Posts Tagged ‘Greg Canty’

Love and Kindness

January 16, 2018

Caring

My poor Dad is in the wars and as a result has been in hospital for the last few weeks.

It’s awful, it’s crap, it’s miserable and any other words you would like to think of.

While this is an incredibly hard time for him and for everyone concerned I am truly staggered and overwhelmed by the abundance of love and kindness that I am witnessing each and every day.

There is an incredible wife and mother, fantastic children, loving grandchildren and the most supportive group of relatives and friends you could ever wish for.

To add to this, we are seeing the most caring, kind, and often good humoured nurses and care assistants who are busy and tenderly looking after the patient and the rest of us.

It’s probably unfair to mention anyone in particular, but  I watched Petra, a care assistant in St.Bernadettes ward in the Bon Secours in Cork, tenderly, gently and respectfully look after my dad – she is a very special angel whose treasured version of kindness is worth its weight in gold.

While we need the best of equipment and technology, modern facilities, and highly skilled professionals in our care system, kindness and caring are probably the most valuable of attributes.

To Petra and all of the fantastic carers and givers of kindness who work in these challenging  #roles – thank you !

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

Facing homelessness in 2018

January 10, 2018

After a very surprising and unexpected conversation with a fellow member of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, I asked her to write a guest blog post for me. This is the first time I have done this on my blog.

The very lovely, intelligent and highly qualified, Jensine-Bethna Wall has recently started her own business, Hyphenate, and is facing the prospect of being homeless.

Dublin, we have a serious problem..

Ireland, we have a serious problem..

Blog post by Jensine:

The New Year has just begun and already fear has nestled itself tightly into the pit of my stomach.

After eight years of calling the house I rent my home in a few months time I have to move out, and find a new place to stay. So unlike so many who look towards 2018 full of hope and optimism my mind is clogged with trying to figure out what to do once the 1st of May has arrived, and I no longer have a roof over my head.

Moving has always been a traumatic event in anyone’s life but now for many, who live and work in Dublin (and the rest of Ireland), moving has become a fiscally impossible task. Irish rents are rising at six times the European median (The Irish Times 8th January 2018) which means that salaries don’t go far in this new Irish rental market.

Ironically the rental market is also the reason why I have to move.

My landlord claims it has to do with me being late with my rent a few time over the years but I know, from what he has said and from how he kept bringing ‘market value’ up, that he wants me out so he can hike up the price.

Since I’ve been living in the property since 2010 he can only increase the rent little by little so now he wants me out. He doesn’t care that I have been a vital part in creating a community in the street, or that I have increased the value of his property by helping to get rid of drug dealers in the neighbourhood, nor is he interested in the fact that after eight years of me living in the cottage all it needs is a lick of paint and someone could move right back in – no major refurbishment required!

So during these sleepless nights trying to figure out what I can afford and where I could go I can’t help but feel forgotten by the government and those who don’t seem to recognise how problematic the rental market is in Ireland. And sadly, as a single, female who lives on her own I am also not a high priority for the media.

And while of course I understand the need to house children, I can’t help but feel that a roof over my head and a place to feel safe and secure in, is just as important for me. But with the lack of housing and the need for single occupancy living quarters, single people are at the bottom of everyone’s priority list.

My recent visit to the Dublin City Council Housing Services proves just how low a priority I am, as I was told that I would have to wait 12 years before ‘affordable rented housing for people on low income’ would become available for me, even though all the forms I had to fill in and were stamped, deemed me eligible.

After I burst out laughing, the horror of the situation demanded tears or laughter, I was told that I may be eligible for HAP (Housing Assistance Payment). But this brief moment of hope was shattered with the added statement “if you can find a landlord who will accept it’”

Not understanding why landlords wouldn’t accept a regular payment from the State and that it is actually illegal not to, I asked around and found three reasons why:

1) The rent is paid in arrears, so the landlord won’t receive payment until the end of the month, which for many doesn’t coincide with their mortgage payments and why wait when so many pay up front?

2) The landlord will have to register their property and many don’t as they avoid taxes by not doing so

3) There is some paperwork involved and landlords won’t want to do that if there is no need when queues form for every viewing

Scouring the Internet for any suitable housing is eating up hours of my days, adding to my stress and increasing the crippling fear that has taken up residency in my stomach.

I set up my own business in October 2017 and work from home, office space is too expensive, but this means that sharing accommodation isn’t desirable.

And since I am in my forties and have lived on my own most of my adult life forcing me to cohabit due to financial strain will not benefit my mental health.

Recently the NHS completed a study on the effects that housing has on peoples health and found that  “good quality, affordable, safe housing underpins our mental and physical well-being”, so when there is no affordable housing, let alone safe and quality ones, people suffer more from depression and anxiety.

As the year grows older by the day I can’t help but wonder how I, an educated, socially conscious and community oriented single woman, have ended up facing homelessness in 2018.

Jensine

 

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

Pink Trousers 

December 31, 2017

Pink Trousers

It wasn’t any of our ideas being in a hospital room on New Years Eve but what can you do.

I was visiting my dad as he hasn’t been well and as we were chatting the doctor popped in with the nurse as he was doing his rounds.

He picked up dad’s chart and had a discussion with my mum about the medicines dad was being prescribed.

He moved from us to the man in the next cubicle and my dad leaned over and whispered to me and gestured his head in the direction of the doctor.

I wonder where did he get his pink trousers from?” and he started chuckling

That’s my dad for you – always a joke to lighten darker moments and it’s something we have got used to down through the years with him.

When the nurses come to check on him he jokes with them “You take any excuse to see me”, he tells them “I’m outstanding in my own field” and he’ll even recite that verse from his favorite song ‘Sixteen Tonnes’ : “If you see me coming you better step aside

And his classic “The only problem with hospitals is that they are full of sick people

On exceptional occasions a dance might even be suggested “I’m a great dancer, you know”!!

In his own special way he has taught all of us about the special role of using humour at times to lighten serious situations.

He is so right …

Thanks Pops, our very own comic legend!

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

“Sir, sir, a euro sir”

December 23, 2017

homeless man

Sir, sir, a euro sir

This particular homeless man drives me nuts – I can’t stand him!

He sits between Grand Parade and South Mall in Cork and he bellows out that request over and over to any man who passes.

A euro!!

Jesus – specifying the amount is the worst. It’s not “have you any change?“, this cheeky bugger wants a full euro!

Do you have any idea how hard I work for my euros and you have the cheek to ask me for one – f**k you !!” , is my private thought each time that I have to pass him.

Because of the cheeky request I never give him anything. And besides, if I did, he’d probably never leave me alone.

As well as this begging technique he’s also quite disgusting.

I’ve seen him just throwing food on the ground (that people have given him) that he hasn’t eaten and wait for it – there is much worse….

I have seen him urinating in the open doorways of the offices and places of business (typically a doorway that leads to a stairwell to upstairs offices) in broad daylight as people pass by,

Can you imagine coming down the stairs of your office and finding someone just pissing into the entrance – DISGUSTING!!!

Can you imagine the disgusting smell and the cleaning job some lucky person will have to do over and over because of this horrible, unpleasant, disgusting man?

It’s easy for all of us to feel disgusted by this “horrible” man.

It’s much harder to stop and help and consider all of the unfortunate circumstances that have led him to this place.

He is someone’s dad, husband, brother, uncle, friend, someone who has been dealth a cruel hand at some point.

Shame on me for being disgusted..

What can we do to help?

What can I do?  

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

 

 

Home..

December 23, 2017

Homeless in Dublin

That’s it ….all the bags are in, and all that’s needed is to put the shopping away and settle in for a great Christmas.

There is no better feeling than this.

The Christmas tree lights are on, the fire is on, the house is decorated beautifully (thanks Dee!), Honey and Bert are scampering around and it’s time to put on some lunch and settle in and watch a Christmas movie or two!

I’m a real home bird at Christmas, and I love nothing better than enjoying this special time, when you can literally holiday at in your own home.

We will have family and friends over, we will have a few nights out (not too many I hope) and we will eat, drink and be merry in between a few snoozes, opening of Christmas pressies, lazy mornings and walking the dogs in the park.

All in all, total bliss!

We are the very lucky ones …

Spare a thought for the homeless, this Christmas and the rest of the year and do what you can do to help.

Note: this pic was taken along the canal in Dublin near Portobello – the resident of the tent has obviously been very good to these swans who are waiting for them to wake up!

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

“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

 

Christmas Tips for Retailers

December 13, 2017

Tips for Retailing at Christmas

Writing a piece about retailing at Christmas should be quite straight forward you would imagine, but writing a piece that it is really helpful for retailers that have been through so many of them at this stage is a little daunting I must admit!

With a backdrop of online shopping deals, getting customers parting with their hard earned cash will be more challenging than ever but presents must be bought so let’s roll up our sleeves.

As part of the preparation for this article I decided I should ask my good buddy Mr Google for a little help and see what extra nuggets I could find that would definitely impress the experienced retailers out there.

If you Google “Tips for retailing at Christmas” you will be quite surprised with what you will find!

My search actually took me to a website called www.christmastipsforretailers.com – can you imagine a website designated to just that topic!

In a way it’s not at all surprising seeing as the Christmas period accounts for a huge % of peoples revenue as well as a huge % of footfall. Even more important the festive period will bring a large number of “new” visitors who could well be trying out your store for the first time – what an incredible opportunity if you really think about it.

I will look at the tips under four broad headings:

Attract the customers into your store

Customer loyalty is as a result of the good work you have done throughout the year and will determine where customers will do their shopping when it comes to Christmas. However you have to do your utmost to attract them in and compete for their attention.

Database Promotions – this is where you use your databases, your invite lists, and your Facebook page for special offers, special customer nights and even Christmas cards as gentle reminders that you are open for business.

Wow Window displays – Christmas windows are really special and if possible push the boat out and really build attractive displays that grab customer attention. (I always get blown away by the window displays in London at this time)

While having an attractive window display is critical, remember that people need complete “solutions” with either their outfits or their gifts – be sure to put your best foot forward at all times with your most attractive and available stock.

Fresh – Have new merchandise arrive throughout the whole festive period keeping your store fresh and if not refresh and rotate the key displays so that the store feels new and vibrant.

Offers – Make sure your promotions are well displayed but in a tasteful way and in keeping with the overall store look and feel.

Clean and tidy store – Allow extra staff time each evening for cleaning, tidying and rearranging so that the store is looking the best as much as possible.

Look after the customer really well when they get there

Research has shown that at Christmas 60% of purchasing decisions are made within the store – once they come in your door make sure that happens.

Christmas is a Floor Show – One of the sites I visited referred to retailing at Christmas as being a “Floor Show”.

The game is won and lost on the sales floor and this is where the staff and managers should be spending their time looking after customers, making sure that the part time staff knows what they are doing, spotting trends and sorting out issues – plenty time for the office work in the New Year!

Happy Team – Keep your team motivated and upbeat. Christmas is a happy time and cheery staff are vital for the business. It is your responsibility to keep them happy, plan a Christmas party, bring them coffee and treats and make sure you rotate them so that they don’t get too jaded as this will result in lost business.

Happy Customers – Make sure there is a good atmosphere in the store with nice scents and festive but not “too” typical music. Offering a festive drink or some sweets or treats can put the shopper in a very good mood.

Give yourself every chance of selling to customers and as much as possible

Once you have done the hard job of attracting people into your store you want them to do a lot more than browse and say thank you!

Make it easy – Shoppers want to maximise their time and minimise their decision making so make it easy for them by bundling and coordinating products, labelling them clearly and having relevant accessories within easy access.

Have a Top 10 or Favourites rail – Display the popular lines prominently making it easy for the customer to purchase with confidence.

Show people what to buy – Create displays with the specific solutions in mind such as mother’s gifts, party wear etc

The right staff – You need the right quantity of good staff to maximise your income at this time. Bring part-time staff in during the lead up to Christmas in plenty of time so they are sufficiently up to speed for the rush.

Speedy Gonzales – Have your quickest people on the tills and on wrapping duty – remember Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in the store in the movie Love Actually!

Exchange policy and vouchers – make it as easy as possible for customers to buy by removing obstacles such as “What if they don’t like it?” objections.

Gift wrap – for the guys this is an absolute must as long as it doesn’t take too long and interferes with sales. Pre-wrap fast selling items where possible.

Entice them to return in the New Year

This is the one area that for some reason wasn’t covered in any of the websites, which really surprised me.

Accepting that many new customers visit your store in the Christmas period and many of the other shoppers may just be customers for special occasions, give them a special reason for returning earlier than expected.

New Year Initiatives such as invitations to a special VIP Customer “sale day” or a unique voucher that can be redeemed with purchases in the New Year might achieve this. Brainstorm ideas with your staff to encourage early New Year visits for customers.

Running competitions can be another clever way of building a fresh customer database at this time as long as it doesn’t create delays at the till!

I hope the Christmas tips have been helpful and serve you well into next year when we have to do it all over again, Merry Christmas!

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

Too much, too little and two mishaps

December 10, 2017

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore

We’ve had two wonderful days at The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, which included the most incredible feast of fantastic food that you could imagine.

On our first night we treated ourselves to the tasting menu, which was a feast of the senses, delivered by a superb team, led by Adriaan Bartels who are passionate about great service and introducing customers to some amazing food that you would never taste otherwise.

The Wagyu beef from James Whelan Butchers was my favourite of all the amazing dishes on the tasting menu, which came with a well chosen matching wine selection of five different wines.

The following night we ate in the bar and as expected this meal was also incredible – I couldn’t resist the set menu with a selection of starters, desserts and a choice of main courses.

Of course we also indulged in a delicious breakfast each morning, which was a feast in itself.

Cliff Walk, Ardmore

Eventually it was time to leave after two fantastic days of indulgence, rest and recuperation and even some exercise as we did the breathtaking Cliff Walk and a long walk on Ardmore beach.

We headed back to Cork as we were due at the Cork Chamber Christmas lunch, which was at Fota Resort.

After all of the rich food we had eaten over the two days at The Cliff House, I was in the horrors at the thought of eating another morsel of food!

At Fota the perplexed waiters and waitresses came to us a few times questioning why we didn’t want the smoked salmon starter – was there something wrong, did we have special dietary requirements?

I explained that my special dietary requirement was that I didn’t need a starter as I was simply stuffed!!

I managed to eat most of the main course and I did have one little taste of the dessert – I was glad when the meal was over with, as I just wasn’t able.

I glanced around the room at the capacity crowd as together we ate the fine food, and drank the wine and indulged in the satisfaction of a positive year and a well earned Christmas break that would soon be here.

What are your plans for Christmas?” and “Are you taking much time off?” were the popular questions being asked at each table.

I reflected on my uncomfortably full stomach and the room full of festive spirits, and I thought of those who were cold and miserable today and would love nothing more than a hot meal in a warm room, let alone entertain any thoughts of an indulgent Christmas with friends and family.

I also reflected on a thought provoking podcast that I had listened to on the journey to the Cliff House, just two days before. It was the Legends and Losers podcast by Christopher Lochhead and the particular episode featured the inspirational founder of ‘The Giving Spirit’, Tom Bagamane. This is a non-profit in L.A. that helps the huge number of homeless people in the city.

One of the big messages in the episode was that most people are just two mishaps away from being homeless – job loss, poor health, relationship breakdown, bereavement and mental problems are all mishaps that can easily throw any of us upside down, if they come knocking at our door.

Many of the homeless are not the stereotypes that we may often think they are.

Kathleen O'Sullivan

This morning I read about 43 year old, Kathleen O’Sullivan who had been found dead, wrapped in blankets in a doorway in Cork city. Apparently, ‘big hearted, kind, caring’ Kathleen who was suffering from emphysema and pleurisy hadn’t recovered from the death of her child a number of years ago.

We all deserve our breaks and we most definitely deserve to enjoy the fruits of our labour, but we mustn’t forget about those less fortunate than us, and remember that we are all just two mishaps away from being on the streets.

Merry Christmas to all..

A big thanks to Bernard MacNamee who brought me these powerful lyrics from the Kirsty McColl song, “Walking Down Madison

From an uptown apartment to a knife on the A train
It’s not that far
From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement
It’s not that far
To the bag lady frozen asleep in the park
Oh no, it’s not that far

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

Don’t be a Monkey…Personalise!!

November 30, 2017

Monkey 2

I just received an email with an attachment from a firm of Accountants – instead of having their desired reaction and me reading it, I felt compelled to use the same amount of time and actually write a blog post that someone might feel is useful.

The body of the email read:

Dear All,

Attached please find our Newsletter which we trust will be of interest to you.

Should you have any queries regarding the attached, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

(Not signed by anyone)

Ok…some email marketing tips if want to have any chance of success.

Dear All

This is insulting and pointless. You have my email address and you more than likely have my name. There is a much bigger chance of me reading it if you personalise it.

Attached please find our Newsletter which we trust will be of interest to you

Jesus, make some attempt at talking to me instead of opening with “attached”.

By the way, the trust part is just silly..

Should you have any queries regarding the attached, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The only query I have is why you are sending out such a pointless newsletter that is just making you look bad instead of the opposite.

Yours sincerely,

How can it be sincere when you haven’t used my name and you haven’t used yours. It’s lazy, not sincere.

Use E-Marketing Software

The big tip is to use simple, low cost, easy to use, easy to customise Email Marketing software that makes all of the above really easy to do.

  1. You can design really nice looking e-newsletters without too much trouble
  2. You can easily personalise the emails to each individual
  3. There are no attachments so it won’t get blocked by some servers
  4. It will tell you how many people opened it and who they are
  5. It will tell you how many clicked the links to your website and who
  6. It lets people unsubscribe easily by just clicking a button

We use a really great service called Mailchimp for our client campaigns – It’s easy to use and quite economical.

Think!!

My last tip, and probably the biggest one of all is to take just 30 seconds and think about the person you are sending it to – how would they feel if they got a generic, cold, patronising email?

There is no doubt that they would have put a lot of time and effort into this newsletter, but instead of it doing a positive job for them, it actually does the opposite.

What’s worse is that most of the recipients will either be clients, prospects or business connections.

Something we always say to clients is…Never write a cheque to make yourself look bad!

Rant over..

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