Types of business

Once you're satisfied your business idea is viable and you want to start, you face several choices about what form your business could or should take.

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Types of business - overview

You have satisfied your business idea is viable. The next step is to decide what form your business should take. We explore the options.

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Buying a franchise

Franchising allows you to set up a business following a proven formula - although you'll be subject to restrictions. Our guide to franchising.

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Market research

Market research helps you spot opportunities, reduce risks and make better decisions. How to find the information you need.

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Profile: The Ethical Businessman

Although Friska founders have big plans for their Bristol-based takeaway with a difference, as Mark Williams finds out, profit is not their only goal.

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Profile: The Flip-Flop Philanthropist

Gandys flip-flops uses some of its profits to help orphans in India – just one reason this fast-growing flip-flop brand continues to win admirers.

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Profile: The Online Entrepreneur

Aaron Chatterley, founder of feelunique.com, can thank drink for his hugely successful online cosmetics business, which made £1m profit in 2011.

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Q&A: Buying a business

Buying a business can be less risky than starting one. If the business has customers, then it has income. But it will need upfront investment.

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Q&A: Ethical trading

Being an ethical business can reduce the negative impacts on people, animals and the environment. It can also boost your bottom line.

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Q&A: Should I employ a family member?

Employing a relative is quite different to recruiting someone else. There are some important tax and legal considerations which we explore here:

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Q&A: Social enterprises

Unlike even the most ethical of other start-ups, social enterprises have environmental or social values at the very core of everything they do.

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How I run my seasonal business

For seven months each year, Hester Moore runs Festival Postcards, a unique postal service for those who go to music festivals. Here's how she does it.