FAQs about Starting A Business

I have an idea for a new business – Where do I start?

The Local Enterprise Office Wicklow is the First Stop Shop for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in County Wicklow. We aim to to promote entrepreneurship, foster business start-ups and develop existing micro and small businesses to drive job creation and to provide accessible high quality supports for your business ideas. You should contact our office on 0404 30800 or by email enterprise@leo.wicklowcoco.ie to make an appointment to discuss your idea with one of our experienced advisors in our weekly business advice clinics. 

Can I be guaranteed that my ideas will be kept confidential?

Any discussions between the Local Enterprise Office and businesses/individuals looking for advice/assistance are held in the strictest confidence.

How do I decide whether to trade as a Sole Trader, Partnership or Company? 

There are four main types of business entity through which you can conduct your business; Sole Trader, Partnership, Limited Company or a Co-operative.

You need to consider:

  • The kind of business that you are starting.
  • The expectations of those with whom you plan to do business. Some people will only deal with limited liability companies and are very wary of other entities.
  • The expected level of turnover for the business.  
  • Your attitude to risk. (A limited liability company limits the risk of losing your capital if your business fails).
  • How you wish to organise your tax affairs (Limited liability companies are subject to more favourable tax rates) 
  • Sole trader

This is the most straightforward way to set up your own business. As a sole trader, you are the owner of the business and do not have any protection if the business fails. You are legally liable for the business, if the business is not successful, all of your assets (business & personal) can be used to pay off your creditors. 

  • Private limited company

This is 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. 

  • Partnership

A partnership is 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: As there are various tax issues and other legislative issues that need to be considered when choosing an ownership structure for your business it is highly recommended to seek professional advice from an accountant and/or solicitor prior to set-up. For further information on business structures you can visit the Companies Registration Office (CRO) website. 

How do I Register a Business Name? 

Visit the Companies Registration Office (CRO) website. The CRO is responsible for the incorporation of new companies as well as the registration of business names, limited partnerships and foreign companies in the Republic of Ireland.

Do I need Planning Permission? 

Commercial planning permission or business planning permission is required when operating a business. The use of a private residence for business is usually subject to planning permission and is known as ‘change of use planning permission’. Conditions for planning permission vary from case to case and you should contact Wicklow County Council to discuss further www.wicklow.ie or telephone 0404 20100. 

How do I register for Tax? 

You are obliged to notify the Revenue Commissioners through your local tax office of the establishment of your business and to provide them with the information required to register your business for the relevant taxes. You will need to complete different forms depending on the legal structure you have decided on for your business. Visit the Revenue Website for further information. 

Do I need to register for VAT? 

Taxable persons are obliged to register for VAT (Value Added tax) where their annual projected turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed a specific threshold. Information on this threshold and the process of registering for VAT can be found here

Does my business need insurance? 

When you commence in business, it is advisable to consider both personal and business insurance. The main business insurances are:

  • Employers Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance
  • Fire
  • Burglary/theft
  • Public Liability
  • Motor Insurance 

I am a non EU citizen. What must I do before starting a business in Ireland? 

Non-EEA nationals are able to establish a business in Ireland but will require permission to do so. Two new schemes for non-EEA investors and entrepreneurs launched on 16 April 2012 which means there are now 3 ways in which non-EEA nationals can invest or start a business in Ireland. For further information visit Citizen's Information. 

Do I need to write a Business Plan?

Yes, you do. Of course, you can start a business without a business plan. But you will have difficulties in raising finance or accessing support from banks or agencies, including LEOs without it.

Even if you don't need finance, a business plan provides an invaluable framework for planning how your business will proceed and later as a benchmark for assessing the health of your business

business plan is often described as a document outlining a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It can also be understood as an outline of your business idea, your objectives (or what you want to achieve with the business) and how you plan to achieve these objectives.

A good business plan is one that will serve as a guide or reference point throughout the life of your business. It can and should evolve or perhaps change completely, and it is essential to the success of your business. If you really want to succeed in business, planning should be part of everything you do, and it never stops.

 Before you commence any detailed work on a business plan it is necessary to define a number of important details. You should then map out the plan's structure and identify all the main issues, format and likely length of the plan. Shortcomings in the concept and gaps in supporting evidence and proposals can be identified before writing of the full plan commences.  We can help you to create a business plan through attending one of our training courses, contact us today. 

How do I go about conducting market research? 

Market Research is necessary to verify that a demand exists in the market place for your product or service. Potential investors, grant agencies and business advisors will all look to see if you know that a demand exists for your product or service.

Methods of conducting market research include the following:

  1. Use a market research agency to conduct questionnaires among a sample of your target market.
  2. Employ a Freelance Researcher to conduct interviews among experts in the industry and to administer a questionnaire.
  3. Conduct the research yourself by firstly reviewing trade magazines, newspapers, trade association newsletters and web sites to gather information on the industry or customer base that you are hoping to target. Then you can ask a business advisor to assist with the design of a questionnaire which you can administer yourself by post, fax, telephone or email.

Whatever approach you take, the objective of the research is to establish whether a niche exists in the market for your product or service.