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Epson Business Council Gives Advice To Small Businesses

The Epson Business Council was launched in late 2010 as a platform to provide tips, advice and insight for start-ups and small businesses.

The council is made up of four of the top business experts in Europe:

UK: Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green & Black’s premium confectionery range

France: Alain Bosetti, multi-entrepreneur and founder and President of the “Micro Enterprise Show”

Germany: Dr Hasso Kaempfe, former chairman of the board of Mast Jägermeister AG, micro business consultant and member of Board of the German Brands Association

Italy: Marco Montemagno, co-founder of Internet and social enterprise companies including Augmendy and Codice Internet

Epson invited the four entrepreneurs to a hotel in Berlin to discuss key business advice, insider tips and ideas including social media, idea generation, networking benefits, marketing strategy and more. The following series of videos are some of the highlights from their first gathering.


Top tips for starting a small business

Each of the business experts give us their top three tips on setting up a business; whether large or small including:

  • Finding a niche in the market
  • Using both social media and PR for publicity
  • Concentrating on what you do best and having willingness to fight!

International expansion

The Council raise issues and give advice on problems that may face online businesses when considering European expansion.

  • Jo Fairley raises both the lingual and cultural difficulties to consider when implementing website-translation
  • Marco Montemagno advises small businesses to start-off with an English only website and then later on investing in costly website translations

Business networking tips & advice

Here they discuss the pros and cons of networking, questions answered include:

  • How important is networking
  • Can you save time when you have the right contacts?
  • Jo Fairley talks about the emotional support and encouragement that can come from networking
  • Alain Bosetti discusses the idea of ‘karma’ in networking: being generous when sharing ideas and contacts

Employee engagement

The entrepreneurs talk about the do’s and don’ts when dealing with employees and about best ways to motivate employees. Answers include:

  • Team-building days
  • Enabling employees to grow and setting clear objectives for both the employee and the company.

Project management

‘How does effective project management work?‘.

  • Alain Bosetti suggests having regular progress reviews to discuss whether tasks and objectives have been met
  • Marco Montemagno raises the importance of knowing each person’s role within the project

Idea generation

The Council are asked ‘What are your thoughts on the best way to generate new ideas?‘.

  • Dr Hasso Kaempfe discusses how important it is to listen to others when generating ideas
  • Alain Bosetti says new environments are key to idea generation
  • Jo Fairley raises the importance of rewarding new ideas

Marketing strategy

The entrepreneurs discuss small business marketing strategies and what the best way is to build a successful sales channel.

  • Jo Fairley advises the use of sales agents in order to tap into a bigger network of sales
  • Alain Bosetti raises how important it is for sales people to be engaging with clients face-to-face

Social media marketing

Here, they talk about the importance of social media in business.

  • Jo Fairley discusses the importance of everyone having a presence in social media – especially Facebook and Twitter
  • Dr Hasso Kaempfe talks about the negative impact of not having a social media presence
  • Marco Montemagno raises the importance of persistence and consistency when initiating a social media presence

Subscribe to Epson Europe’s Youtube Channel to keep up to date with future videos and key entrepreneur insider tips.


Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (, & to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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  • Great post! I think that conference venues could really learn from this. If they were to become more tuned in/sophisticated as to how they can contribute to the marketing and recording of the event, they would immediately give themselves a significant competitive advantage. Amazingly not too many even try?

  • Hi Fred,

    Another thing that works is to help others connect.

    It’s a bit like being a matchmaker connecting folks you think should/could work

    Of course, you need to build a network first so you have this critical mass of information but once you do people will come to you looking for connections.

    Works well 🙂

  • Byrneianr

    Guys, always keen to hear feedback or to add anything new that we can bring to our events – The Business Owners Network. Please feel free to drop us any suggestions to help the events more memorable and beneficial to members;

  • Great suggestion Ivan. If you’re still in the process of building a network I guess it’s easier to connect individuals or ask for introductions on LinkedIn. Nowadays, any business network has a dedicated group.

  • New Comment

  • Very forward thinking Fred, especially as most people would rather die, than be “showcased” in front of a group.nnBottom line? We have to get out there, be visible, be proactive, even a bit cheeky!nAnd I mean both offline, and online! But at all times, respectful and considerate of others. So maybe keep the karaoke for the social nights :)nnReally enjoyed the post Fred, and the video 🙂

  • Glad you enjoyed it Elaine. Loved the Karaoke thing! Ahahah

  • Nice post Gregg. Cold calling is essential for many businesses but when the person on the other end of the phone hasn’t done their homework they’ve lost you immediately. Worse is when the caller won’t accept no and you have to tell them you’re ending the call – guarantees that whatever chance they had of a sale is now gone.

  • Very wise advice. Particularly the slow response rate. A quick response demonstrates that you’re reliable, which builds trust.

  • Thank you for the Post- I do believe in every business the imperative is there to redefine, or refine even, their core competencies as they evolve and ask the very important question – What is the Business really about whilst thinking beyond the 4 walls of the store itself. Rather than see technology as a threat , its time Retailers start looking at it with a positive mindset as another tool to expand their pontential – lots of scaremongering around.

  • Christina Giliberti

    Absolutely – thinking positive is key to moving forward.

  • Lorna Sixsmith

    Thank you for the interview Fiona – I enjoyed recalling it all. It was only yesterday I counted up exactly how many copies of the book had been pre-ordered from the 191 pledgers and it is 15 ebooks and 224 hard copies which is a great start 🙂

  • You’re very welcome,
    Lorna. Best of luck with the publication
    and sales of the book.
    Congratulations on writing it and successfully crowdfunding it!

  • Thanks very much, Sian. Yes, Lorna is an inspiration!

  • Hi Fiona, Thanks so much for puttting this interview together for Tweak Your Biz & of course thanks to Lorna for sharing such great insights. If the book is as good as the backstory it will be a wonderful read 🙂

  • Lorna Sixsmith

    Many thanks Ladies, i feel dizzy at the thought of everything that has to be done in the next 6 weeks but am sure I’ll get there (even if the house falls down around me)!

  • Lorna Sixsmith

    Thanks Niall – here’s hoping people will enjoy it 🙂

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