To Start a Business Takes Courage: Summary


This is the final piece of our series which we’ve published to share the common challenges that most of us will face at some point in our business journey. We’re so thankful to have been able to speak to some of the great women in business who we met at the Women’s Inspire Conference last month in Galway.

The challenges we were reminded of at the conference are so real – no person is alone when they feel the struggle of starting up a business. Recognising common issues and addressing them as early on as possible is important to ensure our business runs smoothly, and displays a sense of leadership.

Lucy Hall spoke to us about managing Cash Flow and developing processes within a business at the very beginning which, if we’re not used to doing, can be really difficult to tackle. We advised keeping your accounting very clear and up-to-date, and using a cash flow management tool such as Pulse or Float. As for developing processes at the beginning, delegating work at first can become difficult so learning how to let others take control of some of your work is important. Use a popular collaboration and teamwork tool such as Trello or Slack so you can assign tasks to others and monitor the work being done. Read the full piece.

In our second piece, we spoke to Noreen Taylor Doyle who mentioned finding distribution and stepping online as some of her biggest challenges. When we first start a business, we absolutely must assert ourselves in order to meet new people who can help us and potentially work with us. Noreen resolved her distributor issue by pitching at a food fair as they were then approached. Mixing with others is key. For stepping online, there is always going to be a worry of whether or not it will work out, so it is important to do the research and know exactly who you’re aiming at online. Try and catch their attention. Read the full piece.

CEO of MediStori, Olive O’Connor, gave us great insight into how she started her business and the difficulties she faced including her own mental blocks and presenting her business idea accurately. Tackling your own mind can be the hardest but we need to remember that trying and failing is better than not trying at all. When it comes to marketing our business idea, presenting it appropriately and relevantly is important. Getting honest feedback from different people is necessary, however try to choose people who aren’t friends or family. Read the full piece.

Philipa Jane Farley is a privacy law specialist and she has mentioned the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a challenge that many of us will face now that we must shift our marketing to comply with it. This will come into effect on the 25th of May, 2018. We must fully understand it and that can be difficult given the amount of information. However, there is a website here which can help explain everything. Learning how to conduct a privacy audit is key. Knowing that you comply with the regulation will give you peace of mind. Read the full piece.

You can find each piece in full on this blog too, and be sure to sign up to hear about new articles on all things SME. We have some exciting new content coming this way.

To Start a Business Takes Courage: Philipa Jane Farley

series-blogWe attended the Women’s Inspire Network conference in Galway a few weeks ago, and as we spoke to some of the amazing women in business, we were reminded of the challenges we can face while setting up a business. This could be in terms of finance, stepping online and a range of other issues, including the challenges we face within ourselves. If you are struggling with certain things while trying to get your business off the ground, just remember: you’re not alone.

Philipa Jane Farley
Business Consultant
Privacy Law Specialist
Twitter @JustCallMePips

Philipa is a privacy law specialist who has worked in IT and legal advisory positions for 20 years, and is an expert on the General Data Protection Regulation. She and her family moved to Ireland from South Africa in 2017.

“A big challenge for me has been the shift in marketing with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There’s a website explaining everything. You can become so paralysed by it so find somebody in your circle who knows what they’re talking about.”

The GDPR will be introduced on May 25th 2018, and anyone in business (individual or organisation) must be aware of it. It’s true that you can become lost in a sea of information, but there is a helpful website here, which explains everything you need to know. Learn how to run a privacy audit on your business, so you can be sure that you are complying with regulation.

“Also, trusting that people will come to you and use your service – you have to make yourself look so good that they do.”

It can be hard to trust that you will generate leads and customers in the beginning stage of business. The fear of failure can be hard to ignore. But if you have faith in your business, are confident in its values and are marketing those values correctly, you are likely to do well, even if it takes a while to get off the ground.

Find out more about Philipa on her website,
Keep an eye on our social media for the next part of our series coming next week.

To Start a Business Takes Courage: Olive O’Connor

series-blogWe attended the Women’s Inspire Network conference in Galway a few weeks ago, and as we spoke to some of the amazing women in business, we were reminded of the challenges we can face while setting up a business. This could be in terms of finance, stepping online and a range of other issues, including the challenges we face within ourselves. If you are struggling with certain things while trying to get your business off the ground, just remember: you’re not alone.

Olive O’Connor
CEO of MediStori
International healthcare speaker
Twitter @OliveBlogs

Olive is CEO of MediStori, the personal health organiser designed to keep all your medical appointments, medications and medical history in one place. This is inspired by her family’s number of health conditions, which can be hard to keep track of without MediStori. She is a wife, and also a mother to 4 children.

“My biggest inward challenge was to pass the mental block; to pass the fear of ‘can I do it? Is it worth the risk?’.”

Tackling your own challenges mentally can be the hardest. We must assess the situation and be honest with ourselves, all the while thinking ‘it’s better to take the leap and find out if it works, than to never try at all’.

“Another equally big challenge was restructuring and marketing my story in different ways to different people, all the while keeping it accurate and relevant. I had to know my core message very clearly while knowing what way to talk about it.”

Presenting your business idea to different people can come with a lot of work. Not everyone wants the same thing from a business. Find your USPs (unique selling points). A good idea to test your business idea is to talk to other people. Beware of who you talk to. Family and friends are often motivated by support for you or fear for you, rather than the validity of your business idea. Try to find people whose opinion is not clouded by emotional support.

Find out more about MediStori on the website,
Keep an eye on our social media for the next part of our series coming next week.

To Start a Business Takes Courage: Noreen Taylor Doyle

series-blogWe attended the Women’s Inspire Network conference in Galway a few weeks ago, and as we spoke to some of the amazing women in business, we were reminded of the challenges we can face while setting up a business. This could be in terms of finance, stepping online and a range of other issues, including the challenges we face within ourselves. If you are struggling with certain things while trying to get your business off the ground, just remember: you’re not alone.

dbfopaswaaa6le6-jpg-largeNoreen Taylor Doyle
Co-founder of The Irish Biltong Company
Co-founder of Haynestown Meats Ltd
Twitter @DoyleNorDoyle

Noreen is a co-founder of Haynestown Meats Ltd and its sister company The Irish Biltong Company, a popular high protein snack which is available across many counties and also online. She is also a speaker and strong mother of 4 children.

“Getting a distributor was my biggest challenge. The demand was there but it was how to get somebody to distribute to that demand. Eventually, we were approached while pitching at a food fair, so that happened organically.”

Asserting yourself when first setting up a business is important. Network with people, visit conferences & fairs, and get your business’s name out there. Make sure you have easily accessible contact details – a business card with your website address & email is key. Simply searching online for a connection mightn’t be enough. Going out and getting involved is an important way to make contacts and meet people who can help you.

“With stepping online, we were concerned with “will they understand the brand? Will they engage?”, so we were very specific and did background work prior to stepping online. We used specific targeting to get to the right audience and then reached out to influencers of that audience.”

The fear of failure while spreading awareness of our business online is sometimes hard to avoid. It is crucial to plan out exactly who your target market is and to know your customer well. Do the research at the beginning and figure out the best way to aim your message at them online. Think about what they would want from your business, what would catch their attention, and why they should take an interest.

Find out more about The Irish Biltong Company on their website,
Keep an eye on our social media for the next part of our series coming during the week.

To Start a Business Takes Courage: Lucy Hall

series-blogWe attended the Women’s Inspire Network conference in Galway 2 weeks ago, and as we spoke to some of the amazing women in business, we were reminded of the challenges we can face while setting up a business. This could be in terms of finance, stepping online and a range of other issues, including the challenges we face within ourselves. If you are struggling with certain things while trying to get your business off the ground, just remember: you’re not alone.

dbfopaswaaa6le6-jpg-largeLucy Hall
Creator of Social Media Planner
Co-director of Avviso Media
Co-founder of Social Day
Twitter @LucysHall

Lucy is a jargon free, straight talking social media consultant. She is also a founder of SocialDayUK – the UK’s biggest Social Media Marketing festival and a Director at Avviso Media; an agency that specialises in creating content for social media channels.

“Cash flow was a major issue for me at the beginning. It was hard to understand.”

One of the challenges that Lucy faced is a pretty common one among those who are new to business. Managing cash flow can be tough at any point of your business journey. Having your books and accounting clear, simple and up-to-date is vital so hiring a professional can be very helpful if you feel a bit lost. Keep tabs on invoices and customer payments, and separate your business finances from your personal life. Make sure you have an organised and steady system in place. Some popular cash flow management tools include Pulse, Float and Cashflow Manager.

“Also, getting processes into place. As you grow in a business, delegation can become a problem.”

Sometimes when we’ve spent a certain amount of time working on projects of our own, it can be hard to let them go and let others take some control. It’s good to think about what you have and what you can manage. Consider delegating some work in order to help develop processes and do more with the same amount of time. This will ultimately aid in a more efficient workflow of your business.

Trello, Slack and Asana are just some of the available collaboration tools out there which will make assigning tasks, sharing files and communication between co-workers much easier.

Find out more about Lucy on her website,
Keep an eye on our social media for the next part of our series coming next week.

Virtual Assistants for Small Businesses


Hiring a Virtual Assistant for your Small Business

When setting up a small business, it can often be challenging as we can end up solely managing most of the business’s workload and many find it difficult to balance it on a daily basis. A full-time assistant does seem like the solution to this, but it can be very expensive to hire them and too much of a commitment for some new business owners, especially in terms of increased utility fees and insurance. This is where the convenience of a virtual assistant steps in.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is a remote online helping-hand who takes on tasks for you in order to reduce your overall workload, and can be situated anywhere in the world. A VA is usually an individual but can sometimes be comprised of a whole company of employees. These two kinds of VAs suit different businesses and business owners, depending on their needs.

With an individual, there is an opportunity for getting to know the person who will be taking on various jobs and tasks in your business. This is especially good for business owners who are sensitive about their business data. Having someone you can directly contact, converse with regularly and train to your standards are bonus features of an individual VA.

VA companies are also very helpful, especially for businesses with greater needs as they can manage larger jobs and project work by allocating tasks to multiple employees who can collaboratively get the work done faster than an individual could.

What kind of help can a Virtual Assistant provide?

Depending on the type of business you run, a VA can offer lots of help, especially with your online presence. Tasks they can generally perform include managing schedules, running customer service, taking on admin tasks, order fulfilment, managing social media accounts and campaigns, accounting, etc. The list goes on, and each task depends on the skillset of the VA in mind, however training for a particular task could be an option.

Keeping in touch with VAs via email and messaging is a great way to send quick notifications but video calls are a better way to build a relationship and explain the business and its goals in full.

Advice on hiring a Virtual Assistant

Before hiring, consider how close you want to work with a VA and implement these thoughts when choosing someone. Think about what tasks you can pass on that a VA will be able to perform with or without specific training, and if you are experienced enough in this task to explain what needs to be done with it. Consider how many hours should be dedicated to it.

The Growth of Small Businesses Online


It can’t be denied that the web is changing the way we do business – no matter our size. In previous times, businesses grew at a different pace. Now, everyone is desperately trying to get ahead and the web is fuelling this race. As a result, there are many developments in businesses, particularly small ones, which will continue to evolve alongside the digital landscapes.


With the adoption of ever-changing digital tools, new markets can be reached (and created). Not only is the web an extremely important factor in relation to small business growth, it is what connects businesses and these new markets. The use of digital tools help a business to analyse market behaviour. Results of this analysis guide businesses in improving their digital strategies.

A large part of the concept of new market is the growing generation of web users. Having shoppers who are pretty much raised online rapidly increases the need for extensive online accessibility. However, a key component in the evolution of these new markets are the products and services that said markets circulate around. Naturally, there is now an emphasis on digital products and the services that accompany them, therefore keeping up with trends is vital to stay relevant in future times.

Using even the most basic of digital features will make your business more available for consumers to get involved with. For example, making your business accessible via all types of digital devices, such as tablets, mobile and wearables (smart watch etc.). This is something that most new consumers expect to be in place.


Small businesses who have a strong online presence tend to be faster growing businesses – on and off the web. Given that the majority of shoppers now research products on the web before making a purchase (anywhere), having a strong online presence will help to propel a business forward in comparison to those who don’t. The “omnishopper”, who both researches and purchases online across various devices and also offline, is a prime customer for pushing this growth.

There are many factors as to why online presence leads to quick growth of a small business. These include social media, online advertising, website visibility and the strength of a business’s online presence. Optimising each of these factors helps to contribute to the end goal. Other factors include using advanced digital tools to help analyse customer behaviour in an industry, and can give insight on how a business can use this data to better their performance. The outlook for 2021 is that there will be a worldwide figure of 2.14 billion digital buyers, therefore it is important to utilise these elements of speedy growth to the best of our ability. The opportunity of expansion is increasing all the time, it seems.


Due to the speed of growth for small businesses, there is subsequently more opportunity for employment. The web is a relatively new part of business growth, so there are a lot more new jobs that are available, especially for the generation of digital natives. The bigger the business growth, the broader the range of jobs becomes.

Businesses with a digital-focused business strategy are likely to continue to create jobs with the development of the web, in e-commerce and marketing form. Many businesses who are known to thrive online as well as in store have dedicated teams focused on making their business as visible and relevant as possible. It is important to devote the proper amount of time to this and provide ongoing maintenance, while keeping up with digital trends, therefore having multiple pairs of hands available is necessary.

The fact is that the web increases small business success, and therefore some older businesses are falling behind. There are digital factors that may hold businesses back such as a lack of digital/technical skills, little access to broadband, lack of funding and also an old-fashioned mindset. In order to push growth in your business, having a strong online presence is key.

5 Technology Trends of 2018

5 Technology Trends of 2018

Over the next year, we will see a lot more of certain modern technological developments. Marx’s technological determinism echoes with the introduction of artificial intelligence and the likes. This is true of not only advancements in computer technology, but of technology as scientific knowledge that will affect the development and evolution of all industries. This technology is already in effect, however it is predicted to boom in 2018.

Voice Assistance

Voice assistants no longer hold the reputation of being strangely futuristic as more and more people incorporate them into their daily lives. The emergence of technology such as Google Home and Amazon Echo creates an extensive list of possibilities of what one can do through technology. There are so many readily-available features, from translating words into different languages to controlling home appliances, with a huge range of actions in between. As for business, this is a whole new landscape for advertising, business presence and modern services.

Artificial Intelligence

AI-first is a fairly new concept, overtaking the original mobile-first approach. Although this seems like a daunting concept, AI is present in more of our daily lives than many of us realise. Gmail, for example, uses machine learning for multiple things we wouldn’t give more than 1 second thought to. Ever found that Gmail delayed sending your email to ask if you have attached your file? It uses machine learning to scan your email for signs that you meant to do this. Using AI even just to enhance workability could propel your business forward as less time is being spent on admin, data accumulation and basic digital interactions.

Product & Service Personalisation

The personalisation of the consumer’s experience through products and services is an important strategy for business. Example: beauty brand No7’s “Match Made Service” which scans a customers skin to find their perfect shade of foundation – a personalised experience with a personalised product. This was one of the first in the UK which brought confused customers running to them for a scan with their special technology. This led the way for personalised or custom-blended makeup services, which most big makeup brands offer these days. The satisfaction of “the individual” will aid in increased competitiveness of a business, as customers care about “me” more than “we, the public”.

Data Valuing Tools

Personal data as a valuable asset is becoming more of a concern for users as talks of it being sold to large multinational corporations circulate on the net. The introduction of personal data value tools/platforms will assist consumers in discovering the worth of their data as the reality of data brokers sets in. The fact is that an enormous amount of data is collected by social media companies every second, however the creators of this data get nothing in return since they do not own it. However, some are thinking of ways to work around this, such as storing data on a decentralised blockchain in order to gain control over its access.

Industry Convergence

Industries are beginning to connect and merge with the development of technology in each sector. It acts as a commons on which all industries can evolve through new products and services, transforming into a modern day version of what they once were. For example, it makes sense nowadays to buy our mobile plan through our TV and broadband provider, rather than through an external mobile provider. Once upon a time, we would have had a mobile plan with O2, a TV subscription to NTL and a internet service from Eircom. It’s safe to say that Virgin Media and Sky have successfully converged all three industries into one multi-servicing giant.

5 Tips To Running a Profitable Google AdWords™ Campaign

1. Set the Objective

Ask this question: what is it you want your Google AdWords™ campaign to achieve (do you want to generate more calls, sell more products or services, drive more relevant traffic to your website). Setting your objective will help you design your campaign and define your goals. Also, it is important that your results be measurable so you can determine if your AdWords campaign is worth the investment.

Book a Free AdWords Consultation.

2. Research your Audience

It is vital you verify there is a search volume online for the products or services your business offers. Verifying that there is a search volume will help you decide if Google AdWords™ is right for your business. The Google Keyword Planner™ ( provides insights into how keywords and phrases might perform in Google. It also shows how competitive the keywords and phrases are, and estimates how much it will cost you to advertise for each keyword and phrase.

3. Review Your Website

There is no point in driving customers to your website if your site is low quality and performs poorly on Mobile Devices. If your site is low quality and not optimised for mobile devices, you will end up paying more for your AdWords campaign and customers will lose trust in your business. The speed and design of your website are your keys to success.

Get a Free Website Health Check.

4. Build the Campaign

Once you have set your objective, identified the keywords and phrases, and are happy your website is of a good standard, you can then start to build your AdWords campaign.

Here are three things to consider:

Expanded Ad Text
In a nutshell, expanded text ads let you include more information about your business in the ad copy. We could dive deep into this, but Google already has some great information that can be found here.

Include Keywords In Your Ad Copy
Put keywords you are bidding on into the headline of your ad. For example, if you searched for “cheap holiday packages” and saw two ads, one ad showed “cheap holiday packages”, and another ad showed, “book a vacation online”. It is evident you would click the ad for “cheap holiday packages” as it is more relevant to what you wanted to find.

In AdWords, you can add snippets of information about what you are offering in the form of extensions. Sitelink extensions take users to specific pages of your website. Callout extensions show different offers or services that you provide (for example 24 hour service). Location extensions can help potential customers find your business by including your business address in the ads. Including some or all these will help lower the cost of your AdWords campaign.

5. Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaign. After your campaign is running for a week or so look at the search terms, that trigger your ads to show. Gain insights from the search terms report and add the search terms that are unsuitable to your business as Negative Keywords. Keep doing this continuously throughout the lifespan of your campaign. By adding Negative Keywords, you can focus more on the keywords that matter most to your customers.

These are some tips that will help you drive down the cost of your AdWords campaign. Most small businesses struggle with AdWords because they cannot dedicate the time to optimising the campaign. We would suggest you devote at least 45 minutes to 1 hour a week optimising your campaigns.

If you are new to FCR Media or an existing customer do not hesitate to book a meeting with one of our Digital Marketing Specialists who can help set you up with a profitable Google AdWords™ campaign.

360 Virtual Tours leave lasting impressions on consumers

A. 360 Virtual Tours help bring businesses to life in the digital space.

Companies can showcase all the details their customers love.

Click and drag to explore Paris Texas Bar and Smokehouse

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B. Consumers can experience a business with a 360 Virtual Tour.

They walk around, explore and interact with a premises points of interest.

Experience Epic Ireland in 360.

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C. 360 Virtual Tours Promote Engagement.

360 Virtual Tours show on Google search results, Google Maps, listings but they can also be embedded on a website and shared on Facebook.

Businesses can encourage engagement by showcasing their business in 360 on, Facebook and Google. This helps build trust and leaves a lasting impression on consumers.

If you are new to FCR Media or an existing customer don’t hesitate to book a meeting with one of our Digital Marketing Specialists who can help promote your business online.