A Step by Step Guide to Start a Small Business in Ireland

Small business is big in Ireland.

Indeed, put them all together and they account for almost 50% of revenues in the country.

But there’s always room for one more! Are you thinking of starting a new business in Ireland?

Well, we want to help. The process ahead might seem confusing and full of uncertainty. You might have no idea how to bring your idea to fruition.

Having some guidance from the get-go should help clarify what’s required of you. With a few tips, you’ll be on your way to small business success in no time.

Sound good? Read on for a step by step guide to starting a brand new Irish business.

1. Plan It

The origin of any new business venture starts with a planning phase.

You know what they say: Failing to plan is like planning to fail. Creating a business plan is key. This is when you sit down and figure out the nitty-gritty.

Now, it would take an entire post to go through exactly what’s required. However, basic elements of a plan include establishing your goals and a time-frame for attaining them.

Think about your financial needs too—how much money will you need to succeed?

Don’t forget to consider the market as well. You need a solid grasp of the competition, and where the gaps in it lay; know how your business will stand out where others don’t. In other words, realize your unique selling point.

Think about potential problems you could face down the road. What hiccups might you encounter and how would you overcome them?

2. Name It

With a plan behind you, you can think about a name for the business.

Of course, you might already have one.

The importance of a business name shouldn’t be underestimated. It plays a key part in the brand, and how you’re known in the industry.

Make sure you choose something that stands out, encapsulates your function and ethos, and that you’ll be proud to promote.

With the name decided, do what you can to stop others from stealing it! Buy your Ireland domain extension, set up your social media accounts, and get into registering the business (more on this coming up).

3. Structure It

Time to get into the practical side of setting up shop.

You need to consider the legalities involved. Alas, you can’t just start a new venture without this essential step. Do everything by the books to prevent future problems.

You’ve got two choices. You can set up as a: sole trader or limited company (LLC).

There are pros and cons to both. Setting up as a sole trader is easy, and involves registering as self-employed. However, it also means you’re liable for debts and legal issues.

An aggrieved customer that sues the business is actually suing you as an individual! Your personal assets are on the line. The amount of tax you pay can also be far higher.

There’s more to setting up as an LLC. However, it carries more credibility (not to mention lower tax rates). It also means any debt problems or legal challenges go against the company, not you! It literally limits your liability.

In truth, the best option depends on your individual situation. Speak with a lawyer if you’re unsure how to proceed.

4. Register it

With the structure decided, it’s time to get your business registered.

The process will vary in relation to the structure you’ve settled upon.

Going the sole trader route? Register as soon as possible with the Revenue Commissioners for tax and pay related social insurance (PRSI) purposes.

For those taking the limited company path, you need to register (and get incorporated) with the Company Registration Office (CRO). With that done, you can then register for tax with the Revenue Commissioners.

Another point worth noting is the need for a business bank account. It’ll come in handy as a sole-trader; it’s a necessity for setting up as an LLC.

At this point, you should think about any permits, permissions, and licenses you might need to operate legally. Of course, this will depend entirely on your specific business idea.

5. Brand It

A business fails when it doesn’t take branding seriously.

Your brand is the reputation that precedes you.

You need to think about the values your business will stand by; how you want to present yourself. This will relate entirely to your target audience too. Cultivate a customer avatar to help you picture your ideal customer.

From there, everything is easier. Keep your brand in mind when designing your logo, designing your website, writing your ad copy, organizing your store…and so on.

6. Fund It

Money’s going to make or break your business.

Your business plan should have considered both how much money you’ll need, and where you’ll get it from. It’s time to put that plan into action.

Funding can come from all manner of sources. Think about bank loans, angel investors, crowdfunding, loans from friends and family, and/or personal savings.

Make sure you have enough start-up capital to gives your business a chance to thrive. Your business plan will be an essential asset to take into investor meetings.

7. Locate It

The fun stuff’s starting!

It’s time to find a business location.

Again, this is another huge topic. Likewise, it’s less of a step if you’re starting an online business (in which case your location is purely virtual!).

Nonetheless, for brick and mortar businesses, location is everything. Find a place where your target audience hangs out and that boasts high-levels of foot traffic. Obviously, you’ll want to keep the rent down too!

Another consideration is giving yourself room for growth. The floor space should accommodate expansion. There’s nothing more awkward than having to relocate within months due to swift business growth.

8. Market and Start It

The final step in the process is to start marketing your business.

These days you have all sorts of channels available to you; again, you’ll have settled on an appropriate strategy in the business plan.

It’s best to market your product and services well ahead of time. Think about cultivating an audience and prospective customer base long before opening.

Hold events (online and offline) to generate interest and build an email list. Send out ads of social media, and generate a loyal following of people eager to hear from you.

You can guarantee a successful first day when you open your doors to business.

Time to Start a Business in Ireland

There’s never been a better time to start a business in Ireland.

However, the road to doing so can be paved with confusion and uncertainty. Hopefully, this post has shed some light on the process.

Keep these steps in mind and you’ll be on the way to business success in no time.

Looking for more articles like this one? Head to the Start-up Ideas section of the website now!

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