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Based in Galway - working with clients across Ireland.

Blog of Donncha Hughes, Marketing & Business Plans for Startups

4 Point Formula to Win funding – The Startup Pitch [Book review]

I assist startups via training and mentoring to pitch for early stage investment to include enterprise agency supports such as New Frontiers and Competitive Start Fund in Ireland. I was delighted to find a superb book by Chris Lipp called ‘The Startup Pitch : A proven formula to win funding’. At 160 pages, it is […]

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Galway’s Startup Scene : 2017 Snapshot

  In late 2016, Startupblink contacted me to write a ‘Startup Ecosystem article‘ on Galway to feature on their global website. I agreed and enlisted the assistance of John Breslin, NUIG, PorterShed and Startup Galway; and Barry Egan, Enterprise Ireland West Region. The brief was very specific with set questions to be answered such as: […]

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Happy Christmas & A little free Gift

A quick blogpost to wish everyone in Galway and startup land a very Happy Christmas in 2016. A gift : 2.5 minutes of your time I love Lackagh Choir’s When a Child is Born available to listen free on Soundcloud. Pure Brilliant – well done to all involved. Their first CD was superb so presume […]

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Dealing with difficult clients as a Freelance Consultant

I was asked recently as part of a Q&A to discuss how I deal with ‘difficult clients’ or customers. Having provided a short and off the top of the head response, this post is my reflections on this very interesting question:     Starting Point : Choose your Customers Wisely   As a freelancer, you […]

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Role of SEO in marketing your freelance business

Have you ever wondered does SEO, inbound marketing and a blog work for a small business? How important is SEO and content marketing within the marketing mix of a freelancer. I think that the answer is that it has been beneficial for my self employed consultancy and training business based in the West of Ireland. […]

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Good strategy; the importance of proximate goals

Goal setting is a key component of strategy development but it is not Strategy. In many cases, the key question ‘How are we going to do that’ is not answered. Strategy is not what you hope your performance is going to be. Strategy is about how you are going to get there. This is one […]

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A quick explanation and example of Cashflow (video)

I am not an accountant but I do my own accounts. I also work with clients on financial projections. Finance is at the core of business and marketing. Cashflow is the core of finances. This is a short blogpost to explain Cashflow to business novices using a somewhat realistic scenario. The details are outlined in […]

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Business Model Canvas for Social Enterprise

As I explained in this LinkedIn Pulse article entitled “Inspiring: Social Enterprise in Galway 2016”, I am involved in delivering a new ‘Start a Social Enterprise’ programme on behalf of SCCUL Enterprises and Galway City Partnership – first quarter of 2016 . Workshop 2 addressed business planning. Before the programme commenced, I was wondering whether […]

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Articles about CSF for InspiredStartups.com

The Competitive Start Fund (CSF) is undoubtedly a significant component of Enterprise Ireland’s suite of financial supports for early stage startups as per this Slideshare.     I recently wrote two blogpost articles for InspiredStartups.com with advice for startup promoters in terms of completing their application for Enterprise Ireland’s CSF. This short article outlines the […]

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Thumbs up for Hubspot Academy Inbound Certification

I received an email from Hubspot Academy around the 3rd week of December 2015. The email offered a free online programme to learn all about Inbound Marketing. After undertaking the programme, in short intervals over a few days, I successfully took the test and received my Inbound Certification as per badge on sidebar.  This post […]

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Two hour Negotiations Workshop, DCU Invent, 10th November

Donncha provides two hour, half day and full day Negotiations Workshops. Please contact to discuss your requirements.     I was recently asked by Maria Johnston, Operations & Enterprise Development Manager, DCU Invent Centre to deliver a two hour session on Negotiations at 10AM on Tuesday 10th November, 2015 for clients and startups. This post […]

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Ten things we probably knew and were reminded of during Startup Gathering Galway 2015

Last Friday (9th October 2015) was spent meeting new business acquaintances and talking to almost every startup promoter and supporter that I know in Galway. I attended 6 events throughout the entire day from 8AM till 9PM. Here are ten things (as recorded on Twitter) that I probably knew already but was reminded of:   […]

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[Book Review Part 2] Recommended Startup Marketing Books for Fast Growth Businesses

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This is the second part of a two part blogpost about books directly focused on Marketing for fast growth oriented startups. My most recent post reviewed the superb ‘Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers’ by Gabrial Weinberg and Justin Mares, 2014 and this post will review Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies on How Today’s […]

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[Book Review] My favourite Startup Marketing Books for Fast Growth Businesses

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  In December 2013, I wrote a blogpost selecting my four favourite Lean Startup books from the many books on the area of Lean Startup. Since then I have been on the lookout for books more directly focused on Marketing for fast growth oriented startups.  This article highly recommends two such books:   1. Traction: […]

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[Book Review] Disciplined Entrepreneurship : 24 Steps to a Successful Startup by Bill Aulet (2013)

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I have just finished reading Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet, Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Published in 2013, it is a superb book (Book available in Ireland via Easons).   This review does not seek to summarise the book – for that I suggest you read this excellent post ‘A book in […]

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About Startup Galway Pitches Meetup

In March 2015, I volunteered to become a joint Co-ordinator along with Conor O’Donovan of the Galway Startup Businesses Meetup which is now a subgroup of Startup Galway and rebranded as Startup Galway Pitches Meetup. The idea of the group is to provide a forum for early stage startups to network with their peers, with […]

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Date for Diary : ‘Business Application Writing for Success’

As you may know, I am a member of the SCCUL Mentors programme. This provides pro bono mentoring for small business in the greater Galway area. Managed by Ballybane Enterprise Centre, the SCCUL Awards is the undoubted highlight event of the year, while the Centre also hosts regular seminars on topics of interest to local […]

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About The Startup Business Planning Jigsaw

Managing a startup business is NOT easy. Startup entrepreneurs have lots of balls in the air. Lean Startup books, theory and practice are brilliant but the question is which model or framework do you follow and when – and are they all relevant to an Irish startup situation? To address this dilemma Donncha devised the […]

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The Dip By Seth Godin : A Book Review

Being the Best in the World is seriously Underrated … Seth Godin The Dip   You might be wondering how I came to read Seth Godin’s book, ‘The Dip – The Extraordinary Benefits of Knowing When to Quit (And When to Stick)’ published in 2007 early in 2015. He mentioned the idea of The Dip […]

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Working with a Startup to Prepare a Business Plan

I am delighted to publish a Case Study of and testimonial for my work. It outlines in detail how I worked with a specific client to prepare a business plan for their business. It details the time involved and the process and methodology.     What is the Case Study about?   The document addresses […]

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Running a ‘freelance’ business in Ireland in 2015

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote an article reviewing 2013 and setting out my business ambitions for the year. I wrote it firstly as a planning and review mechanism for myself; secondly, on basis that it might be useful for anyone in the same boat; and finally, to highlight issues that have to be […]

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What ‘grants’ and other supports apply to my startup business?

If you have ever wondered what supports that you and your startup business could and should apply for, read on:

This blogpost and the accompanying presentation will categorise the supports depending on the stage of development of your startup company: pre-enterprise; early stage; and established startup

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Merry Christmas 2014

2014 was a great year for my business thanks to all my wonderful customers! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for retaining my services – particularly all those repeat customers! I would also like to thank everyone who thought of me and mentioned my name when asked for assistance in areas which […]

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Customer personas, who rules the roost?

Looking to create a ‘customer persona’ to inform your marketing and promotion and wondering how? This post may be helpful as it firstly provides an example and then lists some questions to consider as you formulate a description of your Bullseye customer.   Starting Point : Who is the Customer?   Any discussion of marketing […]

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Fifteen SME Marketing & Business Strategy Takeaways

I was delighted to be asked by Kinvarra Business Network to attend a recent meeting to present on a topic of my choice within the area of Marketing. I prepared for a slot of about 40 minutes plus Q&A.   15 Marketing Takeaways   I decided to title my presentation ’15 SME Marketing & Business […]

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Crafting your Value Proposition : EI New Frontiers Blogpost

I was delighted to be selected as one of the first contributors to new Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers blog – the post addressed ‘how to craft your value proposition‘.   New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme, delivered at a local level by Institutes of Technology and funded by Enterprise Ireland. I am delighted […]

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SCCUL Mentoring Programme Autumn Business Seminar

I was delighted to be asked by Liam Bluett and Michael Smyth of Ballybane Enterprise Centre to speak at their upcoming Autumn Business Seminar. It takes place in the Clayton Hotel, Galway on Wednesday 10th September at 6.00 PM with registration at 5.30 PM.The event will primarily provide a SCCUL Mentors Update by Colman Collins, […]

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Do HPSU’s deliver? Yes!

I am often asked by startup entrepreneurs what makes a High Potential Startup Company or HPSU? as defined by Enterprise Ireland. While answering this question, I am struck by the fact that I am never asked the follow up question which I have often pondered myself: So how do the companies who are selected as […]

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How to address ‘Exit Strategy’ in your Business Plan?

I am often asked what text should be included in an investor ready business plan under the section ‘Exit Strategy’. This is to answer the question for the investor, ‘How will we get our money back’. My general view on Exit Strategy is that it is a very difficult issue to answer properly because it […]

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A view of crowdfunding in Ireland

I don’t claim to be an expert on Crowdfunding but I am lucky enough to know Olive O’Connor, a mumpreneur who is currently making great progress in raising €50,000 for her startup so that she can bring the MediStori to market in the coming months. I blogged recently about her campaign and we were both […]

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