Assuming you have already named your business, created a logo and have at least a rough idea of what your brand will be, this post will go through some of the most beneficial tools that can help you when trying to get your business off the ground, and onwards as you grow.
In today’s piece, I’m going to look at some tools to help you to start a business in Ireland. I’ve broken them down as follows:
- Get a Phone Number
- Get a Domain & Website
- Get an Accounts Package
- Get on Social Media
- Get on Google
- Get Creating Content
This is by no means a definitive list, but should be a helpful guide to making sure you’re ready to promote yourself online.
1. Get a Phone Number
By setting up a VOIP phone number from a provider such as Goldfish, you can advertise a landline number, and answer those calls wherever you are for a very small cost. You can choose the local area code you want, or even set up a UK number that will come through on the same phone as your Irish one.
2. Get a Domain, Website & Emails
The are an insane amount of domain registrars, and hosting providers in Ireland (i.e. Blacknight or LetsHost) and globally (i.e. GoDaddy). You will probably only need the most basic hosting package offered, which you can upgrade at any time if your website needs grow.
NOTE: Dot ie Domains are some of the most strictly controlled of all domains. In order to register one of these, you need to prove the address is valid and relevant to your business first. More info about registering dot ie addresses from the IEDR here.
Once you have your domain registered and hosting purchased, you can start setting up email addresses. Along with email@example.com, you should set up addresses similar to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. Your hosting package should include a number of email mailboxes for you to use. Alternatively you can sign up to something like Google Apps, which allows you use Gmail but using your @yourcompany.com instead of @gmail.com.
Lastly, you need to put up a website. A good starting place is to search for WordPress themes, find one you like, install it and start adding content/media.
3. Get an Accounts Package
Bullet is an Irish startup providing easy to use accounting functions. Track your spending, create invoices, and deal with your tax and reporting all through their web or mobile interface. There is an iOS app that allows you take pictures of your receipts to automatically add them as an expense.
There are of course lots of options out there, but I really like Bullet.
4. Get on Social Media
There are an overwhelming number of users on Facebook, spending an insane amount of time on this social network. Lots of businesses think this is a wasted resource, but they are simply not using the platform correctly. I believe that when appropriate and used right, Facebook can be the most powerful tool for your business. (Guide to setting up a Facebook Page)
Twitter allows for participation in discussions, as well as providing a platform for you to document what you are up to, or to ‘retweet’ others. Anyone can see your tweets, and they are limited to 140 characters, so you need to think slightly differently when using Twitter compared to Facebook – such as using hashtags. (BlueChief Social Tips to make the most of Twitter) – Check out our Twitter!
LinkedIn – Personal & Business Profiles
Unless you are focused on retail or footfall, you should be on LinkedIn. It is not the same place (in fairness not many social networks are) as it was when it originated. It’s a place where people can really connect with people they either met or want to meet. (The Power of LinkedIn for Students)
Visuals are key! Photos and videos are worth so much more than text at the moment. Instagram provides an easy and attractive way to share your moments with the world (use hashtags here too). (Instagram the Channel to be on in 2015) – Check out our Instagram!
5. Get on Google
This tool is so important to your website that I couldn’t summarise it into a paragraph. So please follow this link to read my post: Google Analytics: Why you should care about it
This is undeniably important if you want to be serious about your online presence. From here you test search robot access, your sitemap (really important for search engines), and schema – that is your address, email, profile, etc as Google sees them – and lots more.
My Business (aka Places, aka Maps for Business)
You want your client to be able to type your business’ name into Google Maps and the marker point to your office’s location. Also, you can specify your opening hours and principle business activity.
BONUS: you can also add your business to Apple’s Maps by visiting here.
7. Get Creating Content
— Blog! Blog! Blog!
— Make Videos – even really short ones. Don’t over do the production!
— Take Photos, create Visuals, show where you are!
— Keep Updating. Don’t let your website or any social network presence go stale.
These are just some of the tools that I think are essential for businesses starting up in Ireland. If there are any other tools you can think of please let me know in the comments or drop me a Tweet. For now its goodbye from me and the BlueChief Social team