Monthly Archives: April 2016

How do your customers experience you?

If you are starting or running a business, the first thing you should ask is – how will my customers enjoy their experience with my brand?

User experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) may seem like buzzwords. However, they’ve been around for a very long time, it’s just now, in the digital and social age, they matter more than ever.

Danielle O’Connell’s and Lauren Higgs’ new company, Good as Gold, is a brand experience agency. Higgs says the way your customers experience your brand defines you and can make or break your business.

“The brand experience is the emotive experience people have of your company at all touch points – physically, visually and digitally,” says Higgs.

“People want things now, at the touch of a button, and we want convenience. Brands need to know that if a person has a poor experience at any stage of the interaction with their brand they will not only switch off, but they’ll tell others about it too.”

Good as gold raven app

Don’t lose customers, win them

Your website is often the first time a customer will experience your brand. If it doesn’t look right or they can’t navigate it easily, you will lose them.

“Understanding UX and ensuring a user can navigate a website intuitively is vital, it’ll guarantee their return and continued use,” says O’Connell. 

However, Good as Gold doesn’t just focus on digital. We all live in the non-digital world. UX and CX apply just as much, if not more, in the tangible world of sight, smell and touch.

Currabinny by good as gold

“We don’t separate ‘digital’ and ‘non-digital’. For example, we recently worked on the launch of a new restaurant which based its ethos around becoming part of the local community. Before it opened the doors, we designed and wrote a beautiful letter, hand-signed and delivered by the owners to the surrounding residents telling them what was happening,” says O’Connell. “This became social media gold as residents took to their Twitter accounts to publicly thank the restaurant – achieving the kind of brand associations we wanted and at the same time making the community feel they were part of this new business.”

What does good CX look like?

“Check out Irish company – superb UX with integrated customer communication tools to get the most out of their users,” suggests Higgs. 

Is there a brand/company out there you’d love to work on because you can see its potential if it was to reconsider its UX & CX?

“We’ll aim high with this one but to be perfectly honest, we’d love to work with Apple,” says O’Connell. 

“In the past, it led the way in UX design and set an exceptional standard when it came to making great products. But, somewhere along the way it slipped.

“Experience is not high on the priority list with Apple at the moment. The company’s original tagline – ‘Does more, costs less. It’s that simple’ – is just an indicator of how far it’s away from its initial focus.”

Dublin city

If you were in charge of a city’s UX, take Dublin as an example, what would you do? 

“The first place to begin with an existing, established product is to find out what makes it so unfriendly to users.

“If we find out what is currently creating the poor experience, we can work to redesign things in a way that makes for happy users.

“When it comes to Dublin City, we all have our grievances, the top four being; anti-social behavior and crime, traffic and public transport, litter and rude people.

“We’d propose a solution to focus on the route of these problems.

“If you take yourself out of Dublin and look at what cities around the world are doing to ensure the best possible experience for their inhabitants and tourists, you’ll find our European counterparts are leagues ahead. Smart cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Barcelona are leading the way,” says O’Connell. 

“By establishing an inclusive society and embracing creativity, we can reduce anti-social behaviour and crime,” suggests Higgs. 

“By ensuring a healthy, safe, culturally vibrant and happy community, we can minimise the number of rude people.

“Obviously, throw in some free city wifi, a give-a-hug initiative and free balloons on Fridays to get the ball rolling!”

READ: How to use Snapchat for business. 

Images from Good as Gold. Dublin image by Bartkowski, Shutterstock. 

The main image features Danielle O’Connell (left) and Lauren Higgs (right).


This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

Waterford Distillery’s respect for the soil

Waterford Distillery, set up two years ago by Mark Reynier, is doing something revolutionary in Ireland’s agri-food industry, and it’s all to do with the soil. 

The wine industry worldwide has been built on the importance of ‘terroir’, the set of characteristics imbued in the finished product by the environment in which its raw ingredients are grown. In the whiskey industry, not so much.

Until now.

Waterford Distillery, established two years ago by entrepreneur and third-generation wine merchant Mark Reynier, aims to prove that the soil in which barley grows contributes every bit as much to whiskey as it does to wine.

It’s something he already proved with Bruichladdich, the Scottish whiskey company he founded in 2000 and sold 12 years later to Remy Cointreau for £58 million. In 2014, he took up the challenge again, this time in Ireland, buying the former Guinness brewery in Waterford and renaming it the Waterford Distillery.

“Our whiskey has just three ingredients, water, barley, and yeast,” explains head brewer Lisa Ryan. She is a brewer rather than a distiller because most of the process involved in whiskey making is brewing, she points out.

waterford distillery

What’s perhaps unique about Waterford Distillery is that its commercial journey has started not with a view to the end product, nor to potential markets, but entirely on what goes in from the outset.

To this end Ryan has signed up 46 barley farmers in the south-east of Ireland “the finest barley growing region in the world”, she says. Between them, they are growing barley on 19 different soil types, with six of her farmers producing organic grain.

Each farmer will produce 100 tonnes of barley a year which is then dried and malted.

“The malting process tricks the grain, which is initially hard, into thinking it is in the soil. It is heated and sprinkled with water, with the result that it germinates and softens,” says Ryan.

Once distilled, what is then called ‘new make spirit’ is put into oak casks and left to mature.

“By law you can’t call it whiskey until it has aged in a cask for at least three years,” says Ryan. “We’ve only just begun doing that since January 2016, but already we can taste the difference that comes from the various soil types. We’re getting a light, floral quality that is very smooth.”

“Whiskey drinkers may as yet be unaware of the importance of terroir to their favourite tipple, but farmers understand.”

“When we went out to find our farmers initially, they knew exactly the difference types of barley that their various fields would produce. They ‘got’ it straight away,” she says.

The relationship between the distillery and its farmers is a close one, thanks in part to an app from farm technology company Farmflo. “All our farmers have it on their mobile phones, and they use it to record everything they do on their field, all of which we get to see. Over time, we build up the complete story of every step, which consumers will be able to see too.”

“The importance of provenance to consumers is something that traditional big distilleries have ignored. The soil imparts a particular flavour to the whiskey.”

“There are four big distilleries in Ireland and, while they may emphasise their history, their primary internal emphasis is on efficiencies and standardisation. We are coming at things from an entirely different perspective. Our whole focus is on slowness, based on the belief that the soil imparts a particular flavour to the whiskey. For us, it’s all about slowing down the process and allowing those characteristics to develop fully.”

Mark Reynier waterford distillery

Only then will the company develop strategies around such things as branding, marketing, and sales. “We haven’t even got a sales team yet. Our total focus right now is on making the best possible whiskey we can, knowing that we will then be able to show consumers its provenance, tracked throughout the entire process, right back to the farmer who grew the barley and the field he grew it in. That traceability is entirely new in the whiskey industry.”

This year the distillery will produce one million litres of alcohol, ramping up to three million litres in year five.

But Ryan, who previously worked for drinks giant Diageo, is in no hurry. “We’re in the wonderfully privileged position of not having to look for efficiencies. Where in other companies there’d be pressure to add enzymes to speed up the fermentation process, for example, here we’re seeking to do the opposite – adding nothing, taking nothing away, just keeping it pure.”

Pictured are Lisa Ryan (top) and Mark Reynier. Images from Waterford Distillery. ⊕

READ: Ireland’s craft beer and spirits market is on the rise. 

This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

The green economy could be a goldmine

The energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors offer a potential ‘green goldmine’ for Irish firms thanks to big energy targets Ireland must meet by 2020. 

The number of Irish homes and businesses to be upgraded for energy efficiency needs to treble if Ireland is to meet its energy efficiency and renewable energy targets by 2020, says the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). 

Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth director, says there will be a cost to the taxpayer – in the form of substantial fines – if Ireland’s green commitment is not met. 

green energy home ireland

“[Businesses] may not be focused on climate action right now, but they won’t thank our politicians if they sleepwalk us into billions of euro worth of fines for missing our targets.”

Coghlan suggests the potential boost to the economy, by going green and trying to meet Ireland’s energy targets, would be enormous. “The investment to achieve the goals would also give us warmer homes and cleaner air and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

Green economy

Ireland’s potential to develop and sustain a thriving green economy has been discussed for some time, but little has been done to take advantage of the opportunities in wind energy, building energy efficient homes, green financing, green agriculture, and electric cars. 

Denmark, similar in size to Ireland with an agricultural heritage like our own, has vowed to become the first country in the world to be entirely rid of fossil fuels by 2050.

It’s so far so good for the Danes. Wind energy now accounts for 40% of Denmark’s annual electricity needs and employs almost 30,000 people. Investment in biomass and green tech are also integral to its strategy. With the same investment and focus from an Irish Government, it’s thought that Ireland’s green economy could mirror Denmark’s.

electric cars ireland

Opportunities for SMEs

The SEAI report highlights the gap between where Ireland is now and where it needs to get to by 2020, to meet its green targets. With time running out for a Government to act, there are some areas where Irish SMEs could take advantage of emerging green business opportunities. These include:

Retrofitting homes

The SEAI says if targets are to be met, up to 75,000 homes and businesses need to be retrofitted for energy efficiency. With an increase in government grants, construction firms with the ability to make the upgrades could do great business.

Wind energy

Ireland needs an additional 200-250MW of wind capacity before 2020, and will need the engineers and manpower to do it. There’s no reason Irish SMEs could not lead the way in this space, perhaps following the Danish model of offering 20% equity in the projects to members of the local community.

Electric cars

20% of all new cars sales in Ireland over the next five years need to be electric vehicles if we are to hit our targets. This figure seems unrealistic, but with a determined government commitment including grants and subsidies, the sales and servicing of electric cars could be a new, vibrant sector. 

READ: Ireland’s first drive-through green waste centre. 

Images from Shutterstock. d13 / 

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17-year-old entrepreneur’s Positivity Pack

James Corneille is a 17-year-old Irish entrepreneur. His latest venture is the Positivity Pack.

James Corneille

Is this your first venture?

I may be 17, but I’ve tried to launch other projects and businesses. This is the first time anything has taken off. I went from failure from failure until I hit success.

What is the Positivity Pack?

Positivity Pack is a chill-out kit for those horrible, rainy, hair-pulling, frustrating and unfortunate days.

There are lots of those with the Irish weather. Who is the product for?

Someone who’s a bit stressed, or unhappy or has a friend feeling blue. It’s also aimed at people who want a bit of fun. I also cater for the corporate side of things with custom, branded packs.

How does it ‘work’?

If there’s someone in your life right now that you think needs a bit of cheering up, you can surprise them with a Positivity Pack, or even get one for yourself. You can send it anonymously (or add your name), and include a personal message. It’s like spreading that Friday feeling. You can also send customised packs to connect with friends. Employers can also post custom, branded packs to employees on special occasions or just to show they care.

What do you want to achieve with this project?

I want to get enough money so I can make a difference and power more positive projects. That’s the end game – helping others.

Positivity Pack

How do people buy one?

They can buy it from the site from as little as €6 –

What’s your ambition for the future?

I’m not sure with regards to college; I’m still applying to go, but at the moment it’s to keep working on Positivity Pack. I’ll do whatever seems best for my career.

If you were the ‘ruler of Ireland for a day’ what would you do?

I’d Google ‘How to be the ruler of Ireland for a day!’ Ha ha. I’d make more importance on mental health and probably do a few more press releases about Positivity Pack.

READ MORE: Bill Liao and Sean O’Sullivan give their top tips for survival to new companies and budding business people.

Photos from James Corneille. 



This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

How to use Google Analytics

If you sell online or plan to sell online, you should know how to use Google Analytics.

Used properly, Google Analytics allows you to:

  • Understand your customers, their preferences and online behaviours
  • Establish the key terms that are used to find your products and services
  • Help you channel traffic through your website and to key destination pages such as a registration processor logging an enquiry
  • Identify how traffic comes to your website and the mix of that traffic
  • Focus your resources – both money and time – on online advertising campaigns that deliver the best return on investment 

Not too long ago larger businesses used to pay several thousands of euros each year for analytics software on their sites that didn’t provide many of the features that Google Analytics currently provides. Many smaller businesses did without and instead relied on guesswork to understand how their websites were performing and how they were adding value.

Not anymore. Google Analytics has transformed how businesses analyse and act on website traffic. Many larger businesses no longer pay for web analytics, finding that Google Analytics meets most of their needs. There are exceptions – some eCommerce businesses and online publishers which rely on digital advertising for revenue will use other specialist analytics software on their websites to provide granular data or commercial metrics they need.

For many smaller businesses, Google Analytics has provided rich new sources of data that can be used to make everyday business decisions and also to assist with their strategic planning.

The obvious benefits

Here are five ways your business can benefit from use of Google Analytics:

  1. Keyword insights: you may think you know your customer or your prospective customer. You may also think you know the words and phrases they will use to find your business or your products or services. The reality is that you don’t really know. Google Analytics will give you objective evidence about the important keywords used based on the data currently being used by your target audience.
  2. Customer insights: once you understand the keywords used, you can then understand through analytics more about their online behaviours. For instance, you can segment your customers or prospects into groups who use your brand name as a search term and those who don’t. Then you can compare each group’s behaviour on your website. Through this type of data you can optimise your website to maximise goals such as online visibility, engagement and conversion.
  3. Traffic insights: analytics will help you identify the traffic that lands on your site and what happens to that traffic. That will help you understand which search engines, social media or paid advertising campaigns are referring traffic and lead to a conversion into a sale. That will help you decide on where you should focus your advertising budget and your energies
  4. Page analytics: you can understand if each page is meeting user needs and business goals. You can set up analytics so that it reports how well each page is performing and whether or not it is sending potential leads down the “funnel” to make a purchase, complete a form, register for a service or simply contact you through your “Contact Us” page.
  5. Better decision making: using this data you can make better decisions based on real data. You can decide which marketing channels to focus on. You can decide on where to make web development or content decisions. You can track performance daily, weekly, monthly – or whatever interval best suits your business. Over time this data will build up into a long term view about what is driving your target audience to and from your website. This can allow you to make some strategic business decisions.

Learning about analytics

Google Analytics is designed to be used by non-technical people. The set-up – placing a tracking code on your website – is best handled by a web developer. However, you should ensure you control the Google Analytics account yourself and that you do the the administrative set up (username and password).

Apart from the fact that the account provides access to sensitive data that relates to your business, if a third party has access to your account there could be handover issues if you want to switch developer at some stage in the future. This has been the unfortunate experience of some business owners who have had disagreements with web developers or who decide to switch to new suppliers and who find themselves locked out of their Google Analytics accounts.

While there are courses available on how to use Google Analytics, the reality is that Google itself provides a lot of training and support for free. The Google Analytics Academy provides help to novice users. It provides eLearning courses along with a dedicated YouTube channel and an analytics blog.

Most people who use analytics are self-taught. The analytics “interface” – what you are presented on the screen – is easy to use. To get maximum benefit from Google Analytics, you need to set goals and customise the settings to ensure that the reports that are generated meet your business needs.

Other analytics packages

Some businesses opt to run other analytics packages on their sites. For smaller businesses, other popular choices include:

  • OpenWeb Analytics: this open source platform is completely free to use, has no data limits and can be used on an unlimited number of websites. Advantages include conversion statistics, visitor flow, mouse movement records and multi-page click heatmaps, but the downside is you must install it onto your web server yourself
  • StatCounter: an Irish platform, StatCounter can be used to monitor activity in real time, and is free to use. Advantages include quick results, good individual tracking and an easy set-up process.

3 Action Points


Identify how your business can benefit. Set some clear goals that are of benefit to your business. Go to Google Analytics Academy or the analytics blog to get some ideas. Through social media sites find out how others are using analytics.


Customise the settings and the reports. Identify what will be of most value to you and your business. Decide on reporting frequency.


Act on the data. Google Analytics can produce the data and gives you some fancy presentation options. But you or someone in your business needs to analyse the data and put it to use for the benefit of your business.



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Sometimes the world isn’t ready to be changed

A hybrid car built by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1900s, the Nokia N-Gage, and the precursor to Facebook are just some of the great business ideas born too early. 

Just because a business fails doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. Often, a business concept is so good it just happens to be years ahead of its time. The world just isn’t ready for it yet. Here we have a look at eight great business ideas that came too early for their own good.

great business ideas

Founded in 1997 when Mark Zuckerberg was just starting high school, was the world’s first social networking site, allowing users to add connections, send instant messages and post news on bulletin boards. While Zuckerberg would turn the concept into a multi-billion dollar business the following decade with Facebook, in the late 90s was just a little bit ahead of its time. Despite the strong initial growth, web adverting was still underdeveloped, and the site’s revenue problems resulted in its closure in 2001.

great business ideas

Alta Vista

Launched in 1995, three years before Google, Alta Vista was one of the earliest attempts to turn an Internet search engine into a money making enterprise. It quickly became a market leader, with technological innovations that put its engine ahead of its competitors, and it even became the first big company to offer free email. But, like so many web companies of its generation, it couldn’t figure out how to make money, and it was bought out by Yahoo! in 2003.

great business ideas


Today gaming on smartphones is standard practice, but before the N-Gage was launched by Nokia (remember it?), game consoles and phones were very much separate entities. Launched in 2003, the N-Gage attempted to take on the Game Boy Advance, marrying the ideas of handheld gaming and mobile phone capabilities for the first time. It was an original idea, but alas it didn’t work. Priced too high, it was still cheaper for people to buy a Game Boy and separate mobile phone than to buy the N-Gage, and that’s what consumers did. A poor user experience didn’t help, and the device was discontinued in 2005.



Considered one of the great technological leaps of the 20th Century, the Concorde travelled at twice the speed of sound, allowing passengers to cut travel times in half. London to New York could be done in a mere three and a half hours, eliminating jet lag and making day-trips between the continents common for some business people. There was just one problem; it wasn’t cost effective. Heavily subsidised by the French and British governments from the start, the Concorde ran at a loss for its first six years before a fare restructure, where a $10k round trip ticket from JFK to Heathrow was considered a good deal. The project was not financially sustainable, and the final nails were put in its coffin by the tragic Air France Concorde crash in 2000 and the terror attacks of September 11th the following year.



As natural as it seems today, sharing music online was once a revolutionary concept, and in the late 90s, Napster was the pioneer in this space. While allowing people to share MP3 files with each other for free, the site quickly raised the ire of the music industry and lawsuits followed. Forced to monetise to pay its debts, Napster moved to a subscription based model. While today Spotify has turned the same idea into a massive money spinner, at the time the world wasn’t ready, and Napster ultimately failed in 2001.

Webvan predicted that there would be a huge consumer demand for home delivery of groceries bought online. Launched in 1999, the company spent $1 billion on warehouses, trucks and computers, but the demand wasn’t sufficient, and Webvan went bust just a couple of years later. Home delivery of goods bought online is today big business of course, and Webvan is just a classic example of a good idea that was tried too soon.


WebTV was a box about the size of a VCR that connected to a TV to give Internet access without having to buy a PC. Started in 1995, it was an innovative idea that was bought by Microsoft and rebranded as MSN TV two years later. While today its functions are commonplace through devices like the Xbox 360 and Smart TVs, WebTV/MSN TV sadly faded away into obscurity before being discontinued. There just wasn’t a consumer demand at the time to go online using TVs. Imagine. Imagine the world without Netflix?

great business ideas


One of the great ‘before its time’ inventions. Designed by the founder of the Porsche car company, Ferdinand Porsche, the Lohner-Porsche was the world’s first hybrid car. Developed in Austria in the early 1900s, the Lohner-Porsche line included hybrid and entirely electric vehicles, boasting innovative features and reliable performance. Unfortunately, costs were higher than conventional petrol engine cars and production was ceased in 1906. It would take another 100 years for hybrid and electric cars to take off. Elon Musk is standing on the shoulders of an early 20th Century giant.

Article by Peter Flanagan.


Bring your business idea to the world with a great business plan. Also, if you need financial support, look for it in the right places.

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Should I be a sole trader or a limited company?

So, you’ve made the decision to set up a business. How will it be structured? 

If you are starting up a business in Ireland, the first decision you will make is how the business will be structured and, more often than not, the choice will be between operating as a sole trader (or in a partnership), or registering as a limited company.

Business types

As a sole trader, you will be legally inseparable from the business that you run. As such, you will have unlimited liability for any debts the business incurs. Simply put, this means that you may be held personally liable for the company’s debts. This is in contrast to being a director or shareholder of a limited company, whereby you have limited liability. This means you are only liable for the amount you paid for shares.

However, setting up as a sole trader is particularly easy, in that there are no charges from the Companies Registration Office (CRO). Also, it is simple and cheap to wind the business down. A sole trader does not need to register as an employer (provided it is only you who works for the firm). Also, you don’t need to file returns to the CRO.

There is more bureaucratic red tape to cut through when setting up a limited company. However, there are plenty of benefits. Limited companies find it easier than sole traders to get access to credit from banks and other lenders, and directors can avail of generous pension tax breaks, as well as a corporation tax rate, which is lower than the personal taxes that sole traders are charged.

Limited company: pros and cons


  • Limited liability. This means that the liability of shareholders is restricted to the amount paid for shares. Shareholders will not be held personally liable for company debts.
  • A limited company is a separate legal entity from directors and shareholders.
  • Generous tax breaks for directors on pensions.
  • Limited companies are looked upon more favourably when it comes to accessing bank credit.
  • The company is taxed at corporation tax rate.
  • In the event of director’s death, shares can be passed on or sold, so the business does not have to cease.


  • Bureaucracy and compliance rules are stricter than they are for sole traders or partnerships.
  • Directors are employees so must register and file P30s and P35s at an extra cost.
  • It costs more to open and run a business.
  • It is expensive to wind up the business.
  • The public can see filings, such as summary accounts, for a small fee.
  • Limited liability does not apply to health and safety issues.
  • Registration of a business name does not protect against others operating under the same name.
  • For protection, you must register for a trademark.

Sole trader/partnership: pros and cons 


  • It is very cost-efficient and easy to set up and run this type of business.
  • There is only a small cost to wind up the business.
  • The sole trader or partnership does not have to register accounts with the CRO.
  • A sole trader does not need to register as an employer.
  • Public does not get to access accounts.


  • There is no limit on personal liability for the debts of the business.
  • Profit is taxed at individual rates, instead of corporation tax rate.
  • Limited scope to avail of pension tax breaks.
  • Individual contractors may not be able to work with sole trader/partnership, as they are restricted to working with limited companies.
  • Not as likely to access credit from banks and creditors as limited companies.
  • Business ceases with the death of the owner.

Choosing a business structure

This all depends on how you see your business developing, who will be involved, and who your clients will be. The choice is not as straightforward as it may seem. And remember, just because you think it might be better to operate as a sole trader does not necessarily mean you are setting your sights too low.

For example, if you are planning on setting up as a micro-business in your home with few if any creditors and you’re unlikely to incur many third-party costs, you might be better off setting up as a sole trader as the cost of setting up as a limited company may not be worth it.

However, if you are looking for extra capital to give your business the shot in the arm it needs to get to the next level, or it is likely you will need to borrow significantly to get your business up and to run, you should be seriously considering setting up as a limited company.

The choice is yours, but be sure you consider all the relevant factors before taking the plunge. Remember that you can set up as a sole trader and change to a limited company at a later date. See the CRO company registration section to help you decide, and be sure to consult with a tax adviser.

Don’t forget about tax

You’ll need to register your business for tax. There are different forms to fill out depending on the structure of your business, however, the Revenue Online Service caters for every business’s need. For more information, see the Revenue Commissioner’s article on registering for tax and the ThinkBusiness.i.e., Guide to Businesses’ Tax Obligations.

4 Action Points


Investigate the differences between operating as a sole trader and as a limited company. This distinction will be crucial to the success of your business.


Make a decision on how you will structure your business, based on legal preferences, cash flow, and the type of business you are looking to run. Once you make up your mind, you’re ready to get started.


Register for tax. This is a crucial part of setting up your business.


If in doubt, check out the CRO and Revenue websites for more details. Everything you need is there.


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How to open a franchise in Ireland

Coming up with an original idea isn’t the only way to become a business owner. Franchising can be a cost-effective way to start a business.

Franchising is the granting of a licence by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee), which entitles the franchisee to trade as their own business under the brand of the franchisor while following a proven business model. Some well-established franchises in Ireland include McDonald’s, SuperMac’s, Fastway Couriers and The Zipyard, a firm specialising in clothing alterations.

There are plenty of advantages of becoming a franchisee:

  • You don’t need to come up with a new concept or idea. Someone has already got the business off the ground and it is making money.
  • Larger franchise companies will often have well-established ad campaigns in place, as well as an excellent reputation.
  • Good franchisors will offer extensive training programmes across all functions of activity.
  • All franchisors will provide current operational guidelines in the form of a manual to serve as a reference for franchisees.
  • Some franchisors will help you to secure funding for your investment. This may also take the form of bulk sales discounts from suppliers with whom they already have a relationship.
  • Customers realise that franchises offer excellent value for money and consistent service quality.
  • Consistent support is provided by franchisors, and they may help you to find and fit out premises.
  • You collect all income from your outlet, paying the franchisor through franchise fees or a markup on sales.

To be considered as a franchise opportunity, a business will need to be profitable. The franchisor will need to generate enough profit to cater for both you and themselves.

Franchising disadvantages

  • Your franchise will never be truly independent. Restrictions include the products or services that can be offered, pricing and geographical location.
  • You must pay fees on an ongoing basis.
  • You must balance the restrictions of running a franchise with your management demands.
  • Any reputational damage suffered by a different franchisee may affect your business.
  • The term of the franchise is usually limited, over which you may not have any control.
how to open a franchise

Franchising in Ireland

The franchising sector in Ireland is significant, with over 300 active franchise systems boasting an annual turnover in the billions of euro, and employing approximately 40,000 staff. For more details on franchising in Ireland, see the Irish Franchise Association’s website.

As a franchisee, you finance your own outlet. You meet the costs of your own franchise and collect income, while the franchisor receives either franchise fees or a mark-up on products sold by you. Costs vary depending on the sector and how profitable the business is, but research has shown that initial franchise fees in Ireland start from approximately €20,000.

Costs of a franchise

The cost of securing a franchise will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • How established the franchise is. For example, a McDonald’s franchise will cost more than a new franchise.
  • The size of the territory. How large is the geographical area for which you’re buying the rights?
  • The type of franchise. Retail or service franchises, for example, will be expensive.
  • Do you need equipment? Some franchises require the purchase of expensive equipment while that’s not necessary with others.
  • How many units you will be buying.
  • What the franchisor is giving you in return. The more you get, the more you’ll have to pay.


3 Action Points


Is a franchise right for you? Investigate the costs and responsibilities. Perhaps the sector in which you’re interested is too crowded for a new business, but a franchising opportunity is available.


Assess the advantages and disadvantages of running a franchise. Whether or not it is something that will appeal to you is purely down to your own circumstances, needs and preferences.


Confirm the cost of the franchise in which you’re interested. Some franchises are more costly than others. Know what you’re getting yourself into, and ensure you have enough funding to get your franchise up and running.


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