Advice on starting a business in Northern Ireland

Apr 4, 2023

Looking for advice on starting a business in Northern Ireland? You’ve come to the right place.

While every business is different, there are a few things every entrepreneur should know before they get going. Here’s what it takes to set a business up for success in Northern Ireland.

Advice on starting a business in Northern Ireland

Do your research

The good news is you’ve already started your business journey just by clicking on this blog. Doing your research is essential to building a strong foundation for your new venture, whether you own multiple businesses or you’re a first-time entrepreneur.

Important questions to ask yourself include:

  • what products or services will you offer?
  • which brands will be your biggest competitors?
  • how are similar businesses performing in Northern Ireland?
  • how much will it cost to start your new business?
  • how will you structure your business?
  • are there any obstacles you’re likely to face?

If you’re planning on selling goods in the UK or EU, it may be worth familiarising yourself with legislation and brushing up on your responsibilities. The more you know going in, the easier it will be to turn your business idea into a reality.

Decide on your business structure

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is how to structure your business. We covered the pros and cons of becoming a sole trader vs setting up a limited company in another blog, but here are the basics:

Sole trader

If you want to become self-employed in Northern Ireland, all you need to do is register for income tax self-assessment and send a tax return every year.

As a sole trader, you are the business, so you call all the shots and take home the profits. However, you’re also liable if things go wrong, potentially putting your personal assets at risk.

Limited company

Setting up a company usually comes with more paperwork, responsibilities and reporting obligations.

However, a legal distinction between you and the business means you have limited liability. You may also find it easier to access funding and tax relief.

Plan ahead

Writing a business plan can help ensure you don’t fall at the first hurdle. A good strategy will give you goals to work towards and help you make well-informed business decisions. It can also support any finance applications to investors or banks.

You’ll need to set realistic goals and draw up accurate financial projections in your plan, so we recommend working with business planning experts to ensure you get it right.

Access support for businesses

Becoming your own boss doesn’t mean you need to handle everything on your own. The right support can help you take your business in the right direction.

Nidirect offers resources and advice on starting a business in Northern Ireland, highlighting different Government programmes that can give your startup a helping hand.

Outsourcing time-consuming tasks to an accountant can also take some of the pressure off. With your bookkeeping duties and tax returns in the hands of experts, you’ll be able to focus on building a good foundation for your new business.

Years of experience working with entrepreneurs across the six counties means we know what it takes to make a startup a success. Our Bangor-based accountancy team can offer everything from company formation services to advice on accessing Government grants.

Contact us today to discuss your plans and access expert advice on starting a business in Northern Ireland.

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