Why you should differentiate your business

If you’ve been in business for any longer than a week, you will have had the feeling (at least at some point and maybe quite often), that the lowest price seem to win all the time? Do you feel that your regularly competing on price?

You might feel like you have a better product or service than your competition, that you’re more professional, you’re more reliable and lots of other reasons – yet you still have to compete on price with them?

There are a few reasons why this happens. But chief among the reasons is that you haven’t give your customers enough information to show that you are different.

Okay, now I can hear you say that I’m full of bs.. and that’s kinda understandable. I know. I’ve been there before and actually had the t-shirts printed!!

But here’s the thing. Lowest price does not always win the day. People might tell you that they don’t have any money. They’ll tell you that, but go into their homes. Even in the roughest of housing estates.

Look at the Sony and Samsung TV’s hanging on the wall, the Xbox games, the latest Iphones and Ipads. They mightn’t have enough money to feed their kids, but they’ll always find money for the things that they want.

Go out onto the roads. Just watch the cars on the road for 15 or 20 minutes. Do you notice how many of the cars you see are Audi, BMW and Mercedes? And they will tell you that there’s no money? Don’t believe it for a minute.

If all people wanted was the cheapest of everything – we’d all be driving the crappiest, cheapest cars available. But we don’t.

If you decide that you just want to compete for the low cost work, then that’s fine. But just know that even if you think that you can out price and out work the competition now – that’s a very short sighted approach to business.

If you’re 21 years old, fit and healthy and don’t have a mortgage to pay or children to feed – the you can happily work 12 hours a day and price yourself lower than the competition. Heck, you might even feel like you’re making a small fortune! I’ve been there…. When I was 20/21, I was selling and installing home alarm systems for about 100 (pounds at the time) less than any of my competitors. I was working a full time job and fitting the alarms on the side. It was a great time for me. I worked all the hours available, 12 hours on a Saturday, but I was doing about a grand a week on top of my salary at the time.

My competition hated me though! But i didn’t care. However, if they had been smart, they could have taken that business themselves and closed me out. But they weren’t smart. Most were big, dumb lazy businesses.

Unfortunately, many small businesses, even though their intentions are good, act in the same way as the big dumb, lazy businesses. They look around them at the competition and they do exactly as the competition. If the competition drops their prices – they drop their prices. That’s a downward spiral that there’s no way out of, until someone goes out of business…

So, why differentiate then? Differentiating allows your business to stand out from the crowd – from the competition. Differentiating your business gives your customers more reasons to consider doing business with you – other than just basing a decision on price.

In the absence of any other information – the customer will almost, always revert to the only comparison that they know – and that’s price. If your business chooses to behave like a commodity – then prepare yourself to be treated like a commodity.

Give your customers a good reason to believe that you are the best choice and you can win more business  and get more customers – even at the higher price.




Why your business needs a website

Why does your business need a website?

Once upon a time business owners were led to believe that all they had to do was put a simple site on the internet and the phone would start to ring! Oh, to be back in those days again!

But life isn’t that simple anymore – hasn’t been for a long time. So what’s so special about a website for business?

It always surprises me that there are still so many small businesses that don’t yet have a website. Why is that? Is it because the owners think that it’s an expensive luxury? Most builders and tradespeople still think that it’s too complicated to have…


Maybe at one time that idea could have been justified, but not now.

Regardless of your business, its got to be a necessity – unless your business is in MLM or it’s just a little sideline hobby…

No doubt, someone will prove me wrong – or try to, just to make a point. But realistically it’s nigh on impossible to grow a business in any meaningful way these days without a good website.

Okay, so back to my initial point. Won’t any old website do the job? Most businesses that have a site rely on a brochure type website. Its basically an online version of the paper brochure that you have have in a drawer in your office.

Here’s who we are, here’s what we do and you can contact us if you like on this hotmail account and this is my number in case you want to call me! Oh, and thanks for visiting our site!

It’s a pretty common structure, fairly basic format. It’s better than no site, but its to be though of as entry level.

Consider your business from the customers point of view for a moment… If you will, you’ll soon realise that you need a website for business!

There was a time when the customer picked your number from the yellow pages/ golden pages phone book – or your website. They would call you up with a few questions and ask you to send them “something out” by post or email.

Today, the customer has most of their research done on line before they ever pick up the phone, or email you. They have most of the answers to the questions that they’d though of.

By the time they contact you, its just a matter of who has the best price – and that usually means the lowest price. That is unless, you educate them in advance on why you are the only choice, that you are different than the competition – you are the trusted expert!

So how do you do that? Well your website is the starting point. first impressions count as they say – and i’m not referring to the nice photos that your web designer tell you about or their award winning graphics! That doesn’t matter. It might matter to them – but not to you or your customers.

It’s the content on your site that will make the difference. For two reasons mainly – but there are more. The main reasons are (a) to educate and inform your prospective customer, and (b) to make Google your best friend.

Any why do you need Google on your side? Thats a question for another days work…

Ahhh… I think that’s enough to think about for now. don’t you?

By the way, we’ve got a great deal with one of our suppliers for our members who want to build a website for the first time, or want to replace their old, out of date site. Just ask us about the websites for builders discount. It’s a voucher worth €225 for the month of February.

Are you in Prison? Small Business Marketing is the way to escape!

Hi there business owners,

In case you are wondering – I’m not referring to Mountjoy or Portlaoise….

Many small business owners are trapped in a prison of their own making. Sounds dramatic?? Well, unfortunately it’s all to true.

For many, there may be a sense of hopelessness about their business. That no matter how hard they work, the results they get are – at best nothing to get excited about – or at worst on a downward spiral… Why s this? Well, most small businesses don’t have a plan… A small business marketing plan! And why would they – sure marketing is only for big businesses – with big budgets for advertising….

That’s a big assumption that most business owners make – and a very wrong one. You see, marketing is everything that you do in your business to attract your ideal customers – and almost as crucial – to repel those customers who are not the type of business that you want to be working with.

And it’s not all about advertising either – nor about big budgets.  Smart marketing is about identifying who your ideal customers is, and about where you will find them. Its about targeting you limited resources at these ideal customers in a laser focused manner and having them respond to you. Effective marketing can be done on a tiny budget – and some of it on no budget at all.


The best part about our type of marketing is that most business owners are too comfortable in their current (prison like) situation to make any changes – or their too lazy… This means that for those businesses who do implement some smart marketing tactics – the rewards can be great. And the more marketing that you implement – the greater the rewards and success.

Small business marketing is our passion here at FMB Ireland. gone are the days of relying on a few old fashioned stickers from the Guild to bring in business. We don’t even go down the sticker route – because we know that your customers – or at least those who matter – are smart enough that they won’t fall for the van sticker.


You need to be doing a combination of on-line and offline marketing, using genuine testimonials, making use of the grey matter between your ears to differentiate yourself and your business. Small business marketing and working smarter on your business (not in it) will pay handsome rewards. Devising a smart marketing plan and then implementing it will bring greater business success that you can even guess. Why – because you can bet that your competition won’t do it.

Someone at one of my training sessions a few weeks ago, gave me the nickname – “Action Jackson” not because my name is anything remotely like that – but because of my continuous focus on taking action to differentiate and implement. I suppose that I do preach it a bit – but I also walk the talk.


If you feel helpless and hopeless about your business prospects – you are trapped in your own prison! Only you can break free from it. You can’t rely on anyone else to change your circumstances.  You have to grow your business yourself and learn to make more sales.

Every week, prospective members ask me – What can your membership do to bring me more business? and my answer is always going to be the same. We will give you the tools to learn how to get good and marketing an sales. we will teach you how to attract more customers. We’ll help to motivate and cajole you into action. But it’s up to you to take the action that will change your fortunes. You are solely responsible for your own fate.

If you want more from your business and your life – you have to take action.  Take responsibility for your own success. Take control of your own life and do something different to grow your business.

Until the next time, have a great day.



Can You Make a Profit?

Is Profit a dirty word??? I had a conversation a few days ago with one new member who told me that he had been seriously been considering packing it in (he is a small builder) – to look for something else… He told me that in his town – Profit is a dirty word… What do you think of that??? Over the past 8 years we have, as a nation, been pretty pee’d off with umpteen stories about big developers and bankers who made massive profits (and ruined the country along the way) – and lets not leave out the crooked politicians in case we forget who had a massive hand in it! Anyway, we’ve been conditioned by all the storied in the media to associate profits with bad and or corrupt people – Profit=BAD…. The Socialists and the shinners would also have us believe that profit = bad people. Don’t fall for that for one minute… If it wasn’t for the opportunity to make a wee bit of profit – we would all be looking for a job with the state – and if Sinn Fein get into the Dail, they might just take back all the land and create a state building firm – maybe re-name sisk as Risk??? Ok enough of that… Back to profit… The opportunity to make a wee bit of a profit is what gate you the incentive to go out on your own and start your own business. It’s what you took the risk for. A bit of profit would allow you to move house, get a new car, have a better life style for your family – all good reasons – so why is it a bad word? It’s the reward for your hard work. for getting up early in the morning and working late in the evening. It’s the incentive that you need to take a new employee on, to buy a new van, or new drill. It’s what keeps you gong when the going gets tough. It stops you thinking “I’m as well off on the dole”. It’s the opportunity to make a profit that keeps the wheels of the economy turning. Otherwise – we turn into the Greeks. Socialism and equality have been tried in other countries – and they’ve failed – so what will make it different here??? Nothing good can come from it. Blame the bankers, the politicians and the big developers who made massive profits (totally unimaginable profits for us mortals) – blame them and lets have them properly punished for the damage they caused us for the last 8 years – but don’t blame the small builder who was just trying to a decent profit. That’s the incentive you need now to get up of your back side and get cracking again! There’s a lot of work to be done – so what are you waiting on? (By the way – I’m not down on SF – I don’t think that a social experiment is going to help any of us – except those who don’t want to work. .. in my humble opinion – most of our politicians are a disgrace – they will all look after their own self centred adjenda.The independents are probably the pick of them.)



FMBI is here to help small businesses in Ireland to get more customers, make more money and grow your business. We do that by teaching small business owners to get good at marketing their businesses. Attract more customers by generating more business leads fro the type of people that you would like to do business with, who are looking for the services that you provide and becoming an expert in your business area. Do you have a lead generation website?

Annoying Your Competition?? Your doing a great job!

Just a real quick note.

How should you feel about someone complaining about your service and giving out to you….. Not because your service is poor, or too expensive, or you’ve let them down! Nothing like that at all…

We had several phone calls today from one of our competitors – complaining because they don’t want to compete with us and (not blowing our own trumpet) but because we do a really good job for our customers, we’re highlighting just how badly our competitor is treating their customers.

How do you think you would feel about that?

At first I was annoyed, then a little nervous, because they started threatening us (only for about 2 minutes, okay maybe 3), then I realised we should be really pleased – because it re-enforces what lots of our customers tell us – we do a really good job for them.

So the moral of the story is… don’t be put off by the competition.
If you believe that what you are doing is right, and your service is much more superior – keep going.
Don’t let the competition bully you out of their market.

Our competition is much larger, more established – but the’ve gotten… well lets leave it there!

It’s not our fault that we work hard for our members and give them what they want and need – or is it??

Answers on a postcard please…








The FMBI is set up to help small businesses in Ireland to get more customers and grow your business. We do this by teaching you about effective small business marketing – the way that it should be done to get loads of customers and not spend a fortune on small business advertising. Someone taught you how to do your trade well – but no one told you how to get customers – because they didn’t know either.

Every small business owner is a salesperson whether they know it or not. Hopefully, if you’ve been in business a while – you will do a decent job at sales. But how do you generate leads and prospects for your business. Do you have a lead generation website?