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20 years ago, the first ever product was ordered over the internet. It may surprise you to find out that it was pizza. Pizza Hut can boast this particular piece of history after using, by today’s standards, a basic website to process the order in January 1994.

In the intervening decades, the internet has revolutionised the way we do business. So much so, in fact, that we would ask the question; whether or not your business can afford not to have a website? E-commerce stores have enabled businesses to begin trading with customers without having to open a physical ‘bricks and mortar’ store. Today’s businesses can operate 24/7, if they so wish,  solely and completely online.

The internet and the continued development of technology has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate. Recently we celebrated E-Day, as the business community continues to progress towards greater online payments integration. Of course, the rise of cloud technology has led to an increase of online services for businesses, such as ourselves, Big Red Cloud, providing cloud accounting software. The cloud allows small businesses and start ups alike the potential resources to compete with larger, more established business and looks set to become the status quo of business operations now and into the future.

We’ve come a long way after 20 years of ordering the first pizza online but we must ask you business owners a question. Are you taking full advantage of the wide choice of online resources to help your business succeed?

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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