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SocialHub aims to breathe life back into the local business sector
by Startacus Admin
New Startup SocialHub aims to breathe some life back into Local Businesses and Tourism by showcasing what they have on offer...
In a world immersed in technology, browsing and shopping online is becoming the number one way to purchase your favourite products or find out about what you might want to do where you live. And, with more and more people are using the internet to find out what's going on around them - or in fact anywhere else in the world - this isn't great news for the local business sector who currently stuggle to connect with this growing audience...
Thankfully, this is where SocialHub aims to step in. Based in Derry, Northern Ireland it is an image based website which aims to showcase what a city has to offer (starting with Derry itself) - whether it be the the nightlife, concerts or sporting events...
We got the chance to talk to the man behind the idea, Kieran Moore - to find out more (no pun intended) about SocialHub and his plans for the platform going forward...
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Kieran. Why don’t you start off with telling us a little bit about yourself and what has brought you to the point of wanting to start your own business?
Firstly, I’m from a working class family, I am the only person in my house to go to university and start my own business so I’m a bit of a rebel in that sense. I come from an advertising background. I have been obsessed with advertising now for about 4 years. I did a degree in Creative Advertising Technologies and I found it fascinating how the smallest details in communication could have such a great impact on the overall success of companies. I am a very creative person. I draw, play guitar, design and occasionally even try writing. I am a very entrepreneurially minded person. I had a website company, a printing company and now Socialhub (third time lucky).
There were 2 reasons why I started this business. The first was I was offered 2 jobs in advertising agencies that were really comfortable and well paid but each job was so different I couldn't decide. I was torn between deciding whether I wanted to be in a design agency or an advertising agency. I wanted to do both but that wasn’t an option. I was learning and growing so much in both fields that I didn't want to slow down my momentum. Also, I imagined being a coffee boy for the first year because I lacked experience and I had lots of ideas that I wanted to execute.
The second reason was the IDEA. I thought that if I could create a platform that encouraged local spending and gave small businesses a hassle free online mobile presence then I could encourage more people to shop local by making it cool and more convenient. I know that this idea will help the economy. I live in an area with the highest rate of unemployment in the UK. Local businesses create jobs, so that’s why I do, what I do, where I do it.
My pitch…I will give you access to an income revenue stream of at least £9.6 million per year (estimate based on £50 disposable income per person per week), give you an online presence, market all of your events and do it in style for £39.00 per month.
We target people in the right frame of mind. People only visit my website to buy or do something locally. When we are bombarded by advertising constantly (3,500 marketing messages daily) it is important to reach people when they want to be reached.
Can you give us a sense of the support that has been available to you at this early stage? Are there any organisations which have been particularly helpful to you, and what extra support do you wish had been available?
NORIBIC have been extremely helpful. I do think that there should be a dedicated service that applies for funding on your behalf. It seems like a full time job in itself and when you are starting out you really don’t have the time and the opportunities are hard to find.
Nowadays everyone loves social networking, can you tell us what sets your business apart from other online platforms which might fulfill a similar purpose?
We understand that everyone is different. Our users are provided with a tailored user experience based on their hobbies and interests, their own calendar and our platform allows them to connect and receive offers from THEIR favourite local businesses. Whoever said you can’t be all things to all people wasn’t talking about Socialhub. It’s a great experience especially on mobile - it’s image based, fast, clean, simple and really, really useful.
This is an exciting time for you, it’s natural to think of where your business is headed. Do you have any idea where you want it to be a year from now?
A year from now I want be of irreplaceable value to the people and businesses in the North West of Ireland. I would love to be able to employ more people from the local university and keep great talent within the city by creating more opportunities and growing the digital economy.
Given what you have learned so far, is there anything that you would do differently you if you had the chance?
- Yes, I would say stop talking and start doing. I wasted countless hours trying to explain my idea in hope for validation or support. Ideas aren’t worth the paper they are written on - it’s all about your execution. Looking back you don’t need permission - just execute the rest will follow.
- Don’t take things too personally.
- Don’t focus too much on a business plan, do it and sell it. I would do a 2 page business plan and be flexible in your direction.
- One of the key things I have learned is that everyone (including government) is made of people pursuing their own personal interests. By understanding this I was able to redirect my focus and how I was communicating. For example at the beginning I was focusing on telling people the benefits to the economy, the people of the city and tourists when I should have talked about how it would benefit the person I was speaking to on a personal level.
Key people to follow: Rory Sutherland, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Guy Kawasaki - You can find these guys on YouTube.
Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of starting a business, but has perhaps been putting it off?
I would say it has to be an obsession. To me it feels like you are not supposed to win at starting a business, there’s a lot of resistance, it’s very tough and very competitive. The money you're making is coming out of your competitors’ pockets and they are working round the clock to get it back. If you do it just for money you're going to give up, get your ‘why?’ right. So when times are tough you can go back to your why to help you get through it.
There's no map. Don’t let not knowing everything stop you from starting. Just be confident enough in yourself to be able to deal with problems as they arise and learn as you go along.
There’s no such thing as failing.
The worst case scenario is you will build contacts, learn a lot and get recognised for having the courage to put yourself out there. I don’t believe in market research to come up with ideas. People don’t know what they want. If Apple based their business on feedback they just would have made the computer with more memory, faster and cheaper. I believe that your job as an entrepreneur is not to be better or cheaper than competitors, it’s to be different. Being different makes it interesting and worth talking about. It’s basically your marketing built into your product.
Can you tell us is there anyway in which the Startacus community can help you with the development of your venture?
Yes, I’m a big fan of Startacus (why thank you Sir). It’s great for the support and I will be taking advantage of the discounts available to entrepreneurs from your various partners. If you guys or your members have any more ideas I'm all ears....