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Start Your Own Business in Dorset

Free start-up resources and useful local contacts.


If you are thinking about starting a business in Dorset or would like to grow your existing business, you have come to the right place!

Start Your Own Business in Dorset contains resources and the information that will help give your venture the best chance of success. It also highlights organisations who offer friendly business advice and services that you need.

We have been helping start-ups and existing business owners in Dorset since 2005 and a list of key local contacts can be found below.

Starting a business in Dorset

Popular resources

There is plenty of help locally but where can it be found? We would love to point you in the right direction.

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in Dorset

Download the 2021 edition of our Free Start Your Own Business guide

An interactive step-by-step guide which also includes links to key contacts such as HMRC, Companies House etc.

Start Your Own Business in 2021
Read more about what our Free guide contains and how you can download it.

What do you get in the guide?

Packed with the information that you need to start or grow a business in Dorset.


Easy to follow step by step guide

Business set-up

Choosing the right structure

Getting online

Online marketing, social media

Local support

Where to find help and support


Work from home or premises?

Employing staff

How to find and recruit

Before you start

The reality of running a business

Finance & funding

Your funding options

Law & insurance

The key considerations

Business planning

Are you ready?

Accountancy & tax

Tax and VAT explained

Business directory

Useful contacts

Market research

Is there a gap in the market?

Business networking

Tips and local groups

Starting a business in Dorset
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Key Contacts in Dorset

South Coast Design
South Coast Design is Dorsets 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, dont 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.
If you are looking for a team of reliable, approachable, and proactive accountants in Dorset who will do more than just respond to your needs but work alongside you to help you succeed you have come to the right place. Our mission is to enable you to realise your goals by giving you the tools to set, measure and achieve your vision. All the tools you need to be a success are here at Hixsons - new ways of thinking about your business, so you work on it, not in it, all the time. If you only do the simple things right every time, everyone will think you are brilliant. We can show you how to do it easily. In today’s challenging business environment you need to be competitive and fast moving. This site provides you with a wide range of essential advice and information covering all aspects of business that you are welcome to use as your ‘one stop shop’ . These online services are free and updated regularly. We also take that approach when we work with you, giving you the support in all the areas that you need. Every business owner needs a team of professionals who provide continuous support and advice. That's what we're here to do. Through years of commitment to our business clients here at Hixsons in Bournemouth we have developed a wide range of skills and services designed to improve your performance and profitability. This is what a client says about us: "Prior to Hixsons, our company employed 2 accountancy firms from inception 20 years ago. Hixsons took on our company accountancy in 2010 and since this time have been proactive in their approach and made recommendations to available grants otherwise unknown to us. Changes to our personal structure have allowed us to make savings with realistic objectives possible. Hixsons are reliable, trustworthy and forward thinking. Our only regret is that we didn't find them sooner!"
Envizage Ltd
Envizage Ltd Wimborne, Dorset are independent payroll providers, Payroll Outsourcing and Moneysoft Payroll Manager 100 specialists. We help small to medium sized businesses (up to 75 employees) as well as indirect businesses through Accountants who do not directly provide a payroll service, achieve their payroll duties. We deliver affordable outsourcing solutions across Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset - in fact we don't just stop there, our services currently provide cover to businesses and Accountants across the South Coast and throughout the UK. With expertise in all areas of the payroll function, whether you are looking to fully Outsource your Payroll; require CIS Outsourcing; assistance with Auto Enrolment Workplace Pensions; need some Payroll Training; or just require payroll advice, support or guidance; Envizage Ltd provides a level of service to match. Our company ethos is to make your business feel as big and important as the larger organisations, and feedback highlights the need for decision makers to feel they can openly discuss direct. To this extent we employ an 'open door' approach like that found with an in-house department. In taking the time to guarantee that every client is given the same level of attention through working closely with Company Directors and Business Owners alike, this approach helps all parties to understand the needs of the business; assist with payroll delivery to employees; and providing seamless integration with existing accounting functions. Envizage Ltd know that payroll is of key importance to a business with employees often the backbone, and it is why we view them as more than just a number on your records! Services: - Payroll Outsourcing – Weekly, Fortnightly, Four-Weekly, Monthly and multi combinations thereof - CIS Outsourcing – Verifications, certificates, CIS300 submission, CIS offsetting and CITB Levy – processing of sub-contractors on Weekly, Fortnightly, Four-Weekly, Monthly and multi combinations thereof - P11D Year End calculations and submissions - Auto Enrolment Workplace Pension and Compliance filing - Payroll Training – Small group and one-to-one using Moneysoft Payroll Manager Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 08:30 to 17:00 Contacts: 07770 236385 01202 022308 0333 090 6247 119 Hillside Rd, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 3SD
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.
Dorset Tech
The Dorset Superhero Web Design Agency As a social enterprise Dorset web design agency, we’re here to be the change we want to see in the world, not to make big dividends. We go further than any other agency to ensure you get more for your money. Our rates are the lowest around, our team some of the most experienced and yet our profits go back into the community to help others. Based in Gillingham, we have web design and app development customers all across Dorset and neighbouring counties. We’re proud to run the Dorset Science & Tech Centre, offering our unique Dorset Web Design drop-in clinics. We are the superhero web design agency in Dorset and we are here to save you!
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:
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 youre starting in business its 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.
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.
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
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 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
Dorset For You
Advice and guidance to assist you in setting up your business in Dorset.
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.
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
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.
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.
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Start-up Steps

We have created a collection of start-up steps articles to help anyone with whatever stage they are on with their business journey. Hundreds of thousands of people have gone before you and we can learn from what they got right and avoid the things that have been proved not to work so well.

You can see the full list of 'steps' at: Startup Steps