Business Development Programme 2015-17

Business Development Programme 2015-17

Craft NI's two-year Business Development Programme (2015-16) was made up of eight free half-day modules over the course of 18 months, and was facilitated by Francis Verling, Verling Consulting, and included a range of guest speakers.

The programme was made up of eight half-day modules over the course of 18 months – June 2015 to November 2016 – and covered a range of business-related topics including innovative design, price setting and marketing. 

The programme was facilitated by Francis Verling of Verling Consulting, who has a long track record of supporting the development of craft businesses (short bio below). The programme also included a range of guest speakers specifically chosen to demonstrate good practice in their own craft businesses.

The Business Development Programme dovetailed with the business development support aspect of the making it programme – Craft NI’s 2-year start-up programme for craft businesses which also included mentoring and studio space for making it participants. The Business Development Programme was funded by Invest Northern Ireland as part of the making it programme.

Business Development Programme Schedule 2015 & Slide Downloads

30th June 2015 – Programme Induction (guest speaker textile lighting designer Rachel O'Neill
Module 1 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

29th September 2015 – Innovation Through Design (guest speaker Barry Archer of design-collective Wedge)
Module 2 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

24th November 2015 – Finding Craft Customers: Market Research & Planning (guest speaker ceramicist Derek Wilson)
Module 3 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

2016

23rd February 2016 – Financial Management & Planning

9.30am-1pm, NRC, Newtownabbey campus. Guest speaker Anna Collette Hunt. Module 4 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

26th April 2016 – Creative Marketing & Promotion

9.30am-1pm, Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick. Guest speaker Brona Spencer-Steenson. Module 5 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

28th June 2016 – Being a Creative Business

9.30am-1pm, Fashion & Textile Design Centre, Derry. Guest speaker Emily Jo Gibbs. Module 6 complete: read/download presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

27th September 2016 – Creative Selling Skills & Pricing

9.30am-1pm, Belfast Metropolitan College, Belfast. Guest Speaker Stephen Farnan. Module 7 complete: read/download presentation slides HERE (.pdf)    

28th November 2016 – Creative Business Management & Planning  

9.30am-1pm, Belfast Metropolitan College, Belfast. Guest Speaker CJ O'Neill.

About Francis Verling

Francis Verling – Founder VERLING CONSULTING. Francis Verling is the founder of VERLING CONSULTING a management consulting practice based in Blackrock, Co. Louth (est. Feb. 2007). VERLING CONSULTING provides a range of management consulting services to its clients including, business training, mentoring, coaching and planning. Francis is the lead consultant at VERLING CONSULTING and has over twenty two years’ experience in business and eleven years in working with creative lead businesses, micro-enterprises and ‘owner-manager’ businesses on all aspects of business development. Francis is an experienced trainer in the areas of Marketing, Sales, Business Planning, Presentation and Selling Skills, Innovation and New Product Development and Project Management.

Over the past ten years Francis has been working closely with the craft sector in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through his work with the Crafts Council of Ireland through its Professional Development Programme and Mentoring Service and with Craft Northern Ireland on two of its leading business initiatives – the Business Development Programme and the making it programmes.


Image: 6 Porcelain Mugs by Derek Wilson