The lockdowns and disruption from Covid-19 have changed the business landscape here in Ireland, as they have in other countries around the world. With many employees facing changes or simply reassessing their work life, it’s good to know that the disruptions have also brought about opportunities for small business ideas.
Identifying Customer Needs:
Every business starts by identifying a need that they can fill, and that hasn’t changed. So fire up your entrepreneur skills and look at how lifestyles have changed – for example the number of people who don’t want to go to shops and instead want the groceries and goods delivered instead.
Analyse the Competition:
Once you have identified an area, analyse the competition and look at what other businesses or individuals are doing in this space and if there are any shortcomings in how they operate or what they charge. For example, if a food delivery company is slow in getting food to customers because they cover such a wide area, is there an opportunity for a food delivery business that only operates in a local area?
The most obvious choice to keep doing what you currently do but working for yourself. If you have professional or business skills, consider whether you could offer that on a consultancy basis to companies or individuals.
If you have a specific interest or talent for sport, music, languages or tuition, consider making that your business. It’s an area you know and enjoy, so an ideal area to work in.
As people go back to work, do their pets need to be exercised or minded, or have their gardens maintained? Find out the going rate for this type of work in your areas and examine if you and could you compete.
In many countries, the same opportunities are presenting themselves for new businesses, for example:
Since the pandemic, private homeowners, apartment complexes and corporate offices need to continually clean and disinfect all commonly used areas, so cleaning services contract or private cleaning services are in constant demand.
Again, with many people reluctant to go to busy shops, the demand is higher than ever for food and other shopping to be collected and delivered to the home. The advantage of this model is that it is website-based, but remember if you are using your car, be sure that you have commercial insurance.
Now part of many peoples’ lives and evidence suggests that increasingly, people want to try new exercise routines and new fitness coaches, so the opportunity is there.
There is excellent information available in the logistics and practicalities on how to start your own business or act as a sole trader on the Citizen’s Information website. You can find out about supports or incentives schemes that you may be eligible for.
For good business management of tax purposes, you will need set yourself up as a sole trade with Revenue Online (ROS) and register for VAT. If you are not comfortable doing your these yourself, arrange for your accountant or a tax advisor to do it for you.
Business Bank Account:
You’ll need to open a business account in your bank and only use this account for payments in and out.
Whatever you earn, try to pay yourself a regular income every month. You can do this by setting up a direct transfer at the end of every month into your current account.
It is most important to put aside money every month for your bi-monthly VAT returns and your annual tax returns.