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Making Barriers to Entry Work for your Small Business

DATE: 05/07/21

AUTHOR: Go for it


Regardless of the type or the size of business you’re planning to start, barriers to entry are an important and unavoidable component of the launch process. Any factor preventing or complicating entry to a market counts as a barrier. From patent protection and brand recognition right down to overheads and life after a pandemic. For small businesses, these barriers can be weighty, and at times prohibitive. There can however be some potential advantages for small businesses when it comes to barriers to entry. And if not advantages, at least some ways to make them work for you.



High barriers to entry can make your business more compelling to investors and banks. Industries with high barriers to entry (tough competition, high overheads etc) are often less saturated because fewer companies can plan, strategise and exist successfully alongside the barriers as compared to those in industries of low barriers to entry. Industries with higher barriers are also those in which higher profits can be made since fewer businesses can thrive in them.

On the whole investors and banks will feel more comfortable if the relevant barriers to entry are noted and strategically considered in your business plan (ideally they should be covered in the Marketing Section). This way, it’s clear to potential investors that you are aware of potential issues, you have designed a strategy to take them into account and your business is geared up to work with them and around them both financially and administratively.


Low Barriers to Entry

If you’re keen to launch into an industry which has lower barriers to entry, you may find things easier as a result. Perhaps you’re considering launching a business which sells your own time or skill in a certain area (photography, consultancy, personal training etc). In these cases your overheads are low and your time is finite so the market you are able to target may not need to be global.

Even those businesses in which you are selling a product rather than a service may have low barriers to entry (printed goods, locksmith). Take time to figure out exactly which barriers impact the type of business you are interested in and flesh them out in your business plan along with your strategy to maximise the vision of your business idea.



The world of technology has hugely impacted start ups and the way in which the launch process takes place. From opening up the world of consumers, to offering accessible ways to sell online, to streamline your process, to optimise your time. Yes technology can be a barrier but mostly, for small businesses, it offers more potential.

Suddenly, professional services that would have presented themselves as impossibly big overheads for a small business may be more affordably available online. Potential marketing options to connect with your audience and grow your brand are infinitely broader and more price competitive. Then there are the online platforms and access to programs that can protect your business and your administrative requirements, having more choice here can make all the difference.


Brexit and Northern Ireland

With Brexit, Northern Ireland has experienced a shift in the export and import business and during these months of flux and reconsideration of policies going forward, this represents the perfect opportunity for the small businesses and entrepreneurs to step into the breach and answer the problems of consumers whose primary supplier is no longer available. Customers who are used to consuming certain products or accessing particular services will be looking around for alternatives so the barriers to entry are suddenly lowered for new businesses. Creative entrepreneurs will be finding the post pandemic and Brexit world, one full of business opportunity. A chance to gain the trust and loyalty of consumers before regular business resumes.

Any barrier can feel off-putting. None of us would choose to launch a business with something standing in our way but realistically those things exist for everyone. Being clear and structured on your business idea and informed on what barriers will impact you is the best first step. Finding creative ways to work with them or against them is what marks out a ‘business’ from a ‘successful business’.


Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.