The ISAX Smart Ageing Awards 2017

Has your business designed and developed a product or a service that enhances the lives of people over the age of 50? 
The Smart Ageing Awards aim to recognise and celebrate businesses that create products, services or technologies that can enhance the lives of people over 50.
For full details, and to enter, simply visit the ISAX website.
“There are so many business opportunities to target people aged over 50 and many startups in the smart ageing space,” said Bobby Kerr at the launch of the awards. “It is great to see an awards platform designed to reward those in the smart ageing economy and to ensure quality businesses are recognised.”
Rewarding talent 
“We are looking forward to seeing entries from a broad range of firms and to showcase the talent in this growing sector,” says Anne Connolly, CEO, ISAX.
Pictured are Bobby Kerr; Anne Connolly, CEO, ISAX; Michael Murphy, founder, ProU; and David Tighe, head of innovation at Bank of Ireland, sponsor of the 2017 ISAX Smart Ageing Innovation Awards 2017.
READ MORE: ProU is the first product of its kind in Britain and Ireland to combine high levels of calcium, protein and vitamin D. It mitigates against the impact of osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Here is the full story.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-isax-smart-ageing-awards-2017/ on
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Izzy Wheels – Bringing confidence to wheelchair users

 The Irish startup became the first Irish company to feature on Instagram’s live news feed. ThinkBusiness spoke with founder Ailbhe Keane about her journey in business.
 
How did you come up with the name for your business?
I named the brand Izzy Wheels after my inspiration, my little sister Izzy. We chose the tagline ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out.’ We believe our tagline perfectly represents what we do.
What is Izzy Wheel’s biggest achievement to date?
We were approached by INSIDER art a few weeks ago and they made a video about us. The video received two million views in the first 24 hours and 11 million views in one week. As a result, most of our sales are now coming from the USA.
What’s the most important thing you have learnt so far in business?
How to balance your time wisely has been the biggest lesson for me so far. As a founder you are constantly on the go. It’s so important to take a step back from everything and make some time for yourself.
Izzy Wheels was developed out of a college project, how did this help you when you developed the company?
I came up with Izzy Wheels when I was in my final year of visual communications in the National College of Art and Design. I was inspired by a brief which asked you to empower the lives of people living with a long term lifestyle related health condition. Immediately, I thought of my sister Izzy. Izzy was born with spina bifida and is paralysed from her waist down. I had always wanted to create something that allowed my sister to personalise her wheelchair, so that it could reflect her personality.
I spent a full year exploring, brainstorming, prototyping and coming up with different creative solutions to transform my sister’s

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/izzy-wheels-bringing-confidence-to-wheelchair-users/ on thinkbusiness

Startups in Ireland continue to grow

 Ireland’s startup industry has continually grown each year, and that trend remains the same first the first half of 2017.
Almost 1900 new startups were established every month for the first six months of 2017, indicating a 6% increase on figures for the same period in 2016.
With the exception of June, company startups were up every month compared to 2016 – including by nearly 20% in January, according to the research carried out by business and credit risk analyst Vision-net.ie.
The professional services sector proved to be the most popular sector for company startups, with almost one in five new companies operating in this area.
This was followed by finance, which saw an 18% rise in startups and social and personal services, which was up by 50%. Other sectors that performed well during this period include construction, real estate and agriculture.
Dublin also retained its status are Ireland’s economic hub with almost half of all new startups in this period being established in the capital. Cork, Galway and Limerick also performed well, whereas Cavan was the only county not to record a single startup in the first half of 2017.
Commenting on the findings, Vision-net.ie managing director, Christine Cullen, said: “It is very encouraging to see continued growth in company startups over a sustained six-month period and, importantly, in a diverse number of industries including finance and construction. This indicates that Ireland’s economic growth is continuing at a steady pace.”
“We cannot discount the effects of Brexit. Many Irish industries rely heavily, often exclusively, on the UK for trade. As British businesses and consumers feel the pinch of higher living costs and a weaker sterling, many Irish businesses will find their revenue streams disrupted, whether they are food and drink exporters in Dublin or hoteliers in Kerry. If this continues, the consequences for our economy will be

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/startups-in-ireland-continue-to-grow/ on thinkbusiness

Competitor analysis template

This ThinkBusiness.ie Competitor Analysis Template gives you the opportunity to conduct a detailed analysis of your business competitors. 
All instructions in brackets and italics – [like this] – are intended to assist you in completing the plan. To help you complete your template, you should refer to the accompanying ThinkBusiness.ie Marketing Plan Guide for additional information.
 
The main objectives of a competitor analysis are to understand who your competitors are, what strategies they are using and have planned, how competitors might react to your company’s actions, and how to influence competitor behavior to your advantage.
 
Every business faces some sort of competition. The key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competition, as it is critical to making sure your business survives and grows. Analysing potential competition is also vital because when new businesses enter the marketplace, it leaves existing small businesses at risk.
 
Using your analysis, learn from your competitor’s strengths and try adopting them to your own strategy, while also taking advantage of their weaknesses.
 
This template comprises of two main sections:
 

Competitor profile: This is a detailed overview of who your competitor is, taking into account areas of interest such as:

Summary profile, which includes their social media channels used, the location of the business, the company background, the number of employees, market share, customers and financial information
Pricing, including refund policy, discounts, terms and conditions, and distribution, if relevant
What marketing and communications strategies they use, including key messages, tagline and advertising
What their strengths and weaknesses are

 

Competitor analysis: This gives you the opportunity to compare your business with that of your competitor in terms of critical success factors (CSFs). You can identify CSFs for the market in which you operate, and then compare your business with that of your competitor in terms of these CSFs, using a scoring system.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/competitor-analysis-template/ on
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Get the best out of social media

New to social media, or want to make better use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites for your business?  Here are some tools and online resources that you will find useful.  
First things first, the good news is that they’re all free. For some of the tools, you need to upgrade to paid accounts to get the most value out of them. The majority of these tools have apps which are worth downloading to your smartphone. The tools and resources are listed in A-Z style, not in order of priority. 

1. Buffer

https://bufferapp.com/
Buffer allows you to manage and share content across several social media accounts and to stagger your posts throughout the day. Buffer’s scheduling  features are sophisticated, allowing you to target the right audience with the right content.

2. Hootsuite

https://hootsuite.com/
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools on the market. It can help you track conversations and measure campaign results. Hootsuite has a number of key features such as managing several social media accounts, as well as getting some decent analytics. 

Klout

https://klout.com/
Klout is one of the best known tools for measuring influence on Twitter and other social media channels.  It currently tracks over 500 million social media accounts worldwide. It also makes suggestions for content that is of interest to your audience. It’s free and also has premium accounts for businesses.

4. LikeAlyzer

http://www.likealyzer.com/
LikeAlyzer analyses Facebook pages and in return gives suggestions as to how they can be improved. It’s particularly popular among businesses that are new to social media. It allows them to check how they compare with other similar businesses and by industry standards.

5. Mashable

http://mashable.com/social-media/
Mashable is one of the best resources on the Web for digital marketing. It’s how many marketers and other professionals keep up to date with the fast-paced world of social media. It publishes starter guides, tips, resources, news and much more on its dedicated social media section.

6.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/social-media-for-business/ on thinkbusiness

Thinking business with Tom Keogh

Tom Keogh, founder of Keogh’s crisps talks to ThinkBusiness about spuds, social media and storytelling.

How did you start your business?

We literally re-invented the potato. We had to. In-depth market research led to a number of consumer insights that resulted in fundamental changes to our business. We recreated our brand. We moved from selling spuds to crisps. At the start we were living the brand we just needed to tell our story. 

How long have you been in business?

Our family has been growing Irish potatoes in this area for over 200 years. My dad, Peter, and Uncle Tony, own PKS Farms, a potato growing business I’ve worked in from a young age.

Did you raise funds to start?

We were lucky in that we had founder savings, family BES, and support from the Local Enterprise Board when launching Keogh’s Crisps back in 2011. 

How did the company get its big break?

Between 2002 and 2011 the consumption of potatoes had almost halved in Ireland, so we knew we had to start innovating. We decided to launched Keogh’s Crisps, the only hand-cooked crisps in Ireland. Now five years on we have eight flavours on the market and no signs of stopping. 

What sets your brand and products apart in an incredibly competitive market?

It’s our religious attention to quality combined with the rich fertile soils of Fingal which result in great tasting quality products that our consumers can trust and enjoy. 

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of everything this business has achieved from selling our first box of crisps to now seeing our product on the shelves of stores in China, Dubai, Germany … the list goes on. We started with one employee and we now have 33 working for Keogh’s Crisps. 

Do you do use social media to promote your products? What works best?

Social media is a great way for us to tell our story. We are very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s a fun way of getting involved with our customers. 

What was your first job? What was the biggest lesson you learnt in that job?

I’ve always worked in the family business. What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned? Work somewhere else first. 

What is your ‘death row’ meal?

Steak and spuds of course. 

A MUST READ: Inside the mind of Pat McDonagh, the founder of Supermac’s.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/tom-keogh-founder-of-keoghs-crisps/ on
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Thinking business with Tom Keogh

Tom Keogh, founder of Keogh’s crisps talks to ThinkBusiness about spuds, social media and storytelling.

 Why did you start this business?

We literally re-invented the potato. In-depth market research led to a number of consumer insights which resulted in fundamental changes to our business. We recreated our brand. We were living the brand we just needed to tell our story. 

 

How long have you been in business?

Our family has been growing Irish potatoes in this area for over 200 years. My dad, Peter and Uncle Tony, own PKS Farms, a potato growing business I’ve grown up with and worked in from a young age.

 

How did the company go about getting funding when it first started?

We were lucky in that we had founder savings, family BES, and support from the Local Enterprise board when launching Keogh’s Crisps back in 2011. 

 

How did the company get its big break?

Between 2002 and 2011 the consumption of potatoes had almost halved in Ireland, so we knew we had to start innovating. We decided to launched Keogh’s Crisps, the only hand cooked crisps in Ireland. Now five years on we have eight flavours on the market and no signs of stopping. 

 

What sets your brand and products apart; in an incredibly competitive market?

It’s our religious attention to quality combined with the rich fertile soils of Fingal which result in great tasting quality products that our consumers can trust and enjoy. 

 

If you had unlimited funds what areas of the business would you hire for?

I’m proud of everything this business has achieved from selling our first box of crisps to now seeing our product on the shelves of stores in China, Dubai, Germany … the list goes on. We started with one employee and we now have 33 working for Keogh’s Crisps. 

 

Do you do use social media? What do you find works best?

Social media is a great way for us to tell our story. We are very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s a fun way of getting involved with our customers. 

 

What was your first job? What was the biggest lesson you learnt in that job?

I’ve always worked in the family business. What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned? Work somewhere else first. 

 

What is your ‘death row’ meal?

Steak and spuds of course. 

 

For more information, check out Keogh’s.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/thinking-business-with-tom-keogh/ on
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How to win international tenders

International tendering is an enormous business opportunity for Irish SMEs. What is Ireland doing and can we do more to help Irish firms win international tenders?
Seamus McCann (above right), chairman of ConsultingIreland, wants to encourage more Irish SMEs to tender for global projects.
The projects are paid for by international bodies such as the European Commission, the UN and the World Bank and, in many cases, 60% of the project value is paid upfront to the business that wins the tender.
Below, McCann outlines the reasons why Ireland needs to allocate additional resources to compete and win in an area with such massive potential. 
Did you know? 
•    On a daily basis, there are 200,000 projects put out to tender by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the EU and World Bank. Two hundred thousand. 
•    IFI global tenders have an eye-watering market value of €1 trillion-plus per annum. 
•    Irish organisations and SMEs have excellent international reputations, built up over many years.
•    EU and World Bank (and other ‘service and supply’) tenders are available across sectors such as transport, water, energy, ICT, agriculture, health, and education. 
•    Many of our more established European partners (e.g. France and Germany) are already engaging, highly trained Irish experts, for International (IFI) assignments – in part, because of their English language skills. 
•    Significantly, English is also the language of choice for most global (IFI) tenders.  
•    In many cases, company cash flows can benefit from advances of up to 60% and payments are generally prompt.
•    In emerging markets, public sector activity is also a prelude to private sector involvement.
•    UK political uncertainty, fanned by Brexit, may present significant opportunities for Ireland.
So, there you have it. Tendering for international projects can be very lucrative. 
“Denmark, a country very similar to Ireland, is winning

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/win-international-tenders/ on
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Give yourself the best chance of survival

Do you check the financial health of your business? If not, you should do so regularly. Here’s how.

 

As a business owner, it’s crucial that you are fully up-to-date with the overall financial health and wellbeing of your company.

To achieve this, ratio analysis is a great way to do it. Ratio analysis is one of, if not, the most powerful tool for keeping track of your finances.

It is calculated by comparing a number of different aspects of your company, including:

•Profitability

•Liquidity

•Efficiency

•Leverage

•Activity

•Investor returns

The ratios are calculated by taking current year figures and then comparing them to past years, other companies, or the sector you are in. They can also be used to benchmark your business against leaders in your sector.

Ratio analysis can act as an early warning system.

Download the template now, see above left. Also, we have a handy guide to ratios.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/ratio-analysis-template/ on
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‘I built my business around something I love’

Brian Waring left the corporate world to create Craft Editions, a platform that sells ‘beautiful things made by hand’. This is his journey so far. 
What was your journey – how and why did you set up Craft Editions?
After 25 years working at a senior level for companies including Virgin and Starbucks I was looking for a new challenge. I have always had a passion for crafts and beautiful things made by hand. On a trip to South Africa in 2015, I decided to launch Craft Editions and build a business around something that I love. 
You have a section called ‘Featured Makers’. This is a nice blend of content and commerce, is this the way you see the development of the platform?
Yes absolutely. A fundamental part of Craft Editions is to tell the story behind the makers of the pieces that we will sell. I think in an era of mass production people increasingly want to find and acquire beautiful things that are individual and to understand the story behind the person who made it and how it is made. 

How do you ‘source’ the craftspeople and their wares?
Over the last year, I have travelled throughout Ireland, the UK and South Africa meeting talented makers and visiting craft exhibitions. I have immersed myself in the world of craft. I have met many wonderful people and have shared many of these stories via the Craft Editions website. For our Curated Editions, I choose a selection of craftspeople whom I have met and whose work I love, and I collaborate with them to create beautiful works for people to collect.
What’s your ambition for the platform?
My ambition is to grow Craft Editions organically to a size that feels manageable. I want a business that stays true to the personal connection with each of the makers.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/brian-warring-craft-editions/ on
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