Archive for the ‘Business Planning’ Category

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

A Tale of Two Cities and The Cork Opportunity

January 7, 2017

One Albert Quay, Cork

With busy offices in both Dublin and Cork I am in the privileged position of witnessing both cities up close and personal and with the nature of our work we get close to many of the key issues and challenges.

In Dublin I am a Council member of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and in Cork I have been working on various marketing initiatives for the region so I guess I have a unique perspective. The recent Connecting Cork initiative by Cork Chamber has the city proactively connecting with our business diaspora around the globe.

Undoubtedly, there are terrific opportunities but there are also big challenges that must be addressed if we wish to seize them and Cork can play a pivotal role in ensuring that these opportunities stay in Ireland.

We hear the fantastic headlines on the news everyday about the many companies announcing new jobs but we also hear about how much demand there is for housing and the limited supply of high quality office space in the locations that contemporary businesses and their talented employees want to be in – high quality, accessible urban destinations with an attractive lifestyle mix.

While unemployment levels are half what they were at the peak of the recession the headlines are dominated with news of sky rocketing rents and the resulting social issues due to the huge imbalance of supply and demand for housing. The brave ‘Home Sweet Home’ campaign with the occupation of Apollo House has just put a huge spotlight on the issue of homelessness, which is in part a consequence of an improving economy.

So, it doesn’t always quite feel that we are succeeding.

While I am hugely proud of Cork, my hometown it is vital that Ireland has a strong, effective capital city to rival any in Europe. As part of my role in Dublin Chamber of Commerce we regularly feed into briefing documents and housing has been clearly identified as the number one issue for Dublin followed by infrastructure.

At the moment, it feels to me that Dublin is “broken” and it needs radical fixing so that the opportunities that present themselves can be seized without causing further problems for those living and working in the city.

The government for obvious reasons were unable to prime the development context to support the housing, office and hotel development that urban Ireland really needed. It also failed to really get to grips with the major infrastructure deficit in Dublin and we are now in major catch up mode.

To complicate matters further the management of the city of Dublin is totally fragmented, which makes cohesive planning and effective action extremely difficult.

The private land and property sector can shoulder some of the blame but there are huge tracts of brownfield land and property owned by State Agencies in Dublin, which should have been primed for development in 2012,13 and 14 for delivery now.

We talk about the genuine opportunities for Ireland as a result of Brexit but you must question if we could honestly cope with them if they came to fruition. If we are struggling with major issues for those living here now, are we crazy to be still talking about attracting even more businesses and talent?

Getting the companies here and then trying to sort out homes, schools and transport for the people afterwards will not be that easy.

ireland

While we proudly proclaim that “Ireland is the best small country in which to do business” we are in real danger of this message changing to “Ireland is the worst small country in which to find a suitable home“.

We need to be really careful because this message will catch on and once it does it will be very difficult for us to change the it.

This is where I believe Cork can step up to the mark.

In my hometown, something exciting is happening. Cork, has been progressing well with office, hotel, retail, leisure and community projects completed or under construction and at the same time public realm improvements are helping to present Cork in a better light.

However, Cork is also facing housing and infrastructure challenges but like any smaller ‘entity’ we should be more agile and flexible with the capability of reacting quickly as long as we have the genuine will to do so.

If Cork is positive and works diligently, cleverly and cohesively we can position the Cork ‘Metro’ area of some 500,000 people as Ireland’s only genuine second tier European city region full of innovative and creative people who are hungry to succeed.

Cork would then be in an ideal position to provide solutions for Ireland that Dublin will be unable to provide.

Cork can and should complement Dublin, adding more depth to Ireland’s global offer, helping IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the private sector to attract and retain businesses and people in Ireland and helping all to grow and succeed.

We now have real critical mass in global growth business sectors including technology, agribusiness, bio-pharma, tourism plus business services so a person can enjoy a great career along with other benefits.

Living in Cork is unquestionably a fantastic alternative with cheaper housing, cheaper office space, superb education, little congestion, the amazing countryside and coastline plus you can access Dublin, the rest of the island plus the global hubs of London, Paris and Amsterdam along with 50 other European cities easily. Into the bargain, we will soon be able to fly direct to the US.

Our most precious asset is the very special quality of life that is second to none in Cork, which many clever people, domestic and foreign, have already figured out. So many people who locate to Cork just don’t leave!

We have this superb opportunity and it is within our grasp once we are proactive and accelerate the development, infrastructure and marketing of the Cork region. House building must be front of centre with this agenda to ensure that we can provide all of our current and new citizens with suitable homes.

While Cork is “Big on Life” it needs to be just as Big on Action if we are to seize the opportunities that are there, right now.

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 Art of Possibility – I had a great 2017 because..

January 1, 2017

Klopp - We believe

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 2016 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 important to us that everyone in the team achieves their 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 application of 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 I want you to do some visualisation – First take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of the year just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling very 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 write at the top of the blank page the date:

Friday, 22nd December, 2017

Now write down this personal statement:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go and list the things that will make 2017 a great year 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 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 – it’s there waiting for you.

Happy 2017!!

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

(the pic at the top of the post refers to the quote that Jurgen Klopp made when he was recruited as Liverpool Football Club manager. His message to the fans was that he wanted to change them from ‘doubters’ to ‘believers’. He gets visualisation! )

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