March 28, 2014

If You Ever Go To Dublin Town

Nostaglia, defined as 'a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past', is a subtly powerful emotion that can transport us back to a time or era we thought lost forever. And we don't
have to be a hundred to feel nostalgia for what has gone before us. History starts from yesterday.

Dublin Made Me

The Little Museum Of Dublin, this week's Kickstart Your Business feature, tells the remarkable story of Dublin in the 20th Century. Launched in 2011, with an appeal to the public for historic objects, today this unique  museum hosts over 5000 artefacts in its collection. Housed in two rooms in a beautiful Georgian house on the corner of Dawson Street, the museum is fast becoming one of the 'must see' attractions of our fair city.

Keeping It Dublin All The Way

Like all great cultural and social endeavours, the Little Museum of Dublin needs support from corporate sponsors and patrons. Already, they can open their doors free of charge every Wednesday afternoon thanks to Johnson Mooney & O'Brien and  every Thursday evening courtesy of Guinness. As Gerard pointed out to Simon O'Connor, the museum's excellent curator, it will continue to be important to identify businesses that are looking to connect to their  past and can share the story of their place in the history of our city.

Over To You

What advice would you give to Simon on attracting key Dublin businesses? Listen back to the show on Kickstart Your Business.

We'd love to hear from you.

March 21, 2014

The Art Of Pulling The Perfect Pint

There you are the the bar, customers five deep and everyone looking to get served. Junior staff behind
the bar have a look of panic in their eyes and are serving the tallest and loudest first whilst clumsily pulling pints and reading the labels on bottles to identify the right whiskey. Then a senior barman appears and like magic, he is catching the next customer's eye and with a nod, takes the order, fills it effortlessly and has already taken two more customer's orders before the first has had time to pay.

It's All In The Training

Training great barmen (and women!) are what this week's Kickstart Your Business feature is all about. The Dublin Bar Academy was set up by Richard Linden and prides itself on providing practical and customer focussed training on all the skills required to run a great bar. The course is run by qulaified and expert instructors who between them have over a hundred years' experience behind the bar and an impressive range of specilaised skills that they are happy to pass onto the course participants.

That Little Extra

As Gerard pointed out during the show, there is a real pleasure in being sold to well and every excellent barman must also be master the skill of being an excellent salesperson. Customer service is about being offered the right choice at the right time and we are all happy to spend that little bit more when we are being looked after properly. 

Over To You

What advice would you give to Richard on the business of training people how to run a great bar? Listen back to the show on Kickstart Your Business and let us know what you think.

We'd love to hear from you.

March 18, 2014

How to Engage with the Media

Getting regular coverage in the media (the right kind of coverage) plays a powerful role in raising the profile of your brand. So how do you go about it?

There are two options:
·         Hire a public relations expert or firm to do it for you
·         Do your own PR.
If you’re in a position to hire a consultant that’s great, but if not, here are some tips on how you engage with the media.

But first…..

Before you start the process of dealing with the media, this article presumes that you have already worked out the following:

·         What your objectives are in engaging with the media i.e. what does success look like for you?
·         Who your customer is i.e. that you have defined what Islandbridge calls your ‘Bullseye Customer’;
·         What your target messages are – what you want to say to the media – and through them to your customers?

Who are your Target Media?

How do you establish who your target media are?  In a nutshell, it’s the media that your customers – current and potential - are consuming.

So ask yourself and ask them:

·         Where and how do they get their news? Print, broadcast or online – one, some or all of these?
·         What newspapers, consumer and/or magazines do your customers read?
·         Which radio shows and radio stations do they listen to?
·         Which TV shows do they enjoy?
·         Which websites do they regularly visit?
·         With which social media do they engage?
·         Whose blogs are they reading?
·         Who do they follow on LinkedIn?
Once you’ve answered these questions, draw up your own media contacts list – here’s how you do that:

·         Buy the newspapers, consumer and trade magazines that your customers read and look at them in a different way – note who is writing on the topics that are relevant to your customers and to your business;
·         Listen to the relevant radio shows – you don’t have to listen live, you can listen back via podcasts etc and note how they structure their shows e.g. the radio business shows cover business news, what it says in the papers, do interviews with entrepreneurs etc – listening to these shows helps you see where the opportunities are.
·         It’s the same advice for TV magazine shows such as ireland am, Morning Edition, Late Lunch Live and Today – watch them back on the Player and note the different segments in each show;
·         If your customers are active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – engage with them there;
·         Once you have your list of key journalists drawn up, follow them on Twitter and comment on their posts.  Some journalists look for contributors to a story they are doing via Twitter so make sure you’re in the mix!

What do I say?

The most important thing to remember is that journalists are only interested in something that is newsworthy – for example, while you may be investing in building a huge, state-of-the-art warehouse, don’t go on about the construction details, focus instead on the number of jobs the company’s expansion will create, the new markets it will open up for you and so on.

In one of my recent blogs, I drew up a list of 10 Tips on how to write a press release – take a look: How To Write A Press Release

Email or Phone?

It’s up to you. Personally, I prefer email first, then a follow-up phone call.  For the phone call, prepare your ‘elevator pitch’ in advance – focus on the news part of your story - and keep it short!

Watch what time you phone – don’t call the news desk of radio stations at five minutes to the hour when they’re finalising their hourly news bulletin – wait til ten or fifteen minutes past!

Useful Sites for Media Information:

If you want to know which newspapers and radio stations cover your county or the counties where your customers are based, if you need to find out the circulation and readership of national and regional media and information on radio, TV, print, outdoor, cinema and online advertising – it’s all available on  It’s a really helpful website that’s free to use – just register your name and email address and you’re in!

Another very useful site is – which has fantastic, up-to-the-minute databases of national and regional media including specialist media.  Whereas is geared towards advertisers, this one give you the editorial contacts i.e. the names and contact details for journalists nationwide.  It’s a paid-for service but well worth it if you are going to be in regular contact with the media. You can distribute your press releases via the site and/or post them as social media releases.

If you have any queries on anything in this piece, please email

March 14, 2014

Anyone For Mini-Tennis?

Some time ago, whilst on a visit to the UK Tennis Training Academy
at Bisham Abbey, professional tennis coach Annette Smith was fascinated to see children as young as six rallying and playing matches using softer balls over lower nets on smaller courts. Inspired by what she saw, Annette returned home and hatched her business plan.

Everyone Can Play

Proudly featured on the show this week, Annette's Tennis 4kids is an inspiring tennis programme for children aged between 5 and 12. Designed by Annette to bring quality tennis to children of all abilities, through primary school tennis programmes, after school clubs and tennis camps. Tennis4kids is the ideal introduction to sport where every child experiences success at their own level and it's great fun too!

Upping The Game

Annette has a quality product but is competing heavily for her target audience of educators and group leaders. The challenge here is to confidently present Tennis 4kids as an 'out of box' solution that will excite and attract children to the game and at the same time, effortlessly slot into the school or community programme.

Over To You

How do you suggest Annette might attract more children (and teachers and parents) to her business? Listen back to the show on Kickstart Your Business and let us know what you think.

We'd love to hear from you.

March 04, 2014

The Business Of Looking Good (For Two!)

Does my bump look big in this? 

As any expectant mother will tell you, it isn't always easy looking good when you are dressing for two. With more on their minds than trawling the shops searching for suitable clothes to wear, it can be a challenge for any expectant mum to find the right outfit for that special occasion.

The Personal Touch

Our featured business this week is StyleMama, Ireland's latest maternity boudoir. Like many great businesses, StyleMama was born when Gillian Ryan, herself an expectant mother, saw a gap in the market for maternity clothes for hire. Gillian's requirements as a mum-to-be are shared by expectant mothers across the country, and she has built a thriving consultancy with customers travelling from across the country for personalised sessions in her studio.

It's All In The Fit

The business model Gillian uses is a perfect fit for a one-woman operation but if she is looking to grow the business and build a successful brand, she needs to extend the consultancy model to include an on-line experience that mimics the one-to-one in-studio experience. 

An example of this would be to add a  'chat' function to the website where customers could receive Gillian's expert advice without having to visit the showrooms in person.

Over To You

How do you suggest Gillian might better reflect the consultancy experience through her website? Listen back to the show on the Kickstart Your Business blog and let us know what you think. 

We'd love to hear from you.