The Business Bulletin - Issue 267 - 6th October 2014


The next batch of Super Connected Voucher Seminars will take place in West Belfast in October.

Come along and find out how your business can benefit from a £3,000 installation grant and hear from other local businesses that are currently benefitting from the enhanced connection.

• LUNCH SEMINAR: 9th October 2014, 12:30pm to 13:30pm, Workwest, Social Economy Village

• EVENING SEMINAR: 15th October 2014, 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Workwest, Social Economy Village

These seminars are FREE to attend and are designed to give you a better understanding of how super fast broadband can help your business grow by accessing new markets, operating more efficiently and increasing productivity.

Register today if you would like to hear more about how you could use enhanced video conferencing to save communication costs and how VoIP services and cloud based services can be used to enhance data storage and accessibility.

Come along and find out how faster broadband can help future-proof your business for the digital challenges of tomorrow.

To register call 0800 587 4695 or email  

Details on all the Super-connected Voucher Seminars which will be delivered across the city can be accessed via the following link:

Budding entrepreneurs see

business ideas reach next level

Budding entrepreneurs across Belfast are seeing their businesses reach the next level after taking part in a business programme, funded by the council.
The High Growth Pre-Enterprise Programme has helped local companies in key areas like product development, finance, sales and marketing.  Participants also received £500 of tailored support to develop their business product or service.
Part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for NI, the programme was delivered for the council by business development agencies’ Work West and Ortus.
An event was held in City Hall recently to celebrate the achievements of all 45 participants on the programme with certificates presented by Councillor Guy Spence, Deputy Chair of the council’s Development Committee.

Among those who benefited from the programme was Katrina Lynch from The Gluten Free Patisserie in west Belfast who was full of praise for the initiative.

“I really enjoyed the programme and would definitely recommend it to anyone starting an enterprise. My business has gone from an idea to a reality,” she said.
“The one-to-one mentoring was extremely useful helping me to develop a business plan, apply for funding, sales mentoring and advice on tax and self-employment.
“With the bursary, I was able to get a logo design, promotional banner and leaflets to promote my business. We are getting positive comments from our customers and repeat business with more prospective customers on the horizon.”
Belfast City Council supports local business across the city with a number of business programmes and events throughout the year. For more information, visit



Each week Nick O' Shiel, Chief Executive, Omagh Enterprise Company, blogs on issues related to enterprise, technology and the economy. This week Nick asks do you want to start a business.

Many people are making the decision to start their own business, as government and support agencies encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship. Even the media celebrate the achievements of business owners and recognise their contribution to the economy.

But what is the truth? Is starting your own business a good idea?

Men and women, young and old, those with experience and those without are all joining the ground swell of people who want to start and run their own business.

Looking at the facts, people who choose to work for themselves come from all ages, skills, abilities, genders, experiences, backgrounds and types of education.

People who run their own business report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction and a deep sense of freedom and control about what they do.

They have a clear purpose and appreciation of life, even though they work long hours and, in many cases, earn less than people who are employed.

They report making the decision to start a business as a positive choice, rather than one forced upon them out of necessity or as a response to difficult circumstances.
Business ownership, however, needs to be seen in a pragmatic light, rather than the more popular view that sees every entrepreneur as a millionaire or billionaire.

In reality, experiences differ greatly, as what works for one person may not for another and what leads to success for one business may end in failure for another.

Different people have different reasons for getting into business and, undoubtedly, achieve different levels of success, as they thrive on, or struggle with, finding a profitable vocation.

Some business owners want to employ few staff and trade locally; others want to employ hundreds of people and trade in as many countries as possible.

Others start profitable part-time businesses to generate extra income while working for an employer; others are interested in lifestyle businesses that spring from an interest or hobby.

Regardless of the business, it is important to get the right help at the right time, as entrepreneurs feel isolated and alone when wrestling with their dreads and demons.
Interestingly, the move towards more people starting in business has an effect on traditional employers, as it reduces the number of people available to work as employees.

SO, more people are running their own business and relishing the freedom of being their own boss in a trend that is changing lives and lifestyles.

What do you think?

Do you want to start a business?

Why not join the conversation and make a comment?

Why not join the conversation and leave a comment.

Nick O'Shiel,
Omagh Enterprise
Great Northern Road, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT78 5LU
Tel: +44 (0) 28 8224 9494  Fax: +44 (0) 28 8224 9451



The costs of multitasking

Are you a task switcher? This is the quintessential rhetorical question, because we all switch between tasks, and we do so often.

While the answer to this question is predictable, clear and almost universal -- a more complex and important question is how much time do you think you lose when you engage in task switching?  

Like many of our daily challenges, here too there are three different factors to consider.

1. The first factor to consider is the direct time that we spend on our secondary task.  
For example, imagine that you're busy working on some complex description of a problem, and you hit a particularly challenging point.  You are stuck in a slight mental block, unable to make any real progress for a few minutes. So you think to yourself, “Let me take a quick five minute break and use this time to catch up on email.” Twenty minutes later, you are still responding to email, feeling that familiar unjustified satisfaction we all feel when we managed to clear some of that email backlog in our inbox.  Ten minutes later, you are finally back to working on your complex task, and if you bothered to look at your clock, you would realize that the last thirty minutes were a direct cost of the switch.

2. The second factor to consider is the delayed cost of switching, which is the cost of switching once we are back to our main task.  Now, you probably think that the delayed cost of switching is negative.  That switching actually helps you.  That once you get back to your main task, you are hyper-energized and ready to really get down to business.  This belief in “switching helps” is the reason that many people switch so often. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case.  Most likely, once you are back, for the next ten minutes or so, your engagement with your complex task is only partial, and you are not yet fully back into it.  The reality is that even when you are back working on your main task -- for a while longer -- you keep on paying a low-productivity-price for your task switching.

So, how do we overcome this problem?  How do we make sure that when we think we want to take a five minutes break, that this is really what we want to do, and that it is only for five minutes?  To achieve such increased discipline, we either need more discipline ourselves (which is very hard to do), or we need some better productivity tools that will help us with such increased accountability and discipline.

I am very interested in productivity and personal growth, therefore lots of the information you're reading in my emails is gathered from behavioural psychology, neuro-economic, counselling and business coaching books. If you ever are interested in more details, please send me an email to give you some book references.

p.s.  in full disclosure, I should point out that I checked email multiple times while writing this, which is most likely the reason that I did not get to the 3rd factor of time wasted.  Maybe next time :)

In October, we promised you more events on productivity so you better watch out our emails to join us.

Wishing you a great productive day,

Elite Vision Coaching


Building a profitable consultancy business

Consultants and advisers rarely have the opportunity to reflect and review how best to develop their business.

IMCA is running a one-day workshop on 14 October which will provide the opportunity both to learn from one of the industry’s best known trainers and to share experiences with others in the same line of business.

The day will be led by Calvert Markham, who is well known to some of our members. Calvert founded and ran Elevation Learning which has for many years provided training for consultants around the world.

Elevation Learning was acquired by Cass Business School (part of City University in London) at the beginning of 2014. Calvert has been a visiting professor at the business school for many years and also lectures at other business schools.

Calvert was President of the UK Institute of Management Consultants in 2004 and until last year was Vice-Chairman of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes, of which IMCA is a member.

He has written several
books on management consultancy.

The day will include the following topics:

  • Building a compelling consulting proposition
  • Developing and running marketing programmes to attract new business
  • Using flexible selling approaches that match client maturity
  • Dealing with the challenges of delivery
  • Building corporate and personal capability in consulting

By the end of the day participants should expect to have a number of practical ideas that they can apply directly in their business.

The workshop costs €100 for members and €200 for non-members, including refreshments and lunch. Non-members who join IMCA will have the difference refunded.

Please register early to make sure of your place.

Network to get work
Local businesses invited to connect at Northern Ireland’s fastest growing networking conference
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) is inviting businesses from across Northern Ireland to join them for its Annual Networking Conference and Business Showcase supported by firmus energy.
The conference, which takes place on 8 October 2014 from 8.30am-1.30pm in the Europa Hotel Belfast, is designed to give businesses from across Northern Ireland the opportunity to meet, engage and participate in networking activities designed to create new business connections and opportunities.
Ann McGregor, Chief Executive at NI Chamber, said:
“Networking is a great way to market your business in a very informal environment.  Whether your aim is to increase your customer base, find new markets or create partnerships – networking is the key to unlocking potential growth.
“You can also gain worthwhile market information from other businesses as well as potential customers. Information gleaned from a conversation could help you to adapt your product or service, perhaps even to focus on a new opportunity.”
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy,
"Networking is important anywhere but particularly in Northern Ireland where more than 90% of businesses are SMEs or Micro companies.  Many people prefer to do business with someone they know or to whom they have been recommended and this is an ideal opportunity to make new contacts and find other organisations which complement what you do or perhaps provide a service or part that you can use.  This may then lead to an opportunity to work together which is good for both companies and gives a further boost to the local economy.
"Building an extensive network of contacts is vital to help you grow, develop or diversity your business.  You never know what doors a chance conversation might open and I would encourage everyone to come along to this Conference and Business Showcase and take advantage of this opportunity to meet other like-minded people."
Guests will also hear from keynote speaker Jyllene Miller, Senior Vice President for Concentrix, an inspirational salesperson who has won a number of global clients for the company including Go Daddy, ASOS, Channel 4 and Tourism Ireland.
This year’s event will also feature a large market place with over 60 companies exhibiting their products and services, to showcase the best of Northern Ireland business.
NI Chamber’s Annual Networking Conference is the largest and fastest growing networking conference in Northern Ireland with over 250 delegates attending last year’s event. Over 350 people are expected to attend the conference in Belfast next month.
Registrations can be made online at


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For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.

Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.

4445 - Public Realm Works and Services - Boroughwide
F7629 Community Integrated Respiratory Service - West Hampshire
The Provision of VAT and other TAX advice
Supported Accommodation for 16 - 17 year old young people in care and leaving care 2
Contract for the purchase & support of LIDAR equpment
GB-Leicester: Assessment & Equipment Service for People who are Deaf, Deafened or Hard of Hearing
Multi-mode Plate Reader
UK SBS RE140176BIS Analysis of International Company Data Registers?
2013-006 Selected Medical Practitioner
GB-Bath: Laboratory Gloves
GB-Braintree: Employment Land Needs Assessment Consultancy
Supply of Street Furniture
2 x Automated Multi-channel Pipetting System
Cleanroom Ellipsometer System
Domiciliary Care Service: AQP for the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group.
Provision of a Material Conditioning Cabinet
Feedback Forms
GB-Bicester: Calibration of Maurer Flowmeter Turbines
Bespoke Classroom Modules
United Kingdom-Crawley: Data collection and collation services
United Kingdom-Leeds: Musical instruments
United Kingdom-Manchester: Computer support and consultancy services
United Kingdom-Birmingham: Clinical information system
United Kingdom-Belfast: Data network management and support services
United Kingdom-Coventry: Data entry services
14/36 The Provision of an Electronic Laboratory Notebook Solution
United Kingdom-Leeds: Brochures
United Kingdom-Warrington: Printing services
United Kingdom-Wakefield: Software package and information systems
United Kingdom-Liverpool: Project management consultancy services
Supply of Chemical Analysis Software
GB-Spalding: SHDC Housing Property Asset Management System
United Kingdom-London: System quality assurance planning services
United Kingdom-Exeter: Weather-forecasting services
United Kingdom-Preston: Content management software package
United Kingdom-Haverfordwest: Industry specific software package
United Kingdom-Preston: Health and social work services
United Kingdom-St Albans: Business intelligence software development services
4445 - Public Realm Works and Services - Boroughwide
Ireland-Cavan: Construction work for school buildings
United Kingdom-Taunton: Construction work for highways, roads
United Kingdom-Hemel Hempstead: Residential homes construction work
United Kingdom-Leicester: Horticultural and nursery products
Ireland-Dublin: Sound recorders
United Kingdom-Milton Keynes: Miscellaneous fabricated products and related items
Norway-Oslo: Electrical engineering installation works
United Kingdom-Coventry: Construction structures and materials; auxiliary products to construction (except electric apparatus)
United Kingdom-Milton Keynes: Base plates
United Kingdom-Staines-upon-Thames: Gas appliance maintenance services
Norway-Hamar: Building materials
GB-Colchester: DSG General Engineering, Plating Services
Norway-Hamar: Bituminous roof-covering work
United Kingdom-Birmingham: Bus shelters
United Kingdom-Scunthorpe: Hire of construction and civil engineering machinery and equipment with operator
United Kingdom-Birmingham: Installation of fitted kitchens
Norway-Kongsberg: Cinematographic projectors
Procurement of Thermodynamic Panels to be installed in 28 Social Housing Properties
United Kingdom-Warrington: Voltage transformers
Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

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