Mary Murtagh, 22 August

Mary MurtaghFormer journalist, Mary Murtagh visited the University on 22 August to talk about her experiences of being a self-employed entrepreneur. An outstanding lady, she is very different from most new entrepreneurs; she broke even during her first month and her income became double her salary quickly.

According to Mary, when she was doing business, the biggest problem she met was customers who wasted her time. They can be classified into two groups; the non-payers and the time wasters. Those in the first group agree to do business with you but then, often when you have finished the job, do not pay the money. Those in the second group tend to have a long conversation with you, take your time and then disappear. The appearance of these two groups of people has a large influence on the efficiency of Mary’s business. She advises that SMEs should not waste their time on these customers.

Another good piece of advice from Mary for new business starters is to pitch their business idea to strangers. The reaction of these people can sometimes give you an opinion of how the business will grow.

Lastly, she has given us her top ten tips for press releases:

  1. Tell us what it is
  2. Include who, what, why, where, how and when
  3. Make it easy to read and jargon-free
  4. Use a quote and make it relevant
  5. Don’t waffle but give us enough to go on
  6. Provide a contact number
  7. Suggest an intro
  8. Use notes to the editor if needed
  9. Make sure it is addressed to the right person
  10. Explain why you are sending them the information

In addition, she told us the following:

  1. Use conversational sentences
  2. Make it less than 1 page (450 words)
  3. Don’t ask journalists when the news will be published
  4. The title should be big and bold – PRESS RELEASE

In conclusion, a press release is a really good way to gain public attention. It’s free, the only cost is your time.