For an island of a little over 141,000 people, there are a wealth of small businesses on the Isle of Wight. With 4,730 enterprises operating on the island, there is something naturally enticing to entrepreneurs about the county. As the UK’s second most populous island, the prospect of a tourist beauty spot with travel links to both France and the UK in equal measure make the island an attractive spot for an entrepreneur looking to try their hand at running their own business. The past few years have only expedited the surge in people both wanting to build their own business and taking the plunge, with the prospect of more control over one’s own career and day-to-day working life being a major factor. As of 2020, the 5.9 million small businesses in the UK have already begun to show indications of growing consistently higher year-on-year. The Isle of Wight, with a robust tourist industry and trade links, makes for a great place to consider.

According to the latest research, around 64%, well over half, of the UK’s labour force wants to start a business. With an average age of 40 amongst UK entrepreneurs, there isn’t a ‘bad time’ to start thinking about it, rather, sufficient experience and commitment are more important than anything else. This may be why some 80% of entrepreneurs are willing to use their own money to bankroll their enterprise. Sole traders and entrepreneurs enjoy plenty of benefits, however they also open themselves up to a range of new responsibilities, several of which remain relevant on the Isle of Wight, as any other UK county. Meanwhile, other responsibilities are slightly more accentuated by the nature of living on an island with limited resources and services immediately available to you. 

Failure to Prepare

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Deciding on your businesses fundamentals is a must, particularly for the entrepreneur seeking out financing options for their enterprise. Being a sole trader, limited company or entering partnership all carry with them different benefits and risks. Sole traders carry the full weight of financial responsibility, whereas a limited company owner’s personal finances remain separate from the business. Build out a very clear business plan, that you can stick to realistically and will place in good stead with financiers, if the need arises. 

The Devil In The Details

Equally, record-keeping is essential, and accounts must be submitted electronically to HMRC as a UK-registered business. The taxation on your business is simple enough, broken into VAT, National Insurance and a tax on your profits, although typically many business owners still opt to outsource book-keeping to accountancies who will be able to ensure you don’t make simple errors that can cost you in the future. And outsourcing is worth considering for other aspects of your business, too.

A Rainy Day

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Professional sole-traders, particularly those in skilled, manual roles will operate remotely in many cases, travelling to clients and sites to do specialist work. In these scenarios, if you’re working with significant personal risk or risk to your employees, understanding your legal needs and obligations is absolutely essential. Personal injury on the job can have a huge impact on earning ability for significant periods of time. Therefore, many businesses will look to have UK-specialised personal injury solicitors on retainer, or at least have a firm grasp of their rights in the case of accidents and injuries. The same goes for insurance for yourself or your employees. Coverage for rainy days is less a recommendation and typically something that you can’t afford to overlook. 

Starting a business is an adventure, something the residents of the Isle of Wight know well. A hub of history, culture and entertainment – as well as a thriving engineering and maritime industry – the island offers opportunity to those seeking to be their own bosses, whilst also providing for the calmer pace of life that living by the sea, in a beautiful tourist resort, can offer. 

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