If you have not heard that your local Enterprise Office 'LEO' will give you 50% towards an “online” project up to €5,000* then go to our blog “Apply for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme for your Salon before it’s too late” where we explain what it is and how to apply in more detail.
Stepping back and planning how you will spend the grant/voucher money is a critical part of the Online Trading Voucher scheme application process. First up you should decide how much you can spend. The easiest way to work this out is to work out how much you can invest of your own money, then double it, to the maximum of €5,000. If it exceeds this amount you can make two grant applications and plan accordingly. The second grant can be applied for once the first project is completed and the government pay you your funds.
Next, you need to undertake an audit to understand the areas that will benefit most from the investment and what will give you the greatest “bang for the buck” for your salon. If you can tie them together into a cohesive plan you can apply for multiple projects, and it will still be admissible under the scheme. For example, apply for a project to include branding, a website with online shopping and a booking system. Or a website with an online booking service, advertising and photography. This is a great opportunity, so think big, and be strategic!
When you have decided on how you are going to invest you should spend some quality time understanding the pros and cons of all the solution options that are available to you. Choose your supplier with care to ensure you get quality and value for money and where appropriate ongoing support.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the grant can only be used for a website. Below are some suggestions on how you can get the most from this opportunity.
3. Got an ugly website you are embarrassed about? – then replace or upgrade it. Got a shop where you can’t change prices, offer gift vouchers, run promotions then swap it out for something that will make you money? It’s easier than you think.
4. Add Assets – Improve the look and feel of your website by employing a professional copywriter and or photographer who can make you look and sound like a million dollars.
5. Buy Help - on how to customise online solutions that will increase your revenue, reduce your costs, or improve the customer experience, include this in your project costs and get multiples back on your time and money. Get professional help on how to run a social media advertising campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Google and drive new business to your Salon. Caution though – make sure you have fixed your branding and have a fully functional website, shop and booking system in place or you will be driving business into thin air!
6. Drive business – Pay for Advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google really leverage the investments you have made in your Salon and online presence to drive traffic through the door and make more sales. Up to 30% of the approved funding can be used for advertising.
7. Shine a light on your Salon – Invest in optimizing your online presence for Search Engine Optimisation SEO make sure your Salon name is at the top of the page when someone searches for the services you provide in your area.
8. Pay Monthly fees or Subscriptions – The cost of a website and/or online shop hosting and monthly support charges can also be included in your grant application.
9. Training – Get Training on how to run your own ad campaigns, operation software or provide online consultancy.
10. Better Tools – Pay for software like booking systems, Marketing tools
This is really a unique opportunity to double up on the amount of money you can spend on essential components of your 'online' Salon business and won't be around forever. Even if you only have a modest amount to invest it will be matched € for € by your local authority and can go a long way if you plan wisely and work with the right people.
Salon Solutions has been creating online solutions for Salons for over a decade and has used this experience to create a free e-book - 'A Salon's Guide to the trading online Scheme' which is full of tips and tricks on how to ensure you are successful with your trading online voucher scheme application. Download this step-by-step guide to ensure you make the most of this fantastic opportunity.