Women in politics, global reaching businesses and enabling micro-enterprises, Lorraine Higgins joins Susan for today's podcast.Download Podcast
Being a barrister and politician during what was a difficult time for the Irish government following the economic downturn of the recession not only highlighted Lorraine's resilience during this time but is reflected on her continuing service to the Irish people through her the establishing of the Digital Business Ireland (DBI).
Through lobbying, she continues to focus her efforts on improving the lives of Irish businesses, from the small local businesses to the budding entrepreneurs.
Lorraine joins Susan for a conversation about Digital Business Ireland, her e-commerce representative body providing insights, research and networking opportunities that help Irish businesses be the best that they can be.
"You have to be pretty brilliant to have your voice heard"
Lorraine discusses her experience of being a woman in politics, and how even though the experience was "overwhelmingly positive" she found that women still have to be ahead of the curve. However, this did not stop Lorraine from running as a candidate in the 2011 general election and putting herself forward to help "bring the country back from the brink". She explains how regardless of individual political difference, everyone had the same goal of reinvigorating Ireland following the economic downturn.
Speaking to the starry-eyed dreaming young people of Ireland Lorraine goes on to say"if they have a dream and they think they could do something to add value to the country as a whole, I'd say pursue that dream". Of course, the same can be said for any budding young dreamer.
"Aim to ensure that businesses are so well equipped so that they can sell to Pedro in Spain and Giovanni in Italy"
Speaking on the true boundarylessness of online business, Lorraine explains how DBI aims to assist businesses in setting up their online presence so that they can reach a global audience with their products and services. She explains that although you may not need to have a fully functioning e-commerce website, "you certainly need to have a landing page and a social media presence", and if you don't then you are missing out on a great opportunity. Through supporting small businesses, DBI offers an extensive range of services to help Irish businesses grow and thrive online while they keep their place among other brick-and-mortar businesses.
"Those businesses were about building community, now those communities are being challenged"
Although many small and local businesses across the world are facing challenges as a result of the current situation that we find ourselves in, Lorraine explains how e-commerce can be the thing that bridges the transition between life before and after the COVID19 pandemic. We are being shown now that "an omnichannel offering is crucial due to the huge possibilities that it provides". While people are resorting to online shopping for all their needs, now is the time to start thinking about whether your business could build its online presence as a way of adapting and thriving in unprecedented times.
"You need to not look at it as in opposition to you, you need to embrace it"
Lorraine addresses the fear of the "big conglomerates" of online retail that discourages smaller businesses from setting up their e-commerce website. She explains how these bigger companies can act as enablers for smaller micro-enterprises to start selling online. Not only do the companies already have all the necessary technology in place, but they will also give you the footfall of the mass number of consumers visiting their website. The support of these larger businesses can help small local businesses grow.
If you are a business considering the transition to online retail, maybe now is the right time for a change. You can learn more about Lorraine and Digital Business Ireland on their website by clicking here! And as Lorraine was once told, "Play for day eight".
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Are you ready for the digital transformation? Aisling Curtis: Learn more about the digital revolution you may be facing as a small business in this podcast with Aisling Curtis, Commercial Director, Microsoft Ireland.
What to do when business slows down: In this podcast, Susan shares what to do when things seem to be slow in your business. During the current situation, many businesses may be under a lot of stress and worry. So how do you prepare for a business lull, and how can you either avoid it or harness it?
Digital Business Ireland (DBI) is the voice of the Irish digital commerce sector: Learn more about Lorraine and DBI over on their website, like how to safeguard your business during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Follow Lorraine on her Twitter Feed: @LorHiggins Founder: Digital Ireland, Consultant @ MKC Communication, Hon Consul of Slovak Republic, Trustee @ SightsaversIE. Chair: AusChamberIE Emerald Programme, Former: BL & Senator