SWIBN April Meeting Olwen Dawe Owner, Irish Business Intelligence President, Network MayoDelighted to speak to the SWIBN group!
What I’m going to talk about this evening…•A little bit about me…•Irish Business Intelligence – what’s it allabout?•The Importance of Networking & BuildingRelationships•And Finally…a few tips
A little bit about me…•I’m a hybrid… from Co. Galway, studied in Dublin and live in Co. Mayo [thebeautiful tidy town, Westport].•My professional background… small business management andoperations, PR, marketing and HRM•Industrial Relations degree [I learned all about building relationshipsthanks to the unions!]•Small business is what I love… though I’ve worked for MNCs and largecorporates, you can get lost in the machinery of a large company… I like to be able tomake a difference.•No industry scares me [that I know of, anyway]…I’ve workedin telecoms, manufacturing, FMCG, retail, design, finance.
A little bit about me…•I knew I wanted to work with people in business… though ittook me a while to navigate my way into my current ‘space’.•The Corporate World… is an acquired taste and I realised that itwasn’t for me.•However… the cut and thrust of big business contextualises all that ispossible for small business.•I’ve followed a passion for development, ideas andinnovation… into what I do now. It has been scary at times, but greatnonetheless.•I’m a devotee to the idea of ‘self-actualisation’… keepsearching until you find what fulfils you in your work [you’ll never work a day!]
… and what about my business?•Irish Business Intelligence started in 2010•Catering for start-ups, small and developing businesses.•Offering hands-on, practical support and advice to entrepreneurs andbusiness-owners on getting their business to market and overcoming the day-to-day glitches in developing the business.•Working cohesively with enterprise and innovation organisations toensure new businesses are given the support they need to grow.•Our aim is to give businesses the tools they need to confidently andprofessionally enter the marketplace and generate sales [and revenue!]•Services include: one-off development report, monthly coaching andonsite consulting…
… and what about my business?•What was the thinking behind Irish Business Intelligence? Alittle frustration with the oft-ignored areas of small business; a need forprofessionalism and standards; a belief that Irish small businesses are majorlycreative and often just need guidance.•Personal motivations: I had been unofficially doing this type of workfor colleagues and friends for quite some time, and genuinely felt it was whatI wanted to do for a living.•Good timing: Becoming self-employed was on the ‘radar’ for quite sometime, but I just didn’t know when…•The Greater Good! A real need to contribute to local / regionalbusinesses.•Proud of my country… we produce great entrepreneurs, artists,scientists – we’re great thinkers! I wanted to contribute.
The importance of networking in small biz…•I joined Network Mayo in 2007, having returned to the West… it’s been anextraordinary support mechanism. I’ve learned so much!•In 2009 I was nominated for the first Network Mayo Businesswomen of theYear awards, winning the Employee category… I also made the nationalNetwork Ireland shortlist.•2011 President – our theme ‘Inspiring Innovation’.•Why? Because innovation, and supporting it, is integral in the recovery anddevelopment of our country…•What’s been on the programme? Q1: Mary Davis [MD Special Olympics],Avine McNally [SFA], Stuart McLaughlin [Business to Arts]… watch this space!•Women’s networks are key in nurturing and enhancing femaleentrepreneurship…It is up to us to ensure that we do everything we can tosupport one another…
The importance of networking in small biz…•Networking is KEY for small business… work just doesn’t come in the door[in the same way as it might have in the past].•Relationships are important: ‘pay it forward’ – remember doing good isgood for business…•KEY! Business-people want to work with people they trust… value, qualityand professionalism are of the essence.•The strength of weak ties! Remember that you may not benefit from adirect contact, but their contacts…•Follow-up is important: Don’t let those business cards gather dust!
… and finally!•These days… it’s all about synergies! Whose business can your servicecompliment or vice-versa?•PAY IT FORWARD… good opportunities to help others are good for business[however, don’t become a freebie junkie]•Stay ahead… there’s plenty happening online and offline, keep up to date andwatch the trends… don’t become a dinosaur (remember what happened to them?)•Know how to sell yourself? PR yourself? Watch at the angles beingtaken on Nationwide / in the SBP.•Go with the gut… sounds cheesy, but it’s true.•Always be a little scared! The comfort zone isn’t a great place to bePERMANENTLY.
… a few tips in the key of C…•Cashflow… availability = flexibility…•Credit… getting your hands on it if you need it tomanage your business’s development.•Clients… looking after them, going the extra milewhen necessary but not letting them run yourbusiness for you.•Confidence… in your business / service / product…and most importantly, yourself.