Posts Tagged ‘Spend Ireland’

We need a NEW Green “Irish” Agenda

November 2, 2010
Irish Flag

Irish Flag

To be honest I’m not too concerned about the Green agenda as we know it.

Of course I care about the environment but at the moment I care a lot more about our country, the economy, our people, our children and our attitude towards ourselves’ and where we live.

I feel we are in danger of losing sight of the good things about Ireland or at least forgetting what we have and how it is such a special country.
At the moment it feels like we are all working in a company that is going into liquidation, we have to get on with our work but we know the place could fold any day. As regards being forward looking, what’s the point as who knows if the place will even be open next week?

We urgently need a NEW Green Agenda for Ireland.

As is the case in business with any objective for this to work everyone must be clear about the goal, we must understand it and we must play our part in achieving it.

All of this sounds wonderful but I believe it can be achieved if we do following four things:

Adopt a Make it Happen Approach

We have to get more Irish people working and Ireland making money again and this will happen if everyone in whatever role they have adopts a genuine “Make It Happen” approach.

If regulators, fire officers, planning officials, politicians, bankers, health & safety officials, ESB, phone and broadband installers, approach their jobs with a “Make it Happen” approach then more businesses would open and more events and activities would be possible. I am not saying allow bad practices but approach the problem with a solution mindset instead of a “Can’t do that” one and watch the difference.

Liquidators, bankers, NAMA, regulators – there is an insatiable appetite now to shut people and businesses down (and this does include builders). Work to the Green Agenda – keep business open, keep people who want to continue, open, instead of shutting them down. If this was a genuine objective, then better solutions would be found than those we are seeing currently.

We are haemorrhaging money in the public service and we just can’t afford this anymore. Let’s provide for our people who are sick, let’s give our children the best possible education and let’s provide financial support for those misfortunate enough not to have work. However, don’t rip Ireland (us) off with unnecessary bureaucracy, claiming welfare and other benefits illegally and not working at full capacity. Be honest, have a Green agenda, it’s our country, let’s protect it.

Initiate Real Positive Initiatives

The budget, the budget ..Ok, this will take money out of the system, which is going to affect everyone.

A few things here – If we adopt a Make it Happen approach the fall will not be as hard, if we take the opportunity to squeeze out excess and inefficiency in the public service it will be a great days work, which should have been done a long time ago, if we use the taxation mechanisms to encourage the better utilisation of assets and encourage people who are sitting on Celtic Tiger wealth to start investing then it won’t be so bad.
I’m ok with taking some bad tasting medicine as long as there is an equal package of Real Positive Initiatives. I’m talking initiatives to encourage new business, to encourage investment in capital, incentives to do something with our vast property portfolio, training and investment initiatives as encouragement for new business and real taxation incentives for people who are willing to Make It Happen. (Since the recession has kicked in I have seen virtually no Real Positive Initiatives)

Encourage a Spend Ireland Campaign

We have to encourage people to spend money on Irish products and Irish services, proactively keeping money circulating in the country.
I’m talking a lot more that consumers looking out for Irish products when they are doing their shopping. I am talking about purchasing managers deliberately choosing Irish products and services and retailers making this a priority and giving the Irish products pride of place on the shelves. This isn’t a cop out for Irish suppliers, who have to manage their businesses to the extent that they can compete with foreign alternatives. Besides products we need to choose Irish service providers – have a genuine buy Irish agenda. This money will come back to you somewhere along the way.

As part of this initiative I would encourage all companies to keep as many people working as possible. Not a time for making a few quid extra by outsourcing to India.

Work hard on “Ireland PR”

Finally and most importantly we need to get back to celebrating our fabulous country and start talking it up. It is a great place to live and we need to stop knocking it. In everything we do we need to be conscious of our Irishness and do everything to project the right image. This includes all of us including even Brian Cowen! We should continue and encourage events and activities that showcase Ireland abroad. Quite simply we need to start “Talking Ireland Up”.

Maybe all of this is a little Utopian but I do feel that collectively we need to lift our heads, pull together in the same direction and grasp a NEW Green Agenda, an Irish agenda.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

A Merry Irish Christmas and a Happy New Year?

November 21, 2009

Bah humbug – we have just seen the NAMA legislation passed by the Dail and we are about to face a round of public sector one day strikes with the government and the unions both posturing in a serious game of who has more bottle for a battle as we nervously approach the second Budget day this year. Who knows where all of this will lead and how it will affect us? For the most part we are quite helpless with little enough ability to influence anything. Are you as fed up with all of this as I am?

The one thing that we can be sure of is that Christmas is around the corner and as with every other year since we can remember we will all be stretching our budgets on presents for loved ones and friends and even gifts for our customers and staff who will have looked after us during the year. As always we will indulge in extra treats for ourselves and for our home between food and decorations… Merry Christmas, we deserve it!

How can we take this opportunity to take some small element of control of our circumstances and positively influence the economic environment around us and help not only to make it a Merry Christmas but also a Happy New Year?

My simple challenge is that we all consciously influence that spend on our Christmas budgets will be on Irish products and Irish services as much as possible. Without a doubt there will be less spent this year compared to last year but at least if we consciously Spend Irish, the money will stay in circulation in Ireland with more money in the country coffers come January, which will help kick off 2010 in a really positive way.

Ok, this may sound very noble and patriotic but when it boils down to it are we really going to be able to do it? .. I think so.

Let’s have a look at the typical shopping list:

– Books: Irish books by Irish authors by Irish publishers – make the effort to specifically choose Irish where possible. There are some fabulous books available
– Music & DVD’s: given a choice can we vote for the Irish artist, comedian, movie?
– Vouchers: can we opt for the restaurant, spa treatment or weekend break instead of an alternative?
– Turkey & Ham: make sure these are from Irish suppliers, that should be easy
– Other foodstuffs, relishes etc: Irish all the way, there is plenty of terrific choice
– Booze: which brands are produced in Ireland? – can we substitute our favourite for an Irish alternative? Cork Dry Gin isn’t a bad substitute for Bombay!

This list can go on forever but if we consciously make it our business to choose for the option that keeps money in Irish circulation then, that is better for our economy, for jobs and ultimately for us.

And how about thank you gifts for customers and staff?

If you are in a position to allocate budget for Christmas gifts then consciously choose gifts that are Irish, Irish food and beverages, Irish vouchers, Irish books, Irish Christmas cards and so on. Without too much effort we should be able to easily steer all our precious Euros towards Irish products and services. Many of the hamper suppliers specialise in Irish products.

Where it just isn’t possible to choose an Irish alternative (Transformers and Hannah Montana and nothing else will do!) you will at least help the cause if you carefully choose how and where you purchase these products. You can help keep more money in the country by supporting our retailers or if you shop on the web try to keep the business for the Irish providers.

The retailers and Irish web retailers can also play a huge part in all of this with their choices about the products that they decide to stock this Christmas and how these are displayed and promoted. Purchasing behaviour can be significantly influenced by the retail space the products are given, by products featured in window displays and adverts and by the products featured on the home pages of the websites. Suppliers and retailers should proactively work together to ensure that Irish products are given a fair crack of the whip or even a significant advantage. How bad? – We will all benefit.

Recession or no recession, a huge amount of money will be spent between now and Christmas
…so when you are making your list this Christmas, try to check it twice and where possible decide to keep as much as possible of that money in Ireland, have a Merry Christmas and help to make it a Happy New Year!


Spend Ireland – Saving The Irish Economy

May 24, 2009

Spend Ireland - Saving The Irish Economy

Spend Ireland - Saving The Irish Economy

Your Country Needs You
Spend Ireland – Saving the Irish Economy

Are we all totally helpless faced with the current recession or is it just possible that each of us could make a difference and pull us out of the hole that we find ourselves in?

I believe that we can all take personal responsibility in both our personal and professional lives and really make a difference to our economy.

The simple principle that drives the whole economic wheel is ‘Spend Ireland’, which is encouraging money to be spent in Ireland and on Irish products and services. We need to fuel the economic spend wheel by putting our euros back into it and ultimately it will come back to us somewhere along the line. It is time to be very patriotic and spend our euros where it will have a direct Irish benefit.

The recent budget is an excellent example of how lack of spending in Ireland can affect all of us – the tax take is down, unemployment is up so we get increased taxes: Would you prefer to spend and enjoy your money rather than it being taken from you at source by the taxman?

How can I play my part in my personal life to contribute to the Irish economic recovery?

• Firstly if you have disposable income don’t be afraid to spend it – there is great value to be had and you can contribute to our economic recovery. Only spend what you can afford and by the way enjoy spending it!
• To oil the Irish spend wheel try to spend your income in Ireland and on Irish products – this can’t be done in every instance but as much as possible make those little choices to ‘Spend Ireland’ and they will all add up.
• These small personal choices can make a huge difference when we all make them:
o Buying Irish products when shopping, everything from fresh food and other product choices – avoid the imported option if possible, it will do nothing for the Irish economy
o Buying that CD in the music store instead of online – the music store could do with that margin
o Eat out instead of buying that ready made meal in the super market – the early bird specials offered by restaurants are great value and they could do with your business. If you but the ready made meal make sure it is Irish!
o Buying your holiday clothes before you leave instead of when you get there
• The big personal choices can make an even bigger difference when we make them:
o If you are in a position to buy a new car and would normally change around this time then buy your new car – your motor dealer could do with the business
o If you have been planning that extension or that redecorating job then go ahead and do it – you will get great value and the builders could do with the work right now
o Holiday in Ireland if you can or choose Ireland for those weekend breaks instead of breaks abroad. Like most of us there are probably loads of special places in Ireland that we have never visited. There is fabulous value to be had as well as terrific quality. The hotels, restaurants, bars and tourist attractions could all do with Irish euros at the moment.
• If the Irish option is more expensive don’t be afraid to ask for a discount and explain that you are trying to spend on the Irish option

I was chatting through all of this recently with friends and they were quite angry with me explaining that the Irish have been ripped off for years and why shouldn’t we shop where it is cheapest?

Of course there is an onus on the Irish service and goods provider to offer good value and this ‘idea’ will only work where this actually happens. We should at least give the Irish supplier the chance to offer the value – the economy needs us to ‘Spend Ireland’.

The much bigger part of the whole Irish spend wheel is the effect of our personal choices in our professional lives, as employees, managers, developers, landlords, business owners, bankers and yes even politicians.

For the business person – buy Irish products and services wherever possible and really work hard at trying to make the Irish option work – if you need to grind out a viable option with your Irish supplier then try to make it happen. Keep as many employees working as possible. If you have the financial strength and performance to see out this downturn sacrifice ‘super’ profits for ‘average’ profits and maintaining employment. You will need your best and experienced staff in better days. Be open and honest with staff and avoid taking advantage of the current circumstances.

For the employees – times are tough so appreciate what it is like at the moment for your employer. Roll up the sleeves, deliver excellent service and go the extra mile whenever possible – this is now an expectation. Be prepared to be flexible if necessary – be fair as long as you are being treated fairly.

For the developer – the previous business model is broken, the same buyers are not there due to banking rules. Look at your sales model and be creative, with some flexibility and other options such as Rent2Buy you will find new buyers and the wheel can start turning again.

For the landlord – your tenants are bleeding and you have many empty properties. Work with your tenants in a partnership way – adopt a new way of working that is fair for both of you and not the usual confrontational model. Full units are better than empty units.

For the banker – you need to start taking reasonable risks again so that the wheel can keep turning.

For our politicians – for God’s sake show real leadership and lead us positively from this awful mess. While you have to do the accounting job you also need to take positive initiatives that encourage business in a real way and encourage the Irish to start taking risks and spending again.

So, there it is. A possible solution to the mess we find ourselves in. Let’s show our colours and play our small part in fuelling an Irish recovery and let us not forget the painful lessons we are learning now in a hurry.

Greg Canty is a partner in Fuzion Communications, providing Marketing Consultancy, PR and Graphic Design services.
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