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BUSINESS ONE FOR THE TEAM TEAMBUILDING

ACTIVITIES FOR STAFF

BETTER BUSINESS Q2 2018

SURVIVAL OF THE

FITTEST THE SMALL GYM BUSINESSES KEEPING IN SHAPE

Gaeilgeoir Entrepreneurs USING CÚPLA FOCAIL TO BOOST BUSINESS

PROPERTY ICONIC OFFICES’ JOE MCGINLEY ON THE WORLD OF FLEXIBLE WORKSPACES

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| Retirement | Investments | Insurance |

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For more information on our Group offering - talk to your financial broker. 1. Subject to certain criteria such as, but not limited to, minimum annual premium & membership requirements. Please contact us for more information. 2. For new pension schemes to Aviva.

Aviva your partner for Pensions l Income Protection l Life Cover Best Doctors Second Medical Opinion is not a regulated financial service.

Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited, trading as Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority in the UK and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited, trading as Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, is also regulated in the UK: by the Prudential Regulation Authority for prudential rules and, to a limited extent, by the Financial Conduct Authority for applicable UK conduct rules. Registered Branch Office in Ireland (No 906464) at One Park Place, Hatch Street, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 898 7950 Web www.aviva.ie Registered in England (3253947) at Wellington Row, York, YO90 1WR.

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S U P P O R T I N G E N T R E P R E N E U R S | VA L U I N G S M A L L B U S I N E S S | R E WA R D I N G R I S K TA K E R S | S U M M E R 2 01 8

WELCOME SUMMER 2018

BUSINESS ONE FOR THE TEAM TEAMBUILDING

SURVIVAL OF THE

ACTIVITIES FOR STAFF

BETTER BUSINESS Q2 2018

FITTEST THE SMALL GYM BUSINESSES KEEPING IN SHAPE

Gaeilgeoir Entrepreneurs USING CÚPLA FOCAIL TO BOOST BUSINESS

PROPERTY ICONIC OFFICES’ JOE MCGINLEY ON THE WORLD OF FLEXIBLE WORKSPACES

Welcome to Better Business, a magazine dedicated to the small business community.

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On the Cover: Joe McGinley, founder and CEO, Iconic Offices Photography: Paul McCarthy

In this edition, we bring you some seasonal summer ideas, like how to bring fun

Editor: Joseph O’Connor

opportunity to tackle some strategic challenges. Our features on conducting risk

Managing Editor: Mary Connaughton

assessments, consortium building and launching new products and services will

and wellbeing to the workplace on a tight budget, a feature on teambuilding and social events for your staff, a look at the impact of nutrition on productivity and a sector spotlight on running a fitness business. If the summer months are a quieter time for your business, seize the

Creative Director: Jane Matthews Designer: Alan McArthur Design Assitant: James Moore Editorial Contributors: Tiernan Cannon, Orla Connolly, Lorraine Courtney, Ellen Flynn, Conor Forrest, John Kinsella, Dean Van Nguyen Production Manager: Mary Connaughton Production Executive: Nicole Ennis

help you get the ball rolling. For many of you, this time of year may conjure memories of teenage summers spent at the Gaeltacht. If so, check out our profiles of four entrepreneurs doing business through the Irish language. Elsewhere in this edition you will find information on the SFA’s newly launched campaign for a national Small Business Strategy, a peak behind the doors of Iconic Offices and a round-up of the SFA Annual Conference 2018.

Account Director: Shane Kelly

Along the way you will come across a diverse range of businesses, whose

Sales Director: Paul Clemenson

experiences may well give you a fresh take on your own venture.

Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon Email info@ashville.com or write to Better Business, Ashville Media, Unit 55, Park West Road, Park West Industrial Estate, Dublin 12, D12 X9F9. Tel: (01) 432 2200 All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2018. All discounts, promotions and competitions contained in this magazine are run independently of Better Business. The promoter/advertiser is responsible for honouring the prize. ISSN 2009-9118 SFA is a trading name of Ibec.

This magazine contains stories that inform, inspire and entertain. It showcases and celebrates the achievements of small companies, provides advice to help you in your business and keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends at home and abroad. Ireland is a nation of small businesses. Of over 245,000 businesses in the country, 99 per cent have less than 50 employees (small) and 92 per cent have less than 10 (micro). These companies can be seen in every city, town and village in the country and together they provide employment to half of the private sector workforce. The Small Firms Association has been the voice of small business for over 40 years. We are a trusted partner to over 8,500 member companies, spanning every sector and county. We want to make Ireland the most vibrant small business community in the world – an environment that supports entrepreneurship, values small business and rewards risk takers. Better Business is the magazine of the small business community. We welcome your feedback, suggestions and ideas to info@sfa.ie or on Twitter @SFA_Irl. Sven Spollen-Behrens Director, Small Firms Association

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CONTENTS SUMMER 2018

05 12 14

Big News for Small Business: News, views and profiles from SFA members and small businesses in Ireland

Risky Business How to identify and tackle the potential risks to your business

Cover Story We speak to Joe McGinley of Iconic Offices about winning at flexible workspace and giving up booze

Cracking the Consortia Code Winning public tenders is easier for small firms when they make joint bids – so what’s holding them back?

Sector Spotlight We talk to small gym businesses on their efforts to keep in top shape

Small Business in Her Blood SFA Chair Sue O’Neill on bringing necessary change for small firms in Ireland

Small Business Profile We speak to Daithi O’Connor, MD of Revive Active, about having his prayers answered

One for the Team Investing in purposeful teambuilding events for your staff can pay dividends

Trading Places Stephen McGonigle is bringing Irish flair to the traditional Swiss watch industry

Arts/Culture Irish artist Brian Maguire has captured the devastation of Aleppo on canvas

A Day in the Life... of James McManus, founder and MD of Earth’s Edge

Business as Gaeilge Four entrepreneurs who have made cúpla focail go a long way in business

20 24 30 32 36 38

46 80 88

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Summer 2018  Contents

FROM TOP LEFT: Mairin O’Lionaird, one of four entrepreneurs doing business through the Irish language, page 14 // Joe McGinley, founder of Iconic Offices, on turning a ‘property play’ into a thriving business, page 20 // SFA Chair Sue O’Neill on juggling roles and fighting for small firms, page 32 // Watchmaker Stephen McGonigle trades Ireland for Switzerland, page 46

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Data Protection Officer Services

‘GDPR Day’ has passed but your business will still need some help and advice on maintaining trust with your customers and staff. This is where Mode 1 Data Consulting comes in. We provide the data protection expertise you need to develop & maintain ongoing compliance with GDPR. Visit our website to find out more.

Advice, Audits & Consultancy Policy & Notice Drafting Training & Awareness Courses

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News  Updates

BUSINESS BYTES SEASON FINISHES ON A HIGH The SFA Business Bytes events series came to a close on May 9th with dozens of businesses coming together in the offices of Bord Gáis Energy to learn about the upcoming PAYE modernisation. Business Bytes seminars take place on the second Wednesday of the month between October and May. Events are free of charge and offer small businesses access to expert information and advice plus an opportunity to network with their peers. The series is supported by Bord Gáis Energy. Over the course of the 20172018 season, 540 people attended events covering topics such as:

efficiently n GDPR for small firms n Advice for new and micro businesses n HR and employment law n Developing your business profile on radio n PAYE modernisation

If there is any area of interest that you would like to see covered in the Business Bytes series kicking off again in Autumn 2018, please contact linda.barry@sfa.ie.

Jerry Kennelly, founder, JEP

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

n Employee wellbeing n Structuring your business tax

BIG NEWS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Junior Entrepreneurship on Show at RDS

More than 3,500 entrepreneurs aged between 10 and 12 years old showcased their products and businesses at Ireland’s first Junior Enterpreneur Programme (JEP) Showcase on Monday June 18th at the RDS Dublin. Having turned over €220,000 collectively, these successful 5th and 6th class entrepreneurs generated over €140,000 in less than a year. Founded by Jerry Kennelly, the JEP is a nationwide, free programme to promote entrepreneurship from a young age. Aligned with the primary school curriculum, the programme enables primary school children to explore the world of business, convert their ideas into commercial opportunities and discover the thrill of business, while also building confidence, developing skills in problem solving, presentation and team work.

Ibec Campaign Champions a Better Ireland SFA MEMBERS IF YOUR BUSINESS HAS SOME NEWS TO SHARE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE FEATURED IN THE NEXT EDITION OF BETTER BUSINESS, CONTACT LINDA BARRY ON 01 6051626 OR LINDA.BARRY@SFA.IE

Ibec has launched a new national campaign, Better Lives, Better Business, which champions new policies across four key pillars – housing, infrastructure, planning and sustainability. The campaign aims to make Ireland a better place to live and to work so that Irish businesses can more effectively attract and retain talent. It’s a response to the pressures now evidently affecting all businesses, regardless of sector, from inadequate housing provision, insufficient public infrastructure, not fit for purpose planning/legal processes and long-term environmental sustainability challenges. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 5

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Updates  News

Cameron Wallace and Scott Baigent, founders of Eight Degrees Brewing

WEBSITE

BETTER BUSINESS ONLINE

If you enjoy the content provided in Better Business magazine make sure to check out our website betterbusiness.ie - where you can read about the latest news on small businesses in Ireland and look back at some of the interviews and articles that ran in previous issues. You can also follow us on Twitter (@BetterBizIre), Facebook and LinkedIn (Better Business Ireland). If you have a story or content that you think is of interest to the site email joseph.oconnor@ ashvillemediagroup.com.

STANDARDS

IRISH FOOD DISTRIBUTOR ACHIEVES NEW SAFETY STANDARD

A Dublin-based food distributor has become only the sixth company in the world to achieve certification to a major new food safety standard, which covers the safe intake, storage, assembly and distribution of food products. Pallas Foods was presented with its certificate during a special ceremony at the National Standards Authority of Ireland’s (NSAI) offices in April. The certification scheme, known as FSSC 22000, provides a framework for organisations to effectively manage its food safety responsibilities, helping to ensure consumer trust in the supply of safe food and drinks.

IRISH DISTILLERS TAPS CORK CRAFT BREWER Pernord Ricard-owned Irish Distillers has completed the acquisition of Cork-based Eight Degrees Brewing for an undisclosed amount, speculated to be a multi-million euro deal. Eight Degrees Brewing was founded in 2010 by Cameron Wallace and Scott Baigent and is a craft beer producer whose brands include Sunburnt Irish Red Ale. Irish Distillers’ brands include Jameson, Powers Whiskey and Cork Dry Gin. Latest filings with CRO show that the ordinary share capital of Eight Degrees Brewing was split 50:50 between the two founders, while Enterprise Ireland invested €110,000 into the business in 2015. It will be interesting to see if any other small beer producers follow suit in the coming months. For more on craft beer go to our beer slot on page 87.

PAYE MODERNISATION The way in which PAYE is operated is to change with effect from January 1st 2019. Catherine Mc Govern, Tax Partner at PKF O'Connor Leddy Holmes Ltd, gives us the lowdown. What are the changes?

The main changes introduced are as follows: • The replacement of the Tax Deduction Card (P2C) with a Revenue Payroll Notification (RPN) to calculate the employee’s PAYE liability • Real Time Reporting • The new system will eliminate P30, P35, P45, P46 Employer Returns and P60 for employees

Are you ready?

The challenge for some employers is to move away from correcting PAYE in an annual return to making precise ongoing submissions on each pay date. Revenue started contacting employers in June 2018 to obtain a current employee list to complete a matching exercise to their records. A detailed payroll review should be undertaken as soon as possible to include but not limited to the following: • Do you have correct PPS numbers and

current P2Cs for each employee? Operation of Real Time Reporting

Employers will need to notify Revenue on or before the payment of emoluments of the following for each employee: • The amount of remuneration paid • The date of the payments • PAYE, USC and PRSI due

• Have you completed P45s for employees

who have stopped working for you? • Are you satisfied that benefits/notional

pay are being calculated correctly? For more on PAYE modernisation go to page 61.

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News  Updates

TOP TWEETS “There must be a limit to politicians dictating how an entrepreneur should run their business.” @SpollenSven on the proposed ‘Banded Hours Bill’

@Fora_ie

Right. First tweet. After four years as editor of The Sunday Business Post, I have decided to move on. I can’t speak highly enough of the team or the newspaper. I will remain in situ until a new editor has been appointed. It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege.

@ipkehoe

Fantastic afternoon with the @SFA_Irl and @kevmc15 ... wonderful session! So many take aways we couldn’t even fit the summaries in a tweet

@PeptalkHQ

@BetterBizIre

“Investing in talent development is imperative in staying ahead of the curve. We support 15k firms & 50k learners annually” @pjthealy Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive, officially launching #SkillnetIreland at the #upskillmidwest event.

@SkillnetIreland

@SFA_IRL

WORK OF IASIO RECOGNISED

The Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO), which assists offenders to gain education, training, employment and resettlement support, was among the organisations recognised at the IITD National Training Awards held on Friday April 20th. The awards, which promote and honour excellence, professionalism and outstanding training in the area of learning and development, recognised the efforts of prisoners and prison-based agencies by awarding them the title of ‘Best Not for Profit Collaboration or Partnership’. The Cork prison based Community Coaching programme, led by the Resettlement Service of IASIO, in partnership with the Irish Prison Service, the Cork Education and Training Board prison school and the Cork Sports Partnership, gave prisoners an opportunity to gain sports related certification, educational certificates, sports coaching skills and tangible links to community-based sports organisations, enabling them to develop a focus for further study or work. Since winning the award, IASIO has been contacted by local and national employers eager to support the programme. For more on how your business can benefit from the recruitment services of IASIO visit www.iasio.ie.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS EVENT An event for existing and potential entrepreneurs called ‘Taking Care of Business’ has been launched by Minister of State Pat Breen. The free half-day event will take place on Tuesday September 25th 2018 in the Radisson Blu hotel and spa, Ennis Road, Limerick. The event is specifically targeted at people thinking of starting a business as well as small business owners and managers to help them:

n Better understand the main regulations that

affect them so that they can focus on the main task of running their business n Meet experts from a broad range of public bodies in an informal setting n Find out about advice and supports that are available from the public sector The SFA will have a stand at the event so come say hello! To register go to www.takingcareofbusiness.ie.

NEW MARKETS

Fascinating talk from @kevmc15 on overcoming performance anxiety and how embracing pressure and challenging negative thoughts can bring rewards #sfaconf @SFA_Irl

Colm Carey and Paddy Richardson of IASIO (pictured centre) at the IITD National Training Awards

EU INITIATIVE HELPS SMALL FIRMS REACH NEW MARKETS

A new European initiative introduced under the Horizon 2020 R&D programme aimed at helping SMEs reach emerging markets has been launched. While SMEs often receive assistance with technical and legal challenges, they often miss support with what can be the biggest barrier to business abroad — cultural differences. CUBE IN helps internationalising SMEs with these cultural challenges, allowing them to build trusting relationships with new partners, distributors, and all parts of an expanding value chain. For more information visit www.cubein.eu. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 7

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Updates  News

Kimberley Stripp, founder, Oh Hello Clothing

MEMBER SAVINGS

SFA LAUNCHES COST SAVING PLATFORM

Exclusively for members and following the SFA motto – being in business for yourself doesn’t mean you have to be in business by yourself – the SFA Affinity Scheme was launched in May 2018. With offerings such as unique promotions, cost savings, discounts, benefits and specialised services, SFA Affinity is designed to make your life as a small business owner just a little easier. The offerings can be divided into three categories: ■C  ost savings: mobile phones, energy, logistics ■ I nsurance and financial services ■ Specialised services: GDPR, legal advice, employee wellbeing You can get an overview of the offers at www.sfa.ie/affinity. To see the details of each special offer, log in with your member details. If you have any questions or if you are interested in becoming an affinity scheme partner, please contact info@sfa.ie.

FORMER BANKER LAUNCHES CLOTHING COMPANY A former banker based in Sligo has launched an international online clothing company from her kitchen table. Kimberley Stripp set up Oh Hello Clothing after her passion for buying clothes – and taking selfies in them — turned into a viable business. She now operates the company, which sells occasion wear all over the world, from her offices and warehouse in Collooney, Co Sligo. “I started it from my kitchen table and anything I bought in was sold out really quickly so I had to get serious,” says Stripp. “I decided to jump into the deep end. I got so busy that I had to put all my energy into it.” For more stories on entrepreneurship go to our entrepreneurs slot on page 14.

LENDING

FIRMS OUTSIDE DUBLIN ACCOUNT FOR MAJORITY OF MI LOANS

Almost 80 per cent of Microfinance Ireland (MI) loan approvals go to microenterprises outside of Dublin. That’s according to findings contained in the Microfinance Ireland report for Q1 2018. The report shows that €23.9m of loans have been approved under the Microenterprise Loan Fund to date, supporting 4,099 jobs in borrowing companies. The Microenterprise Loan Fund is part funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

“Outlawing this flexibility will wipe out many small businesses providing elderly care, for instance, as well as small retail and hospitality operators.” Sven SpollenBehrens, SFA Director, criticising the draft Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

“The Government is led by IDA policies and EI policies and with some of them, they don’t take into account the small business.” Sue O’Neill, SFA Chair, in interview with Better Business magazine

“Securing a large B2B customer has the potential to transform a small business, allowing them to scale and increase productivity.” Linda Barry, Assistant SFA Director, speaking at the launch of the Business Connect Report

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Together from

source to success Discover how the opportunity to engage with new clients in a cross-border market was the real Sweetspot. intertradeireland.com/elevate

Experts in sourcing and manufacturing, Sweetspot, based in Co. Kildare, wanted to seek out new customers in Northern Ireland.

Two years on, they have new customers, a strong pipeline of business and are even looking to open an office in NI to service their growing client base.

From InterTradeIreland, they received over â‚Ź5,000 towards specialist consultancy to explore the cross-border market.

Discover funding opportunities and the expert guidance InterTradeIreland can offer to help your business succeed, together.

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This is an exciting stage in our business and we are looking forward to seeing our growth continue Sue Dempsey, Co-Founder

28/06/2018 22/06/2018 09:36 15:11


Updates  News

OPINION: TEAM ADVICE

BIKE SCHEME BOOSTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Cyclists celebrate their journey from Dublin to Galway in support of the annual Cycle4haiti

New research from One4all Rewards has revealed that the Government's Cycle to Work scheme has given a major boost to the health and wellbeing of the Irish workforce. Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of Cycle to Work participants cycle at least once every two weeks, with 59 per cent cycling at least once a week. What's more, the research shows that four-fifths of cyclists find that cycling makes them feel better, both mentally and physically. Almost one quarter (24 per cent) of Irish workers have used the Cycle to Work scheme at least once, and just 12 per cent have never heard of the scheme, reflecting positively on its promotion in the workplace. Businesses seeking to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst their staff can introduce One4all’s Bikes4work scheme to their workplace free of charge, simply by signing up at bikes4work.ie. Once in place, Bikes4work allows employees to save up to 52 per cent on the cost of a new bike and equipment (up to €1,000). With over 160 independent bike retailers to choose from (including exclusive access to Halfords stores), Bikes4work is a great tax-free benefit for your workforce. For tips on ways to bring fun and wellness into the workplace on a tight budget go to page 55.

Ecocem Rebrand

Ecocem, the Irish-owned low carbon cement producer, has undertaken a major rebrand across its group aimed at capturing the growing interaction between the organisation's operating regions. Presently, the SFA member operates in Ireland, Holland, France, the UK and Sweden. Ecocem Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecocem Materials and operates a purpose-built facility at Dublin Port. The rebranding exercise aside, it has been a busy few months for Ecocem, as it produces its in-demand Next Generation cement for clients in Ireland and the UK and officially opening a new production plant in Dunkirk in the north of France on June 14th.

Ciara Conlon, leadership consultant

Research shows that 60 per cent of all teams fail to reach their full potential. According to Ciara Conlon, a leadership and team development consultant, when it comes to small busineses in Ireland, failing to reach your potential is down to lack of clarity around goals, roles and responsibilities. Conlon states that there is often an absence of standardised systems and processes, resulting in a loss of productivity, while teams with good structures, habits and attitudes achieve powerful results. “Ensure that your team is clear about their purpose and goals,” advises Conlon. “Equip them with clear roles and responsibilities. This aids clarity and accountability, fosters mutual trust and has proven to increase engagement and motivation.” Ciara Conlon Consulting works with ambitious people and teams, helping them simply become better. Its goal is to help cultivate happier and more efficient individuals that buy into a collective mindset of collaboration and productivity. For more details visit www. ciaraconlon.com For some ideas on teambuilding activities check out our feature on page 38.

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News  Updates

THE PROBLEM WITH JOB SPECS SCOTT MCINNES, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, INSPIRING CHANGE, OFFERS ADVICE TO SMALL BUSINESSES ON GENERATING BETTER JOB SPECS IN ORDER TO FIND SUITABLE CANDIDATES AND AVOID WASTING TIME.

W

riting job specs is for HR, right? So, what does that have to do with communications and engagement? Over the years I’ve seen quite a few job specs and, generally, they’ve not been great. That got me thinking about how you might bring some more communications and engagement thinking to them. This is the first step in a new employee’s journey with you, so you’ve got to make it a positive one. You don’t want to get it wrong! In 2015, Hay Group released the results of a survey of 253 hiring managers in the UK. It found that:

Scott McInnes, Founder & Director, Inspiring Change

n 51 per cent believed that poorly

worded and unclear specs created false expectations on incoming staff, resulting in them being a bad fit for the position (so they left) n 68 per cent stated that badly thought out job descriptions resulted in a pool of candidates that don’t really fit the role (wasting time) n 60 per cent said that this resulted in a waste of time for HR and the hiring manager (and a financial cost to boot) And you can add to that the wasted effort of onboarding, training and a negative impact on team morale and engagement levels when they leave. So how do you write a great spec? Firstly, make sure people who write the specs can write! Everyone thinks they can but, in my experience, they can’t. It’s not a skill most of us are born with, it’s learned. Here are a few points to think about when writing a great job spec.

n Be Clear Use words that people understand and don’t use jargon or business buzzwords. Think about who you’re hiring. Use short sentences, a clear structure and bullets, lists and diagrams where possible. n Be Human Think about the type of person you want and what would appeal to them. What would make them hit the ‘apply’ button? n Be Engaging Use stories and examples or quotes from staff and customers to bring the spec to life. n Be Creative Do something totally different. A video of someone talking about the role, an illustration or even a comic strip. Anything to bring the role and company culture to life.

n Be Informative Put the important stuff up front – not buried on page five – and tell them what they need to know.

In summary, to write a great spec, you need to think and write like a communicator. A job spec is just another communication like an email or a newsletter. In many ways it’s an advert for your company, so it’s important to get it right.

n Be Brief Being brief is hard – it’s much easier to copy and paste the previous spec. This results in candidates having to wade through your copy to get to the crux of what you want. It’s not ideal.

Scott McInnes is the founder of Inspiring Change. He helps companies to make their communications clear, engaging and authentic, in turn increasing business success. For more articles see www.inspiringchange.ie/blog. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 11

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Risky BUSINESS Feature  Risk Analysis

EVERY SMALL BUSINESS OWNER KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING AHEAD IN CASE OF A RAINY DAY. BUT WHAT ARE THE FACTORS THEY NEED TO CONSIDER AND HOW DO THEY ASSESS THE POSSIBLE RISKS TO THEIR BUSINESS? ORLA CONNOLLY REPORTS.

W

hile there is no one-size-fits-all solution to assessing risks for small businesses, according to Dermot Nolan, Managing Director, Moondance Business Consultants, the majority of them can be categorised as either macro or micro. Most businesses that Nolan comes into contact with are vigilant of the macro risks, such as economic or political factors, which could affect their business. However, they fall short when it comes to the dangers more specific to their area of business. “Every business is unique so while the macro risks should be somewhat similar, the micro risks can be very specific to your business or my business,” explains Nolan. In terms of identifying common risks that can be overlooked by small firms, Nolan highlights overtrading as a recent activity that small businesses are engaging in. This includes accepting the wrong customer, commiting to a workload you can’t deliver on successfully or taking on projects where the income doesn’t justify the effort. “My theory for this is, while the economy is growing again, we’ve all been burnt a bit and we’re nervous about whether the difficult days are coming back,” he says. “As a result of that, you do your absolute damndest to avoid turning away business but sometimes you should.” Nolan also warns small firms about the pitfalls surrounding GDPR, compliance and legislation. “Small businesses need to work a bit harder to keep themselves up to speed and we see that as a common enough failing among some of the smaller organisations that we deal with,” he notes. Meanwhile, Gerry McMunn of MAC Investment Strategies advises entrepreneurs not to

overlook the financial risk surrounding key employees, company directors and shareholders. “A business should look to mitigate the risk to the business of death or illness of such employees and directors by putting in place life/illness insurance that will be paid to the business should such life-changing events occur. Of course, such cover is an extra cost to the business, but the risk is always there and could have a significant impact.” McMunn singles out cashflow planning as a key financial tool to assess what issues, risks, or challenges may lie ahead for a company. “Ideally a business is looking to plan an 18-month ‘runway’ for its liquidity and capital requirements. Write it down, see how it shapes up,” he advises. “Look for mismatches between credit terms given versus credit terms received. Look for areas where additional credit may be required and build new relationships and avenues to seek necessary credit to mitigate against the risk of a ‘slow no’ from some institutions.”

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Risk Analysis  Feature

““WHATEVER THAT CONTINGENCY MEASURE IS, YOU [SHOULD] HAVE THOUGHT IT THROUGH IN A MOMENT OF CALM AS OPPOSED TO A MOMENT OF CRISIS WHEN THE RISK HAS OCCURRED.”

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When conducting a risk assessment, Nolan identifies six key steps in the process for small businesses. Firstly, he advises small firms to identify the macro and micro risks specific to their business before moving on to the second step, which is to quantify the probability of these risks occurring and the impact they would have on the company. Nolan says this quantification can be as simple as classifying possible dangers as either high, medium or low. Step three and four involve planning responses to particular risks and setting out contingency measures. “Often it can be extra time, it can be the ability to bring in extra people or it can be a small pot of money set aside for a rainy day,” says Nolan. “But whatever that contingency measure is, you [should] have thought it through in a moment of calm as opposed to a moment of crisis when the risk has occurred.”

The final two steps in the assessment process focus on implementing trigger points that will alert you early if the business is underperforming as well as the undertaking of regular risk checks. “If you take financial risk as an example, you should have good data that’s tracking your sales – daily, weekly, monthly data – allowing you to notice that May was a little bit quieter than April and April was a little bit quieter than March and so on. It’s what we call the ‘canary in the mines’,” says Nolan. McMunn echoes this advice and highlights the importance of identifying early any possible financial risks to your business. “Review your cashflow planning on at least a monthly basis to see what has happened versus what you thought would happen and to see what additional financial risks have or could occur,” he says. “Review your financial planning at least yearly to make sure you are on track.”

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To safeguard against risk, McMunn also advises small businesses to plan ahead and ask themselves the ‘what if ’ questions. “What if a customer goes out of business? What if currency exchange rates go against me? What if I need to expand and innovate? What if interest rates rise? What if employee wages increase? What if regulations change? And so on.” However, in addition to the safeguarding and futureproofing that comes with regularly assessing the health of your business, McMunn reminds us that having a solid risk plan in place can make your company much more attractive to potential investors. “A good business and financial plan will bring more rewards than just managing elements of risk, it also shows potential investors that your business is looking to grow, is being managed in a thorough fashion and therefore, in my experience of seeking investors for client companies, really can get you noticed.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 13

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Feature  Gaeilgeoir Entrepreneurs

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here is no denying that in the present day, the Irish language is somewhat on the fringes of Irish society, concentrated within the Gaeltacht areas and popping up only sparsely in the day-to-day activities and interactions of the majority. Yet even so, the language is at the core of Irish identity, and many businesses recognise the cultural value of conducting operations as Gaeilge, as well as the potential marketing benefits that come with it. There are many companies in Ireland that do business in Irish – whether that means at every level, or simply with the use of Irish names or phrases to enhance the company image. Here, we speak to four entrepreneurs that do the vast bulk of their work as Gaeilge to hear how it impacts upon the daily operations of their companies.

Business

as Gaeilge SETTING UP AND OPERATING A BUSINESS THROUGH THE IRISH LANGUAGE COMES WITH ITS CHALLENGES. TIERNAN CANNON HEARS FROM FOUR ENTREPRENEURS WHO HAVE MADE A CÚPLA FOCAIL GO A LONG WAY.

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Gaeilgeoir Entrepreneurs  Feature

“ÚDARÁS NA GAELTACHTA IS THERE TO SUPPORT AND DEVELOP BUSINESSES IN ALL THE GAELTACHTS, AND HAS SUCCEEDED ADMIRABLY HERE IN MÚSCRAÍ IN THE PAST 50 YEARS.”

Mairin O’Lionaird, Co-Director, Folláin

MAIRIN O’LIONAIRD CO-DIRECTOR, FOLLÁIN

Folláin is a Cork-based jam-making business founded in 1983 by Mairin O’Lionaird and Eithne Uí Shiadhail. The company’s first product was a grapefruit marmalade based on a recipe passed down to Eithne from her grandmother. The operation started small and was mainly conducted in Mairin and her husband Peadar’s kitchen in west Cork. In 1985, Peadar joined the business, contributing his engineering skills to develop cookers and workbenches, as well as selling the products throughout the country. Peadar often used the Irish language with the company’s customers as a point of uniqueness – ‘folláin’ is the Irish word for ‘wholesome’. While the founders were determined to generate a company name that incapsulated the products it developed, using an Irish language one was not always the most advisable course of action to take, as Mairin O’Lionaird recalls. “In 1985, I undertook a start-your-own-business course, which was quite useful,” she says. “One thing the marketing advisor

on this course objected to was the name ‘Folláin’. He strongly advised changing the name to something in English.” The company stuck to its guns and continued to operate as Gaeilge wherever possible, and Folláin has gone from strength to strength. It now produces a wide range of traditional fruit preserves, relishes, chutneys and no-addedsugar products, which it develops on an ongoing basis. Folláin always uses home-style recipes and natural ingredients in all of its products. The company has long since expanded beyond Mairin and Peadar’s kitchen, and is now based in a much larger facility in Ballyvourney, Co Cork, employing a team of 37 staff to get the product to market. Mairin believes that the company has not been held back by its commitment to the Irish language, and indeed that it provides the company with a “stand-out quality” to compete in the marketplace. Moreover, they are not left entirely to their own devices, and there are supports for Irish-speaking businesses available. “Údarás na Gaeltachta is there to support and develop businesses in all the Gaeltachts, and has succeeded admirably here in Múscraí in the past 50 years,” says Mairin.

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Feature  Gaeilgeoir Entrepreneurs

MICHEÁL Ó CONGHAILE FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, CLÓ IAR-CHONNACHTA

Micheál Ó Conghaile is an award-winning writer and poet and the founder of publishing company Cló Iar-Chonnachta, which he established in 1985 in Indreabhán, in the Connemara Gaeltacht. The company was set up to publish books in the Irish language, but soon expanded its services to publish casettes – and later CDs – of Irish tradional music and singing. To date, Cló Iar-Chonnachta has published approximately 700 books and 300 recordings, with around 25 new books and up to five CDs being published each year. The company has a staff of five, with Ó Conghaile working part-time as its director. “We are book publishers and a music label. For each new book we edit the manuscript in association with the author, do the layout and design, handle the printing, promote the book and help distribute it,” Ó Conghaile explains. “Also we have an official launch, and promote the writer through literary festivals, et cetera. We do the same for musicians and singers with each new album.” Ó Conghaile notes that his company relies not only on the sales of its products, but also on Government support, which ultimately allows the business to function. “About 40 per cent of our income would be Government funding from Foras na Gaeilge and the Arts Council,” he says. “Most Irish language books receive funding, as do English language publishers who publish poetry and literary fiction. The other 60 per cent of income we have to generate through book and CD sales and rights sales.” As with Mairin O’Lionaird of Folláin, Ó Conghaile points to Údarás na Gaeltachta as a valuable resource for his business, as well as the IDA. These supports are necessary for a business such as Cló Iar-Chonnachta, as the Irish language market is a relatively small one. “After a few difficult years, when book sales fell by about 40 per cent, business is getting better again. The numbers of Irish language readers are small, however,” says Ó Conghaile. With such a limited market, Ó Conghaile believes that anyone operating within it needs to be passionate about the business. “I started Cló Iar-Chonnachta as a labour of love, and indeed that is how most publishers in Irish and English would have started in Ireland in the last 50 years,” he says. “Publishing is a very specialised area... Therefore, I would stress the importance of being very interested in the sort of product or service you want to produce.”

LIAM Ó CUINNEAGÁIN CO-FOUNDER, OIDEAS GAEL

Oideas Gael was established in 1984 by Liam Ó Cuinneagáin and Professor Seosamh Watson as a week-long summer course for adults interested in learning Irish. According to Ó Cuinneagáin, Oideas Gael was set up to focus on the retention of Irish as a living language in the south-west Donegal region of Gleann Cholm Cille, where Ó Cuinneagáin hails from. The first group of people participating in the course were, naturally enough, predominately Irish, but surprisingly there was also a number of participants from the USA, Canada, England, Scotland and Wales. Given the high interest in the week-long course, it was decided that Oideas Gael should open up a full-time language centre. Oideas Gael is now open all year round, offering week-long courses from Easter onwards, as well as hosting US universities for short semester programmes. Participant numbers for Oideas Gael reached 1,500 in 2017, and its courses range from the Irish language at all learning levels to archaeology, music, painting, environment and other cultural activities. The group has even extended its location to Gleann Fhinne, a small

Micheál Ó Conghaile, Director, Cló Iar-Chonnachta

Gaeltacht community in the Bluestack Mountains, and to Oileán Thoraí, one of the country’s better known Gaeltacht communities. Considering the pressures upon the Irish language, the interest in Oideas Gael is quite high, perhaps owing to a number of high-level clients, as co-founder Ó Cuinneagáin points out. “We have been fortunate, in that we have attracted many high profile languagelearners on our courses,” he says. “These [have] included President Mary McAleese, who attended every year while in office, and still does. We were also honoured to have Leo Varadkar, Joe McHugh, Heather Humphries and numerous others. Our strong credentials ensure that we get an administration grant of €65,000 from Roinn na Gaeltachta annually. This enables us to stay sustainable all the year round. The Government has a long-term strategy of increasing the number of Irish speakers nationally, and professional institutions such as Oideas Gael are needed to fulfil the stated objectives.” The group uses its expertise and experience to spread the Irish language. It is proud of its work, and with that comes some very memorable moments. According to Ó Cuinneagáin: “It was an outstanding day when our own wee Daniel O’Donnell signed up for class and achieved fluency within a very short time!”

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“AFTER A FEW DIFFICULT YEARS, WHEN BOOK SALES FELL BY ABOUT 40 PER CENT, BUSINESS IS GETTING BETTER AGAIN.”

Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, co-CEO, Danú Media

Michael Dillon, Dillon Photography

Gaeilgeoir Entrepreneurs  Feature

SIOBHÁN NÍ GHADHRA CO-CEO, DANÚ MEDIA

Siobhán Ní Ghadhra is a two-time Emmy Award winner with numerous credits for animation and live-action productions. Together with her husband John Brady, Ní Ghadhra runs production company Danú Media, which the couple established in 2014. The company is based in Spiddal, Co Galway and produces television and feature drama for both the domestic and international markets. In late 2016, Danú Media finalised a deal to acquire the production company Eo Teilifís, which, along with Tyrone Productions, co-produces TG4 series Ros na Rún, Ireland’s only Irish language soap opera. “Ros na Rún is a huge part of my day-to-day work now,” says Ní Ghadhra. “I am executive producer, and we are just about to move into series 23. It’s an amazing place to work, with a great team.” Danú Media owns the studio facility where the series, along with other projects, is filmed. Ní Ghadhra explains: “We have a purpose-built campus, which consists of three studio buildings, wardrobe, make-up, construction workshops, and production offices. We also have lighting package and post-production facilities on-site. Ros na Rún is the largest employer of crew who are based in the west of Ireland.” Danú Media’s productions receive plenty of accolades and recognition for the quality of its production, but does Ní Ghadhra sense that the business itself is lacking an appropriate amount of attention as a company which functions widely as Gaeilge? “I think more recognition for companies that function through the Irish language would be welcome,” she says. “More often than not, there can be a negativity towards the language, which is a shame. I am often asked what my name is in English, asked to provide documentation which our company produces in Irish in English, et cetera. It’s an additional burden on companies.” Nonetheless, the business continues to produce content in the Irish language and is renowned for doing so. Irish producers are developing a strong reputation worldwide, and Ní Ghadhra and Danú Media are certainly among them. “We have huge advantages here in Ireland and [there is now] recognition for what Irish producers can bring to the table,” says Ní Ghadhra.

“I THINK MORE RECOGNITION FOR COMPANIES THAT FUNCTION THROUGH THE IRISH LANGUAGE WOULD BE WELCOME.” Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, Co-Founder, Oideas Gael

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How To ...  Tips

Tim Ivers, CEO, MSS GRoup

s r e t t a M n aig

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TIPS FOR DEVELOPING A STRONG MARKETING CAMPAIGN.

1

BE OPEN AND HONEST

If working with a marketing agency, a true partnership always delivers better results. An open, honest and straightforward conversation will result in work that delivers real rewards.

4

AVOID AGENDAS

Budgets are always insufficient, particularly for small firms, so ensure that you receive agnostic advice when you’re developing a marketing plan. Don’t approach things from any agenda – PR, digital, design etc. They all have optimum values depending on the tasks at hand.

Team Effort

2

DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE

There is always more than one audience that needs to be targeted, and what stimulates each one will be different, either subtly or obviously. Don’t forget to rank them in order of importance to your business.

5

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

What has worked before will most likely work again, once your approach has been assessed objectively and lessons from the past have been taken into consideration. And don’t forget life experiences – they can be very helpful for drawing inspiration when developing marketing campaigns.

There’s nothing worse than having to call someone on a Monday morning when you don’t get on. Build a genuine business relationship that’s mutually beneficial. It’s far more satisfying!

3

EMBRACE CHALLENGES

No one has ever been 100 per cent correct all of the time, so embrace challenges and enable them to improve or verify your position. An intelligent marketing company will always stimulate a positive debate – some of the best ideas are generated this way.

6

IDENTIFY SIMILARITIES

Sometimes companies are competing in similar areas providing similar offerings. Instead of looking for differences, which can often be tenuous, identfy similar strengths and build on them in order to develop a unique campaign for you.

Sales Count Be honest with yourself about what you really wish to achieve. A pretty campaign is useless unless it’s working hard for you.

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Business  Cover Story

PROPERTY

Play JOE MCGINLEY, FOUNDER AND CEO OF ICONIC OFFICES, CHATS TO BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT WHAT IT TOOK TO GO FROM SELLING CREDIT CARD INSURANCE TO BEING AT THE HELM OF THE LARGEST FLEXIBLE WORKSPACE PROVIDER IN THE COUNTRY.

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ome say entrepreneurs are born, not bred. If that’s to be believed, Joe McGinley is an exception to the rule. By his own admission, the Dundrum native didn’t always have a business head on his shoulders. However, something McGinley has in spades is ambition and determination, and it’s a common theme that runs through his story, one which he shares with me when we meet at The Greenway offices on St Stephen’s Green. “I probably learned through failure and through making the wrong decisions,” he explains, sitting across a meeting room desk wearing a white opennecked shirt with rolled up sleeves looking ready for business. “My dad died when I was about one and I never really had a mentor or anything like that. But I always wanted to be successful and I always worked hard. My typical day would have always been 12-hour days at least, six if not seven days a week, even when I had just come out of school.” McGinley is the brains behind flexible workspace provider Iconic Offices, which you might have heard of. It has been scaling at a rapid pace in recent years, opening its trademark trendy offices in prime locations across the capital. It now has over 50 staff working across 14 premises offering in excess of 2,000 workstations and housing over 250 companies, anything from one-person start-ups to big name companies.

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Cover Story  Business

“THE REALITY WAS THAT WE NEVER REALLY WENT LOOKING FOR LOANS, WE JUST ASSUMED THERE WASN’T GOING TO BE ANY LOANS AVAILABLE.”

Paul McCarthy

Joe McGinley, founder and CEO of Iconic Offices

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Business  Cover Story It operates under a leasing model – typically, McGinley takes a lease on an office building for between 20 and 25 years, puts up the capital to undertake a full refurbishment, and offers space to match a business and budget, from hotdesking and private offices right through to custombuilt floors. “We’re not landlords, we don’t want to be landlords,” he says. “We’re an operator providing a service, something not dissimilar to operating a shop or hotel.”

One of the impressive aspects of the Iconic Offices story is how McGinley bootstrapped the business from the start, investing any money he earned from his property work back into the business. McGinley didn’t draw a salary for three years and designed and project-managed the first seven Iconic Offices properties himself. “The reality was that we never really went looking for loans, we just assumed there wasn’t going to be any loans available,” he says.

Big Ticket Items

“THE INDIVIDUAL SETTING UP SMALL CO-WORKING SPACES WOULDN’T BE SOMETHING WE CONSIDER A THREAT, AND THEN ON THE LARGER ONES... SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST I SUPPOSE!”

Paul McCarthy

Straight after completing school, McGinley went into sales believing that it was the best route to making money fast. He sold everything from credit card insurance over the phone to bathroom supplies door-todoor. After mastering the art of the hard sell, McGinley decided that if he was going to continue selling it might as well be big ticket items. It prompted him to take up a part-time honours degree course in property studies, which helped him land various positions in estate agency practices in Dublin. That was before finally going out on his own, founding Bespoke Estate Agents in 2011, which focused on residential and commercial property sales and lettings. Through Bespoke, McGinley worked closely with serviced office operators across the city giving them leads in their search for space, earning commission in the process, understanding their business model and gaining an insight into clients’ needs. Searching for new premises himself for his business at the height of the downturn sparked a turning point for McGinley. “I came across this building on Lower Baggot Street, rang them up and they were like, ‘you can have the whole building, it’s €2,500 a month’. We took space in it ourselves and then we licensed out the balance of the rooms to about seven or eight other companies. We were sharing the meeting rooms, sharing the kitchens and the bathrooms. It worked quite well and from that point on, we took a building every three months and just continued to roll it out.” What McGinley describes as a “property play” had by 2013 inadvertently morphed itself into what is now Iconic Offices. “It was really just about having a good feeling about what the market was looking for,” he says. “I knew what I’d like myself if I was looking for space, so I kind of brought them together and that was essentially it.”

It wasn’t until 2017 that Iconic Offices accessed its first piece of finance raising €250,000 in what became Ireland’s largest crowdfunded campaign. Subsequently, Iconic Offices has received a €4 million funding facility through financial investment company BlueBay Asset Management to aid expansion. This approach has helped the company achieve annual growth of more than 100 per cent year on year since it started.

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Cover Story  Business

No Distractions

Paul McCarthy

Back in 2011, in a bid to ensure that there were no distractions from business, McGinley made a decision to abstain from alcohol. “I think that alcohol is a way to hide behind your problems,” says the 35-year-old. “For me, it was about facing up to the issues that were going to arise as the business was growing, and to make sure that there was nothing to hide behind. In reality, that was probably a huge part of why it was successful.”

Office Aesthetics Taking a tour of The Greenway, one of Iconic Offices’ newest premises, it’s hard not to be taken in by the stylish and vibrant space. McGinley plays an active role in the look and feel of all his offices. Collaborating with various indigenous interior designers results in each premises developing its own unique design. The Greenway, having undergone a €2 million refurbishment which includes custom art work by London creative agency Rarekind, really does feel like the future of flexible working. Offering simple plug and play terms and conditions aimed at making a move there as effortless as possible, the space ticks all the ‘cool office’ boxes; beer on tap, lunchtime yoga classes and a 50-seater cinema. So how important does McGinley believe office aesthetics are when engaging staff? “Before it’s important for staff you need to get the staff,” he says. “If you’re someone who just wants to do a bit of back office work here and there and you don’t really have any ambition, it’s not as important. But if you’re in an active sector,

you’re looking for talent and you have ambitions to grow, then it’s a key part of attracting that talent. Good people just expect a good environment.” That’s especially true of the younger generation today, who are tuned in to what’s on offer at some of the trendier start-ups and tech companies. “Trendy workspaces are their norm and if you’re taking them in [to your office] to interview them and you’ve got the typical blue carpets with old ceiling tiles with beech furniture, you’ll find they can’t identify with you or your brand,” says McGinley. “It’s kind of funny! Where it is key is giving you the ability to hire and retain top talent within a sector. It’s all well and good securing the people but you also need to retain them. Providing those little extras that make the day easier, and just having a good quality accommodation definitely allows people be that bit more freed up, be able to think clearer and do their job in a more comfortable way.” If these are the expectations of what a typical office should be, we’re likely to see plenty more co-working spaces pop up

across towns and cities in the coming years. In fact, it’s something we are already witnessing – reports indicate that an estimated 180,000 sq ft of business space was leased as flexible workspace in 2017 by operators in Ireland. Despite the figures, competition is not something that fazes McGinley. “It’s like the hotel market to a certain degree,” he explains. “It’s not about one type of hotel. Different people want different things and have different budgets. The reality is there is room for lots of different operators. For us, we have been established for a reasonable amount of time and we know what we’re doing, so the individual setting up small co-working spaces wouldn’t be something we consider a threat, and then on the larger ones... survival of the fittest I suppose!” In terms of plans for the foreseeable future, Iconic Offices is eyeing up expansion in mainland Europe. McGinley won’t be drawn on specific locations but says Iconic Offices will continue to expand rapidly while ensuring that it “gets the right buildings in the right places”. Before we finish, I ask his advice to those trying to break out from credit card insurance sales and achieve entrepreneurial success. Above all else, McGinley believes you should try not to overthink things. “The reality for them is that it’s going to be a long, windy and bumpy road unfortunately,” he says. “But I think the key is probably not to think about it. When you start to think about it and try to analyse everything too much the reality is you just don’t end up doing it. I know myself when I have some of my outrageous ideas, if I spent too long thinking about them I’d talk myself out of taking action. If it feels right, just move forward before you change your mind.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 23

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05/07/2018 10:15


Feature  Consortia

Cracking

THE

CONSORTIA WINNING PUBLIC TENDERS IS EASIER FOR SMALL FIRMS WHEN THEY MAKE JOINT BIDS. BUT VERY FEW IRISH COMPANIES ACTUALLY DO IT. BETTER BUSINESS ASKS THE EXPERTS WHY THAT IS AND ROUNDS UP SOME TOP TIPS FOR THOSE CONSIDERING IT.

CODE

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hings are easier when you work together. Many hands make light work. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. The stream of clichéd quotes about the benefits of working together is seemingly endless. But you get the idea: sometimes it makes things easier. That’s certainly the case for some small Irish firms when it comes to winning tenders and contracts, as they realise the benefits of coming together in consortia in an effort to improve their bid management capabilities and to win new business. But the number of firms making use of this approach in Ireland remains frustratingly small. Peter Brennan, Chairman of Bid Services and an expert when it comes to the delivery of bid responses and tender training, says it remains “very unusual” for small firms in Ireland to create a consortium in an effort to win a tender. “Some small legal firms and professional services firms have collaborated,” he says. “I have delivered many training sessions on consortium building, and while the feedback on the day was positive small businesses did not follow through.” So what’s stopping them? Brennan says that a lot of small firms simply struggle with tendering full stop. “Adding a ‘consortium dimension’ to the bid process is a step too far for many,” he says. “On the other hand, Government tenders expressly encourage consortium bids and just require that a lead contractor is identified. Many of the small

Peter Brennan’s Top 5 Bid Consortia Tips 1. Identify the opportunity well in advance 2. Select your partners after due diligence 3. Sell yourself as potential bid partner 4. Conclude a teaming agreement with potential partners 5. Appoint an independent chairperson to manage the bid

Consortia  Feature

firms we advise were uncomfortable working with potential competitors.” Brennan points to the professional services sector as one of the most prominent adopters of consortia formation. But he says that firms in many industries are missing a trick. “In reality, small firms could joint bid for any tender in any sector,” he says. “Complex master-planning requires inter-disciplinary teams, as do major works contracts. When non-Irish companies bid into the Irish market, as was the case with the speed cameras and integrated ticketing tenders, they often look to collaborate with Irish partners with the required experience.” So why should small firms consider creating a consortium to enter a bid for a contract? For example, firms on their own do not have the necessary scale to service the requirements of the contract. Other times they may fall short of turnover requirements or other financial

CCPC’s 4 Ways to Avoid Anti-Competition Laws 1. The consortium bid must produce real efficiency gains 2. Consumers must benefit from those efficiency gains 3. Any restrictions of competition involved in the consortium bid must be indispensable to the achievement of the efficiency gains 4. Consortium bidding must not substantially eliminate competition either in the particular public procurement competition or in other market

“CONSORTIUM BIDDING MUST BE CARRIED OUT IN A WAY THAT ENSURES THAT THE FIRMS INVOLVED COMPLY WITH COMPETITION LAW.” stipulations put in place by the purchasing body. A lack of experience, skills, geographical reach and technical capacities can also be a hindrance. In terms of barriers, intimidation and a lack of knowledge are often cited as the main reasons why companies are coy when it comes to grouping together. “It’s probably a bit of both,” says Brennan. “In the current climate there are far more business opportunities in the private sector that are easier to win. Tendering is a complex process and most small firms do not have the internal resources to bid in a professional manner.” Brennan has devoted an entire chapter to bid consortiums in his book, Public Procurement: Rules of the Road. Any firm considering it would be advised to have a read. Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland also offer a whole host of advice for companies. There’s a lot of other support out there too. To help remove some of the mystique and fear from the area, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has produced a set of guidelines on how companies can form consortia without falling foul of competition

law, which is a big worry when considering linking up with companies in the same sector. “There are a number of reasons why firms might decide to create a consortium in order to submit a joint bid for a public contract,” says Andrew Mernagh, CCPC’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager. “For example, it may be the case that the firms individually do not have sufficient turnover to meet the minimum turnover requirements or do not meet all of the necessary experience or technical capacity requirements set by the purchasing body in the tender competition. However, consortium bidding must be carried out in a way that ensures that the firms involved comply with competition law, both in the tendering process itself and in the market generally. “Consortium bidding often involves firms that are actual or potential competitors coming together to submit joint bids for public contracts. Consortium members must make sure that their collaboration on a joint bid does not spill over into their activities in the market more generally and become a means for them to engage in anti-competitive behaviour outside the scope of the joint bid,” he says. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 25

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Advice  Wise Guys

WISE GUYS

IN BUSINESS AND THRIVING - SIX INDUSTRY EXPERTS SHARE ONE SECRET OF THEIR SUCCESS

1

BRANDING Gillian Horan

CEO, The Pudding For me relationships are key. I truly believe that your personal network has an immense impact on your career. Some of the most successful people in business and in life have the best personal networks. It’s never too early or too late to start investing in your network. It’s very simple – people buy from people. How do you build long lasting relationships? Invest time. Invest in people. Connect with people who have similar values. Give, but don’t expect an immediate return or possibly any return. And always, trust your gut.

2

AGRIBUSINESS Tom Keogh

Founder and MD, Keogh’s Farm and Crisps Get your product offering right from the beginning, remembering that quality is the most enduring differentiator. Consumers are actively looking for brands they can trust, so maintaining integrity at all costs is key. Make sure you stand for what you believe your core customers’ values to be. The Keogh’s customer really cares about the environmental footprint of the products it buys, hence Keogh’s will be the first Irish food company to go carbon neutral partnering with an Irish NGO to bring best practice and knowledge-transfer to Ethiopian farmers.

3

PHARMACEUTICAL Peter Keeling

Founder and CEO, Diaceutics Tenacity is vital. In business, it’s inevitable that you will have ups and downs; that’s just the nature of being an entrepreneur. However, if you are able to learn from setbacks and can overcome challenges, it will make your vision and your business that much stronger. I speak from experience; my biggest achievement stemmed from a failure, but now we are an industry leader and are helping to change lives.

There are many definitions, but there’s one thing that all great business leaders agree on, and that’s how success can only come by persevering despite failure.

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Wise Guys  Advice

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”

4

RECRUITMENT Susan Kealy

Founder and CEO, Budding Cultivate a growth/ learning mindset. Let go of what isn’t working and know that there is a creative solution to almost every problem. This will help you to build resilience in the face of challenge. Business is not a straight line, it’s a constant process of course correcting, and being continuously alert to how you need to adapt will make sure you stay relevant.

If you are a business leader

5

ENERGY John Keohane CEO, Verde LED

Never lose sight of the big picture when things seem to be going against you. There are always going to be challenges along the way but don’t let them blow you off course from your destination. In the early days, rejection would have made me question what I was doing, but learning to trust myself in achieving the end goal has always helped me put things in perspective. Just remember the iceberg effect when you see successful people and companies - you never get to see the blood, sweat and tears below the surface that it takes to get to the top!

Robert Kiyosaki

(April 8th 1947 – present) is an American businessman, investor and author.

6

DESIGN Chris Murphy

Design Director and CEO, Dolmen We’ve been in business for the last 27 years and a large part of the success of our business has been around the strength of our client relationships. The most important thing to remember is that you are working with people and you have to connect on a human level to achieve success as a team. This is where I have found we really deliver the best design solutions, working in close proximity with the key team members in our client companies, being responsive and proactive and helping to solve problems as they arise.

and you feel you have some words of wisdom to share with the small business community please email linda.barry@sfa.ie

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Sector Spotlight  Fitness Industry

SURVIVAL OF THE

FITTEST

WITH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS SUCH AS INSTAGRAM HAVING AN INCREASED BEARING UPON PEOPLE’S ATTITUDES TOWARDS HEALTH AND FITNESS, TIERNAN CANNON SETS OUT TO GET A SENSE OF HOW THE SMALL BUSINESSES WITHIN THE SECTOR ARE PERFORMING. 28 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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U

ntil recently, health and fitness might have been considered as something of a fringe interest, not quite garnering the attention of the mainstream. Yet times have changed, and health and fitness has become a principle concern for people, inevitably having an impact upon the commercial sector that is built around it. At a European level, one study published by EuropeActive and Deloitte suggested that the European health and fitness market had grown strongly throughout 2017, with the total number of health and fitness club members increasing by 4 per cent, to around 60 million people. In Ireland specifically, another study by Deloitte suggested that a total of 440,000 people were members at 710 health and fitness clubs in 2015, which is equivalent to 12.2 per cent of the population aged 15 years and older. Cultural attitudes towards health and fitness are transforming, a positive shift for those operating within the sector. When asked about this growth and change in attitude in Ireland, Karl Fogarty, who manages Shannon Swimming and Leisure Centre in Co Clare, suggests that the emergence of social media has had a profound impact. “People are becoming more dictated by what they’re seeing on Instagram and what their pals are doing,” he says. “Once they see that, they’re down there [in the gym]. We’ve even put free WiFi into the gym, because people – you’ll spot them – they’re working

Fitness Industry  Sector Spotlight

Karl Fogarty, Manager, Shannon Swimming and Leisure Centre

“PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MORE DICTATED BY WHAT THEY’RE SEEING ON INSTAGRAM AND WHAT THEIR PALS ARE DOING,” HE SAYS. “ONCE THEY SEE THAT, THEY’RE DOWN THERE [IN THE GYM].” Shannon Swimming and Leisure Centre

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Sector Spotlight  Fitness Industry

out and they’ll take a break between each set and they’re on their phones, tapping away, taking pictures of themselves. It serves as a motivation.” As Fogarty acknowledges, it is not only a general interest in fitness that has developed in recent years, but rather a willingness to put more work and money into it. “What I’ve noticed,” he says, “is that the uptake in personal trainers has gone through the roof. They cost a bit of money, but people are spending it.” In Dublin, Pat Henry has noted a similar trend. Henry runs a fitness centre on Pembroke Street – a building he shares with his son Karl’s own business – and has noted that in recent years, the sector has managed to turn a corner. “We’re always busy. It’s been steady right throughout the year,” he says of the Pat and Karl Henry Fitness Centre. “A lot of the big places have a huge influx in January, and then people

go off after about two months. That doesn’t happen here, it’s a much more steady flow of people right through the whole year.” Henry has had a long career within the fitness industry, and thus is well-placed to offer insights. For around 13 years, he worked as a yoga instructor before going on to serve as the manager of a famous gym in Hollywood run by American professional bodybuilder, Vince Gironda. This gym was notable at the time for training many of the top bodybuilders and movie stars of the era, from the 1940s upwards. In 1986, Henry returned to Ireland and opened his centre in Dublin. “When I came back from America, I remember people telling me that half 7 [in the morning] was too early to open the gym – that you’d never get anybody in,” he recalls. “Now they want to train at five o’ clock in the morning!” Increasingly, classes are a pivotal element to Henry’s operation. He explains how his

“IN SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT WE WORK WITH, THE ABSENTEEISM HAS DECREASED BY ABOUT 60 PER CENT, WHICH IS HUGE.”

Karl and Pat Henry, founders of Pat and Karl Henry Fitness Centre

wellness programme, entitled ‘Winning Life’, involves going out to workplaces and reaching out to employees. “Part of the programme is to teach you how to be more efficient in your job, how to get on better with your colleagues, how to handle the stress of work,” he says. “That’s the future. Companies are looking to look after their staff, because they’re getting burned out and stressed. Our programme is basically to manage the stress in a workplace. It’s going really well – in some of the companies that we work with, the absenteeism has decreased by about 60 per cent, which is huge.”

Word of Mouth Henry is dedicated to running a small operation that allows him to focus on his customers, which has its benefits. “The gym is small, but I never wanted to work in one of these big places that are very impersonal,” he says. “There’s nobody that comes in here that we don’t know. They’re all very good clients – we haven’t advertised since 1987. All our clients come from word of mouth.” The ability to communicate a message to customers in this way can be extremely beneficial for the smaller operations, as they simply cannot match the marketing power of the larger chains, as Karl Fogarty over at Shannon Swimming and Leisure Centre suggests. “With the likes of the glossy brochures and booklets – [the larger companies] can afford to produce them for their chains at a more cost-effective price. We just can’t match that, because it’s a massive expense and we wouldn’t be printing the same volumes that they’d be printing,” he says. “But we have the usual Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook stuff going on. We would have somebody looking after marketing here in the centre – a mixture of food posts, fitness posts, special offer posts – general stuff that’s happening in the centre.” With social media now playing such a pivotal role within the fitness industry, small gyms can concentrate their funds into other areas. As Fogarty explains, the costs of labour, for example, can be significant, and the maintenance of equipment also represents a real financial challenge. “Traditionally, we would have tried to look after the machines ourselves,” he says. “But over the last number of years, gym

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Fitness Industry  Sector Spotlight

Scenes from WellFest 2018

companies have gotten a little bit cuter, and what they’re doing is they’re manufacturing a lot of their machines [in such a way that] you can’t just take a hammer to it. You now have to get a whole new console, or it might be a software issue, so it’s tied back to the company. You can’t physically get into them, so you do have to rely on getting a maintenance person from the company that you’re dealing with.”

No Going Back As with any industry, there are always going to be costs involved in operations – particularly with insurance rates continuously on the rise. Overall though, the fitness sector appears to be in a healthy position, as both Fogarty and Henry attest to. The growth of the sector, however, is perhaps best encapsulated by the success of a Dublin festival that celebrates health and fitness – WellFest. Running since 2015, WellFest this year took place at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin from May 12th to 13th. Around 5,000 people attended the festival over its two days – an increase of 61 per cent on the previous year. There were 15 different stages at this year’s event, covering a multitude of wellness activities

“IT IS DEFINITELY A SOCIETAL SHIFT RATHER THAN A TREND AND I DON’T EVER SEE IT GOING BACK.” including cookery demos, yoga and fitness classes and spinning. Anthony Kelly, who co-founded WellFest – as well as Irish gym management software company, Glofox – explains that most of the event’s attendees are females, aged between 22 and 35, but that the percentage of men attending the festival has increased year-on-year. “The transformation of people’s attitude towards health and fitness in Ireland over the last ten years has been staggering,” says Kelly. “People are now so much more interested in their own health and wellbeing and are willing to take positive steps to improve their health. I think it has definitely been driven by the millennials, and it has trended upwards through society. I am constantly hearing about people in their fifties and sixties becoming

vegan or taking up yoga. It is definitely a societal shift rather than a trend and I don’t ever see it going back.” The festival’s growing popularity is indicative of the interest that a growing number of people have in their own health and wellbeing. The industry is no longer confined solely to athletes and serious gym-goers, but rather now has an appeal to the mainstream. Indeed, as Karl Fogarty reflects upon his clientele: “Back a good while ago, it would have only been the people that were ‘into fitness’. Now it’s kind of everybody, people just looking to try to get a little healthier, a little bit fitter.” Ultimately, this surge in public interest represents an opportunity for those businesses involved within the sector, and not just the major well-known chains. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 31

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Interview

 Sue O’Neill

Small

BUSINESS

IN

HER

BLOOD

Sue O’Neill, Chair, SFA

BETTER BUSINESS SITS DOWN WITH SUE O’NEILL TO HEAR ABOUT BALANCING HER ROLE AS SFA CHAIR WITH HER OWN BUSINESS, AND HOW A CULTURE AND POLICY SHIFT CAN BRING ABOUT NECESSARY CHANGE FOR SMALL FIRMS.

I

t was 25 years ago that Sue O’Neill first signed up for membership of the Small Firms Association. Back then, she had set up her own graphic design business and was eager to make connections and raise her company’s profile. O’Neill succeeded in doing that, building a team of ten people and eventually selling the business in 2004. Having been elected to the SFA Council in 2003, she stayed involved with the organisation and went out on her own working as a consultant before joining a business that specialised in audio-visual equipment for the hotel industry. The move coincided with the boom years, which resulted in O’Neill “getting sucked in”. Business was good until the recession hit and like most companies tied to the construction industry at the time, it felt the hit. That led O’Neill down another path – connecting third level with industry at Dublin City University’s innovation incubator centre. “It was when the university was really transforming into the university of enterprise and they were looking for people with a business background,” she explains. “I had a really enjoyable time there connecting small businesses together, and connecting small business, big business and researchers together, which can be a challenge.” O’Neill thrived on the collaborative nature of the role, however after a few years she was itching to get back to what she knew best, and that was running her own business. “Small business is in my blood,” she says. “I decided around a year and a half ago to pull away from

that and really go back into what I knew best and that’s when the idea for Shellcove, the association management company came into play.” It was through her work on a project at DCU that sparked the idea. “An association management company came over to Ireland from the States,” she explains. “I picked their brains on the business model and thought yes, this is something I could do!” Shellcove operates as an outsourcing business, providing bespoke management services to organisations and associations allowing them to focus on what’s core to their business. Among the services that O’Neill focuses on is strategy and marketing, business development,

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Sue O’Neill  Interview

“ONE THING I SAY IS THAT YOU NEVER GET A JOB SITTING BEHIND YOUR DESK. FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, ONE OF THE KEY THINGS IS BEING ABLE TO NETWORK.”

membership, event planning and management. The micro business, which has one other staff member, operates in Sallins, Co Kildare. “Membership organisations that use an association management company or an AMC can lower their own overhead costs because they don’t have to employ more staff, they can scale up on staff when they need to and eliminate the risk of [having more] employees. It frees up their own resources to do other things and bring in other services,” says O’Neill.

Juggling Roles Working on the SFA Council and being an active SFA member throughout the years culminated in O’Neill replacing AJ Noonan as SFA Chair in December 2016. Eighteen months into the role, O’Neill says she is thoroughly enjoying the position, despite the challenges that come with juggling two different roles. “Yes it is a challenge, but I must say I find that they are intertwined. Because I’m quite mobile in the work that I do, I find that I can fit lots of things in. And I

must say, all of the things that I do in relation to the role as chair benefit my own company as well, and my own knowledge.” That experience and knowledge has played its part in developing the SFA’s campaign for a national small business strategy, which was launched at the annual conference in May. It’s in response to what O’Neill describes as a lack of investment in small business to match that which targets Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland. “What’s happening in Ireland at the moment is that the investment is in FDI,” she explains. “We have had a strategy since the 1950s to support foreign direct investment, which is what we need and which is absolutely vital for our ecosystem, but we also need small businesses as well. The ecosystem is made up of large and small and both need to work together. One of the things we say is that if you ask the man on the street he’ll be able to give you a good idea of what our FDI strategy is but he wouldn’t be able to tell you the same for the small business.” According to O’Neill, the Government has conducted some positive work on

behalf of small firms but notes that much of it is very “piecemeal” and there remains a need to develop a real vision for small business in Ireland. The SFA strategy can be understood in two parts; policy and culture. Much of the policy side focuses on tax reform and bringing to an end what is viewed as a system that discriminates against entrepreneurs and small business owners. For example, the earned income tax credit at present stands at €1,150 whereas an employee will receive a PAYE tax credit of €1,650. “To show that if you really are serious about supporting small business that’s the starting point, ending that discrimination,” says O’Neill. Another tax in need of review is capital gains tax. Ireland currently has a rate of 33 per cent, the fourth highest in the OECD. O’Neill says this is having a detrimental effect on investment here. “We really need to have that back down to around 20 per cent,” she advises. “At the moment we are not competitive when you are looking at the UK. Then we also have an entrepreneur’s tax relief, which is an example of something that the Government has done. When they reduced that to 10 per cent it did help, but unfortunately they’ve placed a limit on that at €1m and if you compare that to the UK, they have a £10m sterling limit.”

Falling Between the Cracks The culture side of the strategy centres on adjusting the attitude towards small business in Ireland. According to O’Neill, we are failing to champion small firms and to celebrate their success. We see it in the papers every week – Government ministers will appear side-by-side with a SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 33

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Interview

 Sue O’Neill

Micheál Martin TD, Fianna Fáil Leader and Sue O’Neill, Chair, SFA

multinational as they announce a number of IDA-backed jobs in a given area, but are rarely seen when the local business owner opens a new premises or provides the local community with ten new positions. The other problem is that small businesses are falling between the cracks when it comes to State support. “When you think about it, the Government is led by IDA policy and Enterprise Ireland (EI) policies and with some of those policies, they don’t take into account the small business and they can fall between the cracks,” says O’Neill. “If you’re a small business under 10 employees you’re a local enterprise office client. If you’re above that or if you have the potential to export you can be an EI client, but if you’re in the middle there’s no support for you and there are a lot of initiatives that come out that are either one or the other and it can be difficult for small business. Unfortunately,

SFA Fact

Did You Know? Sue O’Neill has a varied educational background holding an MBA from Dublin City University, a diploma in both Digital Marketing and Print Management and is a graduate of the IMI Business Development Programme. Originally from Blackrock in Dublin, she operates Shellcove from Sallins, Co Kildare but admits to spending most of her time on the M50!

government ministers don’t see that.” Language is another way through which the culture for small businesses can be changed. One view associated with small firms that you’ll often hear expressed is how they are ‘exploiting opportunities’, something that O’Neill takes issue with. “It’s called ‘assessing an opportunity, calculating a risk’,” she says. “That’s what small business does, it’s not exploiting!” Irish attitudes to failure are another concern. O’Neill highlights the more congenial attitudes to second-chance enterpreneurship adopted in the US. “If a business fails we need to support the entrepreneur, help them get back on their feet and I don’t think there is anybody in any business that hasn’t seen a failure in their business lifetime,” he says. “It happens to everybody. You pick yourself up. But you need to be supported and you need somebody giving you a pat on the back and saying, ‘go on, go for it again’.” Having ‘gone for it’ again herself, what is O’Neill’s advice to small business owners hoping to raise their company profile and win new business? “You have to be visible,” she says. “One thing I say is that you never get a job sitting behind your desk. For small businesses, one of the key things is being able to network. For me personally, when I joined the SFA that’s what I gained from it. I was able to network, meet lots of people, and win new business. I think that’s really important and that’s come from my experience with the SFA but also through my experience working with Dublin City University and connecting people.” Connecting people is one of the areas O’Neill has focused her attention on during her chairmanship, which brought about the successful Business Connect event held at Aviva Stadium earlier this year. Working with the SFA Council on bringing about change through the Small Business Strategy will feature high on her agenda for the remainder of 2018. “I really enjoy working with the council,” she says. “We have 13 people on the council and they are all from very different backgrounds, different areas of the country. When we can put our heads together and listen to the members that have issues and then really try and influence Government, that’s the bit for me that’s really enjoyable. Although it’s a bit of a slog sometimes, we can actually see things happen, we do get results.”

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28/06/2018 10/03/2016 12:10 26/01/2016 09:39 09:04


Small Business Profile  Revive Active

“ONE DAY A GUY PUT A SUPPLEMENT IN FRONT OF ME AND SAID, ‘TRY THIS, IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE’,” RECALLS DAITHI O’CONNOR. AND SO BEGAN A JOURNEY OF RESEARCH, DISCOVERY, HARD GRAFT AND SUCCESS FOR THE FOUNDER OF GALWAY-BASED REVIVE ACTIVE.

On a

Wing

Prayer and a

Back in the early days of Revive Active, co-founder and MD Daithi O’Connor was in search of some much-needed funds to inject into his fledgling business. He had approached a number of accountants he knew to see if any would invest in the company when one close friend pointed him in the direction of his uncle, a retired priest. After meeting with Father Joe it was agreed that he would provide a loan for O’Connor’s venture – €25,000 over two years as a bullet payment and at an attractive interest rate. As O’Connor tells it: “He wrote the cheque, signed the contract and I went back to the office and said, ‘I have €25,000 for the current account and I have someone praying for us!’ And we needed everyone’s prayers.”

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Revive Active  Small Business Profile

“YOU HAVE TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM THE HERD. EVEN IF YOU’RE OPENING A DRY CLEANERS, YOU’VE GOT TO BE THE ONE THAT’S GOING TO OFFER SOMETHING DIFFERENT.”

Daithi O’Connor, founder and MD, Revive Active

The prayers and investments worked. Eight years on from its foundation, O’Connor’s company, which designs, develops, manufactures and markets cutting-edge health food supplements, is flying high having reported a turnover of €4 million last year to projecting a €5.5m turnover in 2018. O’Connor, whose background is in finance and management, has received numerous plaudits along the way, including being chosen as a finalist in last year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, his company being listed in the FT top 1,000 fastest growing companies in the EU, and winning the Food and Drink category at this year’s SFA National Small Business Awards. Based in Galway, Revive Active employs

SFA Fact

Did You Know? Pat McDonagh, founder of fast food chain Supermacs, last year joined the board of directors of Revive Active. McDonagh is reported to have invested €300,000 in the company since 2013, including a €100,000 investment in December 2016.

22 staff and currently has six products on the market – Revive Active, an amino acid, vitamin and mineral complex; Mastermind, a supplement supporting cognitive function; Joint Complex, which supports bones and connective tissue, endorsed by marathon runner Paula Radcliffe; Beauty Complex, which nourishes the skin; and two types of food supplements called Ubiquinol and Antarctic Krill Oil. Getting his products on the shelves wasn’t easy in the beginning. Due to a lack of substantial capital, O’Connor and co-founder Liam Salmon had to convince retailers to pay for it upfront. But speaking with O’Connor you begin to understand how he overcame this hurdle. The Galway native can talk the talk, and being armed with a high quality product that he truly believes in enabled him to deliver too. “The reason we got them over the line was that they looked at the back of the box, they looked at the list of ingredients that were there and said, ‘we have nothing like this in store – we’ll buy it’,” O’Connor explains. “It was a good news story – a new company starting up in Galway. I received such great support and then their customers started buying the product, feeding back the benefits, and purchasing it again.” A significant make-or-break moment was capturing the attention of Goretti Brady, then managing director of the country’s largest pharmacy chain Lloyds. At the time, Revive Active was being stocked in just two of Lloyds’ 110 stores in Ireland – Claremorris in Mayo and Roxboro in Limerick. “Goretti visited the

Lloyds pharmacy in Roxborough and she noticed that their VMS (vitamins, minerals and supplements) was up about 900 per cent,” recalls O’Connor. “She asked, ‘how is this happening?’ Revive Active was the difference. She said, ‘if this is such a good seller I want it in all my stores’. Overnight we were in 77 stores in Dublin. It was a good break for us. It probably would have happened at some stage but that was one that gave us a great leg up.” Other pharmacy chains such as McCabes and Hickeys followed suit and suddenly the distribution of Revive Active was spreading fast. It enabled O’Connor to recruit sales representatives to focus on each of the provinces. Fast forward to 2018 and, as well as being readily available in Ireland, Revive Active is sold in around 50 retail stores in London with other areas of the UK covered too. The company recently launched in Germany sponsoring the Dusseldorf Marathon and it sells online into 41 different countries. According to O’Connor, he is not soliciting all of that business. “We get orders from Australia, New Zealand, America. They find us,” he says. “The online sales mean we can go toe to toe with anyone. We’ve huge passion and integrity within our brand and our products so it’s just a matter of bringing them to the public.” O’Connor has ambitions to market and distribute Revive Action in China and the US in the near future and plans to launch two new products for children later this summer. So other than approaching retired priests, what’s O’Connor’s advice for other small businesses starting out? “You have to be different,” he says. “You have to separate yourself from the herd. Even if you’re opening a dry cleaners, you’ve got to be the one that’s going to offer something different. You either open late or you collect the suits from the local corporate building and bring them back.” Speaking just before O’Connor visits Oxford and London as part of a trip planned by EY for the Entrepreneur of the Year alumni group, he admits to still being on an entrepreneurial journey of his own. “I’m always learning,” he says. “I’m always open to learning and meeting people who have already gone through it or made the mistakes before me. Talking to them is really valuable.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 37

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Feature  Teambuilding

Taking one for

Team

THE

INVESTING IN PURPOSEFUL TEAMBUILDING EVENTS FOR YOUR STAFF CAN PAY DIVIDENDS. BETTER BUSINESS CHECKS IN WITH THREE COMPANIES PROVIDING THE TYPE OF SERVICES LIKELY TO ENHANCE ANY COMPANY’S TEAM SPIRIT. 38 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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TEAMBUILDING TIME

W

hen it comes to small business, teambuilding for staff doesn’t always feature high on the list of priorities. Often associated with larger firms that possess deeper pockets, teambuilding isn’t exclusive to big business and for the small companies that do invest time and effort in organising such events, it often helps build trust, encourage communication, and increase collaboration. Ultimately, teambuilding means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and fun if you do it with a little imagination. Adventure is something that’s on offer at Dublin-based Kylemore Karting, Ireland’s largest indoor karting arena, which was founded by the late Irish motorsport legend Stuart Cosgrave back in 1992. Since then, Kylemore Karting has developed into one of the elite European indoor karting arenas, with three multi-level circuits, filled with flyovers, underpasses, hills and banked corners. “Kylemore Karting has been providing first-class corporate events for over 25 years,” explains Managing Director Kyle Kennedy. According to Kennedy, spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and effectively. “Our unique race formats create a competitive yet fun and enjoyable racing environment. Drivers battle it out over practice, qualifying and finals, as they race to secure the coveted race trophy at the top on the podium.” Normally aimed at generating an eclectic mix of fun, focus and forward-vision, team away days are intended to be more than splattering co-workers in paint and listening to management-speak, which has little impact on an employee’s role once back in the workplace.

Teambuilding

 Feature

Four sure signs that your staff will benefit from a teambuilding event or activity.

1

Division

2

Sick Days

3

Gossip

4

Lack of Interest

Division and turmoil between company departments isn’t easy to address. Sometimes you need to get out of the office into an altogether different environment in order to break down barriers.

If you notice a significant hike in the number of sick days taken among staff, it is likely that problems are afoot. Teambuilding events are a great way to manage monotony and mix things up for staff with a tendency to go missing in action.

Gossiping and ‘cliques’ within the office can create a lot of negativity in any business and can be detrimental to a company’s overall team spirit.

A lack of enthusiasm among employees while performing their duties will undoubtedly lead to poor teamwork. Now might be the time for an escape room, a go-karting track or an adventure centre!

Dublin-based Kylemore Karting has been in operation since 1992

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Feature  Teambuilding

Margaret Quinn of Courtown Adventure & Leisure Centre in Co Wexford believes that employees that engage in teambuilding activities go away with a lot more than embarrassing memories. “Teambuilding days are crucial for businesses,” she says. “They really help boost staff morale and in turn lead to better productivity back in the office. They also help with staff retention and recruitment. “The teambuilding programmes we deliver are team bonding games like laser, archery, zip lining, orienteering, aerial trekking, climbing walls and obstacle courses. These are all excellent for employees as they get to support and encourage each other.”

Natalia Romanova, founder, 5 Quests

Strengths and Weaknesses Learning how to work together effectively creates efficiency and knowledge around how to manage each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Teambuilding also helps break down barriers in communication. “On a teambuilding day with us, people end up helping each other where they may not have done so in a work environment, and also employees sometimes shine where maybe they have not succeeded in the workplace. Maybe they are good at something completely different,” explains Quinn. “We recently had a group of golfers down from Dún Laoghaire Golf Club before they went on to play inter club matches and had a fabulous day of bonding with selectors, managers and team colleagues. They said that it helped them get to know each other in ways they would never have done before, as they helped and encouraged each other to get to the top of the climbing wall.” Despite the outcomes of teambuilding events being generally positive for any business, the notion of teambuilding for some does carry negative connotations. Cheesy exercises aimed at building trust within a team come to mind. But trust is important. Without it, success in business is often out of reach. That’s why it’s a vital ingredient of inspiring any team, and it helps when you go about it from a creative angle, according to Natalia Romanova, founder of escape rooms company 5 Quests. “Managers and team admins who want to make a real impact must research teambuilding activities that are engaging enough to convert any sceptics,” she

Courtown Adventure & Leisure Centre deliver teambuilding activities like laser, archery, zip lining and obstacle courses

advises. “One emerging teambuilding activity is escape room games.” 5 Quests offers activities for small and medium sized teams and the experience is based around teamwork, communication and collaboration – three things that are essential in any teamworking scenario. “The puzzles and challenges that exist in any given room require people to work together to decipher codes or make sense of set pieces,” says Romanova. “It also requires them to constantly keep each other updated on progress made, as well as checking in with each other to see if help is required and making sure everyone is aware of the time that is left.” According to Romanova, the escape room setting is very close to a project environment in the workplace, and the experiences that the group witnesses are directly translatable to a wide array of situations in the business world. “Having a team work together, communicate, and collaborate in order to solve a room will set a strong precedent and foundation for everyone involved, and when they solve the game it shows them all how

successful you can be when everyone works together as a team,” she says. A happy workforce makes happy customers. This notion has been proven millions of times over across all industries. “It is no surprise that an employee who feels well treated by their company will be driven to do as good a job as they can,” says Romanova. “It is human nature to feel a sense of pride when accomplishing a major task with a group of people. The people who win our challenges say that and they always have a tremendous amount of fun too. The feeling of camaraderie is a powerful one, and a very beneficial one for a team of people working for a common goal, which is the purest definition of what a business is.” Staff from A.Menarini Pharmaceuticals recently visited 5 Quests and discovered that teamwork is always more successful than flying solo. As one employee testimonial put it: “It really gave us insight into all our different personalities and how it is important to approach a problem from different angles to solve it by working together as a team.”

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Partner Profile

A SAFE AND HEALTHY BUSINESS THE NATIONAL STANDARDS AUTHORITY OF IRELAND (NSAI) IS PART OF A GLOBAL EFFORT TO HELP IMPROVE WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY. Health and safety in the workplace is the number one concern of most employers, yet despite increased awareness and advancements in legislation, injuries and deaths still occur. Recent figures from the Health and Safety Authority show that 501 people have died in workplace accidents in Ireland since 2008, with 47 fatal accidents occurring last year alone. The main legislation providing for the health and safety of people in the workplace are the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 and 2010, which cover the rights and obligations of both employers and employees and provide for substantial fines and penalties for breaches. Employers are required to provide and maintain a safe workplace which uses safe equipment and prevent risks from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration. On the other hand, employees are expected to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and others around them. While the number of workplace-related injuries and deaths in Ireland has fallen over the past two decades – from 3.9 to 2.5 per 100,000 workers – it’s clear that more can be done. The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is part of a global effort to help improve the situation. Last month, the agency published a major new global health and safety standard for organisations, which sets the minimum standard of practice to protect employees worldwide. The standard is based on the labour standards, conventions and guidelines of the International Labour Organisation, the existing OHSAS 18001 document, and national standards. Known as I.S. ISO 45001, it is the first standard to cover occupational health and safety management systems, and gives organisations a single set of requirements

Joe O’Dwyer, Health & Safety Manager, Collen Construction; Maria McKeown, NSAI Senior Auditor; Fergal O’Byrne, NSAI Head of Business Excellence; David Lee, Collen Construction Director; and Rebecca Reilly, Quality & Environmental Manager, Collen Construction

to increase safety, reduce risks and enhance health and well-being at work. “This much-anticipated standard was developed over several months with the input of experts from more than 70 countries,” says NSAI Chief Executive, Geraldine Larkin. “I.S. ISO 45001 is set to transform workplace practices globally and I am extremely proud that NSAI is able to offer it to Irish organisations from day one. Contrary to popular belief, ISO management systems standards can be used by any organisation, including service providers such as hospitals, banks or universities. By bringing a methodical and harmonised approach, complex concepts such as quality management are defined in a way that is easy to grasp and implement. But more than this, standards have proven potential to save money through more efficient use of resources and, in the case of I.S. ISO 45001, even save lives.” Among the first companies to achieve certification to I.S. ISO 45001 is

Collen Construction. The family-owned company – established in 1810 – provides commercial, residential, industrial, design and building services across multiple sectors. “Collen Construction is well-placed for growth, and we want to ensure our systems, both in Ireland and Europe, are best in class. As safety is an integral part of the company’s daily operations, we recognise the importance of continuous improvement,” says Collen Construction' Managing Director, Tommy Drumm. “The implementation of the new I.S. ISO 45001 aligns with our objective to ensure our systems are world-class and accreditation to the first international safety standard would recognise Collen as leaders in achieving an international benchmark.” NSAI’s Business Excellence team is available to answer any queries relating to Management Systems Certifications. For more information, visit www.nsai.ie/management-systems. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 41

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Smart

Work

BEING OWNER OF A SMALL BUSINESS CAN BE LONELY. THAT’S WHY ACHIEVING SUCCESS THROUGH COLLABORATION IS AN EXTRA REWARDING EXPERIENCE.

Collaboration is key to the long-term success of any business. Whether it’s helping break into new markets or developing a new product, forming partnerships with other enterprises is critical to small firms in pursuit of growth, innovation and, ultimately, results. Richard Branson once said: “To be successful in business, and in life, you need to connect and collaborate.” In the second of a two-part series, Better Business checks in with three small business owners and managers who share their stories on how smart collaboration has yielded significant rewards.

MAXIMUM MEDIA Maximum Media is a fine example of a small Irish indigenous business that has scaled at a remarkable pace. The company behind websites such as Joe.ie and Her.ie has grown from a minor operation in Dublin to a major media brand having expanded into the UK with offices located in London and Manchester. This rapid growth has come as a result of hard work and smart business acumen by founder Niall McGarry but also through clever commercial collaboration along the way. “The majority of our content and the revenue that we generate from our site comes from collaborating with other brands,” explains Managing Director John Burns. “That’s been at the success of Maximum Media since day one, since Niall McGarry set it up. It was really a foresight that he had – that brands wanted to entertain Irish audiences in a new way, and we could do that with them at Maximum Media by creating branded content.” It is Maximum Media’s mission to be the most influential media company in Ireland by 2022. Having opened a new office in Galway earlier this year, and continuing to produce quality content that goes out to tens of millions of people every year, less people are doubting the idea. “It takes a lot of guts and money to re-invest to stay ahead of the curve,” says Burns. “At Maximum Media – through Joe, Her, Her Family and Sports Joe – we are on the front foot.” www.maximummedia.ie

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BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Brought to you by Virgin Media Business  Smart Work

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John Burns

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05/07/2018 16:47


SEAN’S BAR

“WHAT BETtER WAY TO TELl OUR STORY THAN THROUGH OUR WHISKEY?”

More than one pub stakes the claim of being the oldest bar in Ireland, but it helps when you have the Guinness Book of Records to back you up. That’s the trump card held by Sean’s Bar in Athlone, which has had its doors open since 900AD. Possessing a dream brand like that presents plenty of opportunity, something recognised by General Manager Declan Delaney. “The whiskey is something we began over five years ago,” he explains of the company’s foray into a new sector. “Athlone is at the centre of the story of whiskey. We’re located just south of Loughrea, and it was at Loughrea where the ancient art of distilling began by the monks. Because of this history we thought, what better way to tell our story than through our whiskey?” Sean’s Bar approached West Cork Distillers with the concept and, in August 2017, launched its first batch in a range of whiskies produced under the label ‘Sean’s Bar: Ireland’s Oldest Pub’. “It’s the first of three whiskies we hope to launch over the next two years,” says Delaney. “We have plans to launch a malt whiskey later this year and a special blend as well in a number of years.” Delaney has ambitious plans for the new venture, which includes exporting to the US, mainland Europe and Japan. Having previously been listed in Lonely Planet’s ‘50 Bars To Blow Your Mind’, and given the high footfall of tourists passing through its doors, word about Sean’s Bar’s whiskey will undoubtedly spread far and wide. www.seansbar.ie

Declan Delaney

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Timmy Donovan, Manager and Declan Delaney, General Manager, Sean’s Bar Athlone

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VIEW THE VIDEO

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05/07/2018 09:29


Brought to you by Virgin Media Business  Smart Work

THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Community, creativity and collaboration are at the heart of any co-working space and the Chocolate Factory in Dublin is no exception. Located in the original Williams & Woods building on King’s Inn Street, the space offers creative individuals, start-ups and businesses an affordable studio in a shared environment. Today, it is home to everything from furniture designers to architects and creative writers to perfumers. As well as managing the building, Gerry Scullion has been using the space since 2013 to produce his low-calorie soft drink King of Kefir, one of 30 independent businesses operating there. “What’s great about the Chocolate Factory is that there is such a wide variety of businesses and skills here that there is always somebody to refer to, to talk to, or to throw ideas to,” he says. According to Scullion, enterpreneurship can be a lonely experience, which is why it is important to surround yourself with people on a similar path. “There are so many challenges with any start-up business and it can be a very lonely pursuit, but when you have people around you who are on the same journey and who you can share it with, it makes it an awful lot easier and more fun,” he says. It also helps to have access to honest feedback when it comes to the direction of your venture, “so that you’re not too far down the road with what you think is a solution but which isn’t really”. www.chocolatefactory.ie

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“WHEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU WHO ARE ON THE SAME JOURNEY, IT MAKES IT AN AWFUL LOT EASIER AND MORE FUN.” Gerry Scullion

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www.betterbusiness.ie/ virginsmartwork-chocolatefactory

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05/07/2018 09:29


Interview  Trading Places

ON SWISS

TIME MCGONIGLE WATCHES IS BRINGING IRISH FLAIR TO THE TRADITIONAL SWISS WATCH INDUSTRY. CONOR FORREST CAUGHT UP WITH FOUNDER STEPHEN MCGONIGLE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF MECHANICAL TIMEPIECES.

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I

f you’ve ever caught a glimpse into the inner workings of a mechanical watch, you’ll know that their creation is something of an art form. Many are still hand-assembled by masters of their craft, men and women who create intricate timepieces that are the result of years of design and production. It’s certainly true of McGonigle Watches, a company with bases in both Dublin and Switzerland. Helmed by Irishman Stephen McGonigle, it’s injecting a dose of Irish ingenuity and culture into an industry traditionally dominated by the Swiss. McGonigle grew up surrounded by clocks and watches. His father Johnny – a compositor at The Irish Times – earned a reputation for repairing clocks and it rubbed off on his sons. Although he had aspirations of becoming an architect, in 1996 McGonigle graduated from the Irish-Swiss Institute of Horology in Dublin, a now defunct college partly supported by the Swiss industry in an attempt to create a network of watchmakers across Europe. Over the course of the following decade he worked for a variety of prestigious watchmaking houses such as Christophe Claret and Breguet before the opportunity to create his own brand emerged in 2006 following a request from two collectors. The company’s first and resultant commission was a tourbillon, a complicated creation that counters the effect of Earth’s gravity through the use of a rotating gauge and which tends to cost a small fortune. On the crown, the word ‘TIME’ was etched into the metal using the Ogham alphabet, a nod to Irish culture and heritage that would become part of the brand’s design language in the years ahead. Since then, they’ve gone on to create a range of limited-edition timepieces that blend Irish influences with classical Swiss watch design, the most recent a minute repeater featuring hand-engraved Celtic artwork designed by McGonigle’s sister Frances. “This watch can chime out the hours, quarters and minutes so, without looking at the watch, you can know exactly what time it is. That’s completely mechanical,” McGonigle explains. “That would be one of the single most complicated pieces in watchmaking. That takes about two months to make and, of course, a couple of years to develop as well.”

Trading Places  Interview

“PEOPLE ARE SOMETIMES SHOCKED AT THE PRICE OF THE WATCHES, AND UNDERSTANDABLY, BUT THE BEST WAY I CAN PUT IT IS I’LL NEVER OWN ANY ONE OF MY OWN PIECES. THEY’RE THAT EXPENSIVE, I CAN’T AFFORD THEM.”

Stephen McGonigle, McGonigle Watches

A Difficult Path Although McGonigle’s training and his background within the Swiss watch industry has been a huge help in carving out a niche within the market for high-end timepieces, the road to this point hasn’t been too easy, particularly when it comes to finances. It’s expensive for a small company to develop new watches featuring hundreds of parts but ultimately sold in very limited numbers. Though the quality is the same, economies of scale alone make it easier for their larger competitors – while McGonigle Watches might order six cases, a bigger brand could source 6,000. Two of the six Ceol Minute Repeaters – named after the Irish for ‘music’ – sold for more than €200,000 each. “People are sometimes shocked at the price of the watches, and understandably, but the best way I can put it is I’ll never own any one of my own pieces,” he explains. “They’re that expensive, I can’t afford them, which goes back to how much they cost to make.” Another challenge, McGonigle explains, is marketing and visibility – SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 47

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Interview  Trading Places

What’s Your Watch? As a watchmaker, does McGonigle wear a watch of his own? “With the Tuscar we had a complete prototype... for all the world it looks like the real thing except the case is steel. I have that prototype which I wear,” he says. “Normally day-to-day I don’t wear one but if I’m out and about or if I’m meeting clients or something like that I’ll wear it.”

with zero marketing budget the company relies on word of mouth and coverage within watch magazines whenever they release something new. Still, the firm’s smaller footprint stands to its benefit in certain circumstances. A recent customer arrived on their doorstep following a failed attempt to purchase from one of the world’s biggest brands, seeking a bespoke creation tailored to his own needs. “We were able to change so many things because we were so small – when we ordered it we started the piece and we handmade it for him, we handmade it to his specifications,” says McGonigle. “Because we’re so small we can actually adapt.” The majority of the assembling is done in Switzerland where much of the components and tradespeople are located, particularly during the development stage. But the firm does maintain Irish workshops and, where possible, completes work in Ireland, including the presentation cases and the designs for the engravings. Could Ireland begin to compete as a destination for watch production? “It wouldn’t be impossible – in Ireland we have made parts for prototypes but, when it comes to bringing it to production, that has to be done here,” he explains. And what of life in Switzerland and their approach to business? “It’s very quiet,” McGonigle says with a laugh. “People aren’t nearly as flexible as the Irish, which is another reason that it would be fantastic to work with more Irish companies. Here, everything is quite slow. Often, when you go to a new company – perhaps sourcing a

component or something, I’m told ‘No, it’s impossible’, ‘It’s too difficult’ or ‘We just don’t do that’. Then you have to spend a while convincing them that you want to give them money and you want to give them work. Whereas in Ireland, of course somebody will say ‘Yes, we can’, and then they’ll see if they can or not. On the upside, the lifestyle here is fantastic and the weather is great.” So too are the company’s prospects in the years to come. Its reputation has continued to grow for the quality of the products that emerge from its workshops. These are bespoke, technically complicated pieces featuring meticulous attention to detail even where it can’t be seen – even the springs are decorated while screws are mirror polished. And it’s not gone unrecognised – Stephen and his brother were inducted into the Temporis Hall of Fame in May, nominated for the award by their peers. Among McGonigle’s upcoming projects is a more affordable piece featuring a Swiss movement – high standards but a much lower price point of around €2,000. That could be important in introducing a new swathe of watch enthusiasts to the brand. “That’s a big step because it won’t be under McGonigle, it [will be] a sister company much like Rolex and Tudor,” he says. “I’d like to think in the next few years that piece will be up and running and hopefully received well. It’s very difficult to know – you’re in a sort of a bubble while you’re developing something and until you show it around you’ve no real idea how it’s going to be received. Which is a little bit scary but exciting at the same time.”

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Partner Profile

PROTECTING DATA FOUNDED IN 2012, MODE 1 DATA CONSULTING TODAY WORKS WITH A PRIMARY FOCUS ON PROVIDING DATA PROTECTION SERVICES AND DATA ANALYSIS TO SMES. The tagline 'Making Business Smarter' is at the core of Mode 1 Data Consulting's activities, with 2018 proving to be a big year for the business, as its clients attempt to transition to meet the terms of the recently introduced GDPR. “It’s definitely been the busiest year we've had since we started,” says Brian Leahy, Managing Director of Mode 1. “For the first few months we spent plenty of time on the road providing GDPR workshops for some of our partners, and thankfully work flowed through from these.” Mode 1 provides data protection officer services, which, as Leahy explains, means that a company can outsource data protection activities to Mode 1 at a competitive rate, which can prove to be a more cost-effective option than hiring a full-time Data

Brian Leahy, Managing Director, Mode 1 Data Consulting

“IN OUR LINE OF BUSINESS, DATA ANALYTICS IS THE YIN TO DATA PROTECTION’S YANG.” Protection Office (DPO) or assigning DPO duties to an internal employee. It also provides customised data protection policies, notices and data processing contracts, along with tailored training courses to suit each business that seeks its services. On the data analytics side, Mode 1 provides consultancy to SMEs to allow them to obtain value from their data in all aspects of their operations. The business provides a wide range of services, but as Leahy points out, there is a definite thread running throughout. “The data protection side of the business grew sideby-side with the analysis side of the business, as you can’t do the advanced analytics – such as predicting

customer behaviour or customer profiling – without having to consider the effect on your customer’s right to privacy,” he says. “In our line of business, data analytics is the yin to data protection’s yang.” Data protection has naturally been a hot topic for businesses in recent times, with the GDPR coming into effect in May of this year. After such a long period of build-up to GDPR, companies that have successfully made the transition to fall in line with the regulation may be inclined to relax when it comes to their data protection practices, but Leahy suggests that there is always work to be done. “It’s important for organisations to remember that data protection is an ongoing process,” he says. “They may have done great work getting themselves ready for GDPR, but they need to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. Data protection is not a riveting subject for most employees, so you need to make sure staff stay aware of their responsibilities by having regular refresher training. Otherwise, they’ll forget, and that could land you in trouble. Ongoing maintenance of data protection processes and procedures is key. If you have laid the foundation, then the work involved should be manageable, or you can outsource it to us!” With a growing reputation and client base, Mode 1 Data Consulting plans to continue in its general trajectory of recent times. As Leahy concludes: “Our goal is to show how, when done right, you can protect your customer’s data and utilise the data effectively in an analytical way to create valuable, actionable insight to grow your business and make it smarter.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 49

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Business Books  Extract

Will THE

TO

SUCCEED

IN HIS NEW BOOK SECRETS TO SUCCESS, SEAN GALLAGHER TELLS THE STORIES OF 46 OF IRELAND’S LEADING ENTREPRENEURS AND HOW THEY TURNED OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITIES AND ADVERSITY INTO SUCCESS. IN THE FOLLOWING EXTRACT, GALLAGHER EXPLORES IRISH PEOPLE’S PROPENSITY FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

W

hile all entrepreneurs may have certain traits that help them become successful, the environment and culture to which they belong can also contribute to the realisation of their potential. Nowhere is this more evident than the island of Ireland, which has always succeeded in punching well above its weight when it comes to the world of business and entrepreneurship. With just 4.8 million people living in the Republic of Ireland and a further 1.8 million in Northern Ireland, Ireland has a relatively small population compared to other countries and yet its global reach is immense, with an estimated 70 million people across the world claiming Irish ancestry, half of these in the US alone. Irish people love to work. Entrepreneurial by nature, they have a work ethic that is second to none. Over the years, the country has produced many companies that now compete in the world of global business. Brand names such as Jameson Irish Whiskey, Guinness, Kerry Group, Glanbia, Smurfit Kappa, Primark, CRH, Ryanair and Alltech are famous the world over. Ireland’s entrepreneurs, too, have proved themselves to be some of the smartest and most successful in the world in their chosen fields. Names such as Denis O’Brien of Digicel; Eugene and Gene Murtagh of Kingspan; JP McManus and John Magnier, racehorse owners with various property and business interests; Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex; Sir Michael Smurfit of Smurfit Kappa; the late Tony Ryan, co-founder of Ryanair, and that firm’s CEO, Michael O’Leary; financier Dermot Desmond; Dr Pearse Lyons of AllTech; and brothers John and Patrick Collison of mobile payment firm, Stripe, who in 2016 became the world’s youngest ever self-made billionaires at the ages of 26 and 28 respectively. So what is it that makes this little island and its people so unique in the world of industry and enterprise?

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Extract

Having faced centuries of occupation, repression and economic hardship, which has seen millions of the population forced to scatter to the four corners of the globe in search of a better life, the Irish have developed a spirit of resilience and selfdetermination. Perhaps it is this background of adversity that has helped give Irish people their can-do attitude and a propensity for innovation. They know that if they want success they have to earn it and pursue opportunity where they find it, whether in Ireland or in one of the many countries that the Irish diaspora has spread to. Like many other countries around the world, Ireland suffered badly as a result of the economic crash of 2008. This, together with the collapse of the banking system and the country’s over-reliance on the construction sector, resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost and the floodgates of emigration flung open once more. However, drawing on their innate strength of character, Irish people dug deep to endure a long period of sustained government cutbacks and austerity measures. Thanks to their enduring spirit, a thriving SME sector and the presence of over 1,200 foreign direct investment or multinational firms, Ireland not only survived the recent downturn but has once again begun to flourish. Now, a decade on, the country is fast approaching full employment and has regained its position as the fastest growing economy in the European Union. With a first-class educational system, Ireland continues to produce highly educated, creative and resourceful individuals who are recognised around the world for their adaptability and creativity. This island economy also attracts gifted and resourceful immigrants to its shores, creating a multi-cultural melting pot of talent that has attracted levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) far beyond what might be expected of a country of its size. In fact, Ireland is the second most attractive country globally for FDI – after Singapore – with true global giants and the hottest names in everything from IT, life sciences and finance having chosen the country as their strategic base or European headquarters. Apart from this strong multinational sector, Ireland con­tinues to have a vibrant and export-led indigenous sector. According to the country’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures, there are nearly

 Business Books

Sean Gallagher pictured with Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys and his wife Trish at the launch of his book in the Mansion House, Dublin

249,000 active businesses in Ireland, an astonishing number considering the size of the country. Of these 99.8 per cent are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which together employ almost 970,000 people or 69.1 per cent of all those employed in business in Ireland. These are the backbone of the Irish economy and key to the country’s economic future. A thriving start-up culture supported by an active investment community and an attractive range of government-backed incentives, continues to result in approximately 35,000 people becoming new business owners each year according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Ireland figures.

Every entrepreneur the world over has their own compelling reason for wanting to start their own business and their own unique vision for what it is they want to achieve. For Irish entrepreneurs in particular, it is their unique heritage and history that helps give them the drive, the imagination and the tenacity to follow their dreams. This is an extract from Secrets to Success: Inspiring Stories from Leading Entrepreneurs by Sean Gallagher, reprinted with permission from Mercier Press. It is available in paperback for €14.99 from good bookshops or directly from www.mercierpress.ie.

Irish Role Models In a speech at the launch of his book Secrets To Success, Sean Gallagher spoke passionately about the need to celebrate and support Irish entrepreneurs. “It frustrates me when I travel around the country speaking in schools, to discover that our young peoples’ business heroes are international icons,” he said. “What about all the local business owners in their community or the great Irish entrepreneurs who are building global companies? There is little awareness or recognition of these ‘unsung’ heroes at home. Yet it is these very business owners who are creating jobs for Irish people in areas multinationals never can.”

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Policy  Small Business Strategy

There are eight key considerations for Government when developing a Small Business Strategy:

1

The strategy should be a common vision with whole-of-government buy-in

2

Public awareness and acceptance of the strategy is essential

3

The strategy should support all small business. No business owner should feel alienated or that they are not in the ‘right’ sector on the ‘right’ trajectory.

4

The strategy should provide coherence and consistency. It should ensure that all policies and schemes are aligned and that there are no mismatches between rhetoric and practice.

SEEKING A STRATEGY

5

A business-friendly approach must be instilled in public officials across the apparatus of the State

THE SFA HAS LAUNCHED A NEW CAMPAIGN CALLING FOR FOR A NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS STRATEGY.

6

Key policy areas to be addressed are: tax, the cost of doing business, regulatory burden, suitability of business supports and enhancing spillovers from multinationals to indigenous firms

7

New approach to communicating with small businesses

8

All other decisions affecting small business should be informed by the strategy

At the SFA Annual Conference 2018, the SFA officially launched its campaign for a national Small Business Strategy. Launching the campaign, Sue O’Neill, SFA Chair, stated: “Small firms have a lot to be proud of but, in contrast with the multinational sector, the small business sector is not performing at its optimal level in many areas. This is clear whether we look at the rate of start-ups, success in scaling our businesses, productivity and exporting. “Changing Government policy step-by-step has got the small business sector to where it is today. There are many State supports for small firms but, from an ownermanager’s perspective, they are fragmented, confusing and inconsistent. There are many individual success stories but also many tales of struggling businesses. One thing is certain: the potential of the sector has not been realised. That is why the focus should now be on creating a leap forward for small businesses.” The first two elements of the Small Business Strategy campaign series are now available. One sets out the scale and impact of small business in Ireland, which is enormous. For example, small firms with less than 50 employees:

SFA members and everyone involved in small business are encouraged to support the campaign by raising the need for a Small Business Strategy with their local representatives and spreading the message with the hashtag #smallbizstrategy.

• Account for more than 98 per cent of all businesses in Ireland • Employ half the private sector workforce • Rank third in the EU for innovation • Rank second in the EU for employment growth after five years The second document explains why a Small Business Strategy is needed to harness entrepreneurship to create the next leap forward for the Irish economy. It makes the case that multinational firms in Ireland are thriving, meaning that not only can policymakers turn their focus to small businesses without jeopardising the FDI sector, but that lessons from the FDI success story can be applied to the small business sector. 52 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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GDPR  Policy

GDPR IS NOW A REALITY After months of denial, panic and, finally, acceptance by businesses, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on May 25th 2018. SFA survey data suggests that the flurry of awareness-raising, how-to guides and seminars since the beginning of the year has worked, with levels of awareness and preparation amongst members jumping significantly between February and May. Here is the latest SFA data, with the changes since Q1 2018 flagged.

How aware of GDPR is your business?

How prepared is your business to meet the compliance deadline?

SURVEY

SURVEY

Biggest challenges in applying GDPR n #1 Making an inventory of all data n #2 Understanding what legal basis applies to the data n #3 Gaining and documenting consent

Areas of business with most significant impact n #1 Marketing n #2 Contracts with third parties

n Very aware – 65% (+23) n Some awareness – 23% (-23) n A little awareness – 11% (no change) n What is GDPR? – 1% (no change)

n GDPR ready – 16% (+16) n Some preparations – 52% (+11) n Started preparing – 23% (-20) n No plan – 9% (-7)

n #3 Employee records

BREXIT LOAN SCHEME OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS On March 28th, the Brexit Loan Scheme was launched by Ministers Paschal Donohoe, Heather Humphries and Michael Creed. It provides a low-cost borrowing option for companies impacted by Brexit – something that the SFA has been calling for since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. The Brexit Loan Scheme is a total fund of €300 million. It is open to companies with up to 499 employees and is delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and AIB. Welcoming the launch of the scheme, SFA Director Sven SpollenBehrens stated: “The UK’s vote to leave the EU has already posed considerable challenges to Irish businesses and significant further difficulties may be coming down the tracks. This scheme is an important element of Ireland’s response to Brexit. It will allow small firms to borrow for working capital or investment at low interest rates, ensuring businesses that are viable in the long-term can survive the challenges ahead. I welcome the fact that the borrowing will be unsecured for loans up to €500,000. Close monitoring, however, will be required to ensure the scheme’s impact on small businesses is maximised.”

Features of the Brexit Loan Scheme: n Loans can be used for working capital or to fund innovation, change or adaptation to mitigate the impact of Brexit n Forty per cent of the fund is ring-fenced for food businesses n Loan amount: €25,000-€1,500,000 n Loan term: up to three years n Loans less than €500,000 will be unsecured n Interest rate: 4 per cent or less The first step in applying for the scheme is to complete an eligibility application form from the SBCI. A decision will be made within a few days and you will receive an eligibility clearance letter if deemed eligible for the scheme. This can then be presented to one of the participating banks as part of their credit application process. To share your views More information about the scheme and the Brexit and eligibility criteria can be found on www.sbci.gov.ie.

on these topics or to raise any other policy concerns, contact Linda Barry, SFA Assistant Director, on 01 6051626 or linda.barry@sfa.ie

SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 53

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05/07/2018 10:32


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Affinity scheme

Events and networking opportunities

HR and employment law advice

So, why should you join the SFA?

Business advice and support services

Access to Government

Learn more about us at www.sfa.ie/joinusnow Otherwise email info@sfa.ie or telephone (01) 605 1664 www.linkedin.com/company/small-firms-association

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15/02/2018 11:17

07/03/2018 14:50

05/07/2018 09:33


Fun and Wellness  HR

1

Wellness Days

2

Company Events

3

Sunny Fridays

4

Stock Up

5

Wellness Programmes

Depending on the size and structure of your business, you could host a programme of wellness activities for part of or the entire day. This could be something as simple as a lunchtime walk or run, bringing in a local massage therapist who provides on-site massage therapy or a nutritionist to talk about healthy eating options. Mental wellbeing is an increasingly important issue and organisations such as Aware and Mental Health Ireland provide a number of wellness programmes that are specifically tailored for the workplace. These are an invaluable way of helping staff within the business to understand and become aware of the impact and effects of mental health issues.

Working

Wellness HELEN QUINN, SFA EXECUTIVE, OFFERS FIVE WAYS TO BRING FUN AND WELLNESS INTO THE WORKPLACE ON A TIGHT BUDGET.

WITH

Helen Quinn, SFA Executive

One of the key challenges facing small businesses at present is attracting and retaining employees in a highly competitive labour market. The initial response by many businesses tends to be increasing salary levels, however, this may not be a viable option for a small business running on a tight margin. The good news is that there are other ways that you can attract or retain employees. According to a 2015 survey by jobs site Glassdoor, 80 per cent of employees stated they would choose additional benefits over a pay rise. The obvious benefits include flexible working options or an employee rewards programme, but businesses can also consider other options such as organising activities that bring fun and wellness into the workplace. Here are five ways that your business can do just that without the need for a massive budget.

Many businesses already host some form of social outing for their employees such as a Christmas night out or a summer barbecue. However, there are several other options you can consider. For example, there are a number of businesses that can arrange a teambuilding event for your employees, like the ones referenced in our feature on page 38. If you wish to arrange something yourself, it could be as simple as a meal out, an evening of bowling, a darts competition or a round of crazy golf.

Depending on business needs and staff availability, you could allow your employees to finish early on a Friday during the quieter summer months or on those sunny Friday afternoons that we’re witnessing at present.

If your business has a canteen or staff area, a cheap and easy way to help staff unwind is to have a collection of books, board games or crosswords. They can be a great way for employees to either unwind or bring out their competitive spirit.

The best way to create a fun and wellness programme is to get input from your employees. This could be as simple as asking someone to volunteer to take charge of staff events, conducting an employee survey or setting up a suggestions box, right through to creating a staff-led committee to develop and organise events and wellbeing activities. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 55

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05/07/2018 10:33


Events  SFA Annual Conference 2018

Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director, SFA, Sue O’Neill, Chair, SFA, Dublin footballer Kevin McManamon and Eddie Cullen, Managing Director of Commercial Banking, Ulster Bank

TIME TO TRANSFORM THIS YEAR’S SFA ANNUAL CONFERENCE FOCUSED ON COMPETITIVENESS, DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND GDPR.

‘Time to transform’ was the theme of the SFA Annual Conference 2018, in partnership with Ulster Bank and sponsored by One4all. The event, which took place on May 24th, brought 250 entrepreneurs, owner-managers, policymakers and media together in the UCD Science Centre. Keynote addresses and panel discussions focused on competitiveness, digital transformation and GDPR. With so much at stake at the current juncture, the conference showed that it is time to transform – for businesses and for Ireland. The event was moderated by TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick. The opening session explored Ireland’s competitiveness challenges, which represent an urgent concern for businesses around the country. SFA Chair Sue O’Neill opened the session with a call for a new national Small Business Strategy from Government. Micheál Martin TD, leader of Fianna Fáil, outlined what he sees as the biggest economic challenges for the country and detailed specific areas of action to strengthen smaller firms; the cost of doing business, staffing, diversification, Brexit and infrastructure, especially broadband. Next to take the floor was Professor Peter Clinch, Chair of the National Competitiveness Council. He stated that “competitiveness is part of the DNA of sustainable jobs” and highlighted five key action areas to enhance Ireland’s competitiveness: a stable fiscal position; a focus on delivery of capital investment projects; a more diverse export base; an adequately resourced higher education system; and a business-friendly regulatory system.

56 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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SFA Annual Conference 2018  Events

Sue O’Neill, Chair, SFA, Micheál Martin TD, Fianna Fáil Leader and Eddie Cullen, Managing Director of Commercial Banking, Ulster Bank

Conference moderator Colette Fitzpatrick

Conference delegates

The core message from Ian Kehoe, editor of the Sunday Business Post, was that Ireland can’t run forever on a single good idea; our economy can’t depend on FDI to fuel continued economic growth. Eddie Cullen, Managing Director of Commercial Banking with Ulster Bank, was the final speaker in the competitiveness session. He shared his insights into the challenges facing the SMEs that Ulster Bank interacts with. He referenced weak demand for credit and encouraged businesses to consider the right mix of finance to drive their business ambitions. The second session gave an insight into the future of digital technology. Digital visionary Colin Chapman focused on how digital technologies are changing customer and employee engagement, as well as processes and products. He emphasised the importance of having a digital strategy and ensuring that it is understood across your organisation. Aidan Healy, Head of Learning and Development with UnPlug, shared his belief that people should take control of their technology instead of technology controlling them. He reviewed a number of workplace tech habits and suggested strategies and techniques to increase productivity and facilitate higher quality downtime.

Keith Mahon, founder of TheTaste.ie, joined Colin and Aidan for a panel discussion. He explained how the use of technology can transform the user experience and drive sales. His emphasis was on providing relevant, value-added content to the user before pushing for a sale. John Keyes, Assistant Data Protection Commissioner, kicked off the GDPR session with his presentation, ‘A view from the regulator on the eve of GDPR’. He shared advice on how businesses can reduce their risk of receiving an administrative sanction, including effectively dealing with data access requests, evaluating risks and transparent communication. In the panel discussion that followed, Fiona O’Carroll of Gifts Direct, Jock Jordan of One4all and John Carney of Butler Technologies shared details of their GDPR journeys with the audience. Jock Jordan talked about how One4all has managed its consent lists and shared how it now has a focused contact list of engaged customers. John Carney advised that Butler Technologies focused strongly on staff awareness so that GDPR is implemented across the entire business. Fiona O’Carroll talked about the strong focus in Gifts Direct on staff understanding the risks of data breaches. The closing speech of the day was from Dublin footballer Kevin McManamon who shared lessons on transforming from prey to predator on the pitch. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 57

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Events  SFA Annual Conference 2018

LENDING TO AMBITION FOLLOWING THIS YEAR’S SFA ANNUAL CONFERENCE, EDDIE CULLEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF COMMERCIAL BANKING, ULSTER BANK, REFLECTS ON SOME OF THE KEY CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FACING SMALL BUSINESSES IN IRELAND. Ulster Bank was delighted to continue its association with the Small Firms Association at this year’s SFA Annual Conference, bringing focus to a sector of critical importance to the Eddie Cullen, economy as a whole. The economic growth and employment Managing Director of Commercial Banking, supported by the sector is reflected in our aim to lend more Ulster Bank than €1 billion to SMEs in 2018. At Ulster Bank we try to spend as much time as we can engaging with our customers and try to understand their challenges. We have found staffing and Brexit to be principal amongst these and SFA surveys have found lower levels of business confidence in the last six months than previous periods. The uncertainties of Brexit remain, and likely will do for some time. We encourage our customers to examine how they can diversify and to plan for a “hard Brexit”, whatever the outcome. The overarching ambition to remain competitive is widespread amongst our customers and we are constantly asking ourselves how we, as a bank, can help with this ambition. Central Bank of Ireland reports show that while outright new lending to SMEs increased in 2017, the overall level of debt in the economy continued to reduce. The main reason cited by the vast majority of SMEs that had not applied for finance was that they did not need it. A company’s financial structure and strength is crucial, and in this time of lower credit demand, SMEs should ensure that they analyse what is best for the long-term health of their business, and that they do not starve the company of the debt or equity investment needed. More companies seem to be using existing cash resources for investment, and one danger of this is that they are then starved of the cash necessary to turn that investment into the growth needed to match their ambitions. To help our customer in achieving this finance structure, we provide clarity on the information we need and the type of investment that we can support, just like our customers would in their own business. In addition, we have spent considerable time and resources investing in our people to ensure that they have the right expertise and sector knowledge to help our customers through what can be a daunting process. My message when approaching a bank or a lender is: be prepared, know your investment case and make sure you receive all the relevant information about the various types of finance available. Any of our lending teams will be happy to help any small firms with this journey. Finally, I urge all companies and entrepreneurs to shop around when assessing their finance options. Statistics indicate that less than 10 per cent of small companies approach a different bank when applying for finance. Communication, good structures and assessing all of your options are three things that will help any small firm remain competitive in today’s challenging economy.

“WE ENCOURAGE OUR CUSTOMERS TO EXAMINE HOW THEY CAN DIVERSIFY AND TO PLAN FOR A “HARD BREXIT”, WHATEVER THE OUTCOME.”

58 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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Partner Profile

AN AFFINITY FOR SMALL BUSINESS CARMAN DEVLIN, DIRECTOR OF O’LEARY INSURANCES LTD, TELLS BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT HER GROUP’S PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SFA, WHICH OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS HAS DEVELOPED COST-EFFECTIVE INSURANCE SOLUTIONS FOR SFA MEMBERS. When the country was bearing the brunt of two extreme weather events in late 2017 and early 2018, with storms Ophelia and Emma, the vast majority of small firms in Ireland were continuing to face their own perfect storm with regards to the annual procurement of insurance. Rising insurance costs remain a ‘top three’ issue for many small to medium sized businesses in Ireland, with the majority of business owners incurring significant rate increases and premium hikes to secure the cover required to adequately protect their business interests. To compound matters, business owners now face new and emerging threats and risks, such as cyber and data loss, in addition to the traditional core risks of loss to property and claims by employees, visitors to their site, suppliers and clients. A key concern for all insurers operating in Ireland remains the generous awards granted through the litigation process. Whilst there have been examples of business owners and their respective insurers securing success in the courts in 2018, it is imperative that small firms remain vigilant and do their utmost to manage the day-to-day risks faced by their business. The Small Firms Association (SFA) has partnered with the O’Leary Insurance Group to develop innovative and costeffective insurance solutions for SFA members for over 20 years. Following a comprehensive review with SFA director Sven Spollen-Behrens and his team, we are delighted to announce a relaunch of the SFA Affinity insurance offering, with a new range of insurance products that will be available exclusively to SFA members. SFA Affinity is supported by a panel of market leading insurers such as AIG Insurance, Zurich Insurance, Hiscox

Insurance and Aviva Insurance. The scheme will assist business owners across multiple classes of insurance, such as property and business interruption, employers, public and products liability, professional indemnity, directors and officers liability, employment practice liability, crime and cyber liability insurance. The O’Leary Insurance Group has agreed bespoke policy covers to include benefits that will be unique to SFA members. In addition, the quotations issued by the panel of insurers under the scheme arrangement will include an SFA member discount. The policy cover enhancements and premium discounts will be available exclusively through the O’Leary Insurance Group. The SFA Affinity Scheme has been designed to cater for all business sectors so whether you are involved in office and consultancy, retail, manufacturing or ICT, we will have a competitive insurance

solution to meet your requirements. We would recommend that all Small Firms Association members visit the SFA Affinity insurance offering section of the SFA website to review the content and literature on the various policies available through the scheme. The O’Leary Insurance Group is one of Ireland’s largest independently owned insurance brokerage, employing over 230 people across nine office locations nationwide. The company has been trading for in excess of 50 years and the O’Leary Insurances (Dublin) Ltd. office has provided insurance and risk management support to SFA members for over 20 years. For further information or if you would like to secure a quotation through the SFA Affinity insurance offering, please contact Carman Devlin, Director, O’Leary Insurances (Dublin) Ltd. on 01 660 8211 or email cdevlin@olid.ie.

SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 59

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Professional Tax Training

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PAYE Modernisation

 Partner Feature

PAYROLL

GETS MODERN NEW RULES GOVERNING THE PAYE SYSTEM ARE SET TO COME INTO PLAY IN JANUARY 2019. BETTER BUSINESS FINDS OUT MORE ABOUT HOW EMPLOYERS CAN PREPARE. Two years after it was first flagged by then-Finance Minister Michael Noonan, the PAYE modernisation programme is to be implemented in 2019. It will be the most significant reform to the PAYE system since its introduction in 1960, and will result in employers being required to report pay, tax and other deductions – as well as details of employees leaving the organisation – at the same time as they run their payroll. The programme will see the elimination of the well-known forms P30, P45, P46, P35 and P60, essentially digitising the processes of taxation. This will naturally lead to an overhaul of existing practices, and employers are advised to take note and begin preparations for the changes. Sinead Sweeney, the Change and Communications Manager for the PAYE Modernisation Project at the Revenue Office, highlights a number of points that will help employers as they make the transition.

Firstly, she advises employers to consult with their payroll software provider to find out when their software will be updated with the changes required for PAYE modernisation. Next, she encourages them to check that they have the correct Personal Public Service (PPS) number for all employees, that they have registered their employees with Revenue and that they have an up-todate tax credit certificate for all staff. Employers are also advised to complete the P45 process for any employees who have ceased working for them and to ensure that adequate controls are in place so that employee benefits and notional pay are being accurately calculated during the year. The modernisation of the PAYE system will ensure that employers make the correct tax deduction when their staff members are being paid.

While compliance is crucial, Revenue is cognisant that the new system will bring about challenges for some employers. “Revenue is conscious of the very small minority of employers who will not be in a position to use online services,” says Sweeney. “These would typically include situations where internet access is insufficient or where the employer is elderly or suffers from a disability. Such employers can apply to be excluded from the obligation to submit PAYE returns online and Revenue will make specific arrangements to facilitate simplified manual reporting using customised stationery.” Regardless of their circumstances, employers will need to be prepared for the changes, as there are a number of potential pitfalls for those that are non-compliant, including statutory interest and penalties. For now, Revenue is directly engaged with a wide range of bodies including payroll professionals, payroll software providers, tax practitioners, accountancy representatives, business representatives and advocacy groups. “In April 2018, Revenue wrote to over 200,000 registered employers to ensure awareness of the changes and to provide an adequate lead-in time to make all necessary preparations,” says Sweeney. “An active advertising campaign will be commencing in September in conjunction with Revenue [and there will be] Revenuehosted information seminars, where employers have been invited to register their interest to attend.”

FOR EMPLOYERS STILL CONCERNED ABOUT COMPLIANCE, A NUMBER OF COMPANIES ARE NOW OFFERING SERVICES THAT WILL HELP YOU PREPARE, SOME OF WHICH WE PROFILE IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES. FURTHER INFORMATION IS ALSO AVAILABLE AT REVENUE.IE.

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PAYE Modernisation 2019 Let Mazars take care of real time reporting The implementation of PAYE Modernisation and Real Time Reporting will result in changes to the current operation of payroll processing. The scheme comes into effect from 1 January 2019. As one of the leading payroll firms in Ireland, Mazars has the resources and experience to ensure your organisation is ready for the challenge ahead.

Mazars can help with PAYE Modernisation If you would like more information please contact: MairĂŠad Divilly Dublin Outsourcing Partner T: +353 (0)1 4494426 E: mdivilly@mazars.ie

www.mazars.ie

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Richard Maguire Limerick Outsourcing Partner T: +353 (0)61 319955 E: rmaguire@mazars.ie

Austin Sammon Galway Outsourcing Partner T: +353 (0)91 570167 E: asammon@mazars.ie

Dublin . Limerick . Galway

19/06/2018 10:25:35 28/06/2018 09:42 20/06/2018 12:43


PAYE Modernisation

 Partner Profile

KEEPING WITH THE TIMES PAYE MODERNISATION MARKS THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE PAYE SYSTEM SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION IN 1960, WRITES MAIRÉAD DIVILLY, PARTNER – OUTSOURCING , PAYROLL AND COMPLIANCE AT MAZARS. The world has changed significantly since the introduction of the PAYE system – historically, it was common for people to have a job for life, and payroll was a highly manual process. In today’s modern era, changes in employment and multiple employments are the norm. Advances in technology have allowed for huge improvements in the amount and the speed of information available. The PAYE system, as it stands, is at odds with this new way of working. From January 1st 2019, employers will be required to calculate and report their employees’ tax deductions in realtime, dramatically changing the flow of information to and from Revenue. This will enable Revenue to ensure that employees receive all the allowances they are entitled to and that they pay the right amount of income tax, PRSI, USC and LPT at the right time. It will also ensure that Revenue will have the

Mairéad Divilly, Partner – Outsourcing, Payroll and Compliance at Mazars

most up-to-date pay and tax deduction information to use for compliance and risk analysis which will allow for ‘in year’ interventions. Employees will have online access to payroll information submitted to Revenue by their employer for each pay period, which allows for greater transparency. Within PAYE Anytime, the Jobs and Pension Services section will allow employees to allocate their tax credits between various employments, enabling them to maximise the use of their entitlements. PAYE modernisation will see the P2C being replaced by a Revenue payroll notification, and the requirement for P30s, P45s, P46s, P60s and end-of-year returns will be removed and replaced by a Revenue Payroll Submission, which must be returned to Revenue each time a payroll is completed. The payroll submission will contain all relevant data relating to each employee for that pay period, including start and leave dates, payments and taxes. Revenue will produce a monthly statement showing the total tax due, based on all submissions in the month. Employers need to be aware of their responsibilities and should now review their business processes to ensure they meet the new requirements. Many employers currently place too much focus on end-of-year reporting, with a “tidy up exercise” completed before processing the year-end return. Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) and expat employees need to be given particular attention, as under the new reporting requirements, these practices will be highly visible to Revenue, and noncompliance will not be acceptable. Fines and penalties will apply to employers who fail to operate PAYE

correctly, and employers may also be liable to pay taxes which should have been withheld on a grossed-up basis. How can Mazars assist? Mazars provides a first-class bureau service run by a team of fully IPASS-trained payroll professionals, using the latest software and taking a proactive view of client needs. We provide flexible cost-effective solutions from our Irish offices for both Irish and international payroll, with the client having one point-ofcontact and a one-stop-shop for all their payroll requirements across the world. This ensures greater compliance for businesses and enables client staff to concentrate on the core business activities of their organisations. Continuity of service is a key aspect of our payroll outsourcing offering, something which will become critical to organisations, given the more frequent deadlines for statutory returns under the new PAYE regime. Mazars also advises in relation to BIK, share schemes, redundancy, termination payments and payroll tax audits, as well as providing audit of clients' payroll processes. For more info visit www.mazars.ie.

About Mazars Mazars Ireland is a professional services firm specialising in audit and assurance, payroll outsourcing, accounting and compliance, consultancy, corporate finance and tax. It is based in Dublin, Galway and Limerick, and thrives to provide technical excellence and quality of service to its clientele.

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w. ro bi ll F gr r ed e bo e T ok ri .c al om

w

Pa y w

PAYE Modernisation is your business ready? Here at Big Red Book we are!!

Whether its 1 or 100 employees from Jan 1st 2019 you will need to calculate and report employees deductions to Revenue as they are being paid. Phone: 01 204 8300 Email: info@bigredbook.com Website: www.bigredbook.com Rathdown Hall, Upper Glenageary Road, Glenageary, Co. Dublin, A96 VY20

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Purchase Big Red Book Payroll 2019 this month and get 2018 free of charge. Big Red Book an Irish Business looking after Ireland’s small business community for over 25 years.

05/07/2018 03/07/2018 09:01 14:06


PAYE Modernisation

 Partner Profile

GETTING READY FOR PAYE MODERNISATION WITH AN UPDATE TO THE PAYE SYSTEM SET TO COME IN NEXT JANUARY, BIG RED BOOK IS RUNNING SEMINARS AND WEBINARS ON THE TOPIC, WRITES PRODUCT MANAGER PARAIC NOLAN. In his budget speech in October 2016, the then Minister for Finance Michael Noonan announced the ‘PAYE Modernisation’ project planned for implementation in January 2019. A subsequent consultation paper issued by the Revenue Commissioners noted that the existing PAYE system had been introduced in 1960, at a time when a job was typically for life and payroll was a manual process. Move on to today and the nature of employment has significantly changed, with commonplace patterns such as people moving jobs regularly, agency work, and multiple concurrent jobs. Revenue felt that the time had come to modernise the PAYE system, and in doing so, take advantage of modern information and communications technologies to provide a real-time tax reporting regime. The new system will see employers submitting payroll data in real-time as employees are paid. This represents a fundamental shift from the existing system where detailed payroll data in the form of a P35 (end of year return) is submitted annually. Every aspect of how an employer fulfils their PAYE reporting obligations will change to a real time electronic submission of the data. That covers everything from commencing employment, statutory deductions (PAYE/PRSI/USC), as well as the cessation of employment. Gone will be well-known forms P45, P46, P30, P60 and P35. All employers should review their payroll procedures and make sure that they are ready in advance of the go-live date for PAYE modernisation in January next year. At Big Red Book, we are part of the industry group Payroll Software Developers Association (PSDA), which has been engaged in

an intensive process with Revenue since October 2016 to work through the implementation details required. The implementation of a streamlined electronic submission will be enabled by payroll software that will communicate with Revenue using their new system. Employers should make sure that their payroll software is updated to deal with the new system. In addition, they should also make sure that their payroll procedures capture all the required information in a timely manner so that they can fulfil their new obligations. Recent feedback from accountants and bookkeepers have raised some concerns about the additional compliance that PAYE modernisation places on smaller employers. Such employers typically present payroll records to their accountant or bookkeeper on an annual basis for submission of the P35. A realtime system places both a cost burden on these smaller employers, as well as a logistical issue for how they will communicate payroll information on a routine basis throughout the year. It is, as yet, unclear how this will be resolved, but it would appear that there are no derogations Paraic Nolan, planned by Product Manager, Revenue Big Red Book for smaller employers. Revenue are planning a series of seminars in September next and my advice is to book into one and find out more about this upcoming change. Big

Red Book will also be running our own seminars and webinars on this topic over the coming months. Keep an eye out on our website for further details. For more information, please log on to www.bigredbook.com.

“ALL EMPLOYERS SHOULD REVIEW THEIR PAYROLL PROCEDURES AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE READY IN ADVANCE OF THE GO-LIVE DATE FOR PAYE MODERNISATION IN JANUARY NEXT YEAR.”

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Conferencing and Events

 Partner Feature

PLANNING THE PERFECT THE VERY SUCCESS OF A CONFERENCE OR EVENT HINGES UPON ITS ORGANISER’S CHOICE OF VENUE AND THE SERVICE PROVIDERS IT ELECTS TO WORK WITH. There are a whole host of variables to be taken into consideration when hosting a conference or event, but the choice of venue is undoubtedly among the most important. A venue’s location, the costs involved, its onsite facilities, its size – these are all important things to mull over. Yet it does not stop here, as even when the location is chosen, it is vital that organisers consider a number of factors to ensure attendees leave happy. Check out some of our top tips in the adjoining panel. In Ireland, we are blessed with a multitude of venues and services which allow for the smooth and effective running of conferences and events. Over the next few pages, Better Business takes a look at some of these companies and venues and what they have to offer. Marina Teslea, Sales and Marketing Co-Ordinator at the Red Cow Moran Hotel, tells us about the recent investment made at her hotel. We profile the Slieve Russell Hotel Golf and Country Club in Co Cavan, which is set across 300 acres of gardens, lakes and woodland. And we look at the services provided by privately owned coach company Eirebus, which has operations spread across its fleet of 65 coaches. Allow these companies to inspire you for your next event!

MAKE IT MEMORABLE

EVENT Four tips and tricks to help make your next event a memorable one:

1

Welcome

2

Technology

3

Keynote Speaker

4

Marketing

Welcomes always leave lasting impressions, so be sure that all of your delegates are taken care of from the moment they arrive. Have a reliable member of staff on the help desk, and organise a space where coats, bags and luggage can be left in safe hands.

Most venues will have all necessary equipment and technology on hand, from high-speed WiFi to various AV requirements. Be sure to double check this with your venue as soon as possible – if something you need is missing from their list, you don’t want to discover this a day or two before your event begins.

The right keynote speaker can set the tone for your event and, if they’re well known, could increase your attendance figures. In Ireland, Personally Speaking Ltd speakers’ bureau is a good place to start, with recognisable names including Bob Geldof, Matt Cooper and David McWilliams.

There’s no point in holding an event if you can’t get the word out. Create an event website and make use of social media pages, compile blog posts, and make sure your audience is as wide as possible. Don’t forget to keep in touch with the media, which can be useful in promoting your event.

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05/07/2018 10:35


COME AND SEE THE transformed Red Cow Moran Hotel Still the same excellent location & 4 star service…we just got bigger & better!

UNBEATABLE FACILITIES • • • • • •

275 Executive Style Guestrooms 21 Spaces – capacity for up to 800 Theatre 2 Think Tank Rooms New Courtyard Garden Screen Sharing Technology Floor to Ceiling White Board

• • • • • •

Tom’s Table Restaurant State of the art Fitness Suite High Speed Broadband LCD Screens (largest is 97 inches wide) Ample car parking Direct link to city centre – Red Luas line

T: 01 4593650 | E: info@moranhotels.com | Red Cow Moran Hotel, Naas Road, Dublin 22 YX80 www.redcowmoranhotel.com

RED COW MORAN HOTEL

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28/06/2018 22/06/2018 09:43 15:26


Conferencing and Events

 Partner Profile

A NEW CHAPTER THE RED COW MORAN HOTEL HAS UNDERGONE SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN RECENT YEARS, FURTHER ENHANCING ONE OF IRELAND’S TOP EVENT VENUES, WRITES THE HOTEL’S SALES AND MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR, MARINA TESLEA. Built from the ground up over 20 years ago by renowned hotelier and businessman Tom Moran, the Red Cow Moran Hotel has been run by the Moran family ever since. What makes the Red Cow Moran Hotel stand out from the crowd is its customer care. As a family-owned and operated business with over 40 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, the management team takes great personal pride in delivering a consistently high standard of service to its guests. The Red Cow Moran Hotel is recognised as a national and international landmark. Situated at the Red Cow intersection, the gateway to Ireland’s provinces, it is one of Dublin’s most accessible and conveniently located four-star hotels, making it the ideal base for business and leisure. Recently, the Red Cow Moran Hotel started a new chapter in its illustrious career with a significant investment and a sophisticated new look, completing a seven-storey extension and upgrade of its product and services. The four-star hotel now boasts 275 executive style bedrooms, a choice of bars and restaurants including a brand new Link Lounge with coffee dock and wine bar, Tom’s Table Restaurant, a new fitness suite, courtyard garden and 21 unique event spaces. The hotel is superbly equipped to cater for a range of meetings and events, from smaller intimate brainstorms to larger events, gala dinners and conferences. The facilities include two dedicated executive floors and a series of exceptionally comfortable meeting rooms with two innovative Think Tank spaces. One of which, the Ayrshire Suite, has a marvellous ping-pong table as a centrepiece, surrounded by bespoke benches. The second, the Jersey Suite,

has a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard with tiered upholstered seating and casual floor cushions – both novel and ingenious settings in which to get the creative juices flowing. The 14 new event spaces – each named after a different breed of cattle, such as Charolais, Angus, Dexter and Friesian – have high speed wireless internet access, screen-sharing technology, large LCD screens of up to 97 inches, are fully air-conditioned with natural daylight and have access to the hotel’s courtyard garden. Each meeting room has a single playful touch with just one cowhide chair, added in the same spirit of fun as the look-out cow facing in the opposite direction to the rest of the herd as part of the cow display behind reception. The Red Cow Moran Hotel can cater for a wide array of meetings and events, including board meetings,

training sessions, seminars, workshops, conventions, conferences, exhibitions and gala banquets. With the ability to facilitate up to 800 delegates in one space and, combined with 275 bedrooms, choice of areas for breakouts and servicing refreshments and ample on-site car parking, the venue is one of Dublin’s ideal meeting and event hotels, perfectly located for travelling delegates. Here at the Red Cow Moran Hotel we have a fantastic events team. For further information, visit www.redcowmoranhotel.com and for booking enquiries contact Suzanne Mulvey directly on smulvey@moranhotels.com. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 69

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05/07/2018 09:13


10% EXCLUSIVE

DISCOUNT REF: CONF2018

Conference, meeting & exhibition space

Food & beverage management

Accommodation services

AV equipment, sound & lighting

Conference packs

CONFERENCE SERVICES INCLUDE All transport services

Networking events

Speaker liaison

Dinner & reception planning

Entertainment programs

Telephone: +353 (0)1 8242626 • Email: info@eirebus.ie • Website: www.eirebus.ie FC advert template.indd 1 245753_1C_EireBus_JM_Better Business_V9.indd 1

06/07/2018 12:17 10:53


Conferencing and Events

 Partner Profile

DESTINATION SATISFACTION LOOKING FOR CORPORATE COACH HIRE OR DESTINATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER THAN EIREBUS. Since 1971, Eirebus has established itself as Ireland’s number one multiaward winning coach operator. A fleet of 65 executive coaches, a destination management company (DMC) as well as scheduled services including Swords Express have seen Eirebus grow into Ireland’s most successful privately owned coach hire company. In business, time management is of key importance, particularly when it comes to meetings and events. If you have a large number of delegates or staff members travelling to a conference or meeting it’s imperative to secure reliable transport – this is what you get when you travel with Eirebus, whose portfolio of clients includes both local and internationally recognised companies. Eirebus offers a fleet of luxury coaches ranging in size from 16 to 53 seats. All are equipped with modern conveniences for passengers including complimentary WiFi, USB ports, WC, DVD, AC, PA system, tables and reclining seats. Quality is assured, and Eirebus invests annually in new, top of the range coaches. In 2018, two brand new executive midi coaches were purchased along with five large Mercedes coaches. All coaches are owned, operated and serviced at the Eirebus depot based in Dublin. Eirebus is a long-standing member of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC), the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA), Dublin Convention Bureau (DCB), Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and is proud to be an ISO9001:2008 quality approved company. The experience the company has gained over the course of nearly five decades has resulted in a number of prestigious awards including the Passenger Transport Company of the Year accolade at the Irish Logistics and Transport Awards in 2013, 2014, 2015 and

again in 2017 for its Swords Express operation, highlighting the quality of service on offer at Eirebus.

Destination Management

Having a professional and reliable destination management company (DMC) partner you can trust is key to delivering a successful conference or event. Experts in conference and incentive travel in Ireland, Eirebus DMC provides corporate, incentive, leisure and educational travel programmes across the country. Eirebus DMC provides all the expertise, creativity and buying power that you need to ensure your event exceeds expectations. With 47 years’ experience in creating unique events that come with a ‘wow’ factor, Eirebus DMC can cater for anything from a 10-person seminar to a 1,000+ delegate

conference. Key differentiators include long-standing strong relationships with major suppliers to ensure a seamless, time-saving process, competitive rates and a team that collectively boasts 68 years' expert industry experience. In addition, as Eirebus owns and operates its own fleet of luxury coaches, competitive transport rates are passed on to conference and incentive groups that travel with Eirebus DMC, and customers have access to both destination management and executive coach hire, all under the one roof. Eirebus works with thousands of corporate and leisure clients across Ireland, the UK and internationally, and is committed to comfort, safety and exceptional service. For more details visit www.eirebus.ie. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 71

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A Fresh Perspective... Conference, Events & Meetings °

State-of-the-art Conference Centre holding 1,000 delegates

°

Choice of 13 meeting rooms

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222 Bedrooms

°

Championship Golf Course

°

Leisure Centre

°

Ciuin Spa & Wellness Centre

T: +353 (0) 49 9526444 E: enquiries@slieverussell.ie W: www.slieverussell.ie Slieve Russell Hotel Golf & Country Club. Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, H14 FE03, Ireland

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Conferencing and Events

 Partner Profile

LUXURY HOSTS WITH ITS BEAUTIFUL GROUNDS AND QUALITY AMENITIES, CAVAN’S SLIEVE RUSSELL HOTEL IS AN IDEAL VENUE TO HOST A CONFERENCE. The Slieve Russell Hotel Golf and Country Club is one of the most popular conference destinations in the country. Set in 300 acres of stunning gardens, lakes and woodlands – and with the beautiful backdrop of the Slieve Rushen mountain – this complete resort is less than two hours from Dublin and Belfast. The four-star hotel includes 222 luxurious bedrooms, including 20 suites and two presidential suites, a world-class spa, 18 and ninehole golf courses, and a selection of exquisite dining options. The hotel has 13 purpose-built conference and banqueting suites,

catering for everything from two to 1,000 delegates. The state-of-the-art conference centre, the Cranaghan Suite, is fully-equipped with up-to-date audiovisual and sound equipment. It has a separate entrance, a spacious reception area and three adjoining meeting rooms. There are 800 car parking spaces and a helipad on-site also. The 18-hole championship golf course is ranked amongst the top parkland courses in the country and with a nine-hole par three academy course, adventure golf, driving range, pro shop and a golf professional on-site for lessons and clinics, there is something for all

levels of golfing abilities. Ciúin Spa offers the latest in beauty and spa therapies, using Elemis and Spiezia product ranges. The spa even comes with an exclusive hydrotherapy suite, including herb sauna, salt grotto and health showers. The Kells Bar is the perfect place to relax, with soft seating, an open fire, a fine selection of drinks, beers and cocktails, and wonderful facilities to allow guests to enjoy live entertainment. There is a dining option for every taste, from gourmet bar food served in the Kells Bar or Clubhouse Bar, to a delectable dinner in the Setanta or Conall Cearnach Restaurant. You can be sure that an experience to delight your palate awaits you, with food lovingly prepared by award-winning chef Peter Denny and his team. You can then work it all off in the fully equipped gym or 20m pool, or you might just chill out in the jacuzzi, steam room or sauna. Other facilities include outdoor tennis, spinning, exercise classes and smoothie bar. With ODD Ireland’s largest outdoor activity game park only minutes away from the hotel, offering a selection of team-building activities like laser, paintballing, hovercrafting, race buggies and more. Other activities available in the area include fishing, canoeing and kayaking, water sports, hiking, bike hire and caves, as well as the chance to visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Slieve Russell Hotel is the perfect venue to host your conference, offering everything you need all in one complete resort. For more visit www.slieverussell.ie or call 049 952 6444. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 73

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05/07/2018 09:14


Partner Profile

SUPPORTING CREDIT-SEEKERS CATHERINE COLLINS, DEPUTY CREDIT REVIEWER AT THE CREDIT REVIEW OFFICE, TALKS TO BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT THE ROLE OF HER OFFICE. Can you tell us about the Credit Review Office?

The Credit Review Office has a simple mission – to assist SMEs and farms which are viable or potentially viable to get access to the bank finance they need for recovery and growth. The Office operates like an ombudsman, reviewing credit/loan refusals by the banks and ensuring an independent appeals process. Businesses that have been refused credit, or have had existing facilities such as overdrafts reduced or withdrawn, can apply for an independent review of their credit application.

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What is involved in a review by the Credit Review Office?

The review will look at the track record of the business and its future potential, plans and projections, its management and markets, its existing debt, and the reason for the new credit application. It forms an opinion as to whether the business is viable, and will make enough cash to pay back the loan. Each case is assigned to a credit reviewer, who helps take the borrower through the process. The reviewers are all very experienced financial professionals who work to find a bankable solution for SMEs.

Who can apply?

The service is for SMEs, including sole traders and farm enterprises that have had new requests for credit refused, or existing credit facilities reduced or withdrawn. Banks participating in the review process are AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank. The review process covers all applications for new loans or restructured credit facilities from €1,000 up to €3 million. There is a small fee payable of between €100 and €250. For more details, visit www.creditreview.ie.

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05/07/2018 16:51


Partner Profile

SUPPORT IN UNCERTAIN TIMES WITH BREXIT LOOMING ON THE HORIZON, THERE ARE UNCERTAIN TIMES AHEAD ON THE ISLAND OF IRELAND, BUT INTERTRADEIRELAND IS THERE TO OFFER SUPPORT. InterTradeIreland’s quarterly Business Monitor survey is the largest and most comprehensive business survey in Ireland. The monitor covers business owners' views from both the north and south of the island, based upon interviews conducted with more than 750 SMEs. Through its latest survey, InterTradeIreland has been analysing the response from the business community across the island to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. One of the most alarming pieces of information to emerge is that, when asked about making plans to deal with the post-Brexit world, 98 per cent claimed that they had no such plans in place. This lack of planning is thought to be driven by two key issues – the first relating to businesses' understandable focus on the present, and the second to do with a lack of information available. Even before considering the implications of Brexit, there exists already an intensely competitive market for small businesses across the island of Ireland. This is reflected in the respondents to InterTradeIreland’s All-Island Business Monitor, who are already facing the challenges of rising costs of energy and overheads, new competition and difficulties recruiting appropriate skills, as well as many others. Finding the time and resources to plan for potentially significant structural changes is a perennial problem. The second issue facing businesses is the degree of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, due to a perceived deficit in reliable information. This complicates and constrains the scenario-building process for companies looking ahead. InterTradeIreland’s message is simple – while it recognises the pressures facing small business owners dealing with the here and now, there is, nevertheless, a window of opportunity that must be grasped to prepare for the challenges and indeed the opportunities that will be

Sweetspot Sourcing Directors/Owners Fiona Craul and Susan Dempsey

presented by a new cross-border trading relationship. InterTradeIreland currently runs a Brexit Advisory Service, which can be used by businesses to navigate the uncertain times that Brexit has brought about. The agency also has funding up to €5,000 available through its sales and marketing programmes, Elevate and Trade Accelerator Vouchers, which are specifically aimed at micro businesses across a range of sectors. This funding can offer businesses sales and marketing consultancy support to identify and capitalise on cross-border sales opportunities. One company that benefitted from support is Sweetspot Sourcing from Naas, a product sourcing, manufacturing, promotional products and consultancy firm founded by Sue Dempsey and Fiona Craul. “Our experience in the market over the past two years in Northern Ireland has been extremely positive,” says Craul.

“We started with Elevate, and this allowed us to engage with potential clients in Northern Ireland. Our consultant was invaluable in the support and mentorship she offered, and as a direct result we have a number of Northern Irish clients now and a strong pipeline of business. InterTradeIreland has also supported during the uncertainty of Brexit. “There is no doubt that, without the support of the Elevate programme, we would have had to navigate the dayto-day minutiae, which would have prevented us from properly focusing on the Northern Ireland market,” adds Dempsey. “I would encourage other small businesses to look at the range of supports that InterTradeIreland provides.” To apply and find out more about the Elevate programme visit www.intertradeireland.com/elevate. For other InterTradeIreland supports visit www.intertradeireland.com. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 75

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05/07/2018 09:18


Partner Profile

REWARDING YOUR STAFF ONE4ALL IS THE ONLY GIFT CARD TO BE ENDORSED BY CHAMBERS IRELAND, ISME, SFA, IBEC, THE SALES INSTITUTE AND IMA EUROPE AS THE BEST CHOICE FOR STAFF REWARDS.

One4all specialises in providing businesses and individuals with meaningful ways to say thank you. It works with over 8,000 companies throughout Ireland and the UK to create effective rewards and incentives schemes, tailoring solutions to suit the needs of the employer. With over ten years experience in the industry, One4all is an expert in improving staff motivation and retention through practical, costeffective reward programmes. The One4all retail portfolio comprises over 58,000 of the UK and Ireland’s leading stores across retail, services and online, including major retailers

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such as Argos, Penneys, Debenhams, TK Maxx, Littlewoods Ireland, Boots and many more. The One4all Gift Card represents choice, flexibility and security to customers, making it the perfect gift for staff and clients. There are many benefits to rewarding staff and customers with One4all, including card customisation, remote instant loading, and fast and free delivery. What’s more, businesses can save thousands on tax-free incentives with One4all by using the Government’s Benefit-in-Kind allowance once per year. One4all Gift Cards are the only gift cards produced and fulfilled on-site in

Dublin, meaning there are no delays or quality issues. One4all only uses the highest quality HiCo magnetic stripe on all its gift cards for maximum security and damage protection, and all gift card funds are held in a segregated client fund account. One4all is PCI-DSS compliant, meaning that customers' data and money is secure. One4all is an ISO-approved business, ensuring that it leads the way in providing a quality, reliable service to its customers. It has a dedicated account management team to manage customers' needs, from an initial query right up to delivery.

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05/07/2018 09:20


Partner Profile

TIME TO CONSOLIDATE MARK REILLY, PENSION SALES MANAGER, AVIVA LIFE & PENSIONS IRELAND, EXPLAINS WHY CONSOLIDATING YOUR PENSION FUNDS COULD PROVE TO BE A VERY WISE MOVE. The days of spending our working lives with just one or two employers are becoming a thing of the past. Forty-three per cent of those surveyed in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey see themselves leaving their jobs within two years, with only 28 per cent planning to stay beyond five years. It's not unreasonable then to assume that a 30-year-old today might work for multiple employers by the time they’re 65 – indeed, according to research from LinkedIn, people might change jobs up to 15 times during their working lives. As pension pots are accumulated across a multitude of employers, retirement funding can get complicated. This is why consolidating your pension pots could be a smart move. It's much easier to estimate the

Mark Reilly, Pension Sales Manager, Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland

income you can expect to receive from a single pension rather than, say, half a dozen. Plus, you're more likely to take an interest in your pension if you see it as a larger amount of money, rather than a collection of smaller pots. Your current pension may limit your fund choices or, in the case of some trust-based pension schemes, the trustees may dictate the funds you can choose from. Transferring to a single pension allows you to take control, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pick your own investments if you don’t want to. Our advice would be to discuss your fund choices with a financial broker. Most pension funds will offer some form of lifestyle strategy, which will be tailored to your needs. Aviva currently offers a range of funds from three managers, including lifestyle and multi-asset funds. Where you have multiple pension benefits – which can date back over 20 years or more at retirement – it can be difficult to ensure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. Even if you have retained

up-to-date details on your various pension entitlements, it can still be challenging to locate the current trustees to sign the benefits across to you. It can also be difficult to monitor the fees you are paying to your pension providers, but if you combine your pensions into a new plan, you may be able to save money on fees through a lower fund management charge and not paying policy fees. If you do decide to consolidate, there are a few things to watch out for. For example, some pension schemes may charge an exit fee charge if you move your money – usually a percentage of your fund value. You should also consider whether you’ll lose any benefits tied to your old pensions – for example, an attractive guaranteed annuity rate or a loyalty bonus. Your financial broker can help with these decisions. Talk to them about Aviva’s range of options, and if you decide to consolidate your pension benefits, they can help you find a solution from Aviva that works for you.

Aviva’s offering: • A choice of products • Attractive allocation rates and competitive fund management charges • No policy fees • Free independent trustee services • Flexible contributions • A range of lifestyle strategies • A choice of three world-class fund managers

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05/07/2018 09:03


Lifestyle  Motoring

A TOUGH

Robot LITTLE

VOLVO’S XC40 IS ONE OF THE LATEST ADDITIONS TO THE SUV/CROSSOVER MARKET. CONOR FORREST GOT BEHIND THE WHEEL TO DISCOVER WHETHER IT’S A WORTHY CONTENDER.

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05/07/2018 10:38


Motoring  Lifestyle

T

en years ago I spent a semester abroad in a small town in upstate New York, during the autumn and winter months. One night, as the university bus trundled through the quiet town, snow began to fall outside. Inside the warm bus, staring out at the cold winter wonderland with the sounds of Nicholas Hooper playing in my ears, I felt like I was enveloped in a cocoon. A decade later I found myself inside Volvo’s new XC40, experiencing the exact same feeling. After a week behind its wheel, it’s not hard to understand why the XC40 was recently crowned European Car of the Year. Volvo’s baby SUV is not simply a smaller version of the XC60 – it’s got a personality all of its own. Designer Ian Kettle began the process with three words to shape his creation – Tough Little Robot – but the end result features much more soul than that might suggest. Inside, the cabin is unmistakably Volvo. Quality is present in spades (if not quite to the same standard as the XC60), from the feel of the materials and the comfortable, supportive and figure-hugging seats to a softshell dashboard contoured towards the driver. One of the stand-out features is the Sensus touchscreen media centre – intuitive, easy to use and looks the business. There’s plenty of space too – it’s not the largest vehicle but inside it’s actually quite roomy, albeit built for four passengers. Boot space clocks in at 460L with the seats up and a decent 1,336L when dropped. Small but clever details are dotted throughout – huge door bins that can swallow a laptop and a bottle of water, a USB port in the back for power-hungry kids, a spring-loaded rubbish bin in the centre console and a non-slip pad for your phone in front of the gear shifter that will charge Qi charging-enabled phones, and even a hook in the glovebox you can use to keep your bags off the floor. All very thoughtful. The B-pillar is quite thick so you’ll have to take a longer glance over your shoulder, the C-pillar even more so. Then again, Volvo has included quite a few toys to do your thinking for you (or at least alongside you) – think a 360-degree camera, cornering lights, lane keeping aid, blind spot indicator, cross traffic alert, help parallel parking (in and out), pilot assist, speed limiter and collision avoid assistance. It’s a tidy car on the road too. The 2.0 D4 TDi is a responsive block and, while a little husky at start-up, descends into a nice rumble once you hit cruising speed. The eight-speed gearbox is smooth throughout the range, with plenty of pulling power. Body roll is virtually non-existent

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Power: 190bhp 0-100km/h: 7.9s Top speed: 210km/h Annual tax: €280

and the suspension works wonders. All-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are standard – I averaged 7.9/8L/100km (36mpg). There’s plenty of poke when you need it but it’s a car to be driven at a laidback pace, very much a family wagon that happens to pack a punch underneath. My only quibble is the cost – starting from €36,450 for the base petrol, front-wheel drive manual version or €38,000 for the diesel model. Throw in a few required extras and the price quickly racks up – my R-Design (top spec) model would set you back a cool €63,425 (albeit with every extra you’d ever need), quite a bit more than a similarly powered mid-spec XC60. While its looks are something of a departure in parts from its big brothers, the XC40 delivers what Volvos have always done down the years – comfortable and stylish cars that might not get the heart pumping like an Alfa but are incredibly refined, well-equipped and, ultimately, very satisfying to drive. In what can be a rather bland segment it’s an addition well worth the consideration. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 79

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05/07/2018 10:39


Arts  Culture

Art THE

OF

ARTIST BRIAN MAGUIRE HAS CAPTURED THE DEVASTATION OF ALEPPO ON CANVAS, WRITES DEAN VAN NGUYEN.

WAR

Above: War Changes Its Address - Aleppo March ‘17 by Brian Maguire

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Culture  Arts

B

rian Maguire has been artist-inresidence at prisons in Ireland, Poland, and the US. He’s painted Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, “the most violent city on earth”, and created the Casa de Cultura series based on Sao Paulo’s infamous favelas. The Bray native is no halfway originator. His work is driven by a desire to see further than the newspaper headlines could ever take him, so he can taste the reality. Yet even for an artist of such fearless pedigree, journeying to Aleppo was a bold move. “It wasn’t always death and destruction,” Maguire says of his oeuvre, “but it has been for some time.” Maguire’s latest body of work captures his 2017 journey to Syria, a nation gripped in a savage civil war that has led to an estimated 400,000 deaths to date. The Aleppo paintings represent Maguire’s attempts to document the carnage unleashed on a once beautiful city, offering a haunting, visceral look at the physical toll of war on society and infrastructure. Beginning his career in the 1970s, Maguire’s work has frequently veered into the realms of human suffering and hot-button geopolitical issues. Moved by the crisis in Syria a few years ago, he was initially inspired by the plight of refugees making the long, often-doomed trip to Europe. Feeling he had done everything he could on Syria without seeing the devastation for himself, Maguire snagged a visa, travelled to Aleppo, and witnessed the remnants of the historic city. He likens what he saw to a burned-out house – only stretched across a quarter of a city. “It is just devastating,” says Maguire. “How the fuck we organised our lives to achieve this is beyond me.” Despite the surroundings, Maguire says he never felt in any danger. This might not be the reality. His descriptions of his experiences are pretty startling: “There were suicide bombings in Damascus when I was there. There was a rocket and a heavy machine gun attack on The Old City the night I left. But I don’t believe I was in any particular danger when I was there. I wasn’t. Generally speaking, you’re not. Quite a number of reporters have died reporting on the Syrian War, as indeed have died [reporting on] every one of them. Those people worked, their business was to report the war so they got very close to it and got killed. I was looking at the aftermath. When I went in it was all over. I wasn’t in any danger as such.” Maguire initially captured Aleppo through the lens of his camera. From there, he journeyed to Paris, where he painted the pictures. “The atmosphere of what you saw comes from memory,” he says. “I photograph continuously and that gives me the architecture to help the memory, in a sense. Different people will look at the same architecture and they will produce different kinds of pictures. This was my take on it.” From January to May of this year, War Changes Its Address: The Aleppo Paintings ran in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, Maguire has collaborated with

Brian Maguire

“MY OPINIONS ARE ONE THING BUT WHAT I SAW WAS THE DESTRUCTION OF A CITY AND THAT’S WHAT I PAINTED. THE MOTIVATION WAS WE NEED TO RECORD THIS.” the Mary Rafferty Journalism Fund, donating all cash from the sale of 60 signed and numbered prints of one the collection’s pieces to the organisation that bears the name of the late investigative journalist. “The idea of investigative journalism, we need it with these things going on,” asserts Maguire. “We need to find out exactly what is happening. There’s been so many cutbacks within journalism that information is not always understood.” Maguire partly sees his work as that of reporter – documenting scenes so they’re not forgotten. His paintings are apolitical, even if he is not: “People ask you all kinds of [questions in] interviews and, being well brought up, you answer them and maybe you shouldn’t. My opinions are one thing but what I saw was the destruction of a city and that’s what I painted. The motivation was we need to record this.” Maguire’s feelings on violent conflicts pulse through the work’s title – War Changes Its Address. It’s the hopeless feeling of inevitability that violence will continue to lacerate this planet. For Maguire, this is something that Irish people should understand all too well. “I was very taken by the fact that we had this magnificent celebration when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, prisons emptied, peace came to Ireland – there was absolute delight. But [conflict] went somewhere else, it popped up somewhere else. And the pain and suffering exists somewhere else. That’s why that title is there because [Syria] is where it is at the moment. I guarantee you in ten years’ time it’ll be somewhere else. There will be planes going and dropping these bombs on another city somewhere. I don’t know where. I would like people to pay attention to this. I would like people to think about it.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 81

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Partner Profile

LEADING TOWARDS WELLBEING DAVID CASEY, WELLNESS AND HEALTH PROMOTION MANAGER AT DECARE DENTAL, WRITES ABOUT HOW LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT CAN INFLUENCE EMPLOYEE WELLBEING. Working adults spend 60 per cent of their waking hours at work. Currently, 65 per cent of the adult population are participating in the Irish labour force. The foundation of a high-performing organisation is grounded in the health of its employees, which is directly linked to a supportive culture which fosters wellbeing in the workplace. Research from the CIPD 2018 HR Practices in Ireland Survey revealed that the top contributing factors to absenteeism were worklife imbalance (17 per cent), sick pay entitlement (16 per cent), workload (15 per cent) and ineffective leadership (14 per cent). The survey also highlighted the fact that for over two-thirds of organisations, the “absenteeism rate remained the same in the last 12 months”. In order to improve upon this performance, companies are taking a more active role in making improvements that are focused on the health of

the team. To address these issues, organisations are increasingly exploring solutions to provide a better work-life balance. In order to do this, companies are placing wellbeing as a core pillar of the organisation's culture. Management training and development is a vital part of successful implementation and execution. Companies are striving to promote a positive and caring culture in order to retain and attract talent which enhances ongoing corporate competitiveness. There is a complex relationship in the interaction between the workplace, the employee and the manager. Employee health outcomes are directly influenced by how these dynamics work on a daily basis. Leadership has a responsibility within every organisation to enable and influence individuals and teams. This can be a complex area for leadership, and therefore ongoing training and development is required. Teams should be equipped with the skills to enable them to play an important role in the wellbeing process at work. Demands of leadership in business are great, and competitiveness is increasing across all sectors every day. Therefore, it is vital that work-life balance and employee empowerment remain key areas of focus. This may be achieved by connecting employees David Casey, with wellbeing Wellness & Health Promotion opportunities and Manager, DeCare Dental activities, and

“THE FOUNDATION OF A HIGHPERFORMING ORGANISATION IS GROUNDED IN THE HEALTH OF ITS EMPLOYEES.” companies must genuinely care about each individual's wellbeing. Allowing employees to benefit from activities at work improves the health and wellbeing of an organisation and creates happy, healthy and more productive workers. Managers play a critical role in providing a supportive safe environment that welcomes and encourages active participation in wellbeing practices. Leadership should be seen as an enabler, because without this support and interest, even the best developed wellbeing strategy cannot be fully adopted and optimised. Quality of life is an all-encompassing area for each of us. By recognising the complexities of the whole person and placing quality of life at the core of talent development, managers will be successful in their endeavours to improve employee wellbeing. Employees are a company's greatest asset. The best managers recognise that they affect employee’s wellbeing every day for good or ill and must make it their mission to improve lives, not just performance. For more information on DeCare’s wellness programmes, including its new Health and Wellbeing Manager Training, contact Wellness@decaredental.eu and visit www.decaredental.ie.

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Food and Productivity  Health

Food

> Secret Weapon

FOR

Thought

For small business owners with busy lives, eating the right foods tends to feature low on their list of priorities. However, as the links between food intake and productivity come to the fore more and more in recent years, eating healthily appears to make business sense. Heather Leeson, Director, The Wellness Crew and Glenville Nutrition Ireland, advises people to plan ahead. “It’s your secret weapon,” she says. “It’s when we are not organised that we most often slip up on the dietary front and end up buying the breakfast roll or chocolate bar to fill a gap. If you can spend a few minutes planning even a couple of days ahead, then you can bring healthier options with you or build in time to visit somewhere that provides healthier food.”

> Superfoods

So what kind of foods should we be getting more of? For Leeson, there is no one single superfood to support productivity and brain function, it’s more about getting the balance right. “Ensuring that your meal or snack includes some slow releasing carbs – like wholegrain bread, brown rice, quinoa – and always pair with some protein or healthy fats – like fish, hummus, chickpeas, free range chicken, cheese, yoghurt,” she says. “The combination of slow releasing carbs with protein or healthy fats mean that energy is released more gradually and for a longer time, facilitating productivity and brain health. This might mean including some nuts with a piece of fruit or having a  portion of chicken, egg or tuna with your salad to fill you up for longer.”

> Lead by Example

MAKING THE WRONG DIETARY CHOICES CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON ENERGY AND CONCENTRATION LEVELS DURING A WORKDAY. BETTER BUSINESS FINDS OUT MORE ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOOD AND PRODUCTIVITY.

As an employer, once we have achieved success with our own diets, how do we create a healthier culture in the workplace when it comes to food? There are lots of simple and cost-effective steps, according to Leeson. “Providing water coolers in the office and herbal teas, food storage and heating facilities in communal staff areas,” she says. “Provide fruit in the office once a month, use a vending machine company that includes healthy snacks or negotiate a discount for your staff at local cafés providing healthier options. Encourage your staff to take a break from their desk at lunchtime. Research shows that this increases productivity in the afternoon.” www.thewellnesscrew.ie SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 83

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05/07/2018 10:58


Travel  Istanbul

AWAY ON

BUSINESS ISTANBUL

FOLLOWING A DECLINE IN TOURISM NUMBERS IN RECENT YEARS DUE TO SECURITY CONCERNS, ISTANBUL IS BACK ON THE TRAVELLER’S RADAR AGAIN, AND IS WINNING OVER VISITORS’ HEARTS AND MINDS, WRITES ELLEN FLYNN. Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet

Turkish baklava at Karakoy Gulluoglu

Old Kadikoy street bazaar

Menu at 1924 Istanbul

Known as Constantinople in a former life, the Turkish city of Istanbul has over centuries attracted the marauding forces of the Greeks, Romans and Venetians, but also prospective merchants looking for a gateway to the prosperous Eastern market. Straddling two continents, the city was the last stop in the legendary Silk Road – the path that linked traders between Asia and Europe. While much has changed, today Istanbul remains an important hub for business. Having become a city better known for technology rather than traditional trade in recent years, it is fast becoming one of the more progressive tech capitals of the world and, with females said to account for over half of all university students, it boasts an impressively diverse and educated workforce. Getting there is convenient, thanks to Turkish Airlines who fly direct from Dublin to Istanbul twice daily. A standard round-trip will set you back around €250. Once in the city, public transport is extensive and reliable. Similar to our LEAP card, the Istanbulkart cuts out the hassle of buying tokens every time you travel, saving you about 45 cent per journey. While this may seem small, it does add up. The Istanbulkart can be used on the tram, metro, buses, ferries, funiculars (a kind of cable railway-cum-elevator used for particularly steep slopes) and suburban trains. Motor traffic can be hectic and accidents are frequent, so unless you are going for a spin outside the city, stick to public transport and don’t rent a car.

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Istanbul  Travel

g for Travellin Business

GETTING THE BEST DEAL

1

FLIGHTS You can now fly direct to Istanbul from Dublin with Turkish Airlines in about four and a half hours, setting you back around €250 for a round trip.

Like most major cities, there’s no shortage of great places to stay in Istanbul. However, key to your search for accomodation is location. For a quiet spot near the tourist quarter, the Hotel Ibrahim Pasha doesn’t disappoint. A five-minute walk to the Blue Mosque, with a stellar view from the rooftop terrace, this hotel is perfect for travellers looking for a peaceful but local retreat to return to at the end of the day. To get the best deal, make sure to ask for a room with a view. For a more upmarket experience you can book into the exquisite Raffles Hotel, a chain known worldwide for its opulence and decadence. The high class service mixed with splashes of Turkish style will make your stay a memorable one. The hotel caters well for events too. You can choose from a variety of rooms – whether a grand area for a product launch or gala dinner, or an intimate space for a private meeting, you’ll be well looked after here. In Istanbul, the locals take their eating very seriously. The diverse population brings with it a variety of cuisine, but do make sure to sample some succulent kebabs, flavoursome mezes and freshly caught fish that make up the city’s signature dishes. For the best meze in town, head to the Asian district and bag yourself a table at Çiya Sofrasi. Widely known as the best restaurant in Istanbul, this eatery has no frills and no add-ons. It’s all about the food and boy does it deliver. Make sure to wash your meal down with the national drink, raki (aniseed brandy), or a glass or two of locally produced wine.

For the sweet lover, look no further than the Turkish baklava, and you won’t find a finer sample than the ones produced in Karakoy Gulluoglu, a little café and bakery that first opened its doors in 1949. Pay for your portion at the register, and then order whatever takes your fancy at the counter. Popular baklava flavours are pistachio and walnut; clotted cream can be served on the side, but they are equally delectable as a bite on their own. A cup of Turkish tea will work well with the sweetness. For your evening meal, try the blended menu at 1924 Istanbul. It includes some modern renditions of old Eastern European favourites like borscht, piroshki and beef stroganoff. Finish it off with some of the spectacular infused vodkas available as postdinner aperitifs. If fine dining is more your thing, then head over to neolokal where the menu combines modern techniques with local cuisine. The Turks like a drink as much as the next nation, but be warned that drunken behaviour isn’t tolerated on the streets. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy yourself while you’re there, on business or not. Local aniseed wine will go nicely as either a pre or post dinner drink, but for your night out the Asian side of the city is where you’ll find the trendiest bars and cafés, so don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track. Take a stroll through the Kadiköy Market to shop like a sultan or pop into the many student bars and pubs lining the streets to quench your thirst.

2

HOTEL There’s no shortage of stunning sights to see in Istanbul. Make sure you get the best deal by asking for a room with a view. You won’t regret waking up to the sight of the Sultan Ahmed mosque through your window.

3

TRANSPORT The Istanbulkart saves the hassle of buying tokens every time you travel. It can be used on the tram, metro, buses, ferries, funiculars and suburban trains.

4

MEALS If you’re partial to a bit of street food then you’re in luck, because there’s no shortage of locals selling kebabs outdoors in Istanbul. Try at least one to get the true Turkish experience.

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Travel  Istanbul

STAY

HOURS IN ISTANBUL ONE DAY OFF? HERE’S HOW TO SPEND IT 9AM | HAGIA SOPHIA

2PM | BEYOĞLU

Once a church, then a mosque and now a museum, no trip to Istanbul is complete without a stop at the Hagia Sophia. It’s a true melting pot of history, culture and religion. See if you can spot the Viking graffiti on the walls, worship the various icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary and Byzantine emperors. From here take a quick stroll over to the Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed, a working mosque which is closed to non-worshippers during five prayer times daily.

To recover and reawaken up your muscles take a stroll down the buzzing entertainment quarter of Beyoğlu. Check out the myriad shops, galleries, cinemas, clubs and live music venues, and while away an hour or two people-watching over a Turkish coffee.

Situated above the Bosphorus river and just four kilometres from bustling Taksim Square, the opulent Raffles Hotel Istanbul is the epitome of what a luxury hotels should be. W: www.raffles.com/istanbul T: +90 212 924 0200 E: reservation.istanbul@raffles.com

5PM | LAND WALLS OF THEODOSIUS

Take the tram to the Pazartekke stop and walk a section of the fifth-century Land Walls of Theodosius. From there, pop into the Kariye Museum where you can see some truly astounding late-Byzantine mosaics depicting biblical tales.

11AM | CAĞALOĞLU HAMAMI

Time to visit a Turkish bath or hamam. To get the best experience, the Cağaloğlu Hamami is unrivaled in Istanbul. Choose the treatment you want at reception and mentally prepare yourself to have a near-naked local pummel you into a slab of marble. Not for the faint of heart, yet a suprisingly relaxing experience!

RAFFLES HOTEL

10PM | UNTER

To finish off your day, the Asian side of town is teeming with chic bars and nightclubs to spend the evening hours. Unter is a hip bar-cum-club right on the waterside. Offering an extensive selection of beers and cocktails, with a great atmosphere and music to boot, it’s the ideal venue to wind down before bed.

HOTEL IBRAHIM PASHA Set in a pair of Ottoman homes, the Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is just a few minutes’ walk to the beautiful Sultan Ahmed Mosque. With capabilities to host meetings or conferences, it’s a great find in the heart of the city. W: www.ibrahimpasha.com T: +90 212 518 0395 E: contact@ibrahimpasha.com

Theodosius Walls of Constantinople

THE GALATA ISTANBUL HOTEL MGALLERY BY SOFITEL New on the block, the Galata Istanbul Hotel - MGallery by Sofitel is storming to the top of the boutique hotel lists in Istanbul. With up to 83 rooms and suites, it has already become a top choice for business travellers. W: www.thegalataistanbul.com T: +90 212 317 3400 E: H9857@accor.com

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Beer  Lifestyle

www.ballykilcavanbrewing.com

Better

beer AT BETTER BUSINESS WE LOVE GOOD BEER. HERE, WE SHARE INDUSTRY NEWS, SHOWCASE NEW PRODUCTS AND PROFILE THE WORK OF SMALL CRAFT BREWERS ACROSS IRELAND.

CRAFT

BREWERY SPOTLIGHT: BALLYCILCAVAN BREWERY

B

allycilcavan is a new brewery based outside Stradbally, Co Laois born out of founder David Walsh-Kemmis’ need to diversify his 378-year old family farm along with his passion for homebrewing. “Malt and barley were our main crops so we’ve always grown a lot of them anyway,” he tells Better Business. “We have nice light soil here so it really suits.” All of the barely used in Ballycilcavan’s three beers is sourced from the farm and the brewer has also developed a small but expanding hop garden where it grows both bittering and aroma varieties. Currently, WalshKemmis is producing his beers at the new Lock 13 brewery in Sallins, Co Kildare but that will soon move to an old grain store and mill house on the farm. The brewer has ambitious plans to install a visitor centre, tap room and artisan food hub once the brewery is up and running. “We’re very fortunate in the setting that we have,” says Walsh-Kemmis. “For us, it will be a tourism thing as well as the production of the beers.”

CORNER EUREKA SINGLE HOP IPA BY O’HARA’S

Carlow-based O’Hara’s Brewery has launched Eureka Single Hop IPA, the fifth instalment in its Hop Adventure Series, which aims to showcase some of the highest quality hops from around the world. The brewer went stateside for its latest offering, sourcing the Eureka hop from the Yakima Valley. O’Hara’s says this hop was chosen for its strong bittering qualities and its ability to produce a complex and full-bodied flavour and aroma. On the nose, you’ll experience a headiness of tropical fruit, citrus and floral notes. For pairing, Eureka works well with strong flavours such as spicy Indian or Mexican dishes. The release comes at a busy time for the craft brewer as it prepares to launch a number of its beers in Brazil. You can pick up O’Hara’s Hop Adventure Series Eureka in select bars, independent offlicences and retailers nationwide.

MESCAN LAUNCHES BREWERY TOURS Summer’s here and as temperatures hit record highs, what better way to enjoy the sun than sipping a tasty craft beer? If you’ve ever wondered about the magic behind producing such brews, then new tours from Mayo-based Mescan Brewery are for you. These 90-minute tours take place at the micro-brewery near Croagh Patrick on a number of dates over the coming months. “We’ve been inundated with requests to tour the brewery,” says Cillian Ó Móráin, co-owner of Mescan. “People enjoy finding out how Belgian style beers are brewed and we like nothing better than talking about beer and brewing – it’s a match made in heaven!”

David Walsh-Kemmis, founder, Ballycilcavan Brewery

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Tours will take place at 2.30pm and 5.30pm on the following dates: July: 1st, 7th, 18th, 28th, 30th August: 4th, 6th, 15th, 22nd, 29th October: 27th, 29th Bookings for all events are by email: mescanbrewery@gmail.com

Cillian Ó Móráin, Mescan Brewery

THE NUMBER OF BREWERIES THAT WILL FEATURE AT THIS YEAR’S IRISH CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL AT THE RDS ON SEPTEMBER 7TH TO 9TH SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 87

05/07/2018 11:00


Profile  A Day in the Life

James McManus, founder and MD, Earth’s Edge

A DAY OF ADVENTURE

7AM I set my alarm for seven but I’m usually up before that, except on Mondays because I generally enjoy my weekends. It takes me 10 minutes to cycle to work and eat breakfast at my desk. I check my emails first and always aim to be starting proper work by 8am. 8AM Each Friday I plan my next week. Generally, I aim to get big ticket items such as work that involves a lot of brain power out of the way first thing in the morning. So, for example, I set the following tasks for this week: Monday - finish the leader file for the Conleth’s College East Africa Expedition. We send doctors and expedition leaders from Ireland on all our trips. The leader file is the operational file we provide them with in order for them to effectively lead our expeditions. In the coming days, we are taking a team of 32 students from Conleth’s on a month-long expedition. They start by climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, then travel to Kenya for a five-day mountain bike journey through the Masai Mara and finish with a week working in a school in Uganda. Tuesday - I’m writing this article! Wednesday - I recently returned from leading a 23-day expedition to a 6,500m-high mountain called Mera Peak in Nepal. It was our first time running this so I need to update the itinerary and operational files. Thursday - next week I’m holding a free information talk about Ireland’s Call to Kilimanjaro so I need to plan for this. It is an iniatitive I designed to raise money for the IRFU Charitable Trust. We have enlisted four rugby legends to lead a team of 16 people from each province to the top of Kilimanjaro at the same time. Friday - I generally leave this day free as something always comes up! 12PM I start working through my emails. 1PM I have a ten minute lunch. I bring my dog Johnjoe with me to work twice a week, so if he is in I take him for a walk in Herbert Park. 2PM I generally have a meeting with my staff to discuss anything and everything. 4PM Around this time I start getting tired, so I’m generally only good to answer emails. 5PM Because I lead four to five expeditions per year I need to stay fit. I do this by training six days per week. My preference is a long hill run or spin on the bike, but at 35 I’m generally rehabbing some injury or other, so I have to hit the gym two to three times per week too. In terms of work, I do it in blocks between expeditions and like most business owners, I have a to-do list to smash before Christmas or whenever I take holidays. This year, I’m in New York for one week, Ibiza for five days (both holidays), working in Nepal for three weeks, working in Tanzania for two weeks, Pakistan for three weeks and Ethiopia for two weeks. Luckily, I have an amazing team that steer the ship very effectively while I’m away.

RUNNING HIGH ALTITUDE EXPEDITIONS IN OVER 40 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, FOUNDER AND MD OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL COMPANY EARTH’S EDGE JAMES MCMANUS DOESN’T REALLY DO TYPICAL DAYS, BUT HERE HE GIVES IT HIS BEST SHOT AT DESCRIBING ONE.

WWW.EARTHS-EDGE.COM 88 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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O’Leary Insurances are a wholly owned, family run, independent insurance brokers operating in accordance with Brokers Ireland and The Central Bank. The O’Leary Insurance Group provides a nation-wide service and employs in excess of 220 people and specializes in all classes of Corporate and Private Insurances. The Company conducts business according to the highest professional standards of customer service and care.

We welcome all SFA Members to contact our office to discuss their Insurance requirements Contact Carman Devlin; Phone: 01 6608211 Fax: 01 6608349 E-mail: cdevlin@olid.ie O’Leary Insurances (Dublin) Ltd., 16 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4

O’Leary Insurances (Dublin) Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland

Save money on banking, utility bills, insurance, digital marketing, merchant services and more with our new SFA Affinity scheme

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05/07/2018 05/07/2018 15:59 14:24


Oral Health Experts Very Best in Customer Service

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Better Business Q2 2018  

A magazine dedicated to the small business community. The official publication of the SFA (Small Firms Association)

Better Business Q2 2018  

A magazine dedicated to the small business community. The official publication of the SFA (Small Firms Association)