BioLogiq Solutions

BioLogiq Title and Facts

Douglas, tell us where the business idea came from?

I was working at Lisheen Mine for a while which was really interesting and then when I finished there I started working for a consultancy where I was unimpressed by the content of the courses delivered. I saw a gap in the market for a training company which provided value-for-money courses with high-quality content and which were where practicable accredited, so I set up BiologiQ.

Pen Pics - Biologiq

 How did you find setting up a new business?

I’m sure there were challenges, highs and lows along the way. Setting up was ok, Karine and I are a good team. Karine has a full-time job however, she has been a rock of support for me and the business and looks after the accounts, logistics and marketing side of things in her spare time so that I can get on with the detailed consultancy work and course content for our training and this team effort works really well for us. The creative stuff comes easily to me and I am good at writing so once I had decided on the site layout the content for the site was easy enough to pull together. In the beginning, there was a lot of work developing the various courses but I enjoy what I do so that part of designing really good courses which I knew partic­ipants would enjoy wasn’t too much of a chore! The low point is easy to identify, we were contacted by another company to say we had the same name and they were trading before us so we had to change it and all our branding which was a real downer! At the time we had just completed a total overhaul of the website and had to redo everything which wiped out our web traffic so we almost had to start from scratch. Thankfully with the support we’ve received from LEO Carlow we could make a lot of the changes ourselves and with a lot of hard work we are in a better place than we were before the name change.


You’ve come a long way in business from 2011 What has the feedback on BiologiQ been like?

Awesome! Really positive and word of mouth has really helped to grow the business which I feel is a testament to the quality of the consultancy and training I provide.


Tell me a little about your vision for BiologiQ going forward?

I think I would like to develop more online training courses and use digital more in my course delivery which will enable us to, grow the business further with new clients while sustaining our high rate of repeat business and refresher training with our valued existing clients.


It is clear you love what you do but looking at the sheer scope of the subjects you train, one has to wonder what area does Dr. Douglas McMillan enjoy the most?

I really enjoy being out and about, meeting new people and learning about each new business or training require­ment they have and then helping them solve their problems in a practical manner.


What was your light-bulb moment to set up BiologiQ?

When I worked for another company which was only driven by money-making and not the quality of service and I had to deliver courses where I had to improvise from my knowledge as there wasn’t enough substance to stand over. The same thing applied to the consultancy side as we didn’t have enough time to do this work properly. I knew that if I set up myself and offered superior consultancy and training services that I could proudly stand over I should be on to a winner.


Tell me a bit about the support you have received from your Local Enterprise Office Carlow?

Karine has been on lots of courses to build her marketing know-how and network with other women in business and local professionals which she really enjoyed which has given us so much useful information for us both to apply to the business.

We also received a trading online voucher which was really helpful as initially we had a very homemade website that needed some work to get it to a level that best reflected the quality of consul­tancy and training we offer and the professionalism with which it is delivered – our website is our shop window and we needed to learn how to attract clients to it with effective Google AdWords campaigns and indeed convert them when they got there and the voucher was really helpful on that front. Apart from word of mouth and professional referrals digital marketing is the only form of marketing we engage in.


As an SME are you optimistic regarding the future?

I’m confident about it.


Best advice you have received re running a business?

Start from what you’re good at and take your time to do it well – Rome wasn’t built in a day!


What advice would you give to others starting out in business?

Don’t be greedy in the beginning, take on any jobs going even if they’re not the best paying as they offer you the chance to gain experience and learn on the job - take them and learn from them and get your foot in the door because that experi­ence will allow you to charge more going forward.


You have managed to keep your outgoings quite low which is very impressive, have you any tips on costs and cash flow you would like to share with us?

Our outgoings are very little because I work from home and don’t need a fancy office or the expense of one. The training courses I offer have a cost built in to cover the venue costs, tea, coffee and printing etc. After that, we have the website and Google AdWords campaigns, accountancy fees, tax etc. but nothing major and that’s how I want to keep it. I guess because I offer a service and we built up the business gradually we have been able to keep our cost base low.


Tell us how you attract new customers and indeed retaining your existing clients?

Word of mouth and referrals are the best way for us to attract new clients, for brand new clients we find targeted Google AdWords campaigns quite good to drive the right sort of traffic to our website and enquiries come from that too. When it comes to retaining existing clients if you do what you do well people will come back and send others your way and that has been the main reason for repeat business over the years – happy clients come back!

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