Our experts are on hand to answer all your queries about setting up on your own. Christopher Allen, a Start-Up Adviser at FSB Legal, tackles the latest reader questions
Drop-shipping allows you to operate as intermediary between customer and supplier. You decide what you want to sell and create an online shop. When a customer places an order, it will be sent to the manufacturer to be processed and distributed. There are several advantages and disadvantages:
This is the process by which an individual can protect property relating to their business, such as names, inventions, designs or things you write or make.
Trade marks: Typically include a recognisable sign, design or expression that distinguishes a specific product or service from others. Sometimes followed by a ‘TM’ logo, which identifies it has a trade mark attached, or an ‘R’ logo, meaning there is a registered trade mark attached
Patents: Provides exclusive rights for the creation of an invention that includes a product, process and the way it works. An example would be the Apple iMac patent
Design rights: Protects your design for specified periods; also applies to shapes and the configuration of products
Copyright: Applies when you create artistic work such as music, photography, film etc. Prevents other people or businesses from copying, distributing, renting, showcasing or using your work on the internet without your consent.
It is advisable to research if the item you are planning to protect is available to use by searching online sources such as Companies House or the Intellectual Property Office.
Business insurance is mostly optional, with some exceptions. However, it is recommended you have some form of protection. FSB members have access to FSB Insurance Services for advice. You may require:
Building insurance: Covers you against threats such as fire, theft, flooding, explosion and damage to the building
Contents and equipment insurance: Covers items
such as laptops, printers, business equipment and accidental damage
Goods in transit: Protects against loss or damage in transit
Commercial vehicle insurance: Covers vehicles against theft, fire and damage
Employer’s liability insurance: Protects employers from being sued for injury, illness or disease incurred by employees while at work
Professional indemnity: Used by professionals such as doctors to cover them against negligence claims
Public liability insurance: Protects the business if a member of the public or third party is injured or dies while on the premises or when you are working in their property
Business interruption: Covers the loss of income suffered after a disaster.