Three Business Ideas to Start from Home

Today, there are thousands of people who are considering starting a business from home. On average, people can expect to have two or three careers during their working life, and those leaving one career often consider moving their second or third career to their own home and working as their own boss. People who have been working as part of the traditional nine to five workforce and are on the brink of retiring from that life are often thinking of what to do next, and looking for a change and more flexibility and control. The good news is that starting a home based business is within anybody’s reach, providing that there is the motivation and commitment there to take a risk and work hard.


In order to be a consultant, you will need to have an area of expertise so that you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. This is an exceptionally good home based business option for those who are on the brink of retirement, but don’t want to finish working just yet. Perhaps during your career you managed the marketing for a large business, or set up a chain of shops or restaurants. Whatever experience you have had, you can use this to help others to achieve similar without making the same mistakes that you did along the way. Depending on your area and level of expertise, the amount that you will be able to charge for your services may vary. Many consultants find it helpful to start a blog related to their field of expertise in order to attract clients hungry to learn more.

Forex Trading

Trading currencies on the FX market is becoming more and more of a popular home based business idea. Initially exclusive to investment bankers, trading Forex is becoming an option for the general public and many people are picking up on it as a viable and flexible way to make money from home. With many Forex trading platforms having both mobile and web-based applications, it’s possible to trade Forex from any location with an internet connection, making it an excellent option for anyone looking for a flexible lifestyle. See CTrader Platform for more information.

Editorial Services

With so many websites out there needing content and many magazines and newspapers expanding their online presence, there is no shortage of demand for talented writers and editors. If you have a good grasp of the English language and are good at stringing sentences together to create interesting and engaging content, your skills can take you a long way when it comes to making money from home. There are a great range of different editorial services which you could choose to offer, including content writing, copywriting and copyediting, proofreading, ghost writing, and even book and e-book writing. The possibilities are endless.

When it comes to working and making money from home, there is a vast range of opportunities for freelancing and entrepreneurship. Whichever you choose, hard work and dedication is essential to get your business off the ground.

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Steps to be Successful at Guest Posting

You have been writing guest posts for various blogs and websites and yet you are not getting the response you desire. You want to guest post; after all, there are a number of perks you can enjoy when you use this tactic. For instance, it can increase the traffic to your own blog or website, it introduces you to new communities that eventually helps your platform grow and not to mention how good it is for boosting search engine rankings. Yet, you are not able to reap any of these rewards because your guest posts are not being accepted or getting any response. Why is that?

It could be because you are ignoring some of the inherent rules of guest posting. You have to understand that you either have to hire an expert blog posting service or follow certain important steps to be successful at guest posting. Are you ready? The steps are outlined here:

Step 1:
First things first, you need to go over the guidelines carefully. Lots of established blogs, especially ones that accept guest posts regularly, have a list of guidelines set out for anyone who wants to post on their blog or website as a guest. You need to be aware of them and ensure none are being violated or else you will not gain the acceptance you are looking for.

Step 2:
Always choose a blog for writing a guest post after considerable research. You need to select a good blog where you know you can find your target audience. You need to research and find out the voice and tone of the blog and also look for topics that haven’t been studied as yet. This is important because you don’t want to be repetitive and you want to select something that you know will appeal to the audience and will give you a positive response. Furthermore, it could also convince the blog owner to publish your post if they enjoy the subject matter.

Step 3:
Once you have done your research, you can get in touch with the blogger. The best way to contact is via email and you should get right to the point instead of beating around the bush. You can simply pitch your idea or if you have already written a draft, you can send that in. Don’t waste your time with self-deprecation and don’t apologize. Avoid being arrogant as well.

Step 4:
It is time to create the best post possible you have ever done. You don’t just want to blow the blog owner away, but you also want to make a huge impact on the audience. According to experts from  blogger outreach services, the first opportunity could be the last so you need to come up with the right content.

Step 5:
You should give the blogger some time before following up. Usually, the guidelines will mention how long it will take for you to get a response.

Step 6:
If your post is published, you should remember to thank the blogger and then start working on your post. This means sharing, tweeting and emailing to get exposure.

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Effectively Increase Brand Visibility With These 4 Tips

In order for your marketing efforts to be successful over time, you need to be seeing a constant increase in brand visibility for your business. This consistent growth will ensure that your business is on the right path and that your brand is always fresh in the minds of your customers. While there are certainly many factors that contribute to the success or failure of a business, few can match the importance of brand visibility. If you want to learn how to effectively increase brand visibility, then follow these four great tips.

1) Excel At Social Media

Effective social media marketing is absolutely critical to the success of any business in the modern world. If you are not yet using social media to spread the word about your business, then you should change that immediately. Social media communities are gaining more users by the day, meaning that your brand should be prominently displayed there for them to encounter. Interacting with your customers through your business social media accounts is also a great way to get direct feedback about your business from your customers, as well as connect with new potential customers. Social media success for businesses is all about transparency, providing high quality content and engaging with followers consistently. While posting on your social media accounts, make sure to use various types of content, including photos, videos, news articles and more. Within each type of posting there are strategies that work best. For example, if you post a video about your business, subtitling in different languages will show the best results, as people who speak a variety of languages could be interested in your products.

2) Improving Your Search Engine Optimization

These days, people use search engines to find everything imaginable. What this means for your business is that you need to be featured at or near the top of search listings for search phrases that are relevant to your business and industry. This is accomplished through a process called search engine optimization, or SEO. Establishing good SEO practices will increase the visitors to your website from organic search results dramatically. Anyone who manages the website of your business should be fully versed in the latest search engine optimization techniques and best practices. One of the best things about SEO is that even minor changes can create potentially fantastic results, so getting started on your SEO campaign as soon as possible is a good idea.

3) Attend Local And Industry Related Events

While Internet-based marketing methods are all that anyone seems to talk about today, some seemingly outdated strategies are actually still highly effective and should absolutely be included in your brand visibility campaigns. Attending events around your community and gatherings within your industry, such as trade shows and conferences, is a perfect example of this, as these are things that can greatly improve the results of your marketing efforts. At events such as these, you will have the opportunity to speak with others working in your industry, as well as spark conversations with potential customers and members of the community that surrounds your business.

4) Build Off A Fresh, New Design

Something that a lot of businesses today are finding effective as a brand visibility tool are new designs and logos. Having a business logo that is current and up to date with the latest design trends is critical. A logo is something that every customer you have sees each time they encounter or purchase your product, meaning that the better your logo is at sticking in their minds, the better business will be in the present and in the future.

By following these four tips, you will set your business on the right path when it comes to brand visibility. As long as you stay proactive in your marketing efforts and always stay conscious of the constantly changing nature of the marketing world, your brand will become more recognizable and successful than ever before.

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Where To Go When The Banks Say No

It’s becoming much harder to get loans from the bank. Their approach has become increasingly conservative and this is unlikely to change as they try to rewrite their pre-recession reputation.

The good news is, the alternative finance market is predicted to grow tenfold in the next five years. However the options can be overwhelming. Here are a few to consider when the bank just won’t help.

When the banks say no…

Peer to peer lending

The great thing about peer to peer is speed. You can get quick decisions and access to funds within days rather than weeks. What’s more, it’s much more receptive to quirky and tech-led companies because the investors have the insight to recognise the opportunity banks are often blind to. However to make peer to peer an option you really need to establish a network of mentors. Not necessarily people who have the money to invest themselves, but people who are well connected and can recommend you to associates looking for low-risk, high-return investment opportunities.

Crowd funding

The huge pro to crowd funding is that investors usually just require monetary return. They don’t want to be involved in making the day-to-day business decisions. Which means you can continue to run the business to your rules. What’s more, the people interested in crowd funding tend to appreciate the zeitgeist: those ideas that seem too much of a gamble for the bank to finance but see risk takers more than happy to pay £1,000 to see if it will come off.

Venture capital

Venture capitals are currently rich with investors hungry for a slice of the next best thing but who don’t have the time, energy or idea to get something off the ground. Plus, if your plan is strong enough, this route can help you raise up to £1m.

Attracting investment of this kind though comes around to who you know. Venture capitalists hate unsolicited bids. My friend who works in the industry says he’ll look for flaws in every pitch submitted by email. Whereas, if a contact recommends a new start-up, he’ll do all in his power to make it work. So it’s really important that you actively seek well-connected mentors who can open doors.

The one exception to this rule is speed-funding events such as Angels’ Den. This is where you have three minutes to pitch an idea. Very Dragons’ Den, but worth a punt.

Bridging loans

This obviously comes at a premium. But if successful, they can be lucrative for you as well as the funder. Usually the bridging loan company wants their money back within a year. However this gives you time to use the investment and make a difference. Which, in turn, gives you something with a proven track record to instil confidence in the bank next time you approach them for a loan.

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Export, scaling Irish technology companies in the UK market

Market of 60 million people

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), in partnership with PwC, will be hosting a morning seminar to explore the export opportunities for scaling Irish technology companies in the UK market.  Access to a market of 60 million people, a competitive entrepreneurial tax regime and the benefits of the wider ecosystem of supporting services for entrepreneurs on your doorstep creates a compelling offer for Irish companies.   

UK’s Trade & Investment Minister Lord Francis

The UK’s Trade & Investment Minister Lord Francis Maude will lead a discussion with entrepreneurs on the opportunities for Irish companies in the UK.

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion will be moderated by Anthony Sheehan, UKTI expert in tech finance, tax incentives for entrepreneurs and establishing global operations.

  • Joseph Thompson – Peace by Trade – successful Bitcoin company now established in UK
  • Sonya Lennon- Frockadvisor – unique cross platform digital service for independent fashion retailers
  • Shay Garvey – Frontline Ventures – vastly experienced early stage technology investor
  • Pat Flood – Chair of British Irish Chamber ICT Policy Committee – exploring potential for future partnerships and collaborations in the Ireland & UK Tech space

The session will conclude with continued networking allowing you the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with your peers as well as the speakers. PwC members as well as UK Trade & Investment staff will also be on hand for meetings, should you have specific questions related to your own business.


7.30am:   Registration, breakfast and networking

Opening Remarks by Lord Maude, UK’s Trade and Investment Minister

Presentation by Ronan Finn PwC

Panel discussion

Q and A

9.15am:   Event concludes


PwC Ireland,

One Spencer Dock,

North Wall Quay,

Dublin 1



If you would like to attend this event please reply to this email or email Darragh at by 25th January.

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Building Security Systems for Businesses

Public buildings such as large department stores and shopping centers have long been the targets of vandalism, theft, and burglary. More recently, office buildings and small businesses have become targets as well.

This probably happens because vandals and burglars assume that small office buildings are not well secured or protected, so they see them as fair game with little risk of setting of alarms or encountering a security guard. Unfortunately, they are often right about that. So on top of all responsibilities that are involved with running a business, an increased crime rate adds even more.

Building Security Systems for Businesses

The Basics

There are two ways to ensure the protection of an office or small business, and that is technology or personnel. The technology would include electronic devices such as high security locks, alarm systems or cameras, while personnel is literally a person who will stand guard of the building.

Being able to use both methods of protection provides many options for business owners to maximally secure their property. The decision will likely be made with consideration to the budget and physical size of the establishment.

If there are employees that work late into the evening and must cross through the dark to get home, hiring security personnel might be the better option. This would also be appropriate if the location of the building is in a part of town that has criminal activity at night.

Having this sort of security can help to prevent vandalism and protect employees’ vehicles. It’s important to remember that as an employer you can be held responsible for any losses suffered by employees in an unsecured parking lot.

Inexpensive Options

There are many options available on the market but not all of them are budget-friendly. Most of the options below will fit into a limited budget, which can be very useful to small business owners.

Monitored alarm system

Contacts a call center when the alarm is triggered, and the call center will then call the police. The drawback to this is that it ties into the phone lines and can be compromised if the perpetrator cuts them. Even if that does not happen, it still gives the criminal time to steal items from the business or vandalize it.

Unmonitored alarm system

Will set off an alarm outside and inside when triggered, and can even be synced with steady or flashing floor lights that will call more attention to the situation.  This normally scares burglars off before they have the chance to vandalize or take anything. This system can fit a limited budget, because it does not have the fees that are charged for the monitored systems.

Wireless alarm system

May be purchased at any hardware store, and can be installed by anyone. Cameras, sensors and motion detectors operate this system with optional alarms and floodlights. Normally inexpensive, these systems are great for a small business.

Outdoor security system

A system that is designed for the outside of buildings combines motion detectors with lights and alarms. The alarm can be set to trigger if someone is sensed walking a path that is not approved, such as approaching a window or door.

What is the best choice?

This will entirely depend on the needs of the business and its’ owner. Talking to a security installation professional, security personnel, a police officer, and even researching on the internet can provide some valuable insight.

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3 Things You Can Do to Make Your Small Business Stand Out

In such a competitive landscape, it is hard to see how any small business survives. Even if you come up with a totally new and innovative widget that takes the world by storm, there is nothing stopping some Chinese knockoff company from building a cheaper version of the same thing, putting you and your company out of business.

What you need is something that will help your business stand out from the crowd. Being first is not the competitive advantage it used to be. Nor is being the best. Every industry is full of stories illustrating the fact that the best technology doesn’t always win. It may not seem fair, but the winner is often the one who does the bast marketing and brand service.

Make Your Small Business Stand Out

This is not to say that the one with the most money wins. When all else is equal, money can be the deciding factor. But clever marketing is about making sure that things are unequal in your favor. You can do that even on a shoestring marketing budget. Here are 3 tips to help you stand out of the crowd of your competitors:

Brand Your Delivery Boxes

One of Amazon’s most brilliant moves is branding every shipping box with that famous smile. It’s like a little present. No matter what’s in the package, it’s something from Amazon. Whether those boxes are atop the front desk, in the break room, or at the recycling station, they are powerful marketing tools for one of the most successful companies in the world.

But such an advantage is not reserved only for big companies. By utilizing such services as Custom Boxes Now, you, too, can have packaging and shipping boxes customized inside and out. Besides offering a great branding opportunity, these boxes also offer free credibility. Even if you are new to business and have shipped only one branded package, that package tells everyone who sees it that you are the real deal. Stop thinking of packaging as merely a means of holding content. Think of it as a way to get a leg up on the competition.

Go Mobile with Your Branding

The major US tech companies have made mobile branding a big part of their success story. Even if you don’t have a Windows Phone or PC, there is a good chance you have some software from Microsoft that you use on the go. That is because the new Microsoft is working hard to do its best work on whatever platform is popular.

Microsoft apps have quickly earned the reputation, in some quarters, of being the best iOS apps for the iPhone. Google services have a similar reputation on iOS. Going big on a popular mobile platform has paid dividends for these companies. It has worked equally well for smaller companies, too.

According to AdAge, two-thirds of Facebook’s revenues come from mobile. Facebook knows that people spend their time on mobile devices: a place where they had to be if they were going to achieve long-term success. If people do not have the option of having your logo on their smartphone’s home screen, you are missing out on a powerful branding opportunity.

Don’t Forget Your Business Card

In these days of digitizing everything, it is easy to forget about the humble and much maligned business card. At CES 2016, Kodak landed a blog post on The Verge, not for its tech, but for its snazzy business card made from a slice of film. It just stands as a reminder that the little things still matter.

Business cards aren’t just informational. They are also excellent branding opportunities. Sure, you can beam your information from one smartphone to another. But that is pretty awkward and unreliable. Even if you get it to work, there is no guarantee that the person will look up or use the information. It is out of sight and quickly out of mind.

A business card, on the other hand, has to be handled. The person you give it to has to interact with it at least twice. If he drops it and loses it, the person who picks it up will be interacting with your brand. Business cards, mobile apps, and shipping boxes are 3 excellent ways to keep you one step ahead of the competition.

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Make a Great Impression at a Networking Event

Live events bring together people with common interests and give everyone an incentive to interact. They are a great way to build both your personal and professional networks. If you’re willing to introduce yourself, then you have a good chance of making new friends or meeting potential business contacts.

Of course, getting the most from a live event takes more than showing up and saying, “Hello”. If you want to make an impression and build lasting connections, then you’ll need to put in some work. Here are few tips to ensure you make a positive impression that lasts beyond the event.

Make a Great Impression at a Networking Event

1. Be prepared

An event may be your first or only chance to connect with potential customers, employers or new friends. Take the time to review information about attendees and topics being discussed before you arrive. If you’re not familiar with the topic then you can prepare by attending a webinar or using a mobile learning tool for research.

Preparation also means have the right look and supplies for the event. Make sure you’re dressed to impress, or at least fit in. Also, remember to bring plenty of business cards, pens, and something to write with. Practice introducing yourself so you are comfortable walking up to strangers and sharing your key information.

2. Show real interest in the people around you

The worst thing you can do at a live event is spend all your time talking about yourself. Make it a point to ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to what others have to say.

Making connections is about getting beyond the shallow conversation topics and engaging with what matters. The best way to do this is to offer a bit more about yourself at the start, then ask questions that give your conversation partner the same opportunity.

While a live event may be about business, you should make it a point to talk about things other than business. Share a story about your vacation, ask your new friend about their hobbies or suggest a good book to read in order to start building a real rapport.

Remember that your goal is to make a lasting impression and stand out in a person’s mind after the event. That means sharing more than your sales pitch.

3. Be a connector

Sometimes you, your business, or your goals don’t align with the people you’re meeting. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a connection. Remember that people often change jobs and even industries: someone you meet today could become a client, or an employer down the road.

If your interest and a new connections don’t align at that moment, then try helping them make another connection. This may be another person at the event or someone else you know. Offer introductions to other people at the event or referrals to people you think can help them. You’ll be remembered in a positive light and they may return the favor someday.

4. Keep conversations going

It’s important to keep the conversation going after the event is over. You don’t want your new friend or contact to forget about you.

Don’t be afraid to invite a new connection out for coffee, or invite them for a drink after the event is over. If you feel it’s too soon to ask for another face-to-face interaction, then make it a point to email them the next day.

The trick here is to reinforce the connection, but not be too aggressive. If you talked about doing business, then feel free to bring that up, but you might be better off mentioning the other topics you discussed.

When you make a good first impression at a live event, it will be beneficial to your business.

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7 Tips to Higher Level Customer Satisfaction

Achieving high customer satisfaction is crucial for business enterprises to achieve their repeat purchase and increase customer retention. While there are no rigid rules or strategies to keep customers satisfied, following certain best practices definitely help to achieve higher customer satisfaction in any kind of industry. Few of such tips can be discussed as follows.

Well trained customer service staff

Customer facing staff such as the front line customer service representatives must be effectively trained in soft skills, customer handling skills, including strong product/process knowledge to serve the visiting customers, either in case of online or offline business. Frontline staff forms the first impression on the customers and their behavior plays a dominant role in maintaining a high-level customer satisfaction.

Collect timely feedback and act upon it

Collecting feedback from the customers after a sale by making a courtesy call will make the customers feel valued. Seeking their feedback over telephone verbally or electronically through emails or live chat will help to understand their grievances and areas of dissatisfaction. Such areas can be acted upon and strategies must be formulated to provide permanent solutions to such customer problems.

Communicate clearly and listen actively

Customer queries, issues and complaints must be actively listened to and response must be given promptly. It is a poor practice to ask customers to repeat their concern again and again. This may irritate the customer and lead to customer dissatisfaction. Understanding their problems the very first time and giving them proper resolution through clear and open communication keeps customers satisfied. It is also essential to communicate the product & service offerings clearly to the customers before they make a purchase. This will help to avoid setting up wrong customer expectations and control customer dissatisfaction afterwards.

Maintain an effective CRM

In the current cut-throat competitive business environment, it is essential to maintain an effective customer relationship management system with well-trained staff personnel. The CRM team will be able to maintain an extensive customer database including their names, addresses, contact numbers, frequency of store visits, and nature of products purchased and/or services availed.  This data will help in creating customer profiles and tailor the services according to their needs & expectations.

This will also help to identify the loyal customers making repeat visits to the store, either online or offline and create loyalty schemes to make them happy. Contemporary customers expect the company to remember them and reward them for offering their long-term loyalty. Hence, CRM will help to offer the customers with rewards, loyalty points, discounts etc and provide them a higher level of satisfied. The CRM team must also conduct customer satisfaction surveys to understand their queries, needs & expectations.

Adopt state of the art technology

Delivering excellent customer support helps to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction. In the technology-driven global business environment it is necessary  to deliver customer services through state of the art/ most updated technology such as social media, mobile apps etc. Integrating customer relationship management system with social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, will help to interact with the customers, exchange feedback, share ideas and involve customers in business activities such as contests.

Nowadays, the use of smartphones has changed the shape of marketing and building customer networks. Remaining connected with the customers through mobile applications will help them to conduct transactions with the company at the comfort of their home and as per their convenience. This will provide customers with convenience of shopping, making payments, tracking merchandise, return merchandise, availing discounts, gaining loyalty points etc at their finger points. This will it will be easier to achieve high level of customer satisfaction.

Provide excellent after sale services

It is advisable to deliver excellent after sale services once the sales transaction is over. Making regular follow ups on customer complaints, product replacements, servicing on defective products, return merchandising etc are few examples where customers would expect efficiency, honesty and transparency. Although, after sale services do not fetch money but it is considerably important to keep customers satisfied and achieve their long term custom.

Aim to achieve customer delight

Instead of striving to achieve high customer satisfaction, a company must set goals to achieve customer delight by going an extra mile. Treating the customers as the most important stakeholders, offering customer-centric solution, delivering value through an appropriate combination of a marketing mix (fair combination of product, price, place, promotions) combined with excellent after sale services is essential to keep the customers delighted.


Satisfied customers not only provide their lifelong loyalty but also recommend others to choose the company. This helps in retaining existing customers along with acquiring new customers leading to increase in sales and profitability. Hence, it is of utmost importance for companies to implement effective strategies to keep customers satisfied and increase their business reputation.

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Young Social Innovators Announce New Partnership with Ulster Bank

New partnership

Young Social Innovators and Ulster Bank have announced a new partnership at an event in Dublin. Over 150 people gathered to hear from speakers including An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD who spoke about the important role that social innovation has to play in developing an economically stronger I. The event was emceed by Diana Bunici, TV presenter and author.


Through the new relationship, Ulster Bank will provide financial support to YSI and its participants, ensuring that social innovation in Ireland continues to be fostered from a young age. A record breaking 444 innovation projects have been entered into this year’s Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards by over 6,500 students nationwide, an increase of 8% from 2015. Across its programmes, YSI is currently accessed by approximately one in ten students throughout Ireland whilst it works to grow its interest and activities in Northern Ireland, Canada and Zambia.

An example of social entrepreneur

Ulster Bank is also committed to providing participants with access to support for their projects, many of which have the potential to be developed into a social enterprise and sustainable business. One such example, Greener Globe, was conceived by a team of students from Tullamore College in Co. Offaly including Jack Dooley who was speaking at today’s event.  They patented their energy free Aquacica showerhead which uses a traffic light system to encourage users to reduce the length of time they spend in the shower, from an average of eleven minutes to seven minutes, therefore leading to reductions in water use and energy costs.

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