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Tús Nua Designs' Innovative Business Model

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Tús Nua Designs’ Innovative Business Model

Twitter is a great place to discover businesses with something extra special! One such company that fits this bill is Tús Nua Designs. Debi Harper and her business partner, Jez Harper, have a software development firm with an innovative business model. Via an email interview, Debi Harper explained in more detail.

Their backstory…

Tús Nua Designs, an Irish software development business, specialises in developing business apps to meet common problems that most businesses meet when managing resources in a team environment. Their primary focus is on developing and selling their own apps (time management, team management, project management, process management) and they have a niche within financial sectors.

Their business apps work on Apple devices, Android devices and Windows Phone devices. They also provide app development services to clients and collaborate with other partners developing apps.

Debi Harper and Jez Harper have over 20 years of experience in the software development industry as technical architect consultants to companies in the UK and abroad such as V-ON, Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS, Clerical Medical, The Real Adventure, FBD, Colleagues Direct Marketing and Lloyds TSB. Just before 2010, they were offered a semi-permanent job in Dublin. Unfortunately, the job fell through just as they prepared to move from the UK to Ireland.

Nonetheless, they moved to Ireland. After doing some experimentation with the market in Ireland, they focused on app development. Harper explained, “Choosing what apps to develop was the easy part…Jez had been a time management/process management expert in the financial services software industry for many years and he had a clear idea of the solutions that he wanted to develop.”

The Tús Nua Designs business model

Harper explained that they did not originally design a specific business model. Through trial and error, they found one that fits them and produces revenue. They operate a ‘virtual distributed business model’.

Debi Harper is the Sales and Marketing Director and Jez Harper is the Technical Director. Depending on the amount and types of projects, they add trusted freelance staff who are located in Ireland, UK, Germany, Portugal, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Harper elaborated, “We provide our staff with all of the equipment they need to enable them to be a productive member of the team and avoid the massive overheads of running a permanent office. With the use of modern technology and the ever increasing speed of internet access, there is no need for a team to all be located in the same building or even the same town or country.”

Beyond just writing code

Harper described how clients also get access to  “the skills and experience as a technical architect, business analyst, systems analyst, and project manager. We can genuinely offer a complete lifecycle service.” They encourage discussions with their clients to understand what clients want their apps to do as well as what could be the future of the app.

Harper explained, “We focus on the value to our clients’ customers and the benefit to our clients’ business, regardless of whether this provides the best immediate return for us. We look at these business relationships in the long term.” Tús Nua Designs is able to go from plan, development and service to see that clients get what they want and not waste money.

For Tús Nua Designs, the model provides a continuous process of developing business apps that avoids that gap between projects. Harper explained, “We have the higher up front in time and effort when we are developing our own apps (which is our core business). And, yes, the smaller returns are worth it because we are being constantly paid rather than working from project to project. As we produce more and more apps, our total revenue will grow, whereas if we were working from project to project, each project would only ever earn roughly the same as the last project.”

Growth oriented business model

Debi Harper and Jez Harper may not have planned specifically what their business model could be but they found a winner! By using a virtual distributed business model, they are able to respond to client needs and wants with personalised attention and the necessary staff for each app development project. They take advantage of technology and the lack of a bricks-and-mortar site or on-site staff to manage overhead costs.

They deeply enjoy their work and support students studying software development since “we have a passion to ‘do our bit’ to promote the industry so we will always take on and train students, no matter how big we get. At the moment there are about 1% of Irish students going on to do software development”, Harper enthused.

To get a taste for yourself of this engaging small business, visit their blog . It will be well worth your time!

Growing a business locally or internationally takes a different mindset; the CEO Mindset. Elli St.George-Godfrey, a behavioral economics coach, international expansion consultant and founder of Ability Success Growth, uses her 3 Keys Coaching process to help business owners and executives in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to unlock the CEO within. Under her guidance, personal styles are fine-tuned allowing the senior leader to “authentically inhabit” the role of CEO and collaborate with their team more effectively. With this focus on both the people and the organization in which they work, Elli’s market-proven coaching helps leaders and their teams develop styles and capabilities which enables them to collaborate and effectively join together to optimize the business outcomes.

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  • Hi Elli, Thanks for bringing the Tús Nua Designs to my attention and interviewing Debi and Jez for Bloggertone. This is a real example of a business operating an ‘outside of the box’ solution and being able to offer clients increased value as a result. From reading this interview, I now realise that I also operate an almost ‘virtual distributed business model’, you learn something new every day! 

  • Anonymous


    Thank you for commenting! Debi and Jez have a great model for many of us to consider for our businesses. It’s very easy for them to scale up or down according to the scope and number of projects. Being able to respond so readily not only serves their clientele well but also is a great example for many small businesses who also offer both products and service.

    There are so many advantages to this model that I could probably write a whole blog post on it alone. Another thing that makes this business model attractive for many small businesses is that it is a  green one. You can keep your carbon footprint down and provide jobs. A great example of clean web!

  • Social media is going to play vital role in Business in Ireland .Focus on more social media then other marketing methods 🙂 stay blessed stay happy  

  • Social media is going to play vital role in Business in Ireland .Focus on more social media then other marketing methods 🙂 stay blessed stay happy  

  • Thanks Niall. I knew that Nellie would be interesting to interview but even more so with the suggestions of balancing a personal and business relationship with her husband. Hopefully it will be some help to other couples that work together

  • Debi Harper

    Excellent article,must introduce the date night:) and take it just as seriously as a big client meeting. I like to veg in front of the tv in the evening, must make more of an effort lol They sound like a great team.

  • Smallbiztrends

    Oh my goodness!  I love this.

    I have met Nellie twice now in person, and I assure you she is as genuine and wonderfully nice IRL (in real life) as online.

    – Anita

  • Thanks Anita. I’m glad that came across in the interview too as Nellie certainly seems lovely.

  • Nellie Akalp

    Anita – Thank you so very much!!! 🙂 – Nellie

  • Nellie Akalp

    Debi – Yes it takes an effort but it is a MUST in the end to take some time for each other. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting! – Nellie

  • Nellie Akalp

    Thank you for reading and for commenting, Niall! – Nellie

  • A wonderful interview, Sian and Nellie. A pleasure to read, and very informative. Provision of “personal service” really comes across with Nellie, and these qualities are in your personal life and your business life – a marriage made in heaven really 🙂
    Thanks for sharing, both of you.

  • I have listened to Small Business Trends Radio’s podcast interview with Nellie and enjoyed the conversation very much. As business minded individual interested in a rational philosophy and the proud owner of EGO blog, I must say that your ego, i.e, your own life, should be involved in your business and your should take pride in putting your ideas into action. I understand that the word “ego” has got a bad rap in a way, but the original meaning of the concept is a good one. The word ego comes from the Latin word, I (am).

  • Well said 🙂 Thanks for commenting and sharing 🙂

  • Thanks Elaine – I agree that is what comes across which is why I was so interested in interviewing Nellie

  • Thanks Sian – Flor has a great way with words and takes a wry look at life 🙂

  • Thanks Sian. And thanks Helen for doing the interview. Glad you enjoy the emails. Pressure’s really on now to keep them interesting!

  • Great sharing…thanks. A few I had never heard of and now need to figure out how to use them!

  • Kristen Hanna

    Thanks Wise Mona for your feedback.

  • Kristen Hanna

    Hi Niall, Am glad to be part of Tweak your biz blog. Thanks for welcoming me and I wish to write more interesting and informative article on this blog.

  • Hi Brett, apologies for the delay in responding, I am not getting notifications of the comments. Initially we added clients automatically after running a promotion. While the response was overwhelming positive, some people did react negatively. Therefore, I think on reflection I would recommend sending clients a link or a promotional item with an offer of a download in order to get them to subscribe directly themselves rather than just add them. It may result in smaller numbers to start with (my list is actually quite small in any case) but it will a better qualified list. Hope this helps. All the best, Flor

  • Ger Deane

    Flor, Interested to know do you always write the emails daily or do you sometimes have them ‘lined up’?
    do you proof-read your emails before sending? I find bad spelling &
    grammar infuriating but I know it’s hard to keep it perfect if you are in a rush.
    ….For example I notice this post has your name wrong (as McCarty)….twice

  • Dylan Moran

    Thanks Sian to feature the article and give initial support.

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