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Evening all

Thanks to Joe Doyle from Enterprise Ireland who joined us this morning to look at IP Strategy.  I for one had my eyes opened - it's about more than just patents!  EI are also launching some new supports later this year to help companies get their IP strategy in place - more information in Joe's presentation linked below.

Thanks also to those of you who joined and contributed to the session.

Joe's slides are available here - http://bit.ly/2Dfo2zr

And his IP Asset tool he referenced here - http://bit.ly/2DhjJUw


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Happy New Year and welcome to our new founders

Happy new year all - we hope you had a great Christmas and are all fired up for 2018.  

Our next Founders Forum session kicks off next week with our full day event on the 17th - see here for agenda - http://bit.ly/2CNlVTt

We are delighted to be welcoming two new Founders Groups to Founders Forum in January:

Group 1 Facilitated by Alan Kelly

Veri, Ann Marie Mc Sorley

  • Chatspace, John Clancy
  • Kite Medical, Joan Fitzpatrick
  • Coalface Capital, Declan Mc Evoy
  • Cyber Risk, Stephen Burke
  • Tickerfit, Avril Copeland
  • Warbble, Richard Springer
  • Neurent Medical, Brian Shields
  • Aventamed, Olive O'Driscoll

Group 2 Facilitated by Caelen King

  • Property Button, Jim Urell
  • Ikydz, Jason Sheehy
  • Housemydog, Timothy Mc Elroy
  • Borrow Fox, Arthur Pierse
  • TWFC, Alison Cummins
  • Tandem HR, Aisling Teillard
  • Veltig, Donal de Paor
  • Seagreen Bio, Susan Keating
  • Dash Apps, Maurice Sheehy

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The Founder journey can be hard - it is self-absorbing. You also need to be Walter Mitty like, both holding to the dream that inspired you to start, whilst inside the fear of failure is never far away. The difference is often a lucky break or some good advice.


One aspect of the Founders Forum that has been a real privilege to see in action has been the generosity of founders to each other. Time and caring can be in short supply in the start up world, but the ways that founders have been able to support each other have been humbling. There can be a rare vulnerability or turning point that can make all the difference.

You are part of a wide support group - so reach out for support, if you need it at any stage - somebody in the Group will have been through an issue similar to yours before.

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Hitting the Sweet Spot - a useful recap

At the October 2016 Masterclass we covered the topic of Sweet Spot.  As we head into our next masterclass session on Building International Sales we thought it useful to give you a quick recap on the Sweet Spot topic - it's very relevant to sales.  Focus your sales efforts in the right place and good things will happen!  To help get your thinking caps on here's some content for you to review:


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Link to Article on Short Term Funding in Ireland from InspiredStartUps.com


Gives brief overview of the following:

  • State Funding
  • Crowd Funding
  • Incubators/Accelerators
  • Angel Investors
  • Micro Finance

6 Tips for Raising your First Round of Funding (eventhough you have already completed your first round there are some valid tips for follow on investment)

It includes Pros and Cons of accessing finance from Angels/Super-Angels/VCs


How to Raise a Successful VC Round or Series A

Article is a little dated but very good tips on raising Series A Capital.


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CFO and Controller / Management Accountant Comparison

The difference between a Controller vs CFO is primarily one of perspective. A Controller focuses on compliance and historical record keeping or, in other words, tactics; while a CFO focus on planning and future performance (i.e.: strategy).
The Value of a CFO
The CFO holds a variety of responsibilities, including cash management, budgeting, compliance, internal controls, corporate credit and collection, audit, financial planning and strategic planning. The CFO acts as a trusted advisor to the executive leadership team, working as a sounding board when key decisions are being discussed.
The most significant value provided by a CFO often centres around the area of financial oversight and management. Analysis of the reports provided by the Controller enable the CFO to generate working capital and forecast information. Analysing and reviewing monthly P&L statements, balance sheets and cash flows provides the information needed to drive toward data-based decisions.

Ultimately, the CFO works to correlate operational and financial data provided by the finance department so that the executive team understands the financial impact of decisions in real-time.

Growing businesses cannot often afford, or may simply not require, the services of a full-time CFO. Yet, they may be seeking the forward thinking skill sets that such professionals bring to the table. A part-time or outsourced CFO can often provide the needed financial expertise and direction at a fraction of the cost, creating affordable options for small and growing businesses. A CFO who functions on an as-needed basis can become a trusted advisor to the CEO, offering key business, financial and operational insights needed to control direction of the organization. 
CFO                         Versus                                            Controller
• Analysis and Solutions                                      Accurate Reporting
• Financing and Forecasting                                  Accounting and Reporting
• Critical Key Indicators                                       Standard Formats
• Analyses New Views                                         Reports on Existing Status
• Planning and Implementing                                Budgeting
• Big Picture Future Vision                                    Reporting Here and Now
• Functional Focus                                               Financial Focus
• Compatibility                                                   Compliance
• Strategy                                                         Tactics
• Coach to Functional Managers                             Reporter
• Walks Four Corners                                           Stays in Financial Area

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 The role of marketing is to help fill the top of the sales funnel with leads, who might be interested in buying your product. Traditionally marketing used a variety of ‘tools’ like conferences, PR, keynote speeches, database building and email campaigns.

 The world has moved on. Companies have invested in a plethora of tools, like SalesForce, Hubspot, LinkedIn, and literally thousands of other lesser know tools. Many of the marketing folks are bamboozled. The sales folks are frustrated. They don’t see the tools investment delivering and still have to find their own leads.

 There is a new breed of marketer. They both see the possibilities of using digital platforms to reach prospects and they know how to do it. They are part tech geek. They understand how to integrate internal sales and marketing systems. They also understand A/B testing how to integrate to large external platforms, like Facebook.

 In addition, this new breed of marketer is good at maths. They can run scenarios based on data. They can build predictive models.

 The poster children of this new breed of marketer are from companies like Dropbox and Airbnb – however there is an emerging breed of these growth hackers. Growth Transformers know their impact.

 Try sending your marketing folks to class with the following homework:

  1. How do we integrate our marketing systems to deliver real leads?
  2. How can we use our existing marketing data better?
  3. What one step would they recommend to 10x our qualified leads?
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What Investors Want

They want you to put the money to use building an asset, something that works better and better over time, something that makes your project more profitable and more efficient. And they want you to use that asset to create value that will pay them back many times over
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Using emotions increases sales

I came across two really good blogs that show how understanding and responding to your customers emotions increases sales conversion rates.Particularly if you map out those emotions within the customer journey.The first blog outlines the concepthttps://www.conversioner.com/blog/emotional-targetingThe second shares relevant results via case studieshttps://www.conversioner.com/blog/ecommerce-conversion-optimisationQuick tip: you'll need to work out your sweet spot customers persona first. That will give you the best chance of successfully spotting their emotional triggersHere's a useful guide to persona mapping.https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08/a-closer-look-at-personas-part-2/Hope this is helpful..enjoy
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Great Masterclass from Harry to get us all to reflect on better and more efficient ways to acquire customers. Assuming that you are clear on your sweet spot', here were some pointers that I took away from the Masterclass.

1. Buyers chose how and when they want to buy - its about them, not us.

2. Understanding the buyer journey is key - we all need to learn what actual steps they take along their journey (not just assume we know)

3. We need to design our sales process to interact with the buyers journey for maximum impact (i.e. right activity/right time)

4. Keep testing, measuring and refining until we can produce a scalable and repeatable sales process.

5. Founders need to build a sales process then needs them less and less - use digital marketing, lead gen etc but don't try to be a one man or woman army when it comes to sales.

Just think of the level of innovation in your product or service - what would the impact be if you had that level of innovation in your sales and marketing?

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Getting customers to tell you the truth.

The real dilemma for me and I am guessing for most of us founders, is:

a) getting customers or potential customers to tell us what they really think of our proposition

2) being able to take on board what they tell us and do something with that insight.

This video presentation from Rob Fitzpatrick (author a book on the same subject The Mom Test) offers a brilliant set of easy to follow tips on how to get honest and very useful feedback from customers. 

Ultimately saving us from wasting our valuable time and money by helping us get to the real issues and opportunities.

Hope you find it useful


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Sales & Marketing - additional info

Thank you for your energy and engagement during Tuesday's Sales & Marketing Masterclass. Happy to take any follow up queries/comments/feedback now that you've had a chance to digest it.

Here's a link to a short McKinsey article which explains the importance of the Customer Purchase (Decision) Journey very eloquently - and the need for us as salesfolks/marketeers to understand and align to it. Happy reading. 




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