Start a Business

10 Step Guide to starting a business

1. Research your market

Spend time doing some research to see if there is a gap in the market for your product / service.

    • Identify who your customers are likely to be and where they are located
    • Find out who your competitors are and the range of products / services they offer

2. Examine your production requirements

Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Where will the business be located?
    • What factors do I need to consider when choosing a premises?
    • What machinery will I need?
    • Will I need to employ staff?

3. Calculate the total investment you require

Examine the total cost of setting up and running the business. Consider the following:

    • What costs are involved in buying equipment / business premises?
    • Will you need to take on staff? If so, you will need to work out the extra costs you will incur as an employer, e.g. PRSI, PAYE, PRSA etc...?
    • How will you fund your new business venture? Do you intend using your own personal money, applying for grant aid or taking out a business loan?

4. Identify possible sources of funding

Draw up a list of the agencies and organisations that can offer you financial assistance and other forms of support.

5. Establish your selling price and set realistic sales targets

Ensure that your prices are competitive yet realistic. Set yourself an annual sales target and outline how you plan to achieve this target. It is essential when setting your sales targets that they are ambitious yet realistic. Don’t try to achieve the impossible.

6. Research your suppliers

Research who your suppliers are likely to be and where they are located. Request a selection of quotes from potential suppliers to compare prices.

7. Decide on a business structure

There are three potential business structures that you can choose to adopt.

Sole trader:

  • As a sole trader, you are the owner of the business
  • You are legally liable for the business and do not have any protection if the business fails
  • If the business is not successful, all of your assets (business & personal) can be used to pay off your creditors

Private limited company:

  • A legal entity, separate from its shareholders
  • If the business fails the shareholders are only liable for any amount outstanding on the share capital they subscribe


  • An agreement between two or more people to go into business together
  • If the business fails, each partner is liable for all losses
  • A ‘Deed of Partnership’ is usually drawn up outlining the obligations of each partner
  • Please note: it is highly recommended that you consult an accountant or solicitor before choosing an ownership structure for your business.

8. Become aware of your legal obligations

Ensure you make yourself aware of any other legal obligations you need to comply with as a self-employed person. For example:

    • You will need to register your business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). This can be done online at
    • The Revenue require you to register as self-employed with your local tax office & make yourself aware of your tax obligations. Further information available at 
    • Other regulations e.g. trading licences, planning permission, insurance, health and safety, patents, trademarks, copyright etc.

9. Write your business plan

A business plan is essentially a road map for your business – setting out your long and short term goals and how you plan to achieve them.

10. Launch your business

Finally, it's time to launch your business onto the market. You will need to put an effective marketing campaign into operation to ensure you gain plenty of exposure.