Friday, August 29, 2008

Your Votes!

Well, the poll was running for the whole summer and here are the results...

The question was to identify what you thought to be the most important thing at start-up for a new business.

Outright winner was most definitely PLANNING which came in at a whopping 73%, seconded by SALES at a winchy 13%.

The votes were certainly not cast in their thousands - I have a small, quality readership - but it is great to see what others believe in.

Well done planning ;o)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Le Weekend

Hello, good morning, Happy Monday one and all...

Just to say :'( I didn't make it to the festival in Dun Laoghaire this weekend *gutted* due to a recurring injury making its presence felt! (ouch)

But! Darragh went, worked, and had a great time, so if you want to read all about it and see some fabby pictures, please go here... Enjoy!

Now I mean it - have a happy Monday!

Friday, August 22, 2008


They've pulled the Fabulous Scrabble Application from Facebook...

Ye Gods! Ye Shower of Scunners!

Some Friday Thoughts

I still have to do that meme thing with flickr that Darren and Lottie have been on about...well it looks like a fun bandwagon, I might just hop on...when I've had a look at flickr that is.

This weekend we've got the wonderful Festival of World Cultures happening in Dun Laoghaire - it's always great fun, so go along and support lots of Irish micro enterprises, in addition to all the great international tastes to be sampled! I love markets - the regular one (Sundays) in the People's Park dangerously near Teddy's is a great one, so is the market up in Marley Park (Saturdays) - I highly recommend both! Lots of small businesses that I have worked with are at both of these markets, so I am always delighted to see them there, listening to real feedback from customers and conducting a littel R&D with samples of new products. It's inspiring and a delight to see.

Another one on this weekend - this time for the trade - is The Autumn Home & Gift Fair at the RDS. It starts on Sunday and goes on into the week. More micro enterprises will be there, in need of support! There are some really exciting new businesses popping up all over the place. I am so delighted that they are not taking this "slowdown" lying down but are going out there and grabbing all available business by the horns. Go on yee good things!

Also, just thought I'd say... I'm tuned into 2fm today and the DJ's are just spot on this avo...

...some examples...
I Kissed a Girl
That's Not my Name
The Man Who Can't Be Moved
Warwick Avenue
Black & Gold
Gettin' Jiggy with it
Dido's brand spanking noo toon
A bit of 5ive (hehehe!)
(plus, they've only played that horrific new BZ track once so far...yuk yuk yuk)

Lots of summer soundtracks there! Yay...

I just love it when the DJ's get it right :o)

Post Script!
I'm changing my "blogdrumrollplease" to "bookmarks" after Rosie's post! hehe

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wreckin' Me Buzz

Hello. I have a rant today. It's an unusual one, because mainly when people rant it is because they are depressed. Well this is the opposite. I'm ranting because I'm not depressed. I want everyone to stop bringing me down and sapping all my happy buzz, just because it's flipping raining.

If you ride a motorcycle and keep arriving to work and home again soaked to the skin - ok, you're allowed to let the rain get you a bit blue (not literally I hope!) for a few mins per day.

Similarly, those who walk to work - bless you, I hope you have nice warm socks waiting for you at your destination.

For the rest of us who take public transport and drive sheltered vehicles, please STOP using the weather as an excuse to be a moaning old bag. Equally, unless your house is being taken off you by your lending institution, I don't want to hear any more complaints about the downturn.

I have met people whose homes have been flooded by the recent rain. And what is happening? They are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it. Saying things like "It could be worse," and, "I'm luckier than some, you know."

Fair play to them. They're not curling up in a damn corner, muttering to themselves.

I have also met people who have no choice but to sell their property at the moment, the worst time to be selling in any Irish climate in the last 10 years. People who did not greedily buy up somewhere great in the hope that they would cash in on the Celtic Tiger a few years down the line. These are people who bought somewhere nice, modest and affordable as soon as they could. And now they have to sell up and go back to renting. Thankfully the number of people I know in this situation is still low, but they still have a damn smile on their face. Their outlook is something along the lines of, "Wasn't I lucky to be able to afford it in the first place?"

It just makes you want to reach out and hug them. I do, quite frequently.

Solidarity would be a lovely (alternative!) side effect to rain and pennypinching, rather than bitterness and grumpiness. When bad things happen in other countries, everybody clubs together to get through it. Teamwork! It's inspiring and to be quite frank, humbles me. Look at countries with real disasters - serious floods, earthquakes, even what happened in London on the Tube not so long ago - everyone discovered an inner strength that did not allow them to bring themselves down. We all know someone who was living in London in July 2005, we all spent a few frantic hours waiting to hear that they were ok. During my own relief I looked on in wonder at how the devastation brought the city and country together.

A few damp days, the climate changing and the economy slowing is making everybody miserable. Perhaps I shouldn't be comparing Irish mild flooding to those in SE Asia but I hope anyone reading can see that I am merely trying to put our own little dark cloud into some perspective. There is still so much to be thankful and happy for. Please put a smile back on Ireland's face!

And if you must continue to moan, please stop finding me - the chirpy one at the back - and taking all my smiles for yourself. That's just mean. I'll tell you how to do it yourself:
- Write down 5 things that made you smile in the last fortnight
- Write down another 5 things that you are looking forward to between now and Christmas
- Go away and think about those 5 things and start getting excited about preparing for them
- Call someone who is going to share one of these things and get excited about it with them
- Arrange to meet for said preparation, or just to talk about it in person over your favourite coffee/tipple of choice
- Now start sharing those smiles will you please? They're meant to be contagious...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For Terry Pratchett Fans

Thank you to...Transworld for creating the website...

Only a few days left to vote in my little poll by the way... I'm such a nerd that I'm delighted PLANNING is in the lead. There's hope yet, hehe!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

On the back of the last post...

Someone gave me a nudge in another direction after I mentioned a few general funding options the other day.

Two other competitions that people can consider are the Shell Livewire Awards and the InterTrade Ireland (Equity Network) Seedcorn Capital Competition.

The deadline for Shell Livewire was - yesterday! Hence the lack of mention last week...too late etc.etc. You also have to be under 30 to enter! The Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards is a great platform for new businesses to launch from. There may be an issue with bad press from certain groups from Mayo...something to do with landowners, oil pipelines and imprisonment. All voices warranted, I'm up for new business start-ups ;)

But the deadline for Seedcorn is not until September, so for those of your with High Potential Start-Ups, please look here for more info. Past winners have been from all sorts of industries - bioresearch, IT, food, medical, communications... Lots of opportunities there for regional prize funds as well as the overalls, so if you have a HPSU, give it a shot!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So you need Funding...

That old nugget.

What do you do if you need funds, where can you begin.

Well there are a variety of options available and it does of course depend on what type of business you are in. Risky high-cost start ups are catered for by business angels, banks and of course venture capital firms. Yes they are called vulture capitalists for a reason, but the way they see it - they're taking a huge risk investing in a new type of business so they need some sort of security blanket, and will take up a chew of your business ownership for their trouble.

For the more day-to-day businesses the first stop should always be your own bank or credit union. You have been giving them your business for years, so see what they can do for you. It's all about shopping around and remembering the most important thing - you are in charge. This is your business, they owe you nothing - if they give you a business loan, they are making money on it so although you can thank them for their assistance, there is no need to name your first born after them. Banks are in it for the money - never forget that.

They also hate risk. They are not insurance companies, they are completely risk averse, so the more you can reassure them that there is little risk to giving you a start up loan, the better a position you will be in, in the long run.

Contacts are key to business, we all know that. So apply that to your funding situation. That is why I mentioned going back to your own bank. I have a bank manager I can ring and chat to about my personal finances (or lack thereof!), at my local branch. That is what they are there for. If you are thinking about starting a business down the line and considering your funding options, start chatting with your bank manager now. They are as hungry for business as the rest of the world.

If the bank says no, there could be a million reasons why. So don't lose faith. Like in a sporting situation - have a look at the post-match analysis and figure out why. Ask them straight out, they might just tell you! It might be that your credit history is poor with them. Or that you have no collateral. Or that they believe the market you are trying to break into is flooded already (they may have an inside track on this, their current customers selling the same things as you, at the same location, may be in financial difficulty - a great way to find out the most important info on your new market, could be in your loan-refusal-feedback-chat!).

If that bank does say no, approach the credit union. Find your local one, here. The staff in the branches I have visited are very supportive of indigenous industry! Local business is good for business. Cheesey but true!

Business Angels are people who invest in your business without grabbing all the shares. Almost exactly what it says on the tin really. If you can find one, good on you! There are some around... There was a Business Angel network running for a while but the last I heard it was running out of juice. More recently I have heard of people finding their own angels. Back to those all important contacts! It could be family friends, friends of friends you meet at parties or conferences (or party conferences, shudder!) - it could be anyone at all. Someone whose eyes start to twinkle when you talk about your new business idea. If they have any sort of passion for your business, they might just lend you those all important funds!

First Step is a great organisation, although their coffers are always stretched. They will help you get a small loan, when all the others have shown you the door. First Step are what you call, the lenders of last resort.

I heard the County Enterprise Boards and Enterprise Ireland on Today FM a couple of weeks ago talking about starting a business, but they were more talking about doing Start Your Own Business courses (incidentally, they run all over the country, right through the year so you can find one near you if you really want to impress the bank manager). What they did mention - briefly - was their funding situation. If you are manufacturing something different, or if you are trading internationally, then they can talk to you about money. If you're not - they can't. It seemed pretty clear - if you want to get into retail for example, they won't be able to help fund you.

The one thing everybody will need, is a business plan I'm afraid! That's where maybe the CEB's could help. Some of them run business planning workshops - not all, so you'll have to check with yours. I've blogged about it before, here, so check back for a basic starting point. Email me if you need more detail... I wasn't planning on running any business planning workshops myself but for the price of a pint... ;) Who am I kidding. A hot port please, if this weather keeps up...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Monkey? No WAY!

Yes there was indeed a little monkey character sitting on the verge on the N11 this morning, who chose to take advantage of the stopped-with-hazard-lights cars and meander about the road itself, taking bananas from enchanted strangers but not pausing long enough to be fooled into a box for safe keeping. People had actually abandoned their cars and were running up to see the little creature with childlike glee on their faces. I must say, it was quite a change from seeing narky motorists giving out, tailgating and cursing at bad songs on the radio before 9am... It's funny how something that is perceived as vermin in other countries has made so many people smile and laugh this morning, and it's not even 10 o'clock yet! Go the monkey. It's a similar size to a baboon but not quite as vermin-y. Much cuter, like the monkey Marcel that Ross had in Friends all those years ago... I hope his/her owner heard the radiofolk giggling about it and the AA folk warning people about it, so they can go back and save him from all the kind strangers, or I fear the little guy might explode with all the free food he was getting! Humans sacrificing their lunches...there is still kindness in the world :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm so bad at updating...


1) I've been spending too much time updating my blogroll and finding lots of interesting people out there with either similar interest or interests so opposite to me that I am intrigued
2) Working is pain in the orse and I've had to bring stuff home, leaving little time for nice long posts on interesting things
3) I feel a little intimidated by the mammoth posts from people on my blogroll, who really just put me to shame with the amount of work they put into them
4) Spending lots and lots of time giving the face-to-face advice means I'm a bit drained of inspiration when I do in fact sit down to post!

Hence the lack of meat on this blog's bones of late. Apologies one and all.