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USP for your Start up Business with Lisa Hughes

As a business coach with over two decades of experience and a mentor with the AIB Start-up Academy, Lisa Hughes knows what it takes to make a successful start-up.

We spoke to her to find out how finding your Unique Selling Proposition or USP can make a serious difference to your business.

Get an Outside Perspective

As an entrepreneur herself, Lisa cautions that it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of running your business and lose sight of what truly makes your product unique. “You can’t see a building in its entirety when you’re inside the building,” she explains. “And when you’re an entrepreneur, who’s living and breathing your business every day, you can easily lose perspective on it. What ends up happening is that the business owner is not looking at the product from their customers’ perspective. They’re looking at it from the inside out.”

“We are all here to serve our customers, to take people’s pain away or add value,” she continues. “Until we get that message baked into our thinking, then sometimes it’s going to feel like we’re pushing a rock up a hill because we’re selling something that perhaps we don’t necessarily want or need. Ultimately, your USP

Dress to Impress in the Workplace

“If you’re too casual in your dress sense, you’re going to be casual in your job.” That’s the advice of tailor Louis Copeland, and there’s no shortage of places to get fitted in Dublin these days either.

Copeland has described how Conor McGregor single-handedly breathed new life into his business, and that the UFC superstar’s influence has altered men’s fashion in Ireland.

The 28-year-old from Crumlin has built up an association with the Louis Copeland tailoring business since his earliest days in mixed martial arts, and the man behind the Dublin business told Nick Webb on The Capital B about working with one of the biggest names on the planet.

It all started with an appearance on The Late Late Show.

“The first suit we gave him, he went on The Late Late Show and Ryan Tubridy told him he was looking great. Conor said, “Louis Copelando!” revealed Copeland.

“He’s been great for us because he’s given us a younger image, and people now realise we cater for everybody. The everyman on the street is our regular customer.”

McGregor continues to visit Copeland in his flagship Capel Street

Big business in Ireland

In this edition of The Capital B, Seamus O’Hara of The Carlow Brewery Company lifts the lid on the busy craft beer business and sheds a light on whether any brewery can truly stand the test of time.

The O’Hara brewery was set up over 20 years ago and it all started with a grá for beer. After experiencing the vast array of small breweries in the UK, Seamus saw a gap in the market, in other words, he wanted the good stuff and Irish beer just wasn’t cutting it.

At the time, craft beer was a mere glint in the eyes of out of work actors across the nation, but the O’Hara crew had stumbled upon something with substance and sustainability, and they wanted to see it through.

Using the old style of BES Investment the O’Hara team drummed up support from family and friends, and starting slow they began the long process of cracking into the competitive market of distilling.

One of the major forces affecting any start-up brewery is cash flow,  it’s highly capital intensive and according to Seamus; it can cost up to a quarter of a million euro to just get things going.

Starting on

The Health and Safety Authority

Unfortunately, between January and June this year we have already seen twelve farm fatalities. In the last ten years, excluding 2017 incidents, almost 200 families have suffered the loss of a loved one because of an accident on an Irish farm – that’s almost one every three weeks.

Farm Safety is About Real People

These aren’t just statistics – they are real people, real farming families – and the scary thing is that they don’t even account for the 2,500 plus farm families impacted by serious farm accidents each year. The fact that there are very few of us who don’t know of someone impacted by farm accidents shows us the scale of the challenge. It also shows that they occur all over the country, across all sectors, and that neither young nor old are immune to the potential dangers – over 45% of farm fatalities in the last ten years have involved children or older farmers.

“It Won’t Happen to Me”

The blurring of the farm as a giant playground and place of residence, the diverse workload (often completed alone and under time pressure) and the fact that few farmers ever

The different ways of complaining

  • Face to face
  • By phone
  • By email
  • By letter

Let’s first take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each before concluding which is the most effective.

Picture this scenario: you have bought a faulty item from a shop and you take it back to complain. You go directly to the shop assistant and tell them your problem. They say they cannot help you, which makes you angrier, to the point perhaps where you start insulting the poor shop assistant. RESULT: This will do you no favours, like getting any compensation, or even a refund. If you go directly to the first person you see within the organisation you are complaining about, you may be wasting your time as they may be powerless to take any action or provide you with a solution. So the important lesson to be learnt is to make sure firstly that you are speaking to the relevant person, the one who has the authority to make decisions.

Perhaps you don’t have time to actually go and see the relevant authority in person so you decide to make a phone call. The problem with complaining by phone

Are you a blogger too

Only a few years ago, a “web log” was a little-known way of keeping an online diary.  At that time, it seemed like “blogs” (as they quickly became known) were only for serious computer geeks or obsessives.

This didn’t last long, though, and within a very short period of time, blogs exploded – blogs were everywhere, and it seemed that almost everyone read blogs, or was a blogger.

The blogging craze of a couple of years ago (when it was estimated that ten new blogs were started somewhere in the world every minute) now seems to have died down a bit – yet thousands of blogs (probably the better ones) remain.  Blogs are no now longer seen as the exclusive possession of geeks and obsessives, and are now seen as important and influential sources of news and opinion.  So many people read blogs now, that it has even been suggested that some blogs may have been powerful enough to influence the result of the recent US election.

Blogs are very easy to set up – all you need is a computer, an internet connection and the desire to write something.  The difference between a blog and

The Different of Business and ethics

Set up in the 1920s by James Carston, a Manchester tailor, the company has remained in the family and is now run by James’s grandson, Paul Carston.  Employing fewer than 50 people, the company has a reputation for producing high-quality men’s shirts, which it sells by mail order, and has a loyal customer base.  As Paul Carston says, ‘Once someone has tried our shirts, they tend to come back for more.  Our customers appreciate the attention to detail and the high-quality fabric we use.’  And it’s the fabric they now use that makes the company almost unique in the world of men’s shirt manufacturers. When Paul Carston took over running the company in 1999, he inherited a business that prided itself on using local well-paid machinists rather than sweatshop labour, and looked upon its employees as members of an extended family.  Paul, a committed environmentalist, felt that the company fitted in well with his values.  The shirts were made from 100 per cent cotton, and as Paul says, ‘It’s a completely natural fibre, so you would think it was environmentally sound’.  Then Paul read a magazine article about Fair Trade and cotton producers.  He was devastated to read

Important to have contact with your customers

As a small business, it’s important to have contact with your customers. But some phone calls could easily be handled by your website and other digital channels — saving time for you and your customers. Here are some ideas for how to tweak your website to handle some routine calls.

1. Add an FAQ page

You already know which questions come up again and again. Answer them once and for all on your website by creating a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page. Update this page regularly to keep up with the latest developments and to answer timely questions.

2. Review your website navigation

Maybe you already have plenty of information on your site, but no one can find it. If you use a creative, nonstandard navigation scheme, take a look at your web analytics to see if that is preventing people from finding the information they need. Even if you use standard navigation, check your labels. Are they clear and accurate?

3. Add a video demonstration

If

Identifying your target market

Identifying your target market is one of the most crucial steps you need to take when you’re starting a business or launching new products and services. When you have a good handle on who your target customer is, you can not only create a product that suits their needs, you can also produce advertising and promotional copy to capture their interest and get them to buy. But how do you identify that target market?

Start with the problem

A good way to determine who is likely to become your customer is to clarify the problem that your product or service addresses. For example, you run a housecleaning service. The problem that you solve is doing cleaning for people who cannot or do not want to do these jobs themselves. Upper income families, families where both parents work, and older people who no longer have the ability to do their own housekeeping, are all potential customers for your services.

Define your customer’s characteristics

Listing out the characteristics of your typical customer is another good step towards identifying your target audience. These characteristics need not be personal ones; they can pertain to lifestyle, income, geographical location, hobbies,

How to managing farm Cash Flow

Getting to grips with cash flow management is integral to farming success. But with farmers facing a variety of challenging factors from the weather, to volatile output prices, to Brexit, it can often feel like navigating a minefield.

To get an overview of some of the options available to farmers, we spoke to AIB Agri Advisor Patrick O’Meara about the current landscape and its effects on cash flow. He also provided us with some useful methods for cash flow planning and dealing with common cash flow concerns. Read on to find out more.

The Current Landscape

For all farmers, the outlook for 2017 depends on the specific sector you are working in. “Pig and dairy sectors are going through a positive period at the moment in terms of increases in market prices,” Patrick notes. “Both those sectors have come through a difficult period so it’s encouraging to see. In the beef and tillage sectors, there’s some frustration at farmer-level with prices and also concern around Brexit.”

Brexit will