Start Your Own Business in Dorset

FREE Start-Up Book

Start Your Own Business In 2018
Start Your Own Business In 2018

This free 150 page book is packed with start-up information and contact details designed to help you start your business successfully.

We have been running SYOB for over 10 years now and have accumulated an enormous amount of information which could make the difference between start-up success or failure.

Starting a business is easy but keeping it going and making a profit is a completely different proposition. The good news is that there are tried and tested 'rules' which have consistently proved to work.

As the old addage says 'you don't know what you don't know'!

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FREE Resources and Local Contacts

If you are starting a business in Dorset, you have come to the right place!

Start Your Own Business in Dorset contains masses of free resources and the useful information that will help you get your new venture off the ground. It also highlights local organisations who offer friendly business advice and services that you need.

Free start-up pack

Everything that you will find on the site is free or very low cost and includes our free start-up pack, a series of factsheets which cover all of the key considerations, relevant templates, links to other useful resources and our free downlodable Start Your Own Business book.

Every year, over 400,000 people start a business in the UK and, apparently, at any one time, up to a fifth of the working population would like to join them. If this is you, we would love top help turn your dream into reality by sharing some of the information that you will need to make your venture a success.

We have been helping new business start-ups for the past 18 years and this Dorset section has been in place since 2005. Accordingly, we have amassed an enormous amount of relevant useful start-up information which we are happy to share with you free of charge. This will enable you to learn from those who help start-ups and from the lessons learned by people, just like you, who have already set up on their own.

Local contacts

We hope that you find the site useful and wish you the very best of luck on your exciting journey. If you are unsure of where to start, can I suggest that you get a feel for what is going on locally by following the links on this page. They will give you an idea of what advice and support is available in the area. Also we have pages dedicated to networking, free advice, funding, and grants

If you would like to know the proven steps that can make the difference between business start-up success and failure, our popular FREE start-up pack contains a step-by-step guide, templates, factsheets and a copy of our unique business start-up map.

Alternatively, we have also created our own new business 99 point start-up checklist which will give you a clear overview of the key subjects which need to be mastered on your road to success

Start-Up Success

The sad truth is that too many new ventures do not even reach their first anniversary. However, the good news is that this does not have to be the case. Running your own business is not an easy option but many of the pitfalls can be avoided with some careful research and planning in the early stages. This site has been designed with the sole aim of increasing the survival rate locally by raising awareness of both the right and wrong ways of starting a new business and promoting the businesses and organisations in Dorset who would love to help you.

Accountancy & Tax | Bookkeeping | Business Advice | Business Funding | Business Grants | Business Networking | Business Opportunities | Commercial Law | Communications | Design & Branding | Education & Training | HR & Staff | Insurance | I.T. | Marketing | Mentoring | Office Services | Online Marketing | Photography | Print | Property & Working from Home | Web Design

Dorset Locations Covered

Alderholt  |  Beaminster  |  Blandford Forum  |  Bournemouth  |  Bournemouth Tc  |  Bridport  |  Broadstone  |  Christchurch  |  Christchurch Bc  |  Colehill  |  Corfe Mullen  |  Dorchester  |  Dorset  |  East Dorset Dc  |  Ferndown  |  Gillingham-Dorset  |  Lyme Regis  |  North Dorset  |  North Dorset  |  Poole  |  Poole Bc  |  Portland  |  Purbeck Bc  |  Shaftesbury  |  Sherborne  |  Sturminster Newton  |  Swanage  |  Verwood  |  Wareham  |  West Dorset  |  West Moors  |  Weymouth  |  Weymouth & Portland Bc  |  Wimborne  | 

FREE Start-Up Pack

Our FREE start-up pack contains everything that you need to get you started.

It is a common trait amongst entrepreneurs to just want to 'get on with it'. However, if you want to maximise your chances of success, it is worth putting in time and effort before you start to ensure that you have set-up correctly.

  1. Start-up checklist
  2. Step-by-step guide
  3. Business plan template
  4. Personal budget planner
  5. Cashflow forecast template
  6. Marketing plan template
  7. Guide to business networking
  8. Start-up map
  9. Web & SEO Checklist
  10. Start-up map

Download Pack
Free start-up pack

One-time registration required but this unlocks
all of the free resources on the site.

Latest Start-Up Articles

Keep up to date with the most recent business thinking from around the world

We try to keep our eyes open for useful and interesting news stories and useful resources which could help if you are starting up or running a small business. Hopefully, this will save you the time and trouble! The latest additions are...

A Basic Guide to Importing

Basic Exporting Guide

Tips to Keep Your Business Healthy

Common Start-Up Mistakes... and how to avoid them

Bookkeeping tips for start-ups and self employed

Dorset Local Contacts

Useful Start-Up Resources
If you can help new business start ups or existing small businesses in the Dorset area, we would love to promote you here free of charge. (Add Your Business)


4 great reasons to be part of 4Networking 1. Flexibility and reach 4N gives you access to a unique joined-up national business network. Our ‘Passport membership’ lets you choose from 5000+ 4Networking events each year. We have groups in most major towns and cities in the UK. Use your Passport to network locally, regionally and even nationally. Choose from Breakfast, Lunch and Evening meetings + join the UK’s fastest growing Facebook business group - just search on Facebook for ‘4Networking Community’. 2. A stream of business appointments Bypass gatekeepers by having three 10-minute 1-2-1s at every 4N meeting, with people you choose. Also use 1-2-1s to find trusted suppliers. 1-2-1s are one of the key elements in our relaxed yet productive meeting format, which is tried, tested and loved by our members. 3. Relaxed, fun and friendly networking At 4N, it’s easy to just be yourself. At our meetings and online we’ve created an unstuffy environment. The cornerstone of 4N’s ethos is Meet>Like>Know>Trust, as it’s the best way to gain customers, collaborations and suppliers. If this sounds like your kind of place, then become part of the 4N community. 4. A platform to demonstrate your expertise We give you so many ways to raise your profile and establish yourself as the go-to person in your field. In the room and online, being able to offer ‘4Sight’ presentations can gain you a massive audience. Plus of course, you and your business benefit from other 4N members’ advice and help. Established for over 11 years, 4Networking is helping thousands of business owners to grow their businesses. It’s business networking the British way. Register at (it takes 2 minutes) and then you can book your first meeting, to see how 4N will work for you. Browse our list of meetings here: Or call our Support Desk team on 0345 123 4444.

Dorchester Websites

Dorchester Websites is the number 1 choice for designing top quality, mobile-friendly websites for all types of businesses, organisations and charities. Our prices start from just £140.

Dormen - Dorset Business Mentoring

The Dorset Business Mentoring programme (Dormen) recognises that running your own business has its challenges whether you are a sole trader or employ up to 200 people. Established in 2005 Dormen is one of the UK’s most established mentoring programmes, providing business owners and entrepreneurs across Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth with one-to-one mentoring support, skills workshops, and a mutually supportive community. Our team of over 100 mentors have supported over 1400 businesses to date. We serve about 160 clients at any one time on a renewable annual basis, providing high quality, professional and confidential support through any stage of your business journey. If you are just about to set up your business, you are best to reach out for a mentor once you have established trading for about six months. Working with a mentor then enables you to review your aims and strategy, to discuss how things are going and any issues arising. Your mentor will act as an objective sounding board for your ideas and help you develop the skills you and your business need to achieve your measure of success. Mentoring is universally relevant to all types of business and helps reduce risk while increasing successful outcomes. As you start your business you may want to bear in mind a compelling statement borne of research by the Federation of Small Businesses: 70% of mentored businesses are twice as likely to survive their first five years as un-mentored businesses, and all businesses are more likely to thrive and grow. In addition independent research by the Winchester Business School, focussing on the impact of the Dormen programme, clearly demonstrated the benefits to businesses and their owners – particularly in terms of helping them to focus on priorities, review business strategy and pursue their plans with greater confidence. More than half the businesses surveyed improved their sales by 21.57% over the year. What does it cost? Dormen is a not-for-profit programme, funded by local authority partners. In consequence our service is accessible to all business owners as we only charge a nominal administration fee of £200 for a full year of mentoring. We also provide regular skills courses exclusively for clients free of charge. So reaching out for a Dormen mentor represents the opportunity for astounding return on investment, as well as sleep filled nights. We welcome all enquiries by phone, and also encourage you to look at our website which includes FAQ’s and a variety of case studies. If you would like to apply for a mentor please fill out the form in this link:

Dorset Growth Hub

WSX Enterprise has worked in partnership to secure a 3 year business support programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The core services of the existing Dorset Growth Hub (funded by the DLEP through BEIS) will be at the heart of this delivery, providing the web platform, telephone advice service and initial diagnostic (this local information is supplemented with links to content on external sites such as ) Additional support on offer will be provided through dedicated strands of activity including: - pre-start and start-up support - supporting growth - improving digital capabilities - accessing finance - mentoring The programme is led by WSX Enterprise and the Dorset Growth Hub with a range of support partners. The main consortium partners are WSX Enterprise Ltd, The Arts Development Company, Dormen, Silicon South, YTKO (incl. Outset & GetSet for Growth) The Partnership includes the following Local Authorities: North Dorset, Christchurch and East Dorset, Weymouth & Portland, West Dorset, Bournemouth Borough Council, Borough of Poole, and Dorset County Council.

FSB - Special Start-Up Membership

The FSB Business Creation package has been specially designed for those looking to start up, or have recently started a small business. Tailored benefits will help you get your business off the ground and we’ll be with you each step of the way. Join today for £129.

Ludaco Web Design

Ludaco Web Design specialises in all aspects of web design and front-end development for businesses in Poole, Bournemouth, Blandford, Christchurch, Dorchester, Swanage, Verwood, Wareham, West Moors, Weymouth, Wimborne and every other area of Dorset. We specialise in custom built, bespoke websites to create a truly unique, online experience for your customers and promote your brand as effectively as possible. Whatever your internet budget is, we implore you not to take the cheap and cheerful option. Don't foregt, your website represents you and your company online so make sure you create the best, first impression by making it look its very best. It's better to invest your budget with a professional website designer than risk having a nasty looking, cheap site that doesn't work properly. One of our clients told us his landscaping services were chosen on the basis of how good his website is because the customer thought he portrayed a very professional image by taking the trouble to make his website look so good. A good website really does make a difference! That's why we chose to become the recommended local partner for Start Your Own Business. We believe, without any doubt, we can make a genuine difference to every business by helping them achieve their online goals and making their websites do the job they are built for. Contact us via SYOB and receive a 20% discount on all services, either individual or combined, when the total cost is £400 or more. That's an instant, minimum saving of £80 to help you reduce your start up costs. Quote SYOB20 when calling* or email us on *Due to the amount of spam/marketing/junk calls we receive, please text the mobile number first so we know you are a genuine enquiry and we will contact you straight away. Thank you.

Networking Mummies Dorset

Networking Mummies is a dynamic, local business community created to support and encourage entrepreneurs and self-employed people. Our understanding of the challenges involved in juggling family life with starting or building a business mean we are especially focused on offering accessible opportunities for mums (or dads!) who work for themselves to share skills and ideas and get recommendations and endorsements. Membership is free, as are many of our events. We welcome new members at any stage of their business.

South Coast Design

South Coast Design is Dorset's award-winning graphic design, web design and corporate branding company. Our team will work tirelessly to create an iconic brand for your company with our extremely popular and cost-effective branding packages, that contain everything your new business needs to swamp the competition. We can help with logo design, flyers, brochures, exhibition visuals, product packaging, stunning social media pages... and much more! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email us at or fill out the contact form on this website. Good luck with your new business, From the South Coast Design Team.

Start Up Britain

StartUp Britain is a campaign by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. They offer inspiration, resources and guidance to help people start and grow their own business.

WSX Enterprise

We work with small and medium sized businesses, social enterprises and other organisations across the south of England from our operational bases in Dorset and South Hampshire. Our team includes expertise in starting up & growing your business, ongoing business support, enterprise, business mentoring, skills, sustainability, innovation and design.

WSX Enterprise Ltd

Our new in business course. Designed to help you succeed! When you're starting in business it's important that you get the essentials right. These comprehensive, two day courses provide information and guidance to help deal with the key issues that are going to be fundamental to the performance and success of your business. They are delivered by experienced trainers - real business people who will give you the opportunity to ask questions and invite discussion. The courses are provided for people planning on starting a business or those who have recently started.

Your Executive Secretary Limited

Your Executive Secretary offers: - Virtual Personal Assistant Services - Business Administration - Administration Consultancy - Social Media Management - Social Media Training - Call Answering Service Our VA support is based around providing small businesses, Sole Traders and individuals with first class virtual PA, business administration, event planning and management and administration consultancy services. The aim is to provide a dedicated and bespoke service to clients, taking ownership of projects and facilitate their timely completion; the whole process is diligently managed. The core values underpinning Your Executive Secretary are: commitment, open and clear communication, honesty, loyalty and integrity. We recognise that every business is different and will require a different level or type of service at different times.

Connected Dorset
The Connected Dorset Group has been long established as a sub-group of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. The aim of the group in partnership is to promote an efficient and reliable transport infrastructure and high speed communications system - designed to help facilitate local economic growth by creating the right conditions for more highly skilled jobs and housing.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Dorset Chamber of Commerce represents businesses of all sizes and sectors from across the County of Dorset and beyond delivering the very best services, business information and advice. We hold over 100 events and training courses every year and strive to give all its members the opportunity to learn, meet new contacts and promote their business through networking or sponsorship opportunities. Acorn Office Park, Ling Road, Tower Park, Dorset BH12 4NZ. 01202 714800

Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Our aim is to focus entirely on our members, Delivering first class services to help businesses grow and prosper. Our aim is to lead business in Dorset.We offer Business Foundations and Training Tuesday workshops, aiming to develop skills in essential areas Address: Acorn Office Park,Ling Road,Tower Park,Dorset,BH12 4NZ 01202 714800

Dorset For You
Advice and guidance to assist you in setting up your business in Dorset.

Dorset Growth Hub
WSX Enterprise has worked in partnership to secure a 3 year business support programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The core services of the existing Dorset Growth Hub (funded by the DLEP through BEIS) will be at the heart of this delivery, providing the web platform, telephone advice service and initial diagnostic (this local information is supplemented with links to content on external sites such as www. ) Additional support on offer will be provided through dedicated strands of activity including: pre-start and start-up support; supporting growth; improving digital capabilities; accessing finance, and mentoring. The Enterprise strand is a dedicated team to help pre-start and young businesses with a range of interventions including short workshops and more in depth courses as well as one-to-one support from an Enterprise Specialist. The programme is led by WSX Enterprise and the Dorset Growth Hub with a range of support partners. To access support contact #talktotony on 03454 586480 or visit 03454 586480

Dorset LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership)
The Dorset LEP is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to promote local economic growth and prosperity. It operates to drive long term, strategic investment, which it enables through cross sector working and partnership. 01202 965868

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership
The Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to promote local economic growth and prosperity. Acting as a strategic gateway to funding, Dorset LEP supports and delivers projects of long term economic benefit for all in Dorset. Business support activity is directed through the Dorset Growth Hub which offers access to a wide range of business advice and support services. For more information visit or call 03434 586480. 03434 586480

FSB Wessex Region
As experts in business, we offer our members a wide range of vital business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. Our mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. Local branches for: Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch; Central South Hampshire; Isle Of Wight; New Forest; North Hampshire; Portsmouth and Rural Dorset Contact Neil Eames on 07920 846684 07920 846684

Institute of Directors
IoD South West covers one of the most active and vibrant regions in the UK, representing more than 2,000 members spread across six local branches – Bath & Wiltshire, Bristol, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset. The chair of the IoD Dorset branch, committee and IoD staff represent and support local members and leads inspirational and valuable business events in Dorset.

Invest in Dorset
Invest in Dorset is a team of economic development professionals across Dorset dedicated to helping companies and investors identify investment and expansion opportunities in and around Dorset. It helps provide businesses support tailored to their needs, whether it is by providing information, making introductions and helping them form a network or helping to find suitable premises. Whether you are thinking about starting a new business, expanding your operations, relocating, or seeking a UK base, Invest in Dorset can help you. Invest in Dorset will ensure you get the best advice on current financial assistance and all the support you need to be as successful as you want to be.

Samee Project
Where do I start … what shall I do first … who should I talk to … Is it just us, or do you feel that way too! There are so many things going on and you want to make sure that you make the right choices. We understand exactly what you are feeling. Sometimes it is hard to make a decision, or to decide what path to choose, so why not talk to us and let us help you. We have a huge network of people that we can call to ask that all important question, making sure you get the answers so you can make an informed choice for the future.

We ensure we understand your ambitions and plans for your business, at whatever stage you are at, working alongside you to ensure they are realised. We work with small/medium sized businesses, social enterprises and other organisations across the South of England from bases in Dorset and South Hampshire. Our team includes expertise in starting and growing your business, ongoing support, mentoring, skills, innovation and design. 01329 223242

Add Your Business
Start Up Funding

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