February 20, 2015
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and start your own business – but you have no idea where to begin. From what business to start to how to raise the money for it, the sheer array of options can be daunting.
John M Shanahan & Co has a range of resources available to take that blossoming entrepreneurial desire through the stages it needs to become a viable business.
We’ve addressed all the essential questions you should pose when you’re thinking about how to start your own business.
If you’re keen to be your own boss but are asking ‘what business should I start?’ there’s a multitude of options available, including those that support the lifestyle you want to lead or make extra cash to supplement your household income.
Part-time businesses: If you want to run a business while keeping up with other commitments, why not start a part-time business?
Franchising: Consider starting a franchise to run your own business with the training and support of a big-name brand behind you.
Buying a business: Buying an existing business is another popular option that can carry less risk than starting afresh.
Start-ups you can run from home: Modern technology means an office environment is no longer necessary – many businesses can be run entirely from home.
Technology start-ups: The tech industry in Ireland is enjoying an unprecedented vogue; there has never been a better time to start a tech start-up.
Popular industries: Other popular sectors to start a business include green businesses, service and retail ventures, and online businesses.
Choose a business structure: Are you going to be a sole trader, in a partnership, or even start as a limited company? You will need to decide what business structure you adopt early on.
Market research: Thoroughly research your market to assess the viability of your business idea.
Write a strong business plan: Writing a business plan is essential. Make sure you have a clear roadmap before starting out. This is especially important as you may show this business plan to potential investors.
Think about your branding: Believe it or not, a business’ name, logo and business cards can make a difference in achieving success.
Set up a website: Register a domain name and have a well-designed website built for your business.
Start-up’s finances: Learn how to deal with bookkeeping and cashflow issues for the first time – you may consider talking to an accountant and seeking his advise who will mentor you on the process.
Investigate potential grants: Small business grants are extremely useful, but can be difficult to come by. Start with your local Enterprise Board.
Apply for a bank loan: Although bank lending to small business is fragile, most businesses end up approaching the bank at some point.
Ask a friends or family: It’s not hard to see why many entrepreneurs start with personal finance or the assistance of friends and family, but try not to put your house, or anyone else’s, on the line.
Consider invoice discounting: If you’re finding bank loans difficult to come by, look into invoice finance as an alternative funding option.
Angel investment: Angel investors cannot only provide funding but valuable mentoring, (Dragons Den) support and advice to early-stage businesses; be wary of giving away too much equity early on, however.
Understand the basics for setting up: Learn how to set up a company.
Advise Revenue: Contact the Revenue to tell them you’ll be setting up and register for the appropriate taxes.
Set up business banking: Get set up with a business bank account.
Get your equipment: Think about what equipment you will need to start your business. Vans are a necessary purchase for many start-ups, especially in the trade sectors, whilst equipment such as PCs, printers and smartphones are more or less essential.
Consider a virtual office: If you plan to set up a home office, look into whether a virtual office is right for you. Virtual office services can offer you the total office experience without physically buying, leasing or renting an actual office.
Find premises: If you need external premises, buying property is a huge step; unless you’re absolutely committed, leased premises or serviced offices are normally more suitable.
Location, location, location: If you’re starting a retail business, location is crucial. Make sure you’re in the know and have explored all avenues before committing to a property.
Protect your intellectual property: If you have a technology or ideas-based business, or something that may require protection, make sure you protect your ideas by familiarising yourself with intellectual property law.
Understand tax law: Whether you’re in business on your own account or already have employees, a knowledge of tax law is essential.
Get insurance: Prepare for the unknown by taking out business insurance, and be aware of the different insurance types available.
Comply with regulations: Don’t forget about your obligations under health and safety regulations. This is especially important if you plan to take on employees.
Source the best suppliers: You can source suppliers at trade fairs and exhibitions – but before entering into any agreement, ensure you negotiate protection for your business through a supply contract.
Pick a manufacturer: If you have a product that needs to be made on a large scale, make sure you look carefully at the compatability/ fit and how they can service your business before choosing a manufacturer for your business’ product.
Consider sourcing from overseas: Don’t forget that overseas suppliers can often be more cost-effective than the domestic supplier when out-sourcing products.
Ensure the timing is right: Ask yourself some key questions such as need, viability, skills requirement etc. before deciding whether the time is right to hire an employee – don’t rush into it.
Write a job description: Learn how to write the perfect job description to make sure you understand their role and help you attract the best and brightest talent.
Pose the right questions: Do a dummy run and discover the best questions to ask during an interview – and the questions you should never ask.
Investigate employment options: Read up on the different employment options for staff – is your business more suitable for permanent employees, part-timers, be aware of the long term costs as well as the tax cost.
Take heed of employment law: Just like tax law , you ignore employment law at your peril, or your business could find itself confronted with expensive and potentially serious legal proceedings.
Offer training: Set up your new employees with the tools for success through training schemes, there is assistance available from Enterprise Boards as well as Enterprise Ireland etc.
Tell the world what you’ve got: You need to know how you will promote your product and who you will target – learn about the key selling techniques that suit your business best as a starting point.
Get your product out there: If you’re targeting retailers, you need to get labelled, branded and packaged to perfection to be in with a chance of getting your product stocked in stores.
Keep up-to-date on e-commerce: Today, e-commerce and selling online are crucial and you should be aware of the workings of internet sales.
Brush up on selling techniques: Seek out in-depth advice on selling techniques and negotiating. This will help you create a solid sales strategy, as well as being able to use cross-selling and generate repeat business.
Tell the world: Learn how to raise awareness of your brand by marketing your business, you will tell the world in what ever way you find most effective for your business and you will tell them again and again - because they will forget.
Get in-depth information: Our Business Links has a range of in-depth start-up guides for setting up in business. On a one-to-one level, we at Shanahan's can help your business start-up by taking you through a business plan, business registration, banking, taxation issues potential pitfalls and more.
Be inspired: Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Read up on the success stories of other entrepreneurs to see how they overcame some of the early challenges they faced and grew into household names.
Chat with other entrepreneurs: Connect with other business owners and seek support and advice through LinkedIn and other social media networks as well.
Also - Go to our Business Links page.
Contact John M Shanahan Accountants for expert advice on
Taxation, Business Management, and Financial matters.