Find a business idea
Every business develops from an initial idea. Ideas can range from spotting a gap in the market to coming up with a brand new product or service.
Business idea profiles
If you want to start a business but don't have a definite idea, you can get help from our business idea profiles. The profiles provide information on over 600 small business trades, sectors and professions. This includes start-up costs, market trends, pricing, and rules and regulations. See find a business idea.
Alternatively, you can become a business owner by buying a business. This can be a more secure way of starting out in business and a good way of getting the skills of running a business without going it alone - see buy a franchise.
Develop your business idea
Once you have decided on your business idea, you should consider taking the next steps to get your business started. This includes:
- Creating a business plan - see write a business plan: step-by-step.
- Understanding the different business structures – see legal structures for businesses – an overview.
- Sourcing financing options for your business – see business financing options – an overview.
- Naming your business – see choose the right name for your business.
- Finding business premises – see choose and set up your workplace.
You need to be sure that your business can offer the market something different, better or cheaper.
If you have an idea for a business, it is important to carry out market research. You can do this by reading market research reports, trade press and newspapers, and reviewing company records to find information on your competitors.
Talking to family, friends, potential customers, potential suppliers, government, business agencies and advisers can also give you lots of useful information - see know your customers' needs.
For more information see market research and market reports.
Business Information Centre
Invest Northern Ireland's Business Information Centre can provide a range of support, including help with market research. It has extensive market research and worldwide company directories that you can use. Available information includes:
- details of trade fairs
- guidance on import/export procedures
- funding sources
- legal agreements
Find out more about the Business Information Centre.
Watch a short video that will help you develop your business idea.