Chartered Trading Standards Institute
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A helpful companion for start-up businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns have led to unprecedented business difficulties, particularly for enterprises based in bricks and mortar. Some, however, are using the situation as an opportunity to try something new.

For centuries, many described the UK as a nation of shopkeepers. Now it's a nation of start-ups. According to a study by Instantprint based on Companies House data, the public started almost half a million new companies in 2020.

There is also big news in the tech sector, with tax and audit company RSM reporting that new UK tech start-ups rose by almost 16% by the third quarter of the year.

This drive to create new businesses means that many people who have never run their own business before are entering the market. Maybe that describes you.

Doing anything for the first time can be incredibly daunting, especially in business. Ensuring your business is set up correctly and conforming to regulation is one of the necessary components of developing a successful business. To compound this, pandemic measures and the changes brought about by the UK's exit from the European Union complicate an already overwhelming picture.

Fortunately, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) created Business Companion to provide clarity for you and your business.

This website contains free information written by experts on trading standards law and helps explain what you need to do as a business owner or operator to conform to it. You can start with the basics of what laws apply to the type of business you are running. The site also contains concise guidance if you're looking for particular law areas that apply to you; perhaps you're providing a service or supplying digital content, or maybe you're creating and selling food and drink. Whatever your business is, there is crucial guidance for you on Business Companion.

Perhaps you're already well-versed in consumer law but have a specific question about a particular area. Business Companion has a series of in-depth guides for you, organised according to business sectors. The in-depth guides have the detail you need.

Whether your new business is based in England, Scotland or Wales, we have you covered. Click the drop-down nation menu at the top of each Business Companion page and select your nation for the relevant guidance. If you have based your company in Northern Ireland, you should visit the Northern Ireland Business Information website for advice and support.

As for coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation, we have a section documenting the regulations that matter for your region and business type. Alongside this is a section on legal changes resulting from Brexit, which is regularly updated to reflect UK consumer law's ongoing decoupling from the EU.

By conforming to the rules, you not only help your business grow but also protect your customers. A protected customer is a valued customer, and the more positive experiences they have with your company, the more likely they are to purchase again. You and your new business play a vital role in rebuilding the UK economy as we recover from the pandemic's effects.

Above all - do not be daunted by this new challenge – we all want your new business to succeed, and Business Companion is here for you, free of charge at every step of the way.

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