Introductory guide to starting a new business in Northern Ireland

Introductory guide to starting a new business in Northern Ireland



Introductory guide to starting a new business in Northern Ireland

Starting up a new business can seem like a daunting task, but it can be exciting and rewarding.  Northern Ireland is a fantastic place to start and scale a business.  Northern Ireland has low overheads in terms of rent and staffing costs, but it also has a large talent pool across many sectors.

The location is well-connected to Dublin which is fast-becoming a thriving economy especially in the online world.  On a personal level there are many things to consider also such as self-motivation, dedication, and commitment.  Having support in the right places can make the transition much easier.

You will be faced with many options in your approach to being self-employed.  Will you be a sole trader working on your own, in a partnership with two or more people or owning a franchise where the business is already set up? With all these options your very first task is your business plan.  You will need to research and develop your business idea – what services or products you are selling, who is your target market?  How will you fund your business?  Also having a clear idea of laws and regulations in Northern Ireland within your sector is crucial
When you know how you are proceeding the first thing to do is to contact your local council within Northern Ireland.  The council can give advice tailored to your needs.

There are a few programmes within Northern Ireland that can offer financial help and advice also. These include:
This is a tailored business start-up package that offers advice and support designed to help you start your own business. It's free and available throughout Northern Ireland.
Advantage NI works with clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to promote starting a business as a realistic and viable career option to young people aged 16-30.
Invest NI's role is to grow the local economy. They will support new and existing businesses that can make the greatest contribution to this growth by helping them to compete internationally.

As well as selecting a location of your business in Northern Ireland you will also need to think of your premises will you be renting or buying?  This decision will be made on price getting as much as you can for as little as you can.  Being centrally located helps customers find you and will give access to a larger base of staff.  The premise must satisfy your business needs.

When you are running a business, you will have to pay taxes of some sort.  This will depend on your annual turnover and if you employ staff.  The main tax is Self-Assessment and national insurance but depending on your type of business you may have PAYE (Pay as You Earn). A good online portal for this information is:

Most businesses take on staff at some point.  There can be a lot to consider when having staff such as their contracts, how much they get paid and what skills and experience they can bring. Remember there are different ways to employ people such as outsourcing or investing in training for existing staff.  A great online portal for up to date information on Northern Ireland’s employment requirements is:

Finally, when you are up and running it is important to plan for your business growth.  All businesses need to grow to make them succeed.  This can be done by monitoring and measuring your business performance. You will need to access new opportunities reducing overheads and increasing your competitiveness in your market.

Northern Ireland has a flourishing business market with lots of potential.  Planning is key for success, knowing what direction you want your business to head in.  Even as things may not pan out the way you envisaged to begin with having your objectives set out will allow you to adapt with whatever is thrown in your path.Good Luck!

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