·        
Regulation – Increased regulation
around health and safety, employment laws, finance bills, and environmental
issues can all impact the costs of running a business. Implementing policies
and systems to be compliant can be administrative and costly, especially on
Small/Medium sized entities. Minimum wages, how waste is disposed, increased
paternity/maternity leave are all examples of regulations over the last number
of years that have increased the cost of doing business. In low margin
environments, continued adverse regulation can erode the profits and benefits
of running a business. Alternatively, the creation of micro entities and
increased limits for small entities has seen more companies removed for the
requirements of statutory audits, under the Companies Act 2014 and Companies
Bill 2016. These impacts can positively impact on small businesses.

·        
Corporation tax policy – Irelands
favourable corporation tax rate of 12.5% has come under increased pressure over
the last number of years from Europe, as it is seen to create a competitive
advantage, especially in the Foreign Direct Investment space. The tax issue
last year surrounding Apple Inc and their tax return to the Revenue has put
this topic under the spotlight again. Political pressure could force changes in
current corporation tax rates.

 

Economical:

·        
Interest rates – Low interest
rates, as we are currently experiencing make it cheap to borrow money. This can
give small businesses access to cheap finance allowing them to expand or grow
the business. Alternatively, high interest rates can create barriers to access
finance and to the costs of overdraft, which is a common facility to
businesses.

 

·        
Minimum wage increase – As the
minimum wage has seen yet another increase in the budget in 2017, it is likely
to have a negative impact on profit margins. At a consequence to rising wage
costs, generally staff’s working hours will be cut or even some staff could be
let go as a result. Alternatively passing these increased costs on to customers
could lead to a reduction in revenue.

 

Social:

·        
Customer behavioural attitudes – carrying
a high level of new trending products can increase sales. The customer can
always try new products whilst still having access to the high selling
continuous products, and all for quality prices. Customer attitudes have
changed, and are always seeking the “next new thing”. Being future oriented in purchasing
stock allows the company to meet this customer behaviour, whilst ensuring affordability
and value for money for the customer.

 

·        
Changing demographics – Swords,
one of the top 3 fastest growing towns in Ireland (S.O.C.ie, 2017) has seen its
increase in population largely due to immigration into the country. Large
numbers of close communities exist that do not speak English fluently and
therefore gravitate to their native speakers. Employing non-nationals with
languages other than English as their native tongue, increases your customer
service, and ultimately your customer scope.