5 Inexpensive ways to promote your small business online

BUDGET! One word every small business owner is cautious about. More often than not marketing budget takes the cut when it comes to business expense management. The good news is that there are few inexpensive marketing techniques that can still put your business on the map where your potential customers can easily find you. However, this requires some careful consideration of platforms you choose to market your business and a lot of time before you start seeing some serious results.

1.    Get your business listed

The first step is to get your business listed on Google My Business. This is completely free; fill up a form and get your business verified with a Google representative through a phone call or email. Put your business on the local map along with other similar businesses. Your business shows up when users make a search relevant to your offering. Google My Business lets customers reach out to you and provides promotional methods to make your business more prominent. Alternatively, get your business listed on Yahoo and Bing’s local database.

2.    Make use of Social Media

Get your business listed on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter. Never use your personal account for your business; create a separate account and spread the word. Share it with your friends and ask them for a shout out so that the message spreads to your friends’ network. Find out relevant groups with the audience of your relevance to spread the word about your business. Be active and keep posting on these groups to gain traction. Create short business videos about your product/service and host them on YouTube.

3.    Blog Writing and Guest Blogging

Set up a business blog for your small business. You can get started with a simple blog on Blogger or a WordPress blog. Next, decide on what content will go up on your blog. This depends on your small business, the niche and the intent with your blog content. Remember that your blog is a high volume traffic directing medium. Use the power of social media to share your articles with the public. Popular mediums include LinkedIn, Facebook (groups), Medium, Quora and Reddit are good platforms to share content online.

Finding it difficult to get your own audience through your blog? Become a guest blogger! You can guest blog on other blogs or even deliver a podcast that can reach your target customers. Make sure to grab the benefits of guest blogging by adding backlinks to your business (in the About the author section) to drive traffic into your website.

4.    Community advertising

Sign up and become a part of local communities and meetup groups. Actively participate and engage in discussions with successful entrepreneurs, talk to them about your business, and get their suggestions. At the same time, passively put the word about your business in these events. Who knows? Word of mouth discussions can bring your business some luck. Attend local community events relevant to your business to increase your community presence and spread the word about your business.

5.    Freebies – Business Promotions

Simple yet effective technique – run a sweepstake contest and reward your winners. Take advantage of the power of social media to run these campaigns. This increases the curiosity levels and puts your brand into the minds of your future customers. Freebies can more be like “rewards” that your customers will cherish, and at the same time be tempted to share about your business to their network.

Want to know how to successfully launch your business online? Get in touch with our marketing team today to know your options. Check out the packages here.

5 Things you need to start a company in Ireland

Have a business idea or an innovation? Thinking of bringing out the entrepreneur in you and starting a business to put the idea into action? Perhaps considering the support and the initiatives you get from the Irish Government and the start-up communities in the country, starting a new business in Ireland isn’t really a challenge. However, before you get a move on with the process, it’s important that you get the basics right. See if you can answer the following questions and if you can, you are good to start your business in Ireland.

Do you have it in you?

While starting a business can be tough, before stepping into it, take a reality check to see if you are ready for it. Initial stages of setting up a business aren’t going to be easy. You’d be forced to make a lot of sacrifices – both in your professional and personal life. You are the boss and the servant till you have a team working under you. Do you have the entrepreneurial skills in you to run a company?

If you require coaching, get in touch with your Local Enterprise Office (LEO). LEOs have defined courses and training programmes for start-up companies that give insights on how to take your business idea forward.

Does your business have the success factor?

First and foremost point to remember – don’t jump into your business idea without knowing whether it will succeed in the market or not. Your idea needn’t be something that will reinvent the wheel; it can be something that’s already been tried in the market and a successful one. You can try something specific (a niche or a category) in the existing business and master the art. Discuss your business idea with possibly other young start-up owners or people who you trust and believe can give you wise suggestions.

Most important, do some analysis on the revenue that your business will generate. How much you will be spending on building the actual product? Can you recover the cost involved along with profits? What will be your expenses in a month, the cash inflow vs. outflow and costs to run your business. A handy tool as this cash flow planner will help you manage your cashflows. If you can arrive at realistic numbers for these factors, you’ll have an answer to whether your business will be successful or not.

Do you have adequate funding?

Next important factor to consider is whether you have sufficient funds to start the business. Should you require assistance, State Grants should be the primary option for start-ups in Ireland. The Local Enterprise Office is the best place to reach out.

LEOs also offer financial support and advice to start your business! They will help you to understand the business opportunity and validate it against defined norms. Feasibility grant from the LEOs can earn you up to €15000 (which is 50% of the cost excluding VAT). The Innovation Voucher worth €5000 can be used with the 3rd level institution in Ireland to hire college students to build prototypes of your product. The Competitive Start Fund offers up to €50000 or a 10% equity stake in your business if your business idea can scale and attract heavy investment. This can be the perfect investment to get a prototype product or Minimum Viable Product out in the market to attract customers. Crowdfunding can also be an option to secure funding for your start-up.

How will you manage the accounts of the business?

Once you are clear of your source of funds and the business, the next immediate step is to open a bank account for your business. Never mix your business transactions with your personal accounts. This is a big mistake lot of start-up founders make in their initial stages. If accounting is something you cannot handle, get the best accountants in Ireland who will monitor your accounts, bills and invoices, and keep a watch on the cash flow. Make sure that your accountant understands your business well.

Networking – is it important?

Yes, as the founder of your business, it’s important that you become an active part of physical networking communities in your locality – be it coffee table meetup events, or major events related to your business. A Google local search will give you an idea of these events around your locality. You can also become a member of online communities on LinkedIn or Facebook or other similar chat forums. Having a discussion with successful entrepreneurs will nothing but give you loads of confidence for your business.

 

Medical Expenses that qualify for Tax Relief in Ireland

In Ireland, an average family spends about €200-€250 every month on their medical expenses. Most of the Irish nationals do not understand the tax laws around medical expenses or ignore the relief that’s available for them on medical and dental expenses. Statistics reveal that only 40% of Irish people claim their tax relief on medical expenses in a year.

According to the tax laws in Ireland, if you pay for your medical expenses that are not covered under the State or Private Health Insurance, tax relief is available at 20% the tax rate on these expenses. Nursing home costs qualify for tax relief at the highest tax rate of 40%. For example, if your total medical expenses (qualified for tax relief) is €2000, you will be eligible to get 20% i.e. €400 as the tax refund.

Who can claim the tax relief?

You can claim the tax relief for medical expenses that are either incurred by you or your immediate family (parents, siblings, etc). The major requirement is that you must have all the bills and receipts of medical expenses for the year.

What are the expenses that qualify for tax relief?

  1. Doctor fees, consultant fees or treatment fees in the hospital
  2. Cost of medicines prescribed by the doctor
  3. X-Ray procedures (MRI, CT-Scan, normal X-Rays) carried out as a part of your treatment
  4. Expenses on physiotherapy after being referred by a doctor
  5. If you have a nurse employed at home, you can claim the expenses spent on their services
  6. Speech and language therapy costs spent on a qualified therapist for a dependent child
  7. Treatment in a nursing home with the bills of discharge
  8. Dental treatment expenses when prescribed by the doctor
  9. Kidney dialysis expenses. You can claim the expenses on electricity, medical appliances and your charges to visit the physician for regular appointments.
  10. Maternity care fees and hospital charges (with bills)
  11. IVF is known to be a costly treatment and you are eligible to claim 20% of the expenses as tax relief for IVF treatments
  12. Optical expenses such as eye check-up, eye vision tests, glasses and contact lenses when prescribed by the doctor. Even if you do corrective laser surgery, you are eligible to claim the expenses as tax relief.
  13. In addition, the following medical needs prescribed by the doctor are eligible for tax relief –
    1. Medicines and drugs
    2. Any medical diagnostic procedures prescribed
    3. Hearing aids
    4. Glucometer for diabetes
    5. Wheelchairs
    6. Beds and chairs for patients suffering from a disability or orthopaedic problems

 

How to apply for tax refund?

You can claim your tax refund using the Revenue’s myAccount Service or the app. The myAccount Service has the receipts tracker service which allows you to store your bills details. Alternatively, you can fill up the Form 12 and drop it in the Revenue office or email the details to custform@revenue.ie. For dental expenses, you need to get the completed medical form MED2 from your dentist and submit it on the myAccount Service portal or app.

Want to know more about the medical expenses that you can claim in your tax refund? Speak to our experts now. Book your first no-obligation consultation here.