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SME’s Survival – Unlocking Your Potential


Image credit: Green Chamelon

We caught up with Elizabeth Meehan from our Blick Cotton Court studios and founded coffeenosugar .  They are a service designer whose work helps businesses identify the gap between the service they work hard to deliver and the reality of the customer experience.

Elizabeth will be hosting an evening workshop on the 10th September and will be offering SME’s practical tools that they can use for their business.

 Can you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what you do?

I am a Service Designer. Service Design, is not so well understood here, but increasingly service design is being used by the bigger companies and by government to design services that better serve the needs of their customers. When businesses understand how customers use their service, they can identify the moments that work well or cause hassle across the service. This helps retain customers that could easily go elsewhere. We all use services; we pay our electricity bills, we eat out, we go the cinema, we apply for various licences, etc. Every business is offering a service of some kind or other.

Can you tell us a bit about your event that is coming up on the 10th September?

This session is about offering SME’s practical tools that they can use for their business to help them access their customer, understand who they are and their habits. In addition to satisfying the customers businesses do have, the more businesses understand the habits of their customers, the greater the opportunities for them to increase revenue from other customer markets. Markets that they’re missing at the moment because the needs of certain customer groups is unknown to them.

Why do you think it is important for people to know this information for their businesses?

Every business is serving the needs of their user. If they aren’t doing that, there isn’t a business. Setting up a business because you are passionate about something is a risk. Offset that risk by tailoring what you love so that it is serves a clear purpose for your customers.

Who is the evening workshop for?

For SME’s. If you own a business and you want to understand how to survive in todays competitive economy, this is for you.

What mistakes do you see businesses make?

They don’t see the user. They think that people will flock to them because they believe in their product – the quality of their coffee, or evocative bar, or whatever it might be. The reality is that people will only buy what they need. The purchase must help them do something. If a business isn’t helping a customer do something, it will not survive. A lot of businesses think they understand this need, but often do not understand it well enough to really thrive.

What do you hope people will get out of this evening workshop?

Because businesses often have a blind spot when it comes to the customer, the session will help them access tools to identify their user and better understand them. The more they understand who they are, the more they can tailor what they are doing to suit. Which will result in greater profit.

What piece of advice would you give to a business that struggles in this specific area?

Start asking for customer feedback in innovative ways. Don’t leave comment cards lying around and hope customers will fill them in. Don’t ask them to fill in pointless questionnaires that often tell little about what’s going on. Have conversations. Offer a free coffee. Invest in your customers feedback and the returns will be significant.

What other projects do you have coming up over the next few months?

This is part of a much larger project that SME’s can avail of. Free support is not something that is available in plentiful supply these days. It is a highly competitive and often saturated market, so get in touch and see how you can access support that looks at the current economic situation and navigates you through that with the right kind of tools and approach.

For the workshop on the 10th September there are only 10 places* available so booking fairly early on is essential. To book, click here. *2 persons from each SME allowed.

This session forms part of USER-FACTOR a three-year project funded by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme, aiming to strengthen innovation in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It is offered free but, offering the latest thinking in, it is worth £265

Location: Blick Shared Studio, 46 Hill St
Date & Time: 10th September, 6-9pm
Booking: see link above and complete short form
Further queries:
Cost: free



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