1. Tell a great story
Nothing quite inspires like a powerful story. From multinational corporations to local market stalls, every business has a unique and interesting story to tell. That’s why we love having them join #TeamGBS. But even with a really great product or service, if businesses cannot convey their stories properly, they may not have as much appeal to their audiences as they could. Authenticity is vital to a product’s backstory when using it for marketing. That, in turn, leads to loyal customers according to our ‘informed sources’. This gives a competitive edge over bigger players as discussed by Meath-based premium liqueur brand, Coole Swan (Episode 7), Natterjack Irish Whiskey (Episode 10) and Wexford Home Preserves (Episode 13). The recurring theme is to bring the customer on a journey, rather than driving the hard sell. This, in turn, can take a brand to the next level. Have a listen to their true life experiences.
2. Mentor, mentor, mentor
#TeamGBS can’t say it often enough. Mentors aren't just valuable, they are invaluable. A great mentor has the knowledge and experience most start-ups can’t expect to have because, well, they’re only starting up! Effective mentors are crucial for these companies, especially in the early stages of business when they are trying hard to establish themselves in competitive markets. Mentors act as a source of encouragement and support when the going gets rough, expand entrepreneurs’ viewpoints and perspectives to enable them to solve problems and act as trusted sources of guidance and support. And where to find those great mentors? Well, time after time the local Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is mentioned, so that sounds like a great place to start. #TeamGBS members Tracy Armstrong of Kombucha KO (Episode 18) and Conor Kerley of Phytaphix (Episode 30) sing (not a duet) about their mentors.
3. Teamwork makes the dream work
For SMEs to succeed, an effective and motivated team is crucial. In fact, teamwork can make or break a small business. The better employees collaborate, the more efficient they’ll be and most probably, the more successful a business will be. The Lismore Food Company (Episode 8) identified the importance of surrounding yourself with those who share your company’s passion and vision and ultimately have the same commitment to growing the business. Tony Smurfit, CEO of the worldwide Smurfit Kappa organisation, explains in Episode 14 how he keeps 43,000 team members motivated.
4. We shall overcome
Changing a business’s direction when the current product range is no longer cutting it is a tough call to make, especially during the current pandemic. Adapting (‘pivoting’ as we like to say on That Great Business Show) can inject much needed revenue into a struggling business and be the difference between sinking or swimming in the market. #TeamGBS members Emmett Kerrigan of All About Kombucha (Episode 29) and Lynda Coogan of A Class of Wine (Episode 5) embraced the infamous pivot and their businesses are now reaping the rewards.
5. Stand (out) and deliver
To thrive in a crowded market, businesses need a product or service to really, really stand out from the pack. Common themes that have emerged from entrepreneurs in That Great Business Show episodes are:
- Letting a product speak for itself by offering the very highest quality or premium product.
- Market high-quality products creatively. Yes, it is worth spending that little bit extra on appearances, branding and advertising.
The pandemic has changed SMEs forever. SMEs need to have the capacity to absorb stress and recover and thrive in new circumstances. Of the 100 entrepreneurs already interviewed on That Great Business Show, most mention resilience as essential to their work. Throwback to Episode 1 with Miena Rust of Miena’s Nougat, an entrepreneur who had to accelerate her business in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. Find out how she bounced back with the active support of family.
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers and risk-taking is not for the faint hearted. It takes courage, determination and a big pot of luck to create and grow a successful SME (ask John Teeling, Episode 28). And it’s tough, tough and did we say, tough? Somewhere in that mix, it’s important that entrepreneurs actually enjoy and get a sense of satisfaction from what they do. Work-life balance sometimes takes a big, big hit for entrepreneurs but crucially entrepreneurs believe that the sacrifices are worth it. Such is the case for Fergus Kerrigan of Ethos CBD (Episode 23). Listen to him here.