Whether you’ve called Ireland home for many years or are looking to move as your next big adventure, the Emerald Isle is a great place to start a business. But don’t just take our word for it. The country has one of the fastest-growing advanced economies in the world and is a popular choice for investors.
Ireland’s average income ranks above the average in the OECD, and according to the Global Benchmark Complexity Index, it’s one of the easiest places in the world to do business.
If your sights are set on becoming your own boss, there’s few places better than right here.
Get Started with Square Point of Sale.
Point-of-sale software designed to grow with you.
What’s the best idea for a small business in Ireland?
As attractive as Ireland is, not every business will succeed. There are several questions to ask yourself. Most importantly, what kind of business are you going to begin there? The best small business ideas for Ireland will be tailored to the unique economic conditions.
Here are some great small business types to consider:
In short, consulting is the act of helping individuals or organisations to improve their performance in certain areas. Often, this comes in the form of problem solving, facilitating learning, and making meaningful, permanent improvements to client effectiveness. The global industry is valued at $250 billion, which speaks for its demand.
Making the move from employee to boss is simpler than in many industries as you’ll be used to working independently. There are a few ways to begin, and as a professional you should have the benefit of an established network. However, make sure you check your contract to make sure you’re not breaching any rules.
Consider your speciality, which industries require your services, plus practical considerations such as set up costs and how to register your business. Your next move will mostly depend on your specialisms and the opportunities in your network.
Consultancy has many benefits, you have a diverse customer base across a range of projects, meaning you can take your experience with you wherever you travel. It gives you access to many clients and companies, provides you with a large network, and is applicable to every industry.
Providing services can help you to avoid supply chains, meaning your business remains versatile in the face of global changes, lockdowns, or border restrictions.
Fitness business ideas create the opportunity to be your own boss without relying on geography. With the right technology, you can take your business and experience wherever you want. The fitness industry is a global market worth an estimated $96.7bn USD.
There are a few avenues in this sector, such as becoming a personal trainer or coach for a particular sport. If you have established networks, it’s all the easier. It’s an incredibly personal market too, meaning your approach to fitness and your branding can make a big difference.
You may consider working from a gym, or booking time on court, or perhaps creating your own venue. You could do home visits, design classes on YouTube, or run events outside. Some methods could reduce overheads and set your service apart.
While the fitness sector is expected to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it could be important to circumvent the impact of future barriers.
With an average of over 500,000 people signed up to a fitness club, Ireland is an unsaturated market with plenty of growth opportunities for fitness professionals.
3. Marketing and advertising
Marketing is a diverse skill, with many subsets — many digital channels are ripe with small business ideas.
The concept of marketing is the promotion of a product or service, though the scope for this is wide. That means there’s lots of opportunity and demand. With a little know-how and imagination, it’s possible to carve out an innovative niche.
Marketing start-ups also require little investment. Experience in this sector could help you secure clients or find opportunities when transitioning to self-employment.
You may want to consider what sets you apart. What kind of projects do you enjoy? Do you have a working relationship with older clients? While this can be done from your own home, an office presence might be needed down the line. Finally, do you want to start a small agency, or work as a freelancer? These choices will affect how you choose to lay out the structure for your small business idea.
While there are many ways to approach marketing, there’s one certainty — marketing is a growing industry. The sector saw a 20% growth in 2021 following a 6% decline at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Part of this can be attributed to the change to online marketing strategies, a cornerstone for businesses’ survival through the various lockdowns.
This shows marketing’s adaptability and relevance, making it relatively a safe bet wherever you are and however you like to work.
For 2022, there’s a forecasted growth of 9% in the Irish advertising market for the year ahead.
4. Life sciences
In its simplest terms, life sciences are the study of living organisms and processes. It’s sometimes trickier to branch out into creating your own small business in this field, since many career paths will lead you to working with big companies, schools, or hospitals. With the right ideas, however, the Irish market can be highly lucrative.
That said, there are many paths. First, decide what kind of role suits you and define your locations — will you be launching in Limerick or taking advantage of the academic institutions in Dublin?
Some of the best small business ideas in life sciences are creative and respond to the needs of long-established firms. One practical avenue could be in editing or technical writing, for instance. Likewise, marketing yourself as a skilled freelancer in an advisory or consultancy role could give you the autonomy you require — but be prepared to shout about your credentials.
As a growing industry in Ireland, especially in the wake of the pandemic, alongside a skill shortage, life sciences has a lot of opportunity for talented and knowledgeable individuals. It’s not a small industry either, since it has a global value of £63.5bn.
The technology sector is wide, spanning TVs, computers, cameras, machinery, broadcasting, IT, app development and beyond. We live in an age where tech is always changing, so it’s an exciting space to do business in.
Armed with the best ideas, a tech entrepreneur can rapidly expand a small business into something with capital.
It’s nearly impossible to list the different specialisms, subsections and skill sets required for the industry. This means there’s a lot of opportunity, especially for those with niche or specialist understandings.
The number of IT professionals moving into self-employed work increased by nearly 48% in the last five years alone. Understanding your skillset and looking for opportunities relevant to you is a fantastic way to set yourself apart over more generic skills. Consider advisory roles, particular specialisms, teaching, app development or service-based work as a small business.
Technology is a safe bet due its growth, the constant need for innovation, and society’s reliance on it. Ireland is recognised as a technology powerhouse, and one of the fastest-growing economies in this sector. This means a big opportunity.
With so many companies investing into IT, mobile or e-commerce, and systems with a focus on productivity and customer service, there are plenty of places to look for ideas.
For a technology professional, there’s also opportunity to pick and choose your projects once you get the basics right.
Whether you’re a consultant, a personal trainer, or an app developer, starting a business is easier with support. There’s a lot to focus on outside of work, from e-commerce to payments and advertising.
Square makes running your business easier, by offering fast and easy ways to accept payments, bring your store online, or accept invoices swiftly. Focus more energy into your work, whether you’re just starting or looking to streamline your processes.
Grow your business in-store, or remotely, and support your small business venture with Square.
Get more business stories, delivered once a week
Access the best Town Square stories right in your inbox with our weekly newsletter.