Tuesday, 18 October 2011



'via Blog this'

Elevate - Sales Development Programme for Small Business

If you're a small company that needs to increase its sales, why not take your business up a level with InterTradeIreland Elevate - theNEW sales development programme for small business.

Industry and Trade/Marketing experts will work with you on a one-to-one basis to develop and implement a sales plan for your business, kick-start your sales and help you to get on the fast track to cross-border trading.

The programme consists of two stages:

An assessment of your readiness to enter the new market
Practical assistance towards winning sales

The following type of support is likely to be available:

  • Identification of Sales leads
  • Sales Negotiations
  • Market Research
  • Advice on the Development of Marketing Materials – (excluding printing costs).

It is 100% funded by InterTradeIreland and the application process is very simple.

All you have to do is complete a short application form and we will fund up to £10k/€11K worth of advice and assistance from your chosen industry or trade/marketing expert. 


  • Work with an industry or trade/marketing expert to develop your winning sales plan;
  • Identify new customers and markets across the island;
  • Increase your sales.

Are You eligible?
To take part in the Elevate programme - companies must:

  • Be registered in Northern Ireland or Ireland;
  • Be a manufacturing or tradeable service company with an annual turnover below €1.2m/£1m;
  • Have a satisfactory track record and a trading history in their home market (minimum of 18 mths);
  • Be focused on winning new cross-border sales;
  • Have not generated more than 30% of their total turnover in the target cross-border market;
  • Have the capacity (human, financial and production) to deliver the project;
  • Have a sufficiently unique product that does not displace existing products in the market place.

For more information contact:

Ciara McIlmoyle 
Elevate Operations Executive
            00 44 28 3083 4143      

Paddy Savage
Trade Team Operations Manager
            00 44 28 3083 4110       

Got Staff? Got a pension Scheme? Soon you will have no choice.

Pension reforms is one of the biggest challenges employers are likely to face over the next two years and it will almost certainly have a significant financial impact on your business.  Legislation that comes into fore in October 2012 means that businesses of every size will be legally obliged to enrol qualifying employees into a pension scheme.  

You will also be expected to make a contribution on your employees' behalf, starting at 1% in 2012 for large businesses and rising to 3% for all businesses by 2017.  To qualify, workers will need to be at least 22 years old, have not yet reached state pension age, earn more than the minimum earning threshold (currently £7,475 per year), and ordinarily work in the UK.  Those employees who have less than the qualifying earnings can voluntarily opt in.

How will it affect you?
If you are self employed or a one-man director company, you won't be affected.
All employers, however, will have to comply - even if you only have one employee;
The cost of pension starts at 2% of qualifying earnings, of which you, the employer must pay 1 %, rising to a total of 8% in 2017, of which 3% must come from the employer and !% will come from the Government.

If you don't have a scheme in place, the Government has approved a new pension scheme call NEST (National Employment Savings Trust), which is available to any employer. www.nestpensions.org.uk

To widen the choice available to small businesses and to offer an improvement on the Government Scheme, the FSB has been working with its independent financial advisers, IFS (UK), and Scottish Widows to provide a credible alternative to NEST.  To find out more about the FSB Auto Enrolment Pension Scheme visit www.fsb.org.uk/pension-scheme


What Are QR Codes

QR Code is used for encoding information in two-dimensional space -- like in the pages of magazines, in advertisements and even on TV and Web sites. They were originally used to track auto parts, but have become popular (especially in Japan) for much broader, often commercial purposes.

How is it different than a barcode?
Whereas a barcode encodes data in only the horizontal plane (as scanners read the width and distance between the vertical lines), QR codes encode data both horizontally and vertically in a grid of tiny squares. This allows for much more data to be encoded in a smaller space. Barcodes, then, though ubiquitous, are good for little more than identifying products and objects. Specially programmed scanners can read barcodes, and match them to product names, prices and inventory, but that's about it. QR codes, on the other hand, can actually embed that information in the code itself, and, when read with the proper software, can trigger actions like launching a website or downloading a file. Additionally, QR codes can be read from any angle, while barcodes must be aligned properly.

Create your own QR code for FREE by clicking here.  We created the simple QR Code within this email - see what it is telling you.

QR Code
So what exactly can I do with QR codes?
QR codes are tailor-made for quickly and easily linking to content on smartphones. Simple uses include magazine advertisements that link to websites. Putting the codes to more complex use, start-up Pingtag uses them as a sort of digital business card for sharing LinkedIn accounts and contact info. Android uses QR codes to link directly to apps in the Android Marketplace, and the municipality of Bordeaux, France has posted them all over the city in order to track parking meters, provide links to information from the World Heritage Foundation and guide visitors to nearby shops or parking locations via Google Maps. In turn, Google has been using QR codes to promote local businesses (and itself) with the Google Places business directory, which includes reviews, contact info, and, if the business so wishes, coupons.

How can I use them?
There are a number of apps in the iPhone App Store that can read QR Codes, including the free QRReader. Most Android phones and BlackBerries are able to read the codes right out of the box, as can newer Nokia handsets. Windows Mobile users can download QuickMarks. All you need to do is launch the appropriate app, and point your phone's camera at the QR code you want to scan.

QR codes are only bound to become more common in the coming months and years. We're increasingly reliant on our mobile devices, and typing out URLs or other data on their tiny keyboards is still not very efficient. These squares of elaborately arranged boxes are a shortcut around that problem, can easily be integrated with various services, and incorporate geo-location data. Advertisers may not have figured it out just yet, but QR codes are their best friends.