Starting Out: Setting Up a Small Business

by Valerie Rice (Society for Editors and Proofreaders, 2006): £5.00 (pbk), 24pp, ISBN 978 0 9517527 4 6.

Reviewed by Derek Copson

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There are three essential elements to setting up any small business, especially for the self-employed: professional competence, continuous professional development and business acumen. This booklet is designed to be a brief introduction to the last element, and in that aim it succeeds admirably. It is a valuable resource for those in the early stages of setting out on their own, and would also serve as an aide memoire for anyone who does not feel totally at home with the subject.

Hands-on help

In a short book such as this, there are inevitably topics that the reader might possibly like to see expanded. A considerable amount of hands-on help in preparing business plans is available through Business Link and its regional equivalents. An essential note omitted from 'Keeping records' is that they should be retained for a minimum of five years, otherwise the HMRC might become a little annoyed, and they are not an organisation to upset!

This reviewer found it easy (and inexpensive) to contact an accountant by joining a local group for the self-employed. A reassuring adjunct to the section on getting paid might be on actions through the small claims court, just in case. And there is no index, a pity.


Valerie Rice has written a valuable booklet for all those venturing into the freelance world. It is highly recommended and could be read as a preliminary to a more in-depth book on the subject, of which there are plenty available.

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