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Start-up and new business ideas can have many sources. A wedding sparked the new business idea for Sutton sisters-in-law Sineád Whelan & Helen Malone. "When Sinead was getting married, many of our friends and family expressed difficulty in finding suitable clothes in the Sutton area," comments Helen. "So we decided to set up our own store, Belle Boutique on Sutton Cross, Dublin." Once the lease on the store was signed and the keys handed over they had to get up and running as quickly as possible.
"It had formerly been a clothes store so fitting out was not a problem. Our main challenge was that we needed reliable fixed line and broadband in order to run the till," comments Helen.
As they would be using an EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) system to manage debit and credit card transactions, in addition to the broadband connection, they needed a high level of security. Their website was not yet ready but they had identified social media including Facebook and Pinterest as a great way to spread the news quickly. Broadband was also essential for this. They also required two fixed lines so customer calls would not be lost if a staff member was on another call
As a start up, we need to conserve cash and control costs but Three's business solution is great value.
"Speed was of the essence. We couldn’t open without the till so we had to get broadband and fixed lines in rapidly," adds Sineád Whelan who took the plunge from teaching at Sutton Park School to pursue her fashion and entrepreneurial dream. Helen had been an Three mobile customer and had heard about the company’s fixed line, broadband and mobile bundles for small business and start ups.
Critically, they were also able to make use of Three’s cloud based business applications for small business to include the security required for their ePOS system. Marketed under the Three Digital Solutions umbrella, Three can provide business services ranging from security and storage to video conferencing and mobile video sharing. Three Digital Solutions includes a website builder with hosting and Microsoft Office 365 which includes the familiar Microsoft Office packages such as Word, PowerPoint, Exchange and Excel as a cloud based service. As part of their business solution Belle Boutique added the option of Three internet security which is provided by renowned security specialist, McAfee (now owned by global giant Intel).
Belle Boutique opened its doors in Sutton Cross at the end of September – well in time for the Christmas trade. "Three pulled out all the stops to get us up and running," comments Helen. "We had the broadband and fixed lines installed in about a week. This was essential as we could not open without them."
As Three Digital Solutions are delivered as a Software-asa-Service (SaaS), the McAfee security for the ePOS was activated with the click of a switch. Value was a key component. "As a start up, we need to conserve cash and control costs but Three’s business bundle is great value," adds Helen, who is an accountant by training.
Three pulled out all the stops to get us up and running, we had the broadband and fixed lines installed in about a week. This was essential as we could not open without them.
The broadband and fixed line bundle plus McAfee is invoiced on a single monthly bill. “As a small business we need to minimise administration so having a single bill for all our business communications needs certainly simplifies things for us,” says Helen.
"And the support from Three has been super. We may be a start up and small business but Three is always contactable and responds quickly to any queries or issues. They have been a great business partner for us."