By Sarah Hastings
Whether you are a new internet business or are extending your ‘bricks and mortar’ business to the net, Sage Pay’s Dublin and Cork morning seminars will demonstrate what you need to focus on to develop a successful e-commerce business. From the rise of mobile commerce to digital marketing and website optimisation, the seminars will showcase e-commerce best practise. Register here (link to: http://www.sagepay.com/ireland/seminars) to attend the events.
- Dublin: May 30th in Bewleys, Sandyford – registration from 08.30am
- Cork: May 28th in River Lee Hotel, Western Road – registration from 08.30am
Guest Speakers: John Coburn- Praxis Now, Alan Coleman- Wolfgang Digital
Creating an online st
By Siobhan McGinty, Content Marketer at Wolfgang Digital
As a content marketer with Dublin-based award-winning search and content marketing agency, Wolfgang Digital, I spend my days both reading great blogs and writing even better ones for businesses all around Ireland.
Many businesses in Ireland have realised that, in order to avoid loss of ranking positions on Google search, they need to start creating good content – and for many, that means blogging. Lots of businesses are doing a great job, but I am sorry to say it is a task in itself to pinpoint businesses doing a near-perfect job.
There are some businesses in Ireland doing a great job. In this post, I will pinpoint two businesses who are doing exceptionally well in terms of creating great content. I will also highlight an opportunity for Irish businesses, particularly those in the retail industry.
74% of Irish SMEs say Government should do more to support businesses
-57% of SMEs identified access to capital and funding as biggest barrier to doing business in Ireland-
18th April, 2013: Almost three quarters (74%) of Irish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 93% of very small businesses (2- 14 employees) say that the Government does not provide them with sufficient support and advice, according to research announced today by the market leader in accounts and payroll software, Sage Ireland. The Sage Business Index, a survey which gauges economic sentiment and assesses key challenges of over 430 SMEs in Ireland, shows a high level of concern about Government impediments to business growth.
The Index found that 57% of SMEs identified access to capital and funding as the biggest barrier to doing business in Ireland, with 46% saying that the most important thing Government should be doing to help increase business confidence is putting pressure on the banks to lend more.
A significant number of SMEs expressed concern for the day-to-day running costs of their businesses, with 36% saying that it is important for the Government to control energy and utility costs, and 32% saying that the Government should create special assistance programmes to help boost businesses.
Concerns were also raised about engaging with Government departments with 23% of respondents citing procurement and tender processes for public sector contracts as being overly burdensome. This was closely followed by employment law (21%) and health and safety regulations (20%).
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
In our continued efforts to support the business community in Ireland, we’ve launched our Sage Business Experts Programme to recognise and reward experts across the business landscape.
Our Sage Business Experts come from businesses of all shapes and sizes, but they share one thing in common – a commitment to promoting business and helping other business owners.
Business Experts have been selected due to their:
- Contribution to the business community – sharing knowledge and helping others improve and develop their businesses
- Knowledge and influence – from first-hand experience, Sage Business Experts have a wealth of understanding about business challenges and solutions
- Online presence – from forums and Twitter, to LinkedIn and blogs, Sage Business Experts are extensively connected
In return for their support, Sage offers its Business Experts a range of benefits from access to Sage mentors and software to invitation to exclusive events and promotion of their business on the Sage blog and website.
We are proud to support these members of the business community; however their views do not represent that of Sage. We want Business Experts to be completely independent, and so members of the programme aren’t obliged to promote Sage in any way.
Meet our first three Sage Business Experts and watch this space for more in the next few weeks and months:
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage Ireland
Last week we started using our new verified representative account on boards.ie. By using a verified account we are able to answer questions about Sage and our products that appear in boards.ie discussion forums, from an official Sage brand account.
This means that people can be sure the information they are getting about Sage on boards.ie is correct and up to date if it comes from our official account. Our boards.ie verified account is operated by members of the Sage Business Advice Team which is led by Lorna Keogh.
I thought this was a good opportunity to talk to Nicola McNally from boards.ie and learn more about how the site can be used by business owners. I started by asking Nicola about how boards.ie came about:
BW: For anyone that is not familiar, can you give us a brief background of boards.ie?
NM: Boards.ie as we know it began life as a forum for the popular computer game ‘Quake’ in 1998. In 2000 it became Boards.ie and has continued to grow apace ever since. We now have over 600,000 registered members making us the largest online community in Ireland.
BW: About how many discussions are active on boards every month?
NM: There are an average of 16,500 posts made every day on the site which equates to over 462,000 posts per month. To give you an idea of the scale of the site we currently have over 34 million posts on our database. We have been included in the National Library of Ireland’s Digital Archive.
- 2.4 million unique users and 34 million page impressions
- 2.1 million conversations, and 34 million posts, about 1,300 different topics
- We reach 1/3 of Ireland’s internet audience
BW: Why do you think boards.ie was able to attract the number of users and discussions it does while other discussion forums have failed?
NM: We have grown from a relatively small and close community to a large one which is now composed of many smaller communities; we have over 600 forums catering to a huge range of interests. I think our sustained success is down to the dedication of the community; we have a great moderation team in place and as we have grown have had to tackle different obstacles. We also understand the need for flexibility, for example as more businesses have come to Boards looking to engage with members, we have altered our approach to commercial interaction-making it easier for both businesses and members to engage on the site.
By Mark Lee, Chairman of Tax Advice Network, Author, Blogger
There is an old adage that ‘People buy from people whom they know, like and trust’. Translated into the world of accountants, this means that it’s easier to win new clients and new fees only after people have got to know you, to like what they know about you and to trust you.
During my talk at the Sage ‘Future of Accounting’ Roadshow in Cork I stressed some related points.
It is clear to me that, so far as accountants are concerned Online Networking is often best regarded simply as a precursor to Offline (or face to face) networking. You can save a great deal of time by engaging online before you arrange to meet anyone – be they prospective new clients, influencers, referrers or recruits.
After all, face to face networking generally involves meeting strangers. The outcome will always be more profitable if you have engaged online beforehand. This enables you to generate some initial understanding and common ground before you meet up. So it should also mean you can avoid spending time travelling to meetings with time-wasters.
How else can accountants combine online and offline networking? Here are seven practical ways you can do this:
1. Reinforcing an interest or focus in a specific niche area
Online you will want to focus on your expertise in a specific area or sector. Face to face you can show you really know what you’re talking about. Your passion, experience and focus will always be more apparent ‘live’ than is possible to convey online.
2. Evidencing expertise and skills
There is a limit as to how compelling will be your profiles and online conversations. It is much easier to evidence genuine, relevant and commercial expertise face to face.
3. Finding like-minded people
Linkedin provides a fabulous opportunity to find prospective clients, influencers and referrers in local groups. Even if you engage with them online, they will only really get to know you (and vice versa) if you then follow up and meet offline.
To celebrate the Chinese new year, the year of the snake here is a special game of business snakes and ladders. New ventures in the Year of the Snake are reputed to be thoughtful and wise and to approach problems rationally and logically, seldom instinctively. Will you apply this cautious approach to your business in the year of the snake. Will you avoid the pitfalls and navigate the slippery road of starting a business to emerge successful?
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
I get asked a lot of questions about social media. Many business owners are skeptical about the benefits of social media and want to know how they can implement and measure social media for their business. That’s one of the reasons that we decided to produce a free guide for those that are starting out or are already using social media for their business, but still have lots of questions.
Seven out of ten businesses in Ireland are already using social media to connect with customers. Of those that are using social media 70% use Facebook, 61% Twitter and LinkedIn and 44% use YouTube (source – AMAS State Of The Net). Other popular social media channels being used include Google+, and Pinterest. Boards.ie is also a very popular forum in Ireland, although one that is sometimes overlooked by business owners. Search for your company name or product or service offering on boards.ie to see what people are saying about your company or what questions they are asking about the type of product or service that you provide.
by Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, you’re in good company.
More than 26,000 businesses start every year in Ireland. Starting a business is not easy. I started a business a few years ago and I can definitely say it is the hardest thing I ever did. That is why I am really delighted that Sage are producing a series of ebooks packed full of tips and advice to help people start and grow their business.
The first in this series is called ‘How To Start A Business‘ and it is available to download here.
Our guide can help get your business off to a great start and is packed with tips and practical advice that apply directly to starting a business in Ireland.
Our free ebook covers all the topics you need to start your business, including:
- Deciding when to launch your new business
- Boosting your start-up knowledge
- Deciding who you’ll sell to — and how
- How to analyse your competitors
- Creating a brand
- Writing your business plan
- Registering your business
- Managing your business finances
If you have any tips from your own experience, let us know by posting them in a comment below and we may include them in future editions of the ebook.
By Simon Bell, Commercial Product Manager at Sage
I was recently at a Christmas party night and over the course of the night the resident DJ played the usual mix of Christmas songs, cheesy pop from the last 20-30 years and also the famous Gangnam Style! It got me thinking, if someone had said to me a year ago that biggest musical impression of the year would be a comedy record made by a middle aged Korean pop star I definitely would not have believed them…to some extent I still can’t! So how is it that this particular song made it so big and the thing that struck me is that this is all down to the power of social media, so what can we learn from Psy, that can be applied in a business context?
In order to understand why this was so successful / impactful we should consider the following elements that they got absolutely right!
With any social media campaign the greatest value is only ever derived if the content behind it is worth looking at / reading / listening to etc so that people will share it. So what did Psy get right? Well the content hits on the key elements that people will share, these are;
Comedy – The comedic value of the content to the local audience in Korea helped to drive the early critical mass exposure. The song itself is essentially a parody on the lifestyles and behaviours of the self-proclaimed upper class Gangnam district. For those of us that don’t speak Korean the use of the now hallmark dance is also a really funny element that helped to spread its shareability.