Choosing the right business structure

business structures

Sole trader

The sole trader is the most common form of business ownership and you must be registered with HM revenues and Customs (HMRC).


All limited companies must be registered with Companies House.

Registering and running a limited company requires more legal administration than sole traders or partnerships.


The business partnership and individual partners must register for self-assessment with HMRC. There are certain rules on running and naming the business partnership and differ for limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships.

Social enterprise

If you want to set up a business that helps people or communities, you must choose a business structure from those mentioned above or as a charity or co-operative.


There are around 600 businesses in the UK that are franchised but what is franchising and would it be suitable for you?

It's a way of setting up in business for yourself but not on your own. With a franchise you run the business, but using methods that have been already tried and tested by another company, called the franchisor.

It is a way of being your own boss without many of the risk factors. However, you are ultimately answerable to the franchisor and this approach may not be for some people.

The following websites can provide you with more information: