Archive for the ‘Business Planning’ Category

HR – A story of two very different team philosophies

April 27, 2020

HR in a crisis

We all know the story .. on the 12th March, the country was effectively shut down except for essential services.

It was a time when each and every single employer in the country had to figure out really quickly what they needed to do to protect the business during this uncertain shut down period – how long would it go on for, how many bills do I have, how much money do I have in the kitty, how much do I need to survive?

All huge questions and with no simple answers and no playbook to refer to.

What we did next reflects who we are, who the business is, our values, our ethos.

A week later, I checked in on a good friend of mine who worked as a baker in a coffee shop (part of a  small but well known chain) around the corner from our office, just to make sure that he was OK.

What he shared with me was a tale of two very different HR philosophies and two very different approaches to their employees.

On exactly the same day he was given notice by his employer and his partner who manages a creche was also told that her place of business was closing because of the “lock-down”.

However, there was a huge difference between both.

In his case he was “left go”, unceremoniously with no guidance towards where he should go to for supports and no word as to what his status would be when this “pause” was over. Effectively it was a P45.

In her case, she was also left go temporarily, but with absolute clarity that her role would still be there when things returned to normal, she was guided towards the supports she needed and the employer set up a WhatsApp group so that the team could stay in touch during the lock-down.

While both of these scenarios were identical, they couldn’t be any further apart.

I have sadly heard of so many cases where loyal employees were just cast away on the 12th March, with virtually no concern as to how they would put food on their tables next week.

Your team are your business, and how you treat them will absolutely determine how successful your business will be and how deep your team will dig for you when needed.

When the lights come back on, I know of a great guy and all of his colleagues who will be looking for a new opportunity, and I know of a great gal and all of her colleagues who be delighted to get back to work and will dig deep for their employer when the chips are down.

What type of employer are you?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Valuable Business Supports available from the Local Enterprise Offices

April 15, 2020

What a hard to believe, crazy time that we are all knee deep in!

For some it is incredibly busy, coping with fulfilling unprecedented demand in difficult circumstances, for some it is somewhat damaging and messy and for others this “pause” is devastating and real solutions are needed for immediate survival and to plan for a much needed return to some type of normal.

The Local Enterprise Office network has implemented a suite of support services to assist businesses at this time.

We would urge you to look carefully at these valuable supports, not only to assist you right now, but also to make your business stronger going into the future.

There are 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country, all offering these additional supports:

A support we have found to be hugely beneficial for businesses throughout the years is the Trading Online Voucher Scheme

A second voucher is now available for businesses that have previously availed of this support over the years. Having a strong online presence has never been more important, so whether it’s improving your website and online shop to creating an app, we strongly advise you to check this out.

The Trading Online Voucher can also be used to support the below:

  • Website Creation
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media for Business
  • Search Engine Optimisation

To find more about the online trading voucher and the eligibility criteria visit www.localenterprise.ie and contact your local office.

If we can assist you to put a practical plan together in any of these areas give us a call and we will do everything we can to help.

As well as the Trading Online Voucher, there is a range of different supports available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

An overview of all supports available:

Trading Online Voucher Scheme
Second voucher available

 

Can you do more business online?

The expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets.

There is up to €2,500 available through the Local Enterprise Offices, with co-funding of 10% from the business. Funding can be used towards adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or developing new apps for your customers.

The voucher can also be used towards subscriptions to low cost online retail platform solutions, to help companies quickly establish a retailing presence online.

 

Business Continuity Vouchers 
Apply for €2,500 in consultancy

The new Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people.

The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs (at no cost to the company) and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the business challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.

If we can be of assistance, please contact us and we will talk through the challenges you are facing.

LEO Financial Supports 
Grants for new and established businesses

 

COVID-19
Business Loans  

First 6 months are interest & repayment free
New low rate of 4.5% through the Local Enterprise Offices

The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland (MFI), in partnership with Local Enterprise Offices, is a Government-funded initiative to support small businesses.

It’s designed for micro-enterprises that are a) having difficulty accessing Bank finance and b) impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.

To view loan features click here.

 

Lean for Micro
Become a Leaner business

LEAN for Micro is available to LEO clients to help build resilience within small companies.

Under this programme, clients can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert (a qualified practitioner), who will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost savings project and assist the company in benchmarking its performance. LEAN for Micro can also be used to help implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines.

 

Mentoring Advice and guidance
Now free of charge 

Grants for new and established businesses

 
Under the Local Enterprise Office Mentor Programme, clients work with an experienced mentor to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities when the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end.
 

Training and Webinars 
Upskill and network remotely,
for free

Local Enterprise Offices have moved training programmes, workshops and networking meet-ups online, covering areas such as cash management in a crisis, leading your business through COVID-19 and advice for employers impacted by the crisis.

Training programmes are free of charge and places can be booked online, through your Local Enterprise Office.

 

LEO Financial Supports 
Grants for new and established businesses

For existing companies and potential start-ups that meet eligibility criteria (such as employing 10 or fewer people with the potential for growth and job creation), Local Enterprise Offices can also offer financial supports to help manage current market challenges:

  • Business Priming Grants
  • Business Expansion Grants
  • Feasibility Study Grants
  • Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters Grant

To view the full details on the supports available to your business and the criteria visit: www.localenterprise.ie/Response.

Depending on how the situation evolves, criteria may change so please refer to the above website for updates.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can offer you advice during these difficult timesand try to stay positive and seriously think about using these supports, for today and a much better tomorrow….it will come!

Best wishes from all at Fuzion.

Greg

(086) 8311156 greg@fuzion.ie  

Greg Canty is the Managing Partner of Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing, Dublin and Cork offices

Have we gone past the Sweet Spot?

August 6, 2018

I think we are now well and truly at that point in the economic cycle where we have gone past the sweet spot.

We’ve pulled away from the dark days of the recession and things slowly got better and better, we’ve lost that sense of caution and we find ourselves here, still in the upside but we have passed that sweet spot and we are starting to experience the downside of that upside.

We can see recognise the clear signs..

  • Business costs are increasing
  • Cost of living is increasing
  • Landlords are pushing up rent
  • Team turnover rates are increasing
  • Wages are increasing
  • Attracting great talent is getting more difficult
  • Expectations are higher but without the sweat
  • Traffic is getting worse
  • Hotel rooms are in short supply and increasingly expensive
  • We end up making decisions that don’t make sense anymore

This is the time when we can easily end up in dangerous territory if we make too many bad decisions, which will leave us vulnerable to even the slightest ill wind.

While this might seem like a negative post it’s a positive, future proof one.

Don’t undermine your solid foundations, keep doing the right things, carefully assess all of your decisions, keep a close eye on all of your KPIs, keep your team motivated and stay focused and stick to your plan.

Stay calm and keep doing good business,,

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

A dog called Bert and hard habits to break!

April 9, 2018

Bert

We headed off on our normal weekend walk, taking our usual route with the dogs towards Ballincollig Park.

As usual Bert has his regular spot where he decides to go for a poop!

He is so predictable, that dog, the very same spot each time and thankfully it is in a location where it is right next to a doggie poo disposal bin, so there is no carrying his little gift for half an hour!

I was giggling to myself as I thought about his little routine, his habit and then reflected on how we, as humans are exactly the same.

The same route to the park, the same food in the shopping trolley, the same brands, the same hairdresser, the same shaving blades, the same songs at a party, the same pub, the same beer, the same jeans, the same TV shows, the same radio station, the same political party, the same the same, the same..

When it comes to marketing your products or your brand, more often than not, you are trying to get someone to change a habit – how easy is this?

You need to run a well researched, cohesive marketing campaign with a mix of advertising, PR, social media, direct marketing, events and activities. It’s important that the campaign is long enough and consistent enough to give people a chance to change and that there are some elements of the plan that will help to create that big shift of those habits.

Of course, after a short while in, everyone will be pushing to see early results – why are the results not showing yet, why, why, why?

When this happens, you need to have faith in your plan, stay consistent, keep evaluating, avoid any temptation to flip flop and tell everyone about a dog called Bert!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The wisdom of Louis Copeland

March 25, 2018

Louis Copeland - Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Sometime in 2004 I approached legendary Irish retailer, Louis Copeland to see if he was interested in coming on board with a high end fashion event called Catwalks that we were taking on tour around Ireland.

To be clear, I didn’t know him, I had never spoken to him before and after a quick ‘cold-call‘ (I can’t have been too bad a salesman!!) he asked would we call in to see him and tell him more about our event.

The following week we called in to see him and we were greeted by a warm, open, friendly Louis Copeland.

After about five minutes, when we were in full flight in the middle of our sales pitch he unexpectedly declared “I’ll do it” and then quickly changed the topic..”Tell me about you two?

We spent at least another hour with him and he showed a genuine interest in us, our project, why we were doing it and what else were we up to. When the meeting finished (more like a friendly chat really) I asked Dee if she thought he had actually agreed to come on board, because he had barely got details about the event.

This was the beginning of my great journey with King Louis, as I call him! (or King Louis 2nd – his dad was also Louis).

Since then he has come in and out of our lives at different times. He did the event on that occasion and supported us on many other things since. He seems to follow us with interest and he will always call out of the blue when he might read about us or hear something on the radio.

When the recession clouds gathered around all of us, I heard him being interviewed on the radio and he offered a powerful piece of advice as to how people should cope.

Get up earlier, work harder and work later” was his advice, and something that I embraced.

My own Monday morning social media mantra, inspired by Louis (for anyone who has seen my tweets for the last decade will confirm) is:

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in and have a great week #Positivity”.

When I arrived to record the session for this podcast he probed and probed me to learn more about podcasts, the process, who is listening to them and why. His natural curiosity and openness is just one of the ways he always stays relevant and successful.

Louis is an inspiration, he is a mentor, who is always at the end of a phone to bounce things off and offer assistance or provide a helpful contact.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

In this podcast I’ve done my best to capture his story, the secret sauce behind the success of his great business, his approach to marketing, what he does to stay relevant, his approach to online and who his favourite celebrity customer is!

You can listen by clicking here, or by subscribing on iTunesThe Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

A huge thanks once again to the retail legend, Louis Copeland for being a good friend and for taking part and being so open and generous.

Enjoy…

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

I had a great year because…

January 1, 2018

Visualisation

For the last few years I have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help me get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

I have found it to be really useful and it has made a big difference and as I look back at last year I can see the things that I have achieved as a result of this focus. In Fuzion we also ask all of the team to do this – it is really important to us that everyone in the team achieves their own personal and career goals.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the start of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of PossibilityA few years ago I was inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (disbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

This is my approach to his great idea to tap into all of Your Possibilities..

Take a quiet few moments so you can concentrate with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and do some visualisation – Take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of this year, just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling really satisfied as you reflect on your fantastic achievements during the year. Some of these were personal things and some of these were professional things – you are feeling great!

Now open your eyes and start writing:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make this year a great one for you:.

Take your time and be as specific as you can including all of those business and personal goals that will give you that huge sense of satisfaction on that last work day.

Now you need to study this list and start figuring out how you can make this list come to life.

Put your piece of paper in a safe place so that you can refer to it throughout the year to make sure your wish list stays on track.

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Happy New Year

This clip of Benjamin Zander is really motivational and well worth watching.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

“It’s very quiet….”

December 18, 2017

While staying in the very luxurious Cliff House Hotel (10 year anniversary treat!!) we headed down to the village to explore a little and go for a walk on the beach.

The Cliff House Hotel is located in the village of Ardmore, Co.Waterford which is perched on a cliff alongside a gorgeous beach, a perfect idyllic location on the Irish coast.

As it was a weekday in a cold December, as expected virtually every place in this summer holiday village was shut except for a little grocery store, an art gallery and a cosy, inviting looking cafe.

After a long walk on the cliff and the beach we fancied a cuppa and a treat so we headed to the cafe.

I was imagining a warm bowl of soup, homemade brown bread, homemade treats ….hmmmmm

When we entered, it was empty but it looked pretty with tables covered in bright table cloths and nicely painted chairs.

The man behind the counter didn’t quite match the place – there was a heavy aura around him, that didn’t exactly convey a ‘warm welcome’.

I ordered a coffee and a tea and I took a scone from the ‘serve yourself’ display, placing it on the paper plate provided.

The guy prepared the drinks and served them in disposable cups and placed them in front of him on the counter for us to collect.

Making idle conversation to ease the uncomfortable silence, I asked if he was having a good day – he told us that we were just the second customers all day and went on to say how bad the whole year had been. I could feel the heavy cloud.

This poor man was wearing his negativity like the heaviest ball and chain and it was pulling everything in the cafe down, including the few customers that came through his door.

Ardmore cafe

We sat and had our drinks and looked around the cafe – there was a sign on each table instructing the customers to dispose of their own cups and plates – why?

Why was the tea and coffee not brought to our table in cute homely cups, just like in a ‘tea room’ that this place could easily be?

Why were the treats served in a DIY manner and on paper plates with plastic cutlery?

Why was there very random stuff for sale in the cafe (about a dozen pairs of shoes and two boxes of golf balls!) that had nothing in keeping with the place?

Why did this cafe with oodles of potential not “own” beautiful Ardmore on social media and attract people to the place, with posts encouraging people to stroll on the beach?

Why were the parents of the school kids in the school nearby not meeting for treats before they collected their little darlings?

We finished up as quick as possible and were glad to leave the negativity behind us – we wanted to enjoy our day!

Go on…. make sure you put your best foot forward, make the most of your lovely little place with all of that potential or just hand the keys to someone else!

Are you putting forward the best possible version of you and your business?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Happy New 172!

July 2, 2017

Mad Men new car, Cadillac

So it’s the beginning of Part Two of 2017.

Maybe, like the car registration system we can now have two starts to the year?

If you think about it the idea of breaking the year into two parts was a really clever one. In previous years there was a huge buzz about the start of the year.

We all wanted a new car but once you had gone past April you probably started to think that it may be worth waiting until the next year as ’17’ was starting to age a little – you definitely did not want to buy something in the latter part of the year.

How about we make it ‘171’ and ‘172’ and get two bites of the cherry?

Great thinking by the motoring sector!

Maybe you can start the second part of your year with all of the buzz, vigour and great intentions that you had on your first day back at work this year?

So, what are you going to do with your ‘172’ ?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Writing cheques to make yourself look bad

May 14, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Why you should change as little as possible in the first 100 Days

April 30, 2017
Donald Trump signing executive orders

The first 100 days – there is a lot of talk about this and seemingly it has become a great way of assessing the success of a new President in the United States.

Why?

The media are locked into a frenzy about this “100 Day” thing and we all eagerly join in the conversations and somehow buy into this crude assessment of the new President.

Is this a really great yardstick of success and a good sign of what more is to come from the remainder of that person’s four-year term?

In the earliest days of his Presidency we saw Donald “Chump” Trump buying into this, breaking into a sweat signing as many Executive Orders as he could …”look at me, how great I am, look, look, I really mean business and will change the world and show everyone how a real President does it“.

It was quite awful watching the circus around this crude display of power.

100 days on after a frustrating “birth” poor Mr. Chump is now giving out about the American Constitution and blames it for hindering real progress and as always he turns his anger at the media and accuses them again of fake news.

His popularity has fallen since he took office and he really hates that because this bully still wants people to think he is doing great – sorry Donald, that isn’t happening!

The craziest thing of all is this fascination with “100 days”.

Apparently, the term was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was, in fact, referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, rather than the first 100 days of his administration.

However, it is a lot sexier if we apply the “100” to the first days of the Presidency so this measurement tool caught on.

A good measurement tool?

Managing a super power nation must be incredibly complicated and no matter who you are, no matter how well briefed you are, and no matter how intelligent you are I can imagine those big decisions should be taken in a very considered manner.

From my career experience of having been in business a long time and having managed many companies and worked for many companies, I shudder at the thought of any boss wanting to make as many changes as possible in this initial period.

I would feel an awful lot better if this person would have the sense to listen, learn, take stock and only when they have a full grasp of a situation do they start to make any changes. I have found that even the seemingly obvious things that look wrong can often have very good reasons why they are in place and cannot be changed easily.

I imagine that Donald if he had allowed himself the time and not been a pawn to the media his own bravado persona might have gone about things quite differently.

Next time for the safety and benefit of everyone in the world let’s judge the President positively when he makes no changes in his first 100 days.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland