My business is failing – what do I do?

One thing is nearly sure in business; there is going to come to a point where things go drastically wrong, and you will need help to survive. Here are three such stories.
The fifteenth mile of a marathon. Three days into redecorating the kitchen.
There are many times when we can feel like just throwing in the towel and giving up. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who are starting a business. The stages between establishing your company and becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg are some of the most stressful and challenging times in your life.
We spoke to three entrepreneurs who shared the most stressful moments they encountered while building their businesses.

Laurence Ridge – Splitter
Laurence Ridge, managing director, at Splitter HQ knows how things can change in a second. Tragically, in March 2016, his business partner and best friend passed away. Laurence was just about to take over 50% of the business but was relying heavily on the support of his partner. While he floundered in a state of shock and denial for a few months, Laurence eventually decided to take over 100% of the business in July 2016. But things were far from perfect.
What had happened?
By July 2016, a lot of things had expired – domain names, support systems, and even the website hosting. Due to this disruption, 80% of his customers had left. Splitter had lost some big accounts.
How did he fix it?
Laurence decided to refocus and restructure. He cut back on marketing spend, looked at where he could cut other costs, and perhaps most importantly, looked at where he could start to gain revenue. Fortunately, a Portuguese betting company signed with the company in September and Lidl Denmark joined in December 2016. These wins massively helped both the business and himself, get back on track.
He also reached out to successful entrepreneurs

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/im-failing-what-do-i-do/ on
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Make money from unused spaces

Parkpnp helps car parks, businesses and homeowners make money from their empty parking spaces. 
Parkpnp was founded by Irish entrepreneurs Garret Flower and Daniel Paul in 2016.
The firm recently secured seed funding of €500,000 from investors including Powerscourt Capital and Enterprise Ireland.
“Getting started with Parkpnp is easy. All you have to do is download the app for iOS or Android or register online,” says Flower. For more details, watch the video below. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/parkpnp-rent-car-spaces/ on
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From farmer to international businessman

‘If you can figure out very early on, what you enjoy doing – life and business can be a heck of a lot easier.’
Helping international agri manufacturers get their products to farmers. It’s a simple idea and one that Noel Kelly of Creva Agri International is growing. 
Kelly grew up on a pedigree dairy farm (Creva Herd) near Athenry in Co. Galway. He trained in dairy management in the UK and worked in farm software and international sales before returning home in 2010 to combine his twin passions of dairy farming and global agribusiness.

My story
I trained to be a farmer for the first part of my life. I also gained experience working in sales in the mid-90s, selling farm software while also working on the family farm. Then in 1999, I undertook a dairy herd management course in the UK, followed by work experience on farms in England, Canada, and Holland. In 2009, I also graduated from UCD Smurfit School with a Diploma in Sales Management (Honours).  
“Farming is not just a job – it is a significant global business.”
Going to college in England gave me a flavour for international trade. During my studies, I met Bill Knox, the editor of Hoard’s Dairyman, which is the leading dairy magazine in the US and he offered some advice.
He was the first person that said to me: ‘You are all farmer’s sons, but think outside the farm gate. Farming is not just a job – it is a significant global business’. His advice connected with me and got me thinking.
“I was responsible for multimillions in sales, but my farm was losing money.”
It was in 2010 when things were changing, and I always knew I’d like to set up my own business. As much as I love dairying, I always had aspirations for my own

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/cow-comfort-creva-international/ on
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Teenage twins making a mark

17-year-old entrepreneurs (and twins) from Galway, Mary and Sarah Murphy have created a hand-held gun to mark sheep. Up next? World domination. 

How did you start? Why did you start? 
The idea came to us when we were marking our own sheep on the family farm. We thought: ‘There must be a better way of doing this?’
We set up our company as a transition year mini-company in 2014 to compete in the Student Enterprise Awards. After a successful first year, we registered as a private limited company. 
We continued to develop the product. We changed the material of the nozzle and tried different fluids in the gun, but it wasn’t until September/October 2015 when we were thinking of an idea to compete in the Student Enterprise Awards that we decided to produce the guns to be sold. [The kit currently retails at €60, this includes a gun, a cartridge, and a nozzle.] Visit the twins’ website here.
Market research and patenting 
We carried out research to see would there be a market for our product. We then produced 100 guns and gave 20 to local sheep farmers. The feedback was very positive. We brought the product to market in February 2016 as soon our patent was pending. 
We continued to sell the product and have attended numerous agricultural trade shows including the Tullamore Show and the National Ploughing Championships. 
Awards and The Late Late 
The product was a great success at the trade shows. We have gone from strength to strength competing in various enterprise awards such as the Student Enterprise Awards where we placed third nationally, the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition where we placed third in our category and the Get Up and Go mini company awards where we were placed in the top three. We have also appeared on The Late Late Show with our

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/make-a-mark/ on
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Eight starters to grow a food business

Here are eight good places to start if you are interested in making it in the food business. 
Food is a huge part of the Irish economy. It accounts for over 12.3% of total exports. The industry has ambitions to be worth €19 billion by 2025. Here’s how to start and grow a food business.
1: Go to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland website
This should be your first port of call. It has handy guides on food law, starting a food business at home, and detailed information on how to set up a food stall at a local market.
DOWNLOAD: A brilliant business plan template to get started.
2: Investigate the Food Works programme.
If you have “an innovative food product that satisfies a genuine market need, and an ambition for global success”, you should meet with the Food Works team. See video below.

3: Go back to college
There are many University course specialising in food production. One of the best is UCC’s Diploma in Specialty Food Production. The Diploma is for those who want to produce and sell speciality foods or as a way of adding value to their farm’s produce. See the video below. 

4: Organic food
If organic farming and organic food are more to your tastes, your first port of call should be the Organic Trust. 
5: Bord Bia’s Food Academy
Whether you are starting a food business or are in the early stages and looking to grow, the Food Academy is worth contacting.
 

6: Franchising
This is an option for people with cash who want to invest in a recognisable food/retail/restaurant brand. There are pros and cons to franchising, so make sure to do your research. The Irish Franchise Association’s site is a good place to start. 
7: The Teagasc Factsheets
Whether you want to launch a goat farm or set up a honey production company, this website is for you.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/8-ways-to-start-a-food-business/ on thinkbusiness

The Irish online economy is starting to roar

For a second consecutive year, Irish e-commerce sites have seen a 45% growth in revenue. 
While Ireland’s GDP grew by 5% last year, the Irish online economy is charging ahead nine times faster than the wider Irish economy, according to a report by Wolfgang Digital.
“As the €153 billion UK market e-commerce market becomes less accessible to Irish e-commerce websites, the €500 billion European market has to become a priority.”
Retail is growing 
Retailers saw a very healthy 24% growth while revenues for travel sites surged an incredible 79%. Overall traffic to Irish e-commerce sites was up 17% in 2016.
Revenues decline due to weak Sterling
The share of retail revenue coming from shoppers outside of Ireland fell sharply, however, from 36% in 2015 to 19% in 2016. 
Most ‘international’ customers to Irish online stores come from the UK, so the swing from a strong pound to euro in 2015, to a weak pound to euro in 2016 played a major part in this decline.
“Our competitors in the UK, arguably the world’s most advanced digital media market, are now floating further and further away from the valuable European market.”
Brexit means retailers need to focus on the EU market
‘There are some early indicators as to how a post-Brexit Irish online economy might look if online retailers switch their focus to the lucrative European market,” says Alan Coleman, CEO of Wolfgang Digital (pictured above).
“As the €153 billion UK market e-commerce market becomes less accessible to Irish e-commerce websites, the €500 billion European market has to become a priority.”
“Smartphones have taken over as the device of choice when accessing the web, with 45% of website traffic on smart phones, versus 42% on desktop and 13% on tablet.”
The Digital Single Market brings massive opportunities
Two things make the European market increasingly attractive to Irish business. One is the EU’s drive to enhance

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/online-economy-ireland/ on
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Learn to say no – be more productive

How busy can you get? As a business owner or an employee, it can be tempting to say yes to everything. This is not good. Learning to say no is a skill most of us have to develop, suggests Moira Dunne, from beproductive.ie

 

During my first job as a consultant, my client told me that I had the ability to say no while making other people feel good about it. I think it was a compliment? It wasn’t something I planned, but when I analysed my approach, I realised I was protecting my work time so I could deliver on my commitments. I always tried to help, but if I couldn’t at the time, I would explain and offer an alternative.

If your boss insists that you still do everything, this can be a subtle way to highlight that your boss is being unreasonable, maybe unintentionally.

Saying yes is natural

For most of us saying yes comes more naturally than saying no. People genuinely want to help people. We want to be known as “a team player” and don’t want to be difficult. We don’t want to appear overloaded with work either as if we can’t cope with our role. So learning to say no is a skill most of us have to develop.

learn to say no

Saying no by saying yes

So how do we do it? Well, the best way to say ‘no’ is actually to say ‘yes.’ By that I mean to say no to dropping everything at the time of the request but say yes to the time or approach that suits you better. Take control. But do this professionally with consideration so that the requester understands and is happy with your alternative suggestion. And then follow through.

The requests we receive loosely fall into two categories:

1.    A request from an employee or colleague for help or advice

2.    A request from your boss to do extra work over what was agreed

A request from a colleague for help or advice

If you can’t help straight away, offer an alternative time that suits both schedules. Alternatively, consider if you are the only one who can help? If help is needed more urgently, consider if you can direct the requester to a report or training material or another expert.

Of course, there are times when we need just to drop what we are doing and help.

A request from your boss to do extra work

If you are already working on a plan that was agreed with your boss, then you are in a good position to negotiate. Offer to do the additional work but point out: “This is what I am working on based on the plan we agreed. I will happily do this new work, but I may need to push out one of the original tasks.”

So your objective is to get approval to free up time to do the new task. That way if one of the original tasks doesn’t get done, there is a common understanding why. 

If your boss insists that you still do everything, at least you have provided a reminder of your current workload based on the agreed plan. This can be a subtle way to highlight that your boss is being unreasonable, maybe unintentionally.

learn to say no

Tone of the message

As with most business interactions the tone of delivery will greatly affect how your message is received. Find your own words. Use your judgement about how best to position your response. Consider the other persons’ perspective. If you are clear in your head about why you are responding the way you are, it will start to come naturally.

Emergencies

Of course, there are times when we need just to drop what we are doing and help. Again we have to use our judgement and knowledge of our work situation to identify these times. This will not be a time for alternatives or rescheduling.

Learn to say no – five steps

  1. Strive to say yes if you can
  2. If you can’t, explain your reasons professionally
  3. Provide an alternative
  4. Be committed to the alternative
  5. Negotiate priorities if saying yes

Saying no can increase your credibility

Saying no from time to time can increase your credibility, as long as it’s done in a professional way. Saying no (or yes with conditions) can sometimes be the right thing to do for your role, your team, and your organisation.

Saying no successfully is all about using your judgement. It’s a trade-off between being helpful and being in control of your work life.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/learn-to-say-no-in-business/ on
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A new butter that’s good for your heart

Kevin Kennedy is the founder of Anu Dairy, an Irish dairy biotech company that makes the world’s first vitamin K2 butter, a butter that’s good for heart health. He also believes Irish farmers deserve more respect and better pay. 
What do we do? Anu Dairy is an Irish dairy biotechnology company using organic milk to produce the world’s first premium, vitamin K2 butter. Our tagline is ‘strong at heart’.
“Last year we were accepted on o the RebelBio accelerator program in Cork. It’s a (Sean O’Sullivan) SOSV-backed seed-stage biotech accelerator.”
My interest evolved from my time working with people in the gym and from my time spent in California. The people I met in California loved [and were huge advocates of] Kerrygold. They understood how fat works, what fats are good for you and why particular types of natural fat won’t necessarily give you a heart attack. Significantly they were also aware of research showing how Vitamin K2 can help direct calcium into your bones and away from soft tissues, such as your heart and arteries. 
Last year we applied to and were accepted onto the RebelBio accelerator program in Cork. It’s a (Sean O’Sullivan) SOSV-backed seed-stage biotech accelerator. For eight percent of the company, you receive $100,000 which is split into two tranches, a $50,000 cash injection and $50,000 for services, lab space, and mentoring. 
“Anu Dairy butter also has a 25-30% higher vitamin K2 content than standard butter. Vitamin K2 plays a key role in helping reduce both coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.”
We produce a natural, organic, grass-fed butter, high in vitamin K2 which helps move calcium away from your arteries, to where it’s needed in your bones.

How do we achieve high levels of vitamin K2? It’s the way we treat the soil and the way we are building up data around best

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/anu-butter-good-for-hearts/ on
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A new butter that’s good for your heart

Kevin Kennedy is the founder of Anu Dairy, an Irish dairy biotech company that has produced the world’s first vitamin K2 butter, butter that’s good for heart health. He also believes farmers deserve more respect and better pay. 
What do we do? Anu Dairy is an Irish dairy biotechnology company using organic milk to produce the world’s first premium, vitamin K2 butter, affording greater choice to consumers in the functional food dairy market and our tagline is ‘strong at heart’.
“Last year we applied and were accepted on to the RebelBio accelerator program in Cork. It’s a (Sean O’Sullivan) SOSV-backed seed-stage biotech accelerator.”
My interest evolved from my time working with people in the gym and from my time spent in California. The people I met in California loved [and were huge advocates of] Kerrygold. They understood how fat works, what fats are good for you and why particular types of natural fat won’t necessarily give you a heart attack. Significantly they were also aware of research showing how Vitamin K2 can help direct calcium into your bones and away from soft tissues, such as your heart and arteries. 
Last year we applied and were accepted on to the RebelBio accelerator program in Cork. It’s a (Sean O’Sullivan) SOSV-backed seed-stage biotech accelerator. For eight percent of the company, you receive $100,000 which is split into two tranches, $50,000 cash injection and $50,000 for services, Lab space, and mentoring. 
“Anu Dairy butter also has a 25-30% higher vitamin K2 content than standard butter. Vitamin K2 plays a key role in helping reduce both coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.”
We produce a natural, organic, grass-fed butter, high in vitamin K2 which helps move calcium away from your arteries, to where it’s needed in your bones.

How do we achieve high levels of vitamin K2? It’s the way we

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/butter-good-for-hearts/ on
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StoryStock – the beginning of the story

 
Francis Fitzgibbon runs StoryStock, a high potential Irish startup with an ambition to create a video archive of stories from around the world. 
Having worked as a policy advisor to the European Commission, Francis Fitzgibbon left this well paid, secure job and returned home to Kerry to build something. 
In July 2016, he became founder and CEO of StoryStock, an Enterprise Ireland (HPSU) startup, with an ambition to become a ‘Getty Images for digital stories’.
What is StoryStock?
StoryStock is building one of the world’s largest communities of journalists and storytellers as well as creating a massive digital archive, featuring ordinary people, with extraordinary stories to tell. We are creating a stock model for the distribution of these stories, mainly video, for both local and international media outlets as well as brands, operating across the world.
“We are aligning with the likes of ITN, and the likes of Newstalk, providing a platform that gives them the ability to get a story in Mallow, Dungarvan or as far away as Michigan. ”
What was the spark that ignited the business? 
Love of storytelling has always been an integral part of my life; from listening to my father’s stories about the Dingle Railway; to hosting the Breakfast Show on Kerry Radio or as a Newstalk reporter on The Pat Kenny Show. I was coming across stories all the time, and I knew that there was a value in recording them. Even as a personal project, it was a fascinating thing to do. 
“When a journalist or storyteller signs up with StoryStock, we give them a route to market, allowing their work to be broadcast in some of the biggest media outlets in the world.”
What problems do you solve for storytellers and media organisations?
When a journalist or storyteller signs up with StoryStock, we give them a route to market, allowing their work to be broadcast in

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/storystock-video-kerry/ on thinkbusiness