Business in the UK Guide
The UK may be better known for Big Ben, black cabs and the Beatles but it’s business that oils the country’s wheels. It has one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial cultures in Europe, with many sectors thriving thanks to a highly qualified English-speaking workforce, low tax rates and well-developed transport networks.
The country is also an attractive place to do business for foreign companies because it offers a good deal of flexibility when it comes to company structures, and there are numerous incentives such as tax relief on research and development costs. However, the bureaucracy can sometimes be challenging to navigate, and it is a must for all new businesses to take the time to understand the rules and regulations governing their specific industry before making the move.
Establishing a business in UK
Establishing a business in the UK can be complicated, but there are a number of resources available to assist with this process. The British Library has a dedicated web page that provides links to government and international organisations (as well as some hard copy books that can be ordered for the Reading Rooms).
Aside from being a member of the EU, the U.K. is a relatively free market economy with a favorable corporate tax rate of 19%, which is lower than that of most of its core competitors. It has a thriving digital start-up sector and ranks highly amongst European countries for its ability to protect intellectual property.
Despite the fact that U.S. businesses have much in common with the U.K., there are some cultural differences to keep in mind when doing business with British colleagues. For example, addressing business partners with their first names is the norm, while the salutation “Dr.” is reserved for medical professionals and can come across as arrogant to other people in casual contexts.
Once a business has been established, it’s essential to have robust contracts in place that can be used to enforce agreements and protect the business from unauthorized use of its brand or trade secrets. Legislate, an online legal resource for small businesses, provides lawyer-approved contracts on a no legal budget to ensure that your business is protected.
It’s worth mentioning that it can be difficult to find employees in the United Kingdom who have the right qualifications for the job, so it is important to carefully consider the skills needed for your company and to plan accordingly. In addition, non-EU/EFTA nationals need to ensure they have the right visa to work in the UK and that they have sufficient funds to support themselves while working there. For more information on this, check out our article on How to Hire Employees in the UK. In addition, it is worth looking into business intelligence and research providers that provide data on the U.K., including information on its economic forecast, competitive landscape and consumer trends.