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!