Whether you're interested in the smaller business community, are planning to start a business or have an existing business, we have a package for you.
Our most popular package is FSB Business Essentials which includes a whole range of benefits and products designed to make your business fly
A suite of legal benefits including a dedicated helpline, bundled insurance products and a range of online information to keep your business safe. Plus a whole range of negotiated benefits to help save you money and win business.
Our Business Creation package is designed to make starting a business simpler, allowing you time to focus on what's important - making it a success.
Specialist company formation benefits, access to FSB networking, business banking and a range of products to help get you setup in business.
Joining FSB Connect is free and is a great way to be part of the FSB Community and have your voice heard.
You'll be able to access specialist networking events with like-minded members of the community and have your say in our Big Voice survey panel.
Whatever your circumstances, we have a package to suit you and your business. Click the button below to see which benefits are included in each package and start your FSB journey.
'Within a few weeks of joining we'd taken advantage of FSB’s Online Legal Documents. We started a graduate programme and access to these documents gave us an understanding of the legal side, and has helped us to create a number of processes and procedures.'
'When we first took on a member of staff, we used the online legal document template library. FSB does more important stuff than you think it does, there are lots of member benefits, probably more than we actually use.'
'Having somebody like FSB behind you is fantastic. There is a whole team behind the organisations, whatever is required: support, advice, finance, you know that you’re not alone, you’ve got FSB.'
We represent a diverse range of businesses from retailers to marketing agencies and just about everything in between. Take a look at more member stories and see how we could help your business fly.
More Member Stories
We offer three packages to suit your business needs. Joining FSB Connect is free, our Business Essentials package starts at £172.50 in the first year and our specialist Business Creation package has a fixed price of £129.
Running a business doesn’t have to involve renting offices and employing teams of people. For many, self-employment represents the best option. But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges, as Tim Smedley discovers
The self-employed have always been too easily overlooked. But things are changing. Once on the economic fringes, they are entering the mainstream. Since the recession, the number of people in self-employment in the UK has increased dramatically. Of the 5.4 million businesses operating in the UK, four million of them are individuals going it alone. Around 15 per cent of the UK workforce is self-employed, compared with eight per cent in 1980.
A new FSB report into self-employment describes this trend as a “structural re-shaping of the economy and labour market”, and it is not simply due to redundancies, insists report author David Nash. “In the past three years, self-employment has been increasing at the same time as traditional employment has been increasing,” says Mr Nash. “For many, the benefits of being self-employed include the flexibility it offers, which can mean a better work-life balance, and a chance to fulfil a personal ambition. But there are many challenges, and the Government needs to take these more seriously.”
“I run a catering business that specialises in South African barbecue, hog roasts and lamb spit roasts. Last year we added a South African sauce business.
Previously I was running a pub in Carlisle, and one of my customers asked me if I would do a South African meal for her birthday. I did, and they said ‘you should put this on the pub menu, the food’s really good’. I was then asked to do a wedding. And that got me thinking there could be a business in it. We then moved to Chester, and I hit the ground running with Big 5 (named after the ‘Big 5’ safari animals).
We do a lot of weddings, corporate events and private parties. We also sell bottled Zingy BBQ Sauce, Durban Curry Sauce, Cape Malay Curry Sauce and a Roast Chilli & Garlic Paste in local shops and garden centres.
My accountant advised me to stay as a sole trader until I get to the point of making huge amounts of money. There is no advantage at the moment in being a limited company; it’s a lot more work, and my tax bill is minimal.
The struggle now is that I’m a one-man band, trying to deal with an increase in business. I do have staff that come on a temporary basis – I am based at the University of Chester and attract student workers. But I will probably have to look at taking on some full-time staff. If you have up to five employees, you can run PAYE through the HMRC website. For anything above that, you have to create your own payroll system.
“I’ve been self-employed for 17 years.
I own and run a barber shop and hairdressers called Barberlou’s, in Battle, Sussex.
Barbers are generally self-employed – when you start out you only really need a car and a pair of scissors, and you rent a chair off the shop owner. I bought Barberlou’s in 2007, and I now employ three people myself by the same system.
I couldn’t afford to pay myself anything to begin with – any money I generated I put back into the business, bought paint for the walls, new chairs, new sink. Staff are the biggest expense, and you have to pay them for holiday pay and so on. You can run at a loss some weeks, but on other weeks earn a lot more, so it all evens out.
But I love the freedom of it. I have only worked once since Christmas, because my staff wanted more days and I can be with my children. Before, I had to work six days a week, and I missed a lot of stuff. I’ve missed weddings, hen dos, funerals. Being pregnant and working as well is exhausting – you’re standing there almost three weeks away from having your baby and you can’t quite reach the chair because your belly is in the way.
My staff and family have been so supportive. That’s why I have a lot of self-employed staff and part-timers now, so we can juggle it and move things around. It’s all going well and I’m happy. I am spending time with the children. That’s what I worked to get. Some people have a business plan – I had a life plan.”
“As a virtual assistant, I do primarily administrative tasks for a variety of companies, mostly small businesses. I recently organised an office move. I do a lot of website updates, invoicing, client liaison – even managing small projects.
I don’t come from a PA background – I used to work in IT training. I remember as an employee thinking: I have a skillset that is marketable, I am IT-savvy, and lots of what I do I can do from anywhere. I had a ghastly commute, and it seemed crazy.
“I set up my video production company six years ago, having spent 12 years working for broadcasters and production companies including the BBC and Bob Geldof’s Ten Alps. I am the director of my company. I am self-employed, but I employ myself and I employ others, with a full-time apprentice on the books, working in my own studio in Tunbridge Wells.
We produce video and animated content for a variety of clients. In the past few months we’ve delivered projects for the British Army, [brewer] Shepherd Neame and the University of Kent. You tell a story and give people a glimpse into the company.
I set up as a limited company in 2010 on the advice of a business advice service. On a personal note, it helped me to become more of a businessman. I used to think of myself as a filmmaker first and foremost, but having to think about the marketing, business development and growth strategy just gave it that added gravitas.
I got ill two years ago on a shoot abroad and came back with a water-borne bug. For a couple of months I couldn’t work at all. It took me nine months to get 100 per cent better. I have since taken out an insurance policy, but it’s more for life insurance rather than sickness.
My experiences with HMRC have been a nightmare. I’m all up for paying my fair share of tax, but I need someone to say what I need to pay, to whom and where I send it. When I started paying an accountant to do it for me, a weight was lifted. A good accountant is key.
The bonus of being self-employed is being able to say ‘I am doing this’ – I’m in control of my own diary.”
The following sources of support can help entrepreneurs, including services included as part of your FSB membership:
HMRC Self-Employed Helpline: hmrctalk.co.uk/self-employed-helpline
0844 453 0165
FSB Networking: fsb.org.uk/benefits
FSB Independent Financial Services: fsb.org.uk/benefits
Action on Disability & Work UK:
0844 445 7123
Women in Self Employment Resource:
National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses LimitedSir Frank Whittle Way / Blackpool / FY4 2FE. National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses Limited (FSB) is registered in England, number 1263540