Starting a business, any kind of business, can be daunting or outright scary. I know this from personal experience. That is exactly why I wasted far too many years working for and with others, despite the fact I carried most of the load and could have spent that time building my own company.
At one point, my dislike for working for others overcame my fears and I realized that the time was right for me to finally start my marketing agency. I have always read that Dublin is one of the best places in the world to start a business and I decided to put this to the test.
Unfortunately, despite my sudden burst of enthusiasm, I had no idea how to actually do it. I had never been much of an entrepreneur and I tended to tune out when people spoke about the business side of running a company.
I know there are plenty of people out there like me and that is exactly why I wanted to write this – A quick guide to starting a business in Dublin if you’re not really sure how to start a business in Dublin.
Am I a Company? Am I a Trader?
Before we go any further, I should confess to something – my best friend is an accountant and she made my life so much easier from the get go. And I do mean get go. You HAVE TO find a reliable accountant before you even start thinking about starting a business.
They’ll help you make the first major decision for your business – should you start off as a sole trader or a limited company straight away? Because my friend, how you register your company will become very important as soon as the first invoices start rolling in.
Basically, when you’re a sole trader, your business is tied to you as a person and it entails less red tape and fewer expenses. When you start a limited company, you become a shareholder in a corporate entity and it’s a whole different beast.
I myself wanted to go company straight away, but my friend advised me to get things going as a sole trader. You can read more on this here, by the way.
Finding the Money
Regardless of how small you start off, you will be needing some money to get things going. I myself had the foresight to put something aside over the years and I didn’t have to take out loans or look for alternative funding.
For those of you whose situation is different, don’t despair. Dublin and Ireland, in general, are among the very best places in the world to start a business and a lot of it has to do with the availability of funds for new entrepreneurs.
The Local Enterprise Office is the perfect place to start, if nothing else then for the enormous amount of advice and tips you will get from the lovely people who work there. Despite the fact I wasn’t looking for any additional funding for my company, I got in touch with them and they helped me immensely. The good people at LEO really know their stuff.
I could write a 3,000 word article on all the other programmes and grants that are available for entrepreneurs in Ireland, but that is a story for another occasion. Instead, I’ll point you in the direction of this extensive list of funding options for Irish businesses.
Finding Office Space
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you will have more or less choice when it comes to finding the best office space. For instance, I was perfectly capable to work from my parents’ house for the first few months and later from my apartment.
Of course, once you start meeting with clients and getting a bit of traction, you might need more and this is where coworking spaces come in. Dublin is great when it comes to coworking spaces – I worked from CoCreate for a while and also from The Brickhouse (really cool, although a bit more expensive).
The important thing is not to rush it and go renting out office space from the very start. Until you bring on more people, you don’t really need an office.
Of course, this doesn’t hold water if you are starting with a couple of people already. If you do need to get office space, make sure to do your research. You don’t have to be located at the IFSC or the Docklands.
Take Advantage of Software
Okay, this one’s not really Dublin-specific, but I feel it is so important I would be remiss not to mention it. Namely, one of the best things about starting a business these days is the abundance of software that is available for pretty much every aspect of your business (especially if you are in the digital arena).
You name it, you’ve got it – lead generation software, business analytics software, HR software, project management software, CRM software, etc.
For a new company with a limited number of customers and accounts, much of the software can be free or really, really cheap. This often helps you keep your overhead low until you grow a bit and start bringing in more revenue.
Another tip – shop around, there are often small players who are doing stuff as well as the big, expensive companies, but at a fraction of the price as they are trying to carve a space for their company in the marketplace.
In this article, I covered the very basics that should leave you with a company that is registered and can operate legally. I intentionally left out hiring people and finding your first customers, because these require special attention.