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Come on down...the price is right! - Brian MacAuleyPosted: 19/02/2019

The more mature readers will remember the TV game show in the 80’s and 90’s called “The Price is Right” with compere Leslie Crowthers and later Bruce Forsythe. Contestants had to guess the prices of consumer products and the closest to the recommended retail price won. The trick was to guess what they believed to be the products’ value for money.

When it comes to setting a price in business, this is something that is quite often overlooked. The simple way of pricing is to add up all the costs (materials, wages and overheads), add a percentage of profit and that’s it -  the sales price. However, when it comes to the customers perception of value for money this ‘cost plus pricing’ method could be way off the mark - too high and it’s perceived as expensive, too low and the customer may doubt its quality.

Every business that sells a product or service must master the art of pricing. But, when you think about pricing your own product, remember that pricing is not a point - it’s a range, between the lowest price at which you are willing to sell and the highest price at which the customer is willing to buy. So what will determine the final figure? What can a business do to move into the higher end of that range or to even price the product so that the range itself moves upward? 

When consumers are asked about a new product, they generate a price point by thinking of other products that it can be compared against. Psychologists that study buying behaviour have established that we make judgments based on the first piece of information we have, even if that “anchor” is entirely unrelated to the problem at hand. In retailing, this phenomenon is exploited by presenting customers three options of ascending quality: the cheapest option, the premium option and the luxury option (commonly called “good-better-best”). We see it all the time now in shops and we often pick the premium option, even when we would not have picked it had it been presented on its own.

If a business makes a pitch to their customers by focusing on price, they imply low quality rather than indicating high quality. The trick is to highlight unusual features, show off endorsements or demonstrate to customers how they could benefit from consistent use of the product. For instance, put the price on the product details page of the brochure making it look like a fact. By making the benefits prominent, you can let the customer come up with the price.

The greatest art of marketing is to set a price that rewards you and your customer for building a lifetime relationship. When you do that your customers will “come on down – the price is right.”

Its never too late to prepare - Brian MacAuleyPosted: 22/01/2019

OK - I finally give in! For the last 6 months I have avoided talking about Brexit in my articles, simply because I, along with everyone else, am battle weary from it all. Yes, I accept it is the biggest thing that will impact our economy for the next few decades, but there is a feeling of helplessness about it all, spectating in the stand rather than being on the pitch. The conflict and tension in the political arena will continue and so will the media coverage, however the smart entrepreneur will have been exploring what the consequence will be to their business.

It is beginning to dawn on everyone that Brexit will absolutely impact upon every business in the Mid Ulster area.  Goods, services, people and money cross back and forth over the Republic’s border every day. Our shopping trolleys are filled with goods that originate from EU countries.  We are told that if there is no agreement then the WTO agreement comes into force and there will be tariff barriers imposed just like current trading between non-EU countries.  Tariffs are custom taxes that Governments levy on imported goods. The tax can be unit based and/or a percentage of the cost of the product. In effect they raise the price of the imported product.

There is still the potential of technical barriers imposed at the border such as labelling, quality standards and pre-shipment inspections. Products may have to have certificates of origin issued by the NI Chamber of Commerce and there is cost for each certificate. Some of us are not too old to remember the delays at the customs at Aughnacloy. Post Brexit, goods being brought into the UK may be subject to more customs, and associated costs of documentation, customs deposits and possible delays. 

The good thing is that businesses in mid Ulster are resilient. A few years ago, we passed through the largest financial crisis in living memory and survived it. A reassuring fact is that if WTO tariffs are imposed more than 80% of products traded across the border will have a WTO tariff of less than 10%. However, if you are in the agri-food production sector the tariffs will be a lot higher. 

The legislation is in place that we are scheduled to depart the EU on 29 March 2019 and the politicians will do what they do to negotiate an agreement. My advice to Dungannon businesses is to start exploring the potential impact to your business now. The Intertrade Ireland website has a free Brexit planning toolkit. There is a wealth of information on the WTO tariffs and case studies of businesses preparing now.  Many of the products traded across the border will not face a tariff, but there will be non-tariff barriers that will be just as difficult to address. We are in unprecedented economic times and the challenge is to think differently.

The Business of Leadership - Round 2Posted: 25/10/2018

Back by popular demand following the huge success of The Business of Leadership 2016, Dungannon Enterprise Centre are delighted to launch 'The Business of Leadership, Round 2!

Click here to watch the promotional video

Join us for the Business of Leadership, Round 2 on Wednesday 28th November to hear from thought leaders in our sports industry, listen to their leadership stories and learn how to apply their tactics in your business. Sport has many alignments with business, not the least of which include: handling competition, goal setting, talent identification, managing egos, developing pride in the team, assigning roles and building confidence.

Attendance at the event will not only leave you inspired to lead your own team to success but will also equip you with practical tactics for ensuring business success through great leadership.

Speakers for the morning

Rory Best, OBE

As captain, Rory led the Ireland Rugby Union team to a historic third Grand Slam victory. With over 100 caps for Ireland, Rory is one of the most capped players in Irish National team history while also playing hooker for Ulster Rugby.

Mervyn Whyte, MBE

As Event Director of the Vauxhall International North West 200, Mervyn Whyte has played a leading role in ensuring that the North West 200 has become Ireland's biggest outdoor sporting attraction. The Limavady man has been involved with the North Coast Races for 45 years since beginning as a marshal at Station Corner in 1973.

Dame Mary Peters

This former British athlete is best known as a competitor in the pentathlon and shot put. Dame Mary Peters represented Northern Ireland at every Commonwealth Games between 1958 & 1974 and can boast 3 Gold and 1 silver medal for the hard work and dedication she put in. She is also well known for establishing the Mary Peters Trust - Northern Ireland's leading sporting charity.

Tomás 'Mossy' Quinn

Mossy is an Irish All-Ireland winning Gaelic footballer from Dublin. In January 2014, he took up the role of Commercial and Marketing Manager for Dublin GAA, the first role of it's kind ofr GAA counties.

The morning will once again be compered by Dungannon's very own Sports Reporter, Adrian Logan, an inspiring leader himself.

Ticket price is £45+ VAT including tea/ coffee and lunch with a special early bird discount rate of £35+VAT until Friday 2nd November.

We look forward to welcoming you to the morning and to hearing how you will use what you learn to inspire success in your business.


Date and Time

Wed 28 November 2018

10:00 – 13:30 GMT

Add to Calendar


The Junction
12 Beechvalley Way
BT70 1BS

From Field to Boardroom - Leadership LessonsPosted: 18/10/2018

Dame Mary Peters reckons that ‘Humility’ and ‘Determination’ are the main ingredients that make up any leader worth their salt, and with 1 Olympic Gold and 2 Commonwealth Games Gold medals up her sleeve we’re not about to argue. But why should business leaders look to the field for inspiration when it comes to leadership?

Mary Peters and Adrian Logan

There are unquestionable parallels between leadership on the field and leadership in business. Teams and individual athletes work hard to achieve a shared goal, not just for themselves but for their fans, shareholders, funders, for the stability of the future of their sport etc. As fans we get to share in the successes and failures. For businesses the scenario is almost identical… Business leaders work hard to achieve a shared goal for all stakeholders, for the security of the business and their employees’ futures and for investors. In a world where people increasingly want to buy from people they trust, businesses with good leaders demand a type of civic pride from their loyal followers who want to see them do well.

Let’s face it, no leader in sports ever got to where they are by having a fleeting interest in their sport! Instead, they dedicated years of their lives to it, to be the best they could be and to never settling for past success but always striving to do even better. They inspire a whole team of people to do exactly the same. They often say that staff will do anything for a great leader, and just like in on the field, the best business leaders are those who are absolutely committed to making their business the best it can be. They are passionate about the business ethos, the difference the business makes to its customers and to achieving business goals. And, they can find ways to inspire their team to use their skills and abilities to achieve a shared vision and allow them to share in the spoils of success.

Coming back to Dame Mary Peters’ notion of humility… the best leaders in both sport and business are those who recognise that success is not down to one person but to the collective effort of the team. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of every team member, the sports coach and the business leader can empower their teams giving them the tools they need to achieve both their personal and work-related goals so that every member of the team can feel like they contributed to success.

The best leaders in sports seem to have a knack for great communication. They know what they want to achieve, decide about how best that goal can be achieved and communicate it clearly to the athletes, fans and stakeholders. Often, the decision they want to communicate may not be the most popular and they could face personal flack if things don’t work out as planned. But by effectively communicating the reasoning behind decisions and by involving stakeholders in the decision-making process, these leaders develop credibility, integrity and commitment, making their team more resilient in the process. Doesn’t every business leader want to be able to do just that?!

But the similarities between sports and business leadership don’t end there. Instead, every aspect of sports leadership can be aligned with business. There are only so many positions a soccer manager can use and so many rules to abide by, but the great sports leader still finds room for creativity and innovation. In individual sports only one athlete can do the sport but the good manager takes on and delegates the work load to enable the athlete to focus on what they need to do to achieve a shared goal. And the great sports leader always accepts accountability for the team. Likewise, any great leader in business should be able to identify opportunities for innovation, indeed in todays commercial climate no business can survive without it. They should have the skills to delegate work appropriately ensuring their teams are empowered to work in the best way possible to achieve a shared outcome and the great leader will take responsibility for team failures, working with the team to find out what happened, how they can make sure it doesn’t happen again and develop ways they can be resilient.

To see how you can learn to be a great leader by taking a leaf from the sports industry, book your ticket now for The Business of Leadership, Round 2, at the Junction, Dungannon, on 28th November 2018. You’ll hear from sporting heroes including Dame Mary Peters, Mervyn White, Mossy Quinn and Rory Best. Tickets on sale on Eventbrite.

Exploring Enterprise 4 Programme - Registration Now OpenPosted: 14/08/2018

The next intake of the Exploring Enterprise 4 Programme is now open for registration.

This is a free programme which provides an insight into starting a business or allows you to take the first steps to gaining employment.

If you've ever thought of starting your own business or would even like to get some help with preparing and updating your CV, we'd love to hear from you.

You do not need to have a business idea to join.

Previous participants on the programme gained insight into the legal and financial considerations of self-employment, as well as marketing, business plan creation and much more.

The course provides 1-2-1 tailored business mentoring support, with the opportunity to work towards achieving an accredited CCEA Level I in Understanding Business Enterprise qualification.


  • Aged 16 or over
  • Legally able to reside and work in the UK
  • Unemployed/inactive or working/studying less than 16 hours per week; and
  • Not participating in any other government funded programme

If this sounds like the course for you, please give us a call on 028 8772 3489 or email

You can also follow our Facebook page for regular updates about the programme.

All participants must have met with programme advisors, Claire or Denise, before taking part in training!

Conversation Is KingPosted: 10/07/2018

According to Paul May, CEO of BuzzStream, if you ‘build the right relationships with the right people, and nurture them over time, you will always have a leg up on the competition’.

I believe that Paul is right! The secret to a thriving business is people, whether those people be employees, suppliers, contacts or, most importantly, customers. Taking the time to build relationships in all these areas will not just improve your likeability but will also build trust, create brand loyalty and create a favourable image of your business amongst the people who are most important to you.

But strong and meaningful relationships don’t just happen over-night! Think of your own life and the people closest to you – maybe a spouse/ partner, a friend, a colleague that you’re close to… It’s highly unlikely that the relationship you have today was instantaneous – yes, I’m an old romantic too and like the notion of love at first sight, but even so, the relationship is not formed in that moment. Instead, you likely spent time together, you got to know what each other liked and didn’t like, you got to know the finer details of each other’s lives like what they worked at, who their family are, what they enjoy doing in their spare time. You bugged each other and enjoyed each other’s company, perhaps simultaneously! You found a relationship that you are mutually comfortable with, so that now your relationship is relaxed, you have lots to talk about, you help each other out. You trust each other, and chances are if one of you messes up, you’re likely to forgive them once they make it right. Building customer relationships is every bit as important as building these personal relationships if you want to grow your business in a meaningful way – a way that grows your profit while also meeting the needs of your customers.

Thankfully the advent of technology and digital platforms have helped with building these relationships and some businesses use it really well, indeed some businesses rely almost wholly on digital media for the business. However, for many, the art of success still lies in building person to person, face to face relationships. While texts, emails, social media news etc can all be used to prop up relationships, the key for these businesses is conversation. It is people who will make, buy, deliver, sell and consume your products and services so starting conversations that keep going is a must. Relationship building is a slow burner but investing in conversations that build deep relationships both inside and outside your organisation will lead to a healthier business all round.

Here are some tips for keeping that conversation going:

  • Start with what you know – It’s easier to build relationships with people you already know so make a list of all the people you would like to have a deeper relationship with. Once you’ve done that find out where they hang out and get yourself in front of them.
  • Don’t sell - If the primary aim for starting a conversation is to get a sale imminently then you really aren’t all that interested in the relationship. Building relationships through conversation takes time. The conversation should focus on the other person, learning about them and finding ways you can help them – something as simple as sharing a social media trick or sign posting them to someone who can help them with a problem.
  • Commit to it – Block book some time in your diary for relationship building every week – it could be coffee with a supplier, a ‘how are you?’ phone call with a customer, an informal chat over lunch with your staff. Whatever it is, make sure it happens each and every time.
  • Create the journey – I’m always amazed how many businesses have never developed a customer journey – it doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate, just a drawing on the wall highlighting the customer’s journey from Awareness to Interest to Desire and Action. At each stage of the journey jot down the ways you can build relationships or have better conversations – When do you need to go to a trade show and mingle? When do you need a one to one meeting? When is a phone call ok? Where can technology help? And don’t forget to include what happens after the action has taken place – you do after all want them to take action again and again. And never forget to do something for them during the conversation even if it is just making them feel good about themselves by congratulating them on a recent achievement or thanking them for sending a customer your way.

Just remember that a conversation isn’t a one-time event. It will take time, effort, creativity and dedication to build relationships this way, but it will pay dividends in the quality of the relationship, your business image, brand loyalty and trust in your business.

Claire O'Hanlon

Happy Independent's DayPosted: 03/07/2018

This year we’ve been rather inspired by Retail NI’s ‘Independent’s Day’ campaign rolling out on the traditional 4th July American Independence Day holiday and we want to give a special shout out to all the independent businesses operating in Northern Ireland and especially in Dungannon.

All you have to do is take a stroll through Dungannon town centre and the surrounding streets and it is obvious that independent businesses are life and soul of the town. Small businesses here span almost every sector you can think of from retail, to manufacturing, to service businesses and agriculture. Everything we need is on our doorstep. These small businesses not only provide jobs, growth and prosperity for our area, but they also played a huge role in driving our economy out of recession. But yet, SMEs in Northern Ireland are struggling with 5-year survival rates falling well below those in the rest of the UK and with a shop vacancy rate of 15%.

So why should you care about that?... Well here are 4 reasons why:

  • We use them every day - If you stopped to buy coffee on your way to work this morning you probably bought it from and independent and maybe you’ll get your lunch from the local deli. If you’re from Dungannon, chances are that someone in your family has been employed by an independent manufacturer and they use the money they make there to make a better life for themselves. And when you go to have your hair cut or bring your car for a service, you’ll no doubt have used an independent. Imagine if they didn’t exist!
  • Jobs – The SME sector in Northern Ireland accounts for 75% of all private sector employment here with 30,000 small businesses registered as employers and if you are aged over 30 I’d have no doubt that you yourself have worked for at least one independent business during your career whether that be as a summer job when you were a teenager, your first full time job or your long-term career.
  • Local businesses at the heart of Northern Ireland economy – The largest independent industries that contribute to the economy and provide employment are Retail & Wholesale and Motor vehicle repair followed closely by manufacturing, construction, accommodation & food service then human health and social work activities. Dungannon businesses are planted firmly in the centre of these. The town centre and the surrounding towns are bustling with independent retailers, just drive the 4 miles from Dungannon to Coalisland to get a glimpse of the thriving manufacturing sector and our construction companies are too many to mention. I dread to imagine what our community would be like if these businesses didn’t exist.
  • Maintaining the local supply chain – Local business owners, perhaps more than anyone else, recognise the importance of supporting local business and so, many of our local independent businesses use fellow independent suppliers. By doing so they keep local business thriving so that they can provide jobs, keep young talent in the area, drive our economy and provide the services and products we have become accustomed to having every day.

With that in mind, I hope you can see just how important the small independent business sector is to everyone in our community and not just to the business owners. We would encourage everyone to do what they can to support them in some way. You don’t have to buy from them every single time but there are some small things you can do to help. Here are some ideas:

  • Follow local companies on social media. This is a great way to see what they offer and is also great for finding out about special offers. Sharing their content also helps to showcase local offerings to people outside the town who will then visit later-on thus building our economy even more
  • Make a commitment to buy from an independent a certain number of times a year. This could be setting the goal to buy at least 2 Christmas gifts from a local independent or to buy certain items from your grocery list from an independent store.
  • Have a conversation with service providers like a mechanic, an accountant or a beautician. Sometimes they may be more expensive than a big-name brand, but I would almost guarantee that their customer experience will far outweigh that of a multi-national. To these businesses, every customer is important, you aren’t just one of the masses.
  • Strike a conversation with a local business owner you know and simply ask them what you could do to help them.

Preserving a vibrant independent business sector is everyone’s responsibility so take the first step today and support an independent on ‘Independents Day’.

The Business of LeadershipPosted: 26/06/2018

The place has gone sport mad suddenly, if it isn’t the World Cup, it’s the Cricket, Rugby or Gaelic at the minute. As spectators we probably don’t fully appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes to lead these teams to victory.  Leading sports teams is not unlike leading a business – you have targets, people to motivate and you must think on your feet when things go wrong. Here are some top leadership tips to ensure you and your team rack up the scores!

Lead by example! Leaders need to show, not just tell. As a leader, you are visible and an inspiration for others. Stepping up and demonstrating why you hold the esteemed title of leader every day is essential, especially when making game-time decisions.

Set the tone and your employees will follow it.

A little humility goes a long way. There’s a difference between a leader and a boss. While both are in charge, a leader shares the spotlight and is comfortable crediting others. Your employees will appreciate it, and your customers will too.

Communicate effectively. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood, but they also know the importance of listening. Communication is a two-way street and making the most of it will have your company scoring goals regularly.

Know your limits! Even the kindest, most caring leader has limits. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Knowing what you will not tolerate can save everyone in the office a lot of frustration and keeping boundaries clear means there’s no confusion.

Find a mentor. No man is an island, as they say. The best leaders out there know when they need help, and they know where to turn to in order to get it. Nobody can know everything, so finding someone you trust for advice when things get tough can make all of the difference.

Learn from the past. History, recent and otherwise, is filled with examples of successful business models and spectacular business failures. Think about what the people you admire do well and consider what went wrong for those who didn’t enjoy the same success.

Most importantly, never stop improving. Great leaders – like great sportspeople, - are constantly learning and always trying to improve themselves. There’s always something that you can work on or a new skill to master. Be sure to always keep your mind open to new ideas and possibilities.

The Art of the Story...Posted: 21/05/2018

In the words of Seth Godin, ‘Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell’. As humans we are intrinsically drawn to stories… they help us learn, inspire us and more importantly, we remember them. I mean, when was the last time you heard the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’? Yet, I bet you could recite it almost word for word right now!

It’s wonderful to see so many small businesses embrace story-telling to build their brand and develop customer relationships, but some organisations still find it tricky to master the art of telling their story, so I’ve put together 5 top tips to help!

Know your story!

So, this might seem obvious but before you can tell the story of your business in a way that engages your audience, you need to know the story yourself.  So, ask yourself:

  • What are the circumstances? Setting the scene will help get listener buy in and will keep them hooked throughout
  • How can I inspire curiosity? If you don’t leave the audience wanting more, then your story will end before it’s begun
  • Who are the people involved in my story? Characters make your story, if there are no people, there is no story.
  • What went wrong? Successful stories only work when something interrupts the equilibrium, so consider the challenges and how you overcame them.

Be Authentic!

Remember that the aim of the story is to build relationships and to do that you need to build trust. Consumers can and will identify when you aren’t being real. Your story doesn’t have to be an elaborate adventure. It’s ok for your business not to have the most exciting history. Instead, your story can tell the human side of your business. Use it to discuss your challenges and failures, this will build an emotional connection with your audience and will reveal admirable characteristics that resonate with people, like innovation and resilience. So, to craft a story, where you might feel that none exists, consider what emotional connection you want to achieve with your audience and build your story from there.

Make your audience the hero!

John Bates, who has trained hundreds of TEDx speakers, says ‘Your message is in your mess’. Your audience don’t care how well qualified you are, how much money you have in your bank account or how many businesses you own. Your successes aren’t inspiring but your failures are. As humans we are all flawed and so human nature automatically relates to failure. So, don’t be afraid to bare your failures and be sure to make your audience the hero, the people who led you through failures to eventual success.

Use the senses to engage your audience!

‘I remember the sun was shining and the smell of freshly cut grass was in the air. The sound of children playing filled the air as the warmth of the Spring sun covered my face’…You smelled that grass and felt the sun on your face just now... am I right? Appealing to senses that your audience recognises will make sure that they are fully immersed in your story and can empathise with it. Just make sure you don’t over-do it.

Have a clear outcome!

What do you want to achieve from your story and more importantly what does your audience want to get from listening to your story? It’s likely that you might have several versions of your story e.g. one for your banker and another for your customers but the underlying message will always be the same.  If your story is part of your ‘About section’ on your website then the outcome may be to build credibility so that people will click through to another page, whereas, in delivering a presentation, your outcome may be for people to get to know you personally. Either way be sure you know what the purpose is for your business and always end with a call to action.

So just remember, not every business will have a story like Microsoft’s or Amazon’s, but every business has the power to leverage story-telling to engage their customers, build brand loyalty and develop relationships that build leads and sales. You just need to take time to figure out an authentic story that sets the scene, appeals to the emotional side of your customers, makes the audience the hero, engages the senses and has a clear purpose.

Registration open for next intake of Exploring Enterprise ProgrammePosted: 18/08/2017

The next intake of the Exploring Enterprise 4 Programme is now open for registration.

This is a free programme which provides an insight into starting a business or allows you to take the first steps to gaining employment.

If you've ever thought of starting your own business, or would even like to get some help with preparing and updating your CV, we'd love to hear from you.

You do not need to have a business idea to join.

Previous participants on the programme gained insight into the legal and financial considerations of self-employment, as well as marketing, business plan creation and much more.

The course provides 1-2-1 tailored business mentoring support, with the opportunity to work towards achieving an accredited CCEA Level I in Understanding Business Enterprise qualification

Eligibility Criteria

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Unemployed/inactive or working/studying less than 16 hours a week
  • Legally able to reside and work in the UK; and
  • Able to take paid employment in a European Union member state.

If this sounds like this is the course for you, then please give us a call on 028 8772 3489 or email

You can also follow our Facebook page for regular updates about the programme.

Website: Concept NI Web Solutions

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