is a far broader concept.
Too many people starting up in business see negotiation as a chore and haggling as an embarrassment or a waste of time.
How much are you going to charge your customers for your product or service? Getting your pricing right could double your profits at a stroke.
Moving into licensed property is easier, quicker and cheaper than taking on a lease or buying a freehold property.
When 'company doctors' are called in to save businesses, the first step is often to renegotiate all the supply contracts. Managers watch in amazement as hard-nosed suppliers agree to knock 5 to 15 per cent off their prices, giving cost savings that can transform a company's prospects.
There is nothing more crucial to the success of a start-up business than the skills and attitudes of the first few people it employs.
When you are setting up a business, researching your potential market is essential. Although it is time consuming to acquire, a thorough and reasoned knowledge of the market is invaluable to the future of your business.
Choosing your business premises is one of the biggest decisions you ever have to make, but few people have much useful experience of it. For a start-up business with modest resources, it can be a daunting prospect. Yet all it takes is clear thinking and a well-planned approach.
In a well set-up office, the equipment, the systems and the environment all contribute to making you and your business more efficient. Instead of cobbling together your office as you go along, plan it properly from the start.
The use of information technology (IT) has become a vital part of day-to-day life in many companies and new businesses expect significant returns on their IT investment.
Good book-keeping makes your paperwork - such as VAT and tax returns - easier. It provides a system that tells you - and your accountant - exactly what is going on.
Many potential start-up businesses are daunted by the prospect of compiling a business plan. But it is not an intimidating process - and a good business plan focuses the mind as well as helping to secure finance and support.
The basic do's and don'ts of advertising are fairly straightforward. You do not have to be clever or witty to be effective. Some people running small businesses create great ads.