DOING BUSINESS IN IRELAND.. FRESH PERSPECTIVE FROM AN OUTSIDER...PART 2
Welcome to Part 2 of my blog on doing business in Ireland, from the view of an outsider.
Last time, I wrote about networking in person, and marketing over the phone and via email. This time, my tips concern technology, cost, and dealing with the public.
After basing myself in the NorthWest of Ireland for the last three years, I will never complain about Australian broadband network speeds again. In fact, had I known just how bad things were for my specific home location (under a mountain) when I arrived in 2014, I may not have moved here at all. You see, I do a lot of our work from home, particularly given the time difference in Australia. What I gained in magnificent views, I lost in broadband speeds.
Until recently, the only internet connection open to me was a line-of-site service, at 5 MB This service can be affected by such hi-falutin’ factors as strong winds, heavy rain settling into the equipment, or the growth of my neighbour’s trees. Thankfully, I have wonderful neighbours, because one of the first requests I made when I moved in was that they cut several feet off twenty plus pine trees just so that I could access my emails.
This week, I am having a fibre-to-the-home service installed, which can provide speeds of up to 1000 MG. I am settling for a mere 150 MB. I expect my husband and I will be tripping over ourselves just to use some of the amazing technology (much of it produced in this country) that will suddenly be available to us again. And having a reliable service that will not pause when the wind blows? We will no’t know ourselves!!
TIP # 6 Research the specific broadband speeds available to you before setting up in a particular location.
The cost of doing business
Everything about doing business in Ireland is cheaper than Australia. I believe this to be true, even after factoring in the different standards of living in each country. I’m thinking, in particular, about rent, rates, salaries, corporate tax rates, insurance, electricity and, perhaps most notably, legal fees.
When I was creating the company and business arrangement in 2014, I was responsible for paying for legal fees in both Australia and Ireland. My Australian lawyers charged me ten times more than their Irish counterparts, but provided a service and an end-product that was far less thorough and decisive.
If I ever have the choice in the future, I would choose an Irish lawyer over an Australian one any day (and I even used to be an Australian one!!).
TIP #7 Where possible, use local service providers who know their markets and charge accordingly. This goes for lawyers, web-designers, accountants and graphic designers, among many.
Bureaucracy is just painful wherever you are.
TIP #8 Just keep ticking those boxes, knowing that they are important (why, or to whom is anyone’s guess).
Dealing with the general public
I have found that there are some real plusses when dealing with retail customers and other members of the Irish public. For the most part, they are chatty, and positive, and if they have the time, will tell you their life stories with barely a prod in the right direction. This might be an introvert’s worst nightmare, but for me, there is nothing better than gleaning an insight into a fellow human’s life, freely shared.
TIP #9 Take the time to listen. You can learn some fascinating things about people and it does not hurt your business to be known as a good listener.
One downside to all this conversation is that you cannot afford to rush a transaction in these circumstances, so you better not have another deadline to meet when Mrs O’Reilly comes into the store to give you an update on the latest addition to her ever-growing family.
And you must know how to talk about the weather. Don’t even think about setting up business in Ireland if you are not prepared to start every conversation with “Isn’t it cold/wet/lashing/miserable/sunny’ out there today?’ and then maintain that conversation for the best part of ten minutes.
The other side of all this sharing is that the Irish feel very comfortable in giving you their honest opinion about your business, both good and bad, solicited and un-solicited. Whether it’s the colour of the walls or the prices of the products, matters that would be addressed by Australians with a pursing of the lips and a silent about-turn will be met head on in Ireland with a firmly worded, no-holds-barred opinion. Initially, I found this fairly confronting. However, once I got used to it, I discovered it was the best possible way of gauging the business’ success.
TIP #10 For those starting up a shop-front business, do not bother investing in expensive marketing campaigns to survey potential customers. You will not need to. Just ask for feedback. Even if you don’t ask for it, you’ll get it anyway!!
I hope you have found these tips helpful. If you have a new business or are thinking of starting one soon, my final tip is to contact TRAIN WITH US, or M McLoughlin Solicitors to discuss your options. You will be glad you did!!
The material in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or taxation advice. Specific legal and taxation advice should be sought before acting. All information and taxation rules are subject to change without notice.
No liability whatsoever is accepted by M. McLoughlin & Co. for any action taken in reliance on the information in this article
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