There are several types of addresses associated with limited company formation, some are legally required and others are optional.
The most important ones are the registered office and service address, both of which Companies House request during the incorporation process. Directors must also provide their residential address, but this information will remain private unless a home address is used for registered office or service address purposes.
Regarding optional company addresses: you may use a SAIL address (explained below), a business address and a trading address. They all sound like ‘much of a muchness’, but they serve very different purposes.
This is the official ‘headquarters’ of a limited company. Details are placed on public record and are primarily used to receive mail from Companies House and HMRC, as well as being the required inspection location for statutory company records.
Any type of physical postal address can be used, with the exception of PO Box numbers, as long as the address is located in the same jurisdiction in which the company has been incorporated (England/Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).
Residential addresses are permitted but, due to public disclosure of this information, non-residential addresses are more suitable in terms of privacy and professionalism.
This is the official contact address for company directors, to where their statutory mail is delivered. It can be any physical postal address in the UK or overseas. Residential addresses can be used but, again, this information will be available to anyone with access to a computer and internet connection.
A SAIL (single alternative inspection location) address is an optional address where a company can keep some or all of its statutory records for inspection purposes. This can be ideal if your registered office is not conveniently placed for inspection purposes or you use your home address as a registered office and you don’t want strangers coming into your house. It’s usually just HMRC that asks to inspect company records but, nevertheless, some of us are a bit funny like that.
This is a professional contact address that you can give to clients, suppliers, service providers, banks and other contacts. You can use any address you like, in fact, you can have multiple business addresses if you want to establish and grow your business in different parts of the UK or overseas. Unlike a registered office, a business address doesn’t have to geographically restrict your company to one place.
This is exactly what you think it is – the place where your main business activities are conducted. It’s also where most businesses keep their stock, equipment and assets. There is no need to disclose this address to anyone, unless it is the same as one of the aforementioned company addresses.
While it’s easy for a non-UK resident to register a limited company in the UK, opening a business bank account is a little more complicated. It is not a legal requirement to have a separate bank account for your limited company but it is an absolute necessity from a practical standpoint – without a business bank account, it will become increasingly challenging to manage your accounting records and distinguish your personal finances from your company’s finances. It’s far easier to avoid accounting errors than it is to rectify them.
There are a couple of feasible options for non-UK residents: you may be eligible for a business bank account in the UK from Lloyds Bank or Barclays International; or you could open an overseas bank account by having your company formation documents legalized.
Banks conduct routine credit checks on all business bank account applicants to verify their suitability. These checks require photographic ID and proof of a UK address, both of which must be presented in person. Lloyds Bank may allow you to open an account if at least one of the account signatories lives in the UK. Barclays International may offer you an account if you can provide an initial security deposit.
Suitable for limited companies with at least one UK-resident director. Applications can be made online or by telephone. The UK director must present photographic ID and proof-of-address documentation in a Lloyds branch. Overseas company owners and account signatories must send copies of their photographic ID and proof-of-address documents.
Suitable for limited companies registered in the UK with all non-UK resident shareholders and directors. To satisfy the requirements of the bank, the shareholders of the company must travel to the UK to meet with an HSBC representative.
Suitable for companies with no UK-resident directors or shareholders. Applications must be made through Barclays International in the Isle of Man. In most cases, a deposit of £10,000 is required for the first month after account activation.
UK public documents can be legalised by a UK public official to confirm their authenticity for official use in any county that is party to the 1961 Hague Convention. Once legalised, an Apostille Certificate will be issued to prove the genuineness of each document.
If you wish to open a business bank account in your country of residence, you will have to obtain an Apostille for your Certificate of Incorporation and the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Overseas banks and authorities will require these certificates as evidence of the legal existence of your UK company.
You can get these documents legalised by a Notary (ie a qualified lawyer specialising in Notarial Practice) who will sign your company documents and liaise with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to obtain the Apostille Certificates. Alternatively, you can apply online through the Legislation Office.
Start-ups in the UK are booming, with Tech City now the third-largest technology start-up cluster in the world after San Francisco and New York. Start-ups also provide the main source of recovery growth in the UK and Europe. The European Commission knows this and has set aside billions of Euros for innovative small businesses. However, very few businesses in the UK seem to know about this pot of gold.
The EU’s new research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, was launched last year and has €80bn to spend over seven years. Some 15-20% of this is earmarked for innovative businesses, either on their own or in collaborations with universities and other businesses. The grants are prestigious and can open doors, as a House of Lords report noted: “We believe that EU R&I programmes represent an excellent financial and networking opportunity for UK businesses”.
The Horizon 2020 ‘SME instrument’ will provide €3bn over the next seven years to small and medium-sized businesses that develop products and services. This covers everything from feasibility assessment (€50k grants), to development and demonstration (up to €2.5m) and then access assistance to risk capital.
The €100m ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ pilot opened in January 2015. Frustratingly, you won’t find Horizon 2020 opportunities on Innovate UK’s main funding page; they are displayed through a separate resource centre called Horizon 2020 UK.
A much broader source of money opens up if you collaborate. The Eurostars programme, which boosts competitiveness and open markets, is for groups of innovative small businesses. However, the lion’s share of Horizon 2020 funds is available for big multi-national collaborations of universities and small businesses teaming to deliver solutions to societal challenges. More than 70% of projects funded so far have at least one SME partner.
To enter such collaborations you need to be in networks that enable you to find the right partners. If they have previous experience, that helps a lot. One such network is the Vision2020 Horizon network, which I work with. It has nearly 40 universities and more than 100 SMEs, all seeking to cluster into groups to target Horizon 2020 funding. Another network is the Enterprise Europe Network. EU grants and University-business networks are a great way to put booster rockets on your innovative start-up.
Copyright © 2015 Dr Mike Galsworthy. Mike is a consultant in research and innovation policy. Follow him on Twitter.
Intended to help you if you have recently started your own business or currently work for someone else and you’re seriously considering it, here are seven key lessons I’ve learnt in my 20-year career in technology and communications, a journey that has taken me from more junior level to senior corporate positions to CEO of my own successful business.
If you enjoy what you’re doing and you’re learning – keep going. Working for yourself often means making sacrifices and having to work long, hard days is often par for the course. But don’t be a martyr. Don’t neglect your family or miss important family moments or events – they won’t come around again.
Many of us will have had them and you can learn much from their shortcomings. This can help you later on when you become an employer. Don’t normalise poor management or their unhealthy habits; it can prove very harmful when running your own business.
Values are important in business. If you think something is unacceptable, it probably is, so don’t do it.
Avoid the ‘but it’s always been done that way’ mindset. Be prepared to challenge established thinking; look for new ideas that will enable your business to be more successful. Bounce your ideas off people close to you who you can trust. And if you’re currently working for someone else but have an original idea you plan to turn into a new business, be very careful about whom you share your ideas with.
Nobody likes a quitter, but, equally, being successful at failure doesn’t help anyone. Set goals and judge your performance against them. Avoid deceiving yourself.
Sometimes brick walls are big red warning signs that you’d be foolish to ignore. Ask yourself why there is a brick wall or even if the brick wall is really there. Breaking through such barriers is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur, but if you see more brick walls than opportunities, starting your own business might not be the best option for you, at least for the time being.
When I came up with the idea for Compare Cloudware, the market wasn’t ready, so it was incubated for about a year so I could concentrate on creating a robust business model. After that, a visual concept was developed, followed by a working model, then a minimum viable product (MVP), then, finally, something I was ready to share with investors. I only gave up my day job once I had an MVP. I learned this diligence in my previous corporate life and getting to grips with large projects has also proved invaluable. So be eager to learn, but show patience when it comes to ideas that need cultivating and stress-testing.
Copyright © 2015 Gary Gould, CEO of Compare Cloudware, one of the first comparison sites for cloud applications.
Despite the ever-increasing demands of modern life and our changing leisure habits, thankfully, many of us retain our love for our hobbies, But it seems we're a dying breed.
Research carried out by Santander, reported by the Mail Online in December 2013, suggested that a quarter of us listed watching TV as our favourite pastime, with just 5% playing a team sport. Only 4% practised a musical instrument, while fishing, once one of the nation's favourite pastimes, was enjoyed by just 2% of the population (the same percentage that still collected stamps or coins).
According to the Mail: "Campaigners [the National Obesity Forum] said the demise of traditional hobbies was symptomatic of a society preoccupied with celebrity and reality TV." Interestingly, researchers identified lack of cash as the main reason why 10% of us has given up our favourite hobby, a stark reminder of the austere times in which many of us live.
In April last year the Mail Online reported that almost half of the UK's 20 "favourite hobbies" now involve the internet (and you can stop smirking at the back). It said: "Facebooking, tweeting, online gaming, bargain-hunting and internet dating have exploded in popularity as traditional pastimes like stamp collection and trainspotting decline."
Travelling, baking and sport still occupied the top three spots, but trainspotting or birdwatching didn't feature at all. Sewing and knitting made number 10, and arts and crafts were number 7 (with the Mail questioning TV's absence from the top 20).
Many Britons are earning much needed additional income from their hobbies. As reported by David Prosser in The Independent in October last year: "Research by the payments company Visa suggests that 9% of adults now makes money from a hobby, producing an £8bn windfall for the economy.
"These hobbyist business founders are cashing in on their love of everything from photography to jewellery-making and from sport to baking. And while they may not be pursuing these enterprises full-time, they are making decent incomes."
The "typical hobbyist businessperson in the design sector", he says is "making more than £3,700 a year, according to Visa's research. The figure for photography is more than £2,400." Prosser says that although this isn't enough to "give up the day job", for some it represents the "first few baby steps towards self-employment".
It's hardly surprising that the internet is the key 'hobby-into-business' enabler, allowing hobbyists to sell to a mass audience while minimising their sales and marketing costs. "A whole ecosystem for this type of small business has developed almost without mainstream commerce noticing… with specialist marketplaces now operating for almost any type of business you can think of… [and] many hobbyists trading in this way [thinking] of themselves as running a small business," while having built up their businesses with "little or no support from government agencies."
He concludes: "Those making money in this way are displaying all the entrepreneurial characteristics we value in more conventional business founders, they're making a substantial contribution to the economy, and they've done it with no help. This isn't the march of the makers that the Chancellor once spoke of, but the march of the micro-entrepreneur is to be applauded nonetheless."
Blog written by Start Up Donut editor and freelance SME content writer Mark Williams.
Why do so many of us bother with New Year's resolutions, especially as so few of us ever stick to them?
Somewhat shamefully, about 2% of UK adults who make New Year's resolutions don't even get to the end of New Year's Day with their resolution intact (source: Think Money). Australian research published in December 2014 concluded that almost two-thirds of all New Year resolutions made Down Under are never achieved, while a 2007 University of Bristol study suggested a much higher UK failure rate of 88%.
If you resolved to lose weight in 2015, you're not alone, it is believed that almost a third of UK adults plan to become leaner this year. Almost a fifth want to improve their fitness by exercising more regularly, and more than a tenth resolved to improve their education or learn a new skill. Other popular New Year's resolutions probably included drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking and taking on more significant physical challenges, such as running a marathon.
As reported by Forbes, Facebook chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, is well known for his ambitious New Year's resolutions. In previous years, as a result of his New Year resolutions "he learned how to speak Mandarin, met a new person every day who does not work at Facebook, wrote a thank you note every day, became vegetarian (except for animals he killed himself) and wore a tie every day." This year he has resolved to "read a new book every other week", with "an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs and histories". He's created a Facebook page called A Year Of Books so you can "follow his challenge and read the same books".
Writing recently for Huffington Post, health and fitness coach Adam Strong says there are seven key reasons why we don't stick to New Year's resolutions. These include overly complex or ambitious resolutions; not creating a 'vision board' or diary to help keep us on track; keeping our resolutions a secret and (least surprisingly of all) – lack of will power.
Another common New Year's resolution is likely to have been to finally address lack of workplace contentment, fulfilment and reward. Job satisfaction research conducted last year by recruitment consultancy Robert Half suggested that a significant 40% of UK workers were not happy in their jobs.
Starting your own business could provide the ideal pathway out of your current employed doldrums. It's a growing trend. According to Start Up Britain last year 581,173 new businesses were registered in the UK, significantly more than the 526,446 registered in 2013.
Finally stepping out on your own and working for yourself could enable you to earn more money (although this isn't a given), enjoy a more favourable work-life balance and gain greater satisfaction and reward from your hard work. Who knows, maybe you could even join the growing legion of people who supplement their earnings by generating extra cash from their hobbies or interests? It's probably never been easier to start and run your own successful small business.
Maybe your New Year's resolution for 2015 was to finally start your own business – so what's stopping you?
Blog written by Start Up Donut editor and freelance SME content writer Mark Williams.