Information for Registering a Business

Registration Information

Before you start operating your small business, check to find if there are any licenses and permits that you need to have in place before starting.

Business name

Choosing a business name is as important a task, as it can be fun. You will have to visit the registrar to register your business name. Check to ensure that you have not chosen a name or mark that is exactly like or quite similar to another.

When choosing a name or symbol think about marketability and the image you want to portray to potential customers.

Trademark Registration

A trademark is a word, combination of words, symbol or design that identifies a product as distinct from others. You might also want to prevent other people from using your trademark, in that case do a trademark registration, this could prove crucial in the future.


A copyright is a legal right that will protect any work by an author, publisher, composer, playwright and such individuals. It gives exclusive right to ownership, publication, sale and distribution of the work.


A patent protects an invention, medical preparation, software, gadgets, and tools to name a few. You should register a patent in order to protect it.

Check with local authorities about registration and registration periods. When you register your patent:

  • You can use it as you choose; you have exclusive rights
  • You can allow others to use it by granting them a license
  • You can prevent others from exploiting your invention

National Insurance Registration

Register for an employer’s national insurance number if you intend to take on employees.

Inland Revenue Registration

Register with the Inland Revenue for tax purposes.

VAT (Value Added Tax) Registration

Register with the VAT department if you collect VAT.

Medical License

If you will be running a medical practice, you will need this licence.

Travel agency registration

If you plan to start a travel agency business you will need to get registered.

Vendor license

This authorizes your business to make taxable and collect taxable sales.

Customs registration

For necessary taxes and duty concessions.

Health certification

This is necessary for child care, food, caring for the elderly and bars.

Liquor license

If you intend to sell alcohol.

United States of America (USA)

To operate your business in the United States you might need certain Federal and State licenses. Please check the links below to find the licenses you might need before you begin trading.

November special - julian gooden

United Kingdom (UK)

To operate a small business in the UK, ensure that you check for and apply for the appropriate licenses. Use the below links as a guide.

Temporary Events Notice (England and Wales)

This is for carrying out a ‘licensable activity’ on unlicensed premises.

Occasional licence (Scotland)

An occasional licence if you want to sell alcohol from unlicensed premises.

Food business registration

Food business registration if carrying out ‘food operations’ in a food business.


If you are located in Canada learn about permits, licences and regulations that apply to your business.

Permits and licences
Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.

Regulated business activities
Learn what regulations apply to key business activities like importing, exporting, marketing, managing employees, and transporting goods.

Regulated industries
Find out how certain industry sectors are regulated and what some of the key business obligations are in those sectors.

Be on the safe side, do your homework and check with the local government authorities before you proceed.



Sources of Business Ideas

When we decide to start a business or look at self-employed income options, we are often left wondering what to do. Business ideas however can be easy to come by. Many people start a business in an area of interest, such as writing or bookkeeping. The possibilities are however endless and they can come from many different sources. If you are currently thinking of starting your own business, but are not sure what business you want to start, then maybe reading this article could help you on your way. Below are some sources of business ideas:

Present / Previous Employment

A large number of small businesses are inspired by present or previous jobs. If you were great at your job, it could be a good idea to start your business in this field, as you would bring experience and know-how to your new business.


What is it that you like to do? Often we are prepared to put a lot of time, effort and money into a hobby, why not consider making money from it? Many writers, for example, first started writing as a hobby.

Niche Markets

Sometimes small pockets of a market are not being satisfied by the general market; make an observation, do your research – Is there a need you could fill?

Personal Observation

Look around you, is there a need in your community that is not being satisfied or maybe the need is in a neighbouring community?Business Ideas


Many products are derived from the waste of other products, for example, using scraps of materials to make colourful rugs for children or using coconut trash to make coconut cakes. Sometimes businesses dispose of things that could be used to make other products or charge a minimal fee for the waste.

Is There a Product on the Market That Needs Improvement?

You are a consumer, there might be products that you think could do with more or less of particular ingredient, if you think you could do a better job, and can source the necessary assistance…well make a start.

Distribute Someone Else’s Products

You do not have to create your own product, why not market or distribute someone else’s product for a percentage of sales?


Find market overseas for locally produced goods; research could prove integral to starting. Perhaps you have travelled to other countries and have noticed a lack in certain areas of the overseas market. Get information from the relevant authorities on how to proceed.

Buy Downtown, Resell Uptown

You will be surprised at the vast differences in prices for similar products in these two markets, other people capitalise on the price differences, why not you!

Business, Magazines, Newspapers, Trade Magazines and Newsletter

These are also good sources of ideas.

Government Agencies

There are certain government bodies that can provide information about gaps in the market, make use of them.


If you have the cash and do not mind giving up some control (much control in some instances, depending on the business) this could be an option for you. There are many franchise businesses out there, check them out, and see if any suit your interest or your pocket.

Brainstorming - business ideas


Gather a group of family and friends, use this group to suggest and evaluate business ideas.

Current Market

Check market trends and see what’s happening. Which products are being sold quickly in the market at the moment?

Look at Importations

Are there products being imported that you could produce at the local level? If particular products are being imported on a consistent basis, this is an indication that there is definitely a market that is not being adequately provided for by local producers. Many people are willing to support local producers even at the expense of paying a bit more for the product.

Supplying Raw Material

Larger businesses sometimes depend heavily on small firms to supply raw materials. For example, larger firms in the canning industry depend on small farmers who produce fruits and vegetables. Find out if there is a market for raw materials that you could fill.

Invent a Business

Many of life’s pleasures were born from simple ideas. If you have an idea that could prove beneficial, do not just push it aside because it is new; entrepreneurship is about innovation.

Business ideas

Buy an Existing Business

Many business owners start by buying an existing business. If you know of viable businesses being sold and are able to make a purchase, consider the possibility of owning one.

Specialised Products

– Some goods and services are too specialized for large firms and work better for small businesses. Find out more about these.