Opening a business in the UK – What you need to know

London cityscapeThe UK is notorious for being one of the best locations for investors to start a business. Multi-national organizations flock to the United Kingdom for a reason. The main reasons include it having one of the most liberal economies in Europe and an extremely favorable business environment. 

A presence in the UK gives a company access to new clients, an opportunity to invigorate, hire new talent and conduct business with different nations across Europe. This is especially true given that London, the UK capital, is a world leader in the financial services sector, with a healthy and robust banking sector.

Companies situated in the UK have a reach of more than 500 million consumers in Europe alone. In spite of economic and constitutional change, the sheer number of foreign organizations and businesses in the UK that have succeeded in the country makes it an alluring spot.

Some of the reasons why companies opt to open in the UK include the country’s quality of labor, level of technological advancement, robust infrastructure, innovative mindset, connections to different markets, time zone and the fact English is the official language — the most common language for worldwide trade.

The country is also ranked 7th in the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business guide and its unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Western economies.

In addition, opening a business in the UK is a lot easier than in other parts of the world. The speed of launching a business in the UK takes on average 13 days while the European average is 32 days. According to this indicator, the UK is ranked first in Europe and sixth in the world.

The UK’s main investing partners are the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, Jersey, France and Luxembourg.

London has been named ‘Europe’s best-performing city’ by the US think tank The Milken Institute. When choosing where to do business, London meets all the right criteria. It is home to all the right people, the highest-quality services and a multitude of opportunities. Finding marketing for your business is also a breeze, with easy access to figital marketing, design and printing in London. In addition to holding its status as a top financial hub,, London also has a booming tech sector.

There are various types of entities that can be set up for depending on your company’s goals. The three most common are a limited company/subsidiary, a branch, and a limited liability partnership.

You also have to have an understanding of the UK tax regime. Whatever corporate structure has been selected, the company, branch or LLP must register with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to pay all tax liabilities. Data protection is also an important area of concern. The collection and utilization of personal data are governed by the General Data Protection Regulation which came into force in May 2018. The new legislation has introduced a number of procedural changes in relation to the rights of data subjects.

The visa and immigration process must also be done. Immigration options should be assessed early in order to avoid any unexpected surprises or issues later on. These could include a business being fined for employing individuals without the appropriate visa. While it’s important to know the UK’s laws regarding employment, in comparison with other European countries, the UK has less labor regulation and a more flexible labor market, which makes it an ideal location for both businesses and talented individuals to flourish.

Trading and regulation licenses must also be obtained. Some industries are intensely regulated, notably, the financial services sector. When establishing a presence in the UK, it is important to obtain all the required licenses to trade.

The UK also offers a comprehensive regime for the protection and monetization of intellectual property rights.