Firstly I cannot emphasise enough the importance of research, research is inextricably connected with knowledge and it is only through knowledge and experience that you will find success.

It is good to build upon existing knowledge and gain an understanding of what questions need exploring before you make your final decisions as to exactly which direction your new venture should take.

These days the availability of knowledge through the internet is right there at your fingertips, you just have to know what you are looking for.

Once you have decided on the type of venture, the two most important factors are finance and marketing.
www.businesslink.org offers all potential and existing businesses a wealth of information in all aspects of how to start a business and have offices in most towns and cities, so you can do your initial research on the net, but also visit them and talk to an experienced person face to face albeit that they don't have one person to help with all aspects so you may well have to visit a couple of times and speak to different people who specialise in different fields.
Assuming that you need help with funding the project I would recommend prior to approaching any bank or lending institution you organise the following two things:

A written and well thought out business plan which covers in detail the following points:
•    Executive Summary
•    Business Description
•    Market Strategies
•    Competitive Analysis
•    Design and Development Plan
•    Operations and Management Plans
•    Financial Components

The last part of the plan should include all your financial forecasts including sales revenue and every cost you can think of, and should also reflect upon the possibility of your sales only being 75% of what you hope to gain, you should also have a 20% contingency in your cost forecasts.

A quantity of professional high quality business cards:

When meeting with professional people who you would like to influence, as well as dressing the part and being articulate and well informed you will improve your standing if you offer your business card. You can obtain these easily on the internet but should be aware not to organise cheap or even free ones as this will not help with the quality image you need to portray. A good site for quality business cards is www.betterprint.co.uk.

Never underestimate the importance of image and how within the first few seconds of meeting anyone they will form an opinion that is not easily changed, especially if you will only meet a couple of times before they have to make a decision about whether they should loan you the money or give you the order. Starting your own business can be a daunting and nerve racking process, try to be confident without being too confident in any dealings you have with potential suppliers or customers, always be honest and acknowledge facts that you don't understand or don't have the answers to, no one will expect you to know everything when you are just starting out and providing you can find out the answers and get back to them in a timely manner nothing will be lost.

You have all seen the adverts on TV "tax doesn't have to be taxing” well it isn't providing you play by their rules. Get yourself an accountant at the earliest point and make sure you inform the taxman formally known as HMRC they too have a great deal of information at www.hmrc.gov.uk  apart from completing all the documentation it is important to have your accountant make an early assessment of your tax affairs and equally important that you save money towards what will become due in the not too distant future. Try to keep on the right side of the taxman and you won't go far wrong.

I am always interested to learn about new ventures and if any of my tips have been helpful so please feel free to comment.