Experts answer the most Googled questions asked by startup owners

Tuesday 18th January 2022

With nearly half* of Brits using a side hustle to make more money, many are turning to Google for important business advice.

While Google has a vast amount of information that can help startup and small business owners, finding the right answers can often be difficult. Our research has revealed the most common questions asked by new business owners on Google, with “how to start a business” and “how to register a business” coming out on top.

To help save valuable time for many business owners, Novuna Business Cash Flow’s Head of Commercial Business and small business expert, John Atkinson, provides his answers to the most Googled startup and small business questions.

  1. How to start a business - 8,200 monthly searches

“Many people want to start their own business, but often don't know where to start. First of all, it’s most important to get the basics sorted. Hopefully you have a rough idea of what you’d like your business to be, but if not, spend time researching potential options, including competitors and the opportunities in the market. Ask yourself is it a growing market, or a fad which could go out of fashion further down the line?

Once you have your idea nailed down, you can then start thinking about what you want to call your business, and move onto writing your business plan. Another important thing to consider is how you’re going to finance your business, so ensure you explore all options available to you.”

  1. How to register a business - 5,600 monthly searches

“Every business in the UK has to be registered, but how you do it varies on your venture. The most common way for small businesses to be registered is as a sole trader, which only requires a national insurance number. Sole traders keep any profit after tax, but remain responsible for any loss of profit incurred.”

“Partnerships are similar to a sole trader set up, but the ownership is shared between a number of people. Profit is shared between partners but each individual is responsible for their own tax.

Finally, you can register your business as a limited company, which would make it a separate legal entity to those operating within it. Limited companies must be registered with Companies House.”

  1. How to write a business plan - 3,300 monthly searches

“A business plan might sound like a daunting prospect, but it’s essentially a document describing your business, including information on objectives, strategies, sales and marketing strategy and financial information. There are lots of templates available online to help you get started, but include information mentioned previously and you’ll be off to a great start.”

  1. How to build a website - 1,800 monthly searches

“A good website can make or break a new startup so it’s important you get this right. While it sounds very technical, there are a number of web hosting services, such as GoDaddy or Wix, that can help simplify your process and get your website ready for business quickly.”

  1. How to start a business with no money - 1,400 monthly searches

“Many new businesses might be able to get themselves off the ground with very little money, such as a dog walker or freelancer, but it’s important to calculate your outgoings based on your business model. This will give you a good idea of how much you’ll need, and then you can identify where to get the money from. This could be from your own savings or the bank of Mum & Dad, or you could look at unsecured and secured business loans or invoice finance to help boost cash injections. Government grants and loans could also be an avenue worth exploring.”

  1. How to get a business loan - 1,200 monthly searches

“Before you apply for a business loan, there are a number of steps you can take to help smooth out the process. The most important thing is to make sure your finances are in order and that you have a good credit report, to give you the best chance of approval. You can then plan out how much you need to borrow, and when you want to pay it back, before sending off your application to a bank or finance provider.

  1. How much tax do self-employed pay - 1,000 monthly searches

“The amount of tax you pay depends entirely on how much profit your business makes and how it is registered. The most sensible way to ensure you are saving enough money for your tax bill is to speak to a professional accountant.”

  1. Getting a mortgage when self-employed - 900 monthly searches

“The process of getting a mortgage is enough to put many people off starting their own business, however it’s not impossible. The main thing you need to do is prove you have a reliable income, which can usually be done with proof of at least two years of accounts. Speaking to a mortgage broker is usually a great idea as they’ll be able to advise you on everything you need to get in order to successfully apply for a mortgage.”

  1. How to register a business name - 900 monthly searches

“Firstly, you’ll want to check if your potential business name is not already taken. This can be done using the Company Name Availability Checker on Companies House. Once you have found one that’s available, you can then register your business as a private limited company, which includes providing an official company address, appointing directors and clarifying the share structure.”

  1. How to start a business from home - 500 monthly searches

“This largely depends on the type of business you want to start, but providing you have a laptop and have registered your business properly, you can work from anywhere!”