bto solicitors - Corporate & Commercial Business Lawyers Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

  • "really fights your corner..."
    "really fights your corner..." Chambers UK
  • "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach."
    "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach." Chambers UK

Business Start-up

BTO provides a cohesive approach to any new business start-up.  Aware of the realities a new enterprise faces, and the priorities it must have, our approach will ensure that your business can develop from well laid foundations.

  • Sole Trader
  • Partnership
  • Limited Company
  • Business start-up checklist

Sole Trader

A business owned by one person, although the organisation may employ more than one person. The sole trader’s business will trade under the owner’s name or a name chosen by the sole trader.

  • The simplest type of business organisation and the easiest to establish.
  • There are no legal restrictions affecting the establishment of a sole trader business. A sole trader can keep all the profits.
  • A sole trader does not need to keep accounts, but needs to ensure that they notify the Inland Revenue about their tax liability.
  • To minimise tax liability many sole traders will employ accountants to draw up their final accounts and advise them about tax avoidance (not tax evasion!).    

Partnershipclick here. 

Limited Company

  • A business owned by a group of people who do not want to have unlimited personal liability for the debts of the business.
  • The company has its own legal identity, separate and distinct from the owners. Liability is defined as “limited” because the maximum that the owners can lose is the money that they have invested in the business.
  • The owners are not personally responsible for the debts of the business, so personal assets such as homes and personal bank accounts are safe (unless personal guarantees are given).

To create a limited company, legal formalities have to be completed as per the relevant Companies Act. Companies are either started from scratch or bought “off the shelf”.

Companies are owned by shareholders and managed by directors. The share owned by each person will often reflect the size of their investment in the company. In the case of small companies, the directors and shareholders are usually the same people. A company must be registered at the Companies Office. Every year the company has to send an annual return and financial statements to Companies House. The accounts for the limited company have to be audited and made available to the public.    

Checklist common to all types of business structure

  • Decide on a business structure
  • Prepare a business plan
  • Prepare a marketing plan
  • Assess adequacy of funds and make sure money is in place before it is committed
  • Who will be included in the business?
  • Decide what will happen if you fall out with any other person involved
  • Find premises Register for VAT if applicable

Contact: Scott Wyper, Partner / Jeremy Glen, Partner / Alastair Dunn, Partner / Emma Barclay, Partner / T. 0141 221 8012

“The level of service has always been excellent, with properly experienced solicitors dealing with appropriate cases" Legal 500

Contact BTO


  • 48 St. Vincent Street
  • Glasgow
  • G2 5HS
  • T:+44 (0)141 221 8012
  • F:+44 (0)141 221 7803


  • One Edinburgh Quay
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9QG
  • T:+44 (0)131 222 2939
  • F:+44 (0)131 222 2949