When it comes to purchasing a product or service it appears one of the most valuable qualities to have these days is ‘Irish-ness’. That’s according to a survey carried out by not-for-profit international networking organisation the Irish International Business Network (IIBN), which revealed that if given the choice between two identical products or services nine out of 10 Irish business people across the UK and Ireland will purchase the Irish one.
According to UK census figures, an estimated 10% (five million) people in Britain claim Irish heritage. Add to this the 50,000 Irish directors, as revealed by the Eulogy! Foreign Directors Report, working in the UK and it becomes clear that there is huge opportunity for Irish business people to leverage their ‘Irish-ness’ when attracting new customers.
The IIBN Networking Report, which looks at the networking habits of Irish business people in the UK and Ireland, also showed that networking remained a vital element for the vast majority of respondents, with almost two thirds (65%) of those interviewed stating that it had been a very important factor in the performance of their organisation. A point worth noting considering the fact the 77% of respondents also reported an increase in turn over in 2014.
Other key findings from the report include:
- An increase in the number of business people who believe their Irish identity is important to the way they do business, rising by 8.6% in 2013 to 93.1% in 2014.
- Almost half (49%) of Irish business people across the UK and Ireland prefer to do business with other Irish people because ‘they know and understand the culture’.
- At 50% ‘developing professional contacts’ is the main reason given for networking. This is followed by ‘generating new sales leads’ at 25%.
- When selecting a network cost is the least important criterion, while ‘quality of members’ is the most important.
Commenting on the findings, Alan Gleeson, board member of IIBN London, states: “The IIBN Networking Report shows clearly the correlation between business growth and networking. Every morning, lunchtime and evening thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK and Ireland commit their time to business networking. Why? Because it works. The Irish economy is bouncing back at a far greater rate than anyone expected and the important role that networking groups such as the IIBN have played in supporting businesses and helping them expand should not be underestimated.”