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OFFICIAL NEWSLETTEr OF THE sMall fIrMs assoCIatIon

ISSUE 5 2013

SMALL FIRMS ASSOCIATION

NEWS In Depth…

the road from austerity

Finance is critically important for entrepreneurial activity. We now have one of the highest marginal tax rates in the OECD at 52% at average earnings is well above the OECD average of 36%. The rates for the self-employed are even higher. Between Budget 2008 and Supplementary Budget 2009, marginal income tax rates for the self employed, increased from 46.5% to 55%. The severity of these increases in a short time frame has had a dramatic impact on business owners, taxpayers and on competitiveness. These levels of tax rates are an obstacle for entrepreneurs and business start ups. The economy, businesses and workers are taxed enough; there cannot be any further employment or business taxes. Government needs to balance the budget through reducing expenditure not tax increases.

Despite the horrendous impact in the years since 2008, there are still 200,000 small firms in Ireland and 12,000 new businesses being set up each year. Entrepreneurship is alive and well, but must be nurtured and developed with a renewed focus from both agencies and Government. The key to future success is investment and growth. Our recovery must be based on reducing the cost of doing business, boosting productivity, restoring a sound macroeconomic base and ensuring the delivery of world-class public service. €5.1 billion is due to be taken out of the economy over the next two years. It is not clear where the Minister for Finance can make this level of adjustment without having a damaging effect on the economy. The greatest stimulus that Government could now give to the Irish economy would be to indicate an easing of the fiscal austerity. This would have a huge impact on consumer and business confidence. One of the key challenges currently facing Ireland is tackling unemployment, if Government is forthright in its ambition to create jobs then they must ensure there are no additional costs placed on employment in Budget 2014. Government measures taken since 2010 have already added over €660 million per annum to labour costs, through employer SFA Now ThaT’s whaT I call BusINess OCTOBER 2013

PrSI changes and pensions levy. The cumulative impact of this has been a 1.4% increase in labour costs, while at the same time both employers and staff in the majority of small firms have taken pay cuts. To support investment within small firms Government should introduce a ‘roll-over’ type relief. This scheme would provide an incentive for entrepreneurs selling a business to reinvest the money into enterprise. This model has worked in the UK, where proceeds from a business sale are not subject to capital gains tax. Credit is vital for entrepreneurial activity. Despite the introduction of various schemes to assist SMEs access credit, there is a need to assist financing for start up businesses that face challenges in accessing funding for between €25k-€1m. The Government should establish a Statebacked investment bank, as committed to in the Programme for Government. This bank would provide funding to support growing and high potential businesses, and would help attract funding from other equity and debt sources. The financing could be obtained through the National Pensions reserve Fund and the European Investment Bank.

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WHAT’S InsIDe National Small Business Awards launched

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Member Spotlights

3

News in Brief

4&5

SFA Event

6

Social Media Planning

7

Being Export ready

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foreWorD I am delighted to bring you our latest news this Autumn and as ever we are always open to hearing your news and feedback . You can email any comments to me avine.mcnally@sfa.ie Kind Regards Aviné Mc Nally Acting Director, SFA

Ireland requires a tax system that rewards work, but recent budgets have seen the tax burden increase dramatically. Page 1 of 8


News In Depth… Contd. from Page 1 The weakness in consumer spending has reduced tax revenues, resulted in business closures and cost jobs. However, when consumers become more confident about their prospects, economic recovery will gain greater momentum, especially at the domestic level. Significant progress has been made over the last number of years, but challenges remain. High unemployment, a weak domestic economy and on-going uncertainty in Europe are holding us back. Entrepreneurs and the small business sector, given the right economic conditions will generate the growth needed to create jobs, as they are the drivers of innovation and an enduring source of prosperity, employment and economic progress. Budget 2014 is an opportunity to help the domestic economy return to growth and ensure small firms are ready to take advantage of the recovery when it comes.

An Taoiseach Launches National Small Business Awards The SFA National Small Business Awards 2014 was officially launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. on 5th September at Government Buildings. Speaking at the launch the Taoiseach said “I am delighted to support the SFA awards. Small firms don’t just provide invaluable jobs in our economy, they act as the financial heartbeat of our communities, playing a fundamental role in rebuilding our economy.” “The Awards provide an opportunity to take stock of the impressive achievements of small and medium firms across the country and to honour the men and women whose determination and will to succeed is critical to our recovery. We are listening to what businesses have to say and through our multi-annual Action Plan for Jobs strategy, we are taking measures across government to support them.” 2014 marks the 10th year of the Awards which are supported by Enterprise Ireland, AIB, Bord Bia, SEAI (the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), O2, DHL Express and the City & County Enterprise Boards. ManagementWorks are the Management Development Partner for the duration of the programme.

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David Duffy, AIB; Lisa Corcoran, O2; Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland; Eamon Ryan, the County and City Enterprise Boards; AJ Noonan, SFA Chairman; Awards Patron, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD; Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia; Brian Motherway, SEAI; Mike Farrell, DHL Express and Alan Nuzum, ManagementWorks.

The prize package for ALL finalists includes a comprehensive media and management development weekend, a voucher for a ManagementWorks management team/CEO courses, a feature in a special printed and digital supplement with the Irish Independent as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage. Entries to the awards will be accepted until 5.30pm on Thursday, 31st October 2013, and entry forms are available online at www. sfa.ie/awards . The categories are: • Manufacturing — up to 50 employees, presented by the Small Firms Association • Food and Drink — up to 50 employees, sponsored by Bord Bia • Services — up to 50 employees, sponsored by O2 • Outstanding Small Business — up to five employees, sponsored by AIB

The overall benefit to any company who enters such a prestigious national awards programme will be to enhance their performance by focusing on the strategic direction of their company and knowing that their success has been measured against other successful companies or ‘best in class’. The SFA National Small Business Awards are now recognised as a valuable medium for Irish small business to promote their organisation and in return receive recognition for achievement, innovation and excellence. Following the application process, category finalists will be announced in December 2013. The presentation to the Award Winners will take place at a Gala Awards Ceremony in March 2014. To enter simply log on to www.sfa.ie/awards or contact the SFA on tel: 01-6051664 or e-mail: alan.sherlock@sfa.ie.

• Innovator of the Year — up to 50 employees, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland • Energy and Environmental Sustainability – up to 50 employees, sponsored by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland • Small Business Exporter of the Year – up to 50 employees, sponsored by DHL Express In addition, the five best “Emerging New Businesses” (companies who are less than two years in business) will be selected that have the potential to grow and have the ability to be the SFA National Small Business Award winners in the future, this category is supported by the County and City Enterprise Boards.

Closing date for Entries October 31st ENTER NOW www.sfa.ie/awards

SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013


Member spotlight…

Remote Technology Services for Small Firms A pilot project is being set up to provide technology services to small companies as a means to provide vital resource to those in need of help due to limited funds, resources or support. This service will be provided by job seekers who have spent time enhancing their ICT skills and are now looking for work experience. The service will be provided from a central location in Dublin however the service will be offered to any small firm requesting assistance. There will be no charge for the first 3 months and after that if the company values the work done you have the option to request further support. Anything of a technical nature that can be done remotely (or in some cases a site visit may be necessary). Examples include basic introduction to computers for small business; setting up and using email; basic document and spread sheet skills, evaluating web sites (user perspective), designing basic websites, content generation. Further information is available via email: hanrattyie@aol.com

Marketing Coaching Grants of €5,000 Each Available for Small Businesses. Paul Davis of Davis Business Consultants is delighted to announce that they have been working closely with an entrepreneurial investment group that shares his passion for helping small business owners. They have approved a series of marketing coaching grants through Davis Business Consultants to be made available to small business owners. These grants will be used to assist business owners to have access to weekly group coaching, online business training, as well as one-to-one coaching and mentoring. The grants are specifically for small business owners that want to learn how to market their business more effectively, generate more leads both online and offline, and develop and grow their business. Further details can be obtained from Davis Business Consultants at 01-2885563 or via email to paul@davisbusinessconsultants.com

Insurancerite lan Caren + Partners is an Irish owned company with almost 20 years experience providing nationwide property services from their offices in Dublin, Cork & Galway. The company has recently launched Insurancerite with the aim of ensuring that owners & occupiers of property have adequate property sums insurance cover in the event of a property claim. A tenant of a property should be concerned if the landlord insures the property, as if they under insure it can have a negative impact on the time taken to reinstate the property with the consequent major impact on a business. If you are unsure about your property insurance then it is recommended to review the property sums insurance before a claim is required. Experience shows there is evidence of under insurance of up to 70% which could lead to financial difficulties in making up the shortfall in reinstating the property. Depending on the type of property and the extent of under insurance this could result in a shortfall of thousands to millions of euro. There is also evidence of over insurance occurring resulting in unnecessary premium payments. For more information on insurancerite please email: info@alancaren.ie or telephone on 01 8307321.

Charting Your Life’s Roadmap in an Uncertain World September is that time of year when we need to review those New Year resolutions and adopt healthier lifestyles. Nuala Duignan’s recently published Charting Your Life’s Roadmap in an Uncertain World Choose Happiness Daily, is a book that is filled with practical tools and tips to help measure how your life is performing across different areas. Central to Nuala’s prescription is the idea that we should Choose Happiness Daily. The book is interspersed with testimonials from people whom Nuala has worked with in her capacity as a Life and Business Coach. For further information contact Nuala, info@nualaduignanlifecoach.com Tel. 087 2532675 or visit www.nualaduignanlifecoach.com.

Harvest Resources Harvest Resources, founded in 1984, is a consultancy firm of People Development Specialists with over 25 years of experience in creating customised in-house development programmes for a wide range of organisations, both in the public and private sector. Harvest works on all aspects of development with people at all levels. In 2012, Harvest launched a new service to assist their clients introduce and set up eLearning as part of their learning and development programme. The Harvest offer in this area revolves around three core strands. Firstly, Harvest can deliver bespoke blended learning programmes. Secondly, Harvest can assist clients develop high end eLearning content and set up bespoke learning management systems through their range of eLearning partners. Finally, Harvest run an accredited eLearning Essentials training programme in conjunction with Netskills in Newcastle University. This programme will introduce participants to core concepts associated with the design, delivery and assessment of eLearning. For further information, please contact the team on 01 4974622.

Contact Details If you need to contact the SFA team on any issue, our direct contact details are: Aviné McNally,

Acting Director

01 605 1633

avine.mcnally@sfa.ie

Alan Sherlock,

Executive

01 605 1664

alan.sherlock@sfa.ie

Aisling Heaton, Executive 01 605 1668

aisling.heaton@sfa.ie

Richard Miley,

Marketing Officer

01 605 1667

richard.miley@sfa.ie

SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013 Page 3 of 8


News In Brief…

Free Dental Examinations for PRSI Employees

Report on Commercial Rates & Water Charges Ibec have published a new comprehensive review of commercial rates and water charges across the country, which found that businesses continue to pay boom time rates, despite the fact that many remain under intense financial pressure. Business pays €1.4 billion every year in commercial rates and a further €200 million in water charges. Companies operating in the domestic economy have seen turnover fall by 25% in recent years, but this has not been reflected in local charges. Local authorities need to reduce their costs and pass on the savings. Almost all authorities are charging substantially more than they did in 2007. While no local authority increased Annual Rates on Valuation (ARV) this year, the cost to business remains too high. The report also shows that water charges are rising in many areas, but it is not clear how much, if any, of the extra money is being invested in the water service. The current system lacks transparency and accountability. It is crucial that the planned transition to Irish Water does not lead to further increases for commercial users.

Employment permits – Croatian accession to the EU As of 1 July 2013, Croatia is a member state of the European Union and nationals of Croatia do not require an employment permit in order to be employed in the Republic of Ireland. Before 1 July, Croatian nationals were required to hold an employment permit issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation or other relevant immigration permission issued by the Department of Justice in order to work in Ireland. Page 4 of 8

Despite Government cutbacks, over two million PRSI contributors and their dependant spouses are entitled to a free dental examination. These are also available to 1.4m medical card holders. Unfortunately, these vital health benefits are only availed of by one quarter of those entitled to attend for a free dental examination. Regrettably, the health implications of failing to attend for regular check-ups and the effect of the State cuts to the PRSI schemes are now very obvious to dentists who see more and more patients attending in pain, with greater incidence of gum disease and the need for remedial treatments. PRSI employees should be reminded of the fact that they, their dependants and indeed medical card holders should be availing of their entitlements to a free dental examination. Further information is available from your local surgery or the Irish Dental Association at www. dentist.ie.

E Day 19th September 2014 Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Brian Hayes recently announced e-Day as 19th September 2014. E-Day is the date after which the public sector will no longer write cheques to businesses and will no longer accept cheques from businesses.

Credit Review Office Quaterly Report The quarterly report from the CRO shows that the pillar banks are open for business. However, Avine McNally, Acting Director, stated “We now need to see them lending to more challenging but viable businesses to ensure they can access the credit they require for working capital and investment.” A key challenge is for the banking sector to effect real and meaningful debt restructuring where there is a substantive viable core business. “While lending solutions must be found to allow SMEs deal with their legacy debt, we must ensure that in this process viable business are supported to ensure survival.” McNally said a worrying trend regarding credit is that more conditions are being attached to credit approvals, these range from conditions of personal guarantees; facility charges and other specific security. “It is critical that in providing finance to the small businesses that the cost of credit is not too high and that loan terms and conditions are clear and manageable and do not act as a deterrent for business survival and investment.” McNally highlighted that the front line experience is still an issue, “banks still have a long way to go in standardising customer experience at branch level. It is critical in rebuilding the small business banking relationship, that communications are improved, that clarity is given around decision-making rationale and that process targets of 100% of applications being dealt with in 15 days are achieved”, said McNally.

The particular focus of the E-Day will be to encourage SMEs to migrate from cheque usage, as they are either issuers or receivers of 60%+ of all cheques in Ireland. E-Day will not directly affect consumer use of cheques, as the public sector will only discontinue writing/accepting cheques to/ from businesses, not consumers. Ireland is one of only a few EU Member States that still makes use of cheques as a regular payment method. The National Payments Plan targets savings of up to one billion euro per annum which can be achieved through a shift to electronic payments. If a business is currently being paid by, or paying to, public sector bodies, firms will need to check what alternative options will be accepted. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Direct Debit and Payment Card options are among the alternatives that will be offered by impacted Government Departments and Offices, State Agencies and Local Authorities. Each of these will advise its customers on what options will be available. SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013


News In Brief… Dates for the Diary…

Luas Linking Construction Commences

Further Reforms to Workplace Relations

Construction commenced in June 2013 on linking the two current Luas lines in Dublin and will be complete by 2017. The new system will link from St Stephens Green, through the city centre and connect with a rail line in Cabra. To assist businesses understand the impact this will have in relation to traffic management; construction time frames etc. a guide has been published and can be downloaded from www. luascrosscity.ie. Any business who has a specific query or have any issues during the construction timeframes can free phone 1800 30 36 53 or email: Info@ luascrosscity.ie .

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, recently announced further initiatives as part of the continued reform to the workplace relations institutions and structures.  

Workplace Accidents involving Forklifts, Diggers and Cranes The number of workplace accidents involving lifting equipment such as forklifts and cranes is on the rise according to a new Injuries Board claim analysis. Last year 40 people received compensation totalling €1.3million for workplace accidents involving forklifts and cranes, compared to 34 workers in 2011. In contrast, the overall number of compensation awards for workplace accidents has decreased from 820 in 2011 to 807 last year. The average compensation award in relation to these workplace accidents was €32,990 with claimants suffering fractured and broken bones and soft tissue injuries. The nature of accidents varied widely and despite the wealth of resources and guidelines on safe workplace practices, accidents can and do happen. Since 2004, all personal injury claims in Ireland (with some limited exceptions) must be submitted through the Injuries Board unless settled directly between the parties after the accident. Further information on the Injuries Board is available at www.injuriesboard.ie.

These include: • A new Website (www.workplacerelations. ie), which will provide a single source of information on industrial relations legislation and associated public services.  • The Single Complaint E-Form will now be valid for 130 complaint types. All first instance complaints to the Rights Commissioner Service, the Employment Appeals Tribunal, National Employment Rights Authority, the Equality Tribunal and the Labour Court can be made using this form.    • The Determinations Database will provide a single, website-hosted and fully-searchable resource for users, practitioners and stakeholders for over 30,000 determinations/decisions issued to date by the Labour Court, Equality Tribunal and EAT.  • Following an evaluation of the Pilot Early Resolution Service (ERS) for workplace relations complaints.  The Minister proposes to proceed with the full establishment of an ERS service for a speedy and cost effective alternative to formal adjudication insofar as complaints resolution is concerned, underpinned by the enabling legislation.  EU Small Business Portal The European Commission – Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry have re-launched the European Small Business Portal website.  The website provides all the information offered by the EU on and for SMEs, ranging from practical advice to policy issues. The website address is  http://ec.europa.eu/small-business

Friday, 1st November 2013 SFA Annual Lunch 2013 The SFA will hold its Annual Lunch in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin 4 on Friday, 1st November 2013 from 12.30-3pm. This event has become the single biggest and most successful lunch in the Irish business calendar, with 700 people attending each year. It is a very important day for the small business community, and as in previous years we would like to make our Annual Lunch a very special occasion. Please consider taking a table for 10 people at the event. It is the perfect opportunity to invite guests, special customers, clients or valued employees whom you would like to impress. The cost will be €460 + 23% VAT (€565.80) all inclusive for a table of 10. Alternatively, if you wish to book a number of places, at a shared table with other members, the cost will be €46 + 23% VAT (€56.58) per person. This event will be a fantastic day of networking and celebration for the small business community. For any queries contact Aisling Heaton,Tel: 01 605 1668 aisling.heaton@sfa.ie. Wednesday, 16th October 2013 SFA Business - 2 - Business Event Take the time for your business and join other small business owners at this informal networking event which is entirely free of charge to attend. This is also a great opportunity to meet the executive of your Association. The primary purpose of the event will be to allow businesses owners meet likeminded people and develop meaningful business relationships. * Enterprise Ireland * Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland * O2

* AIB

* DHL Express

* Bord Bia

* ManagementWorks * County and City Enterprise Boards The evening will conclude with a lively panel discussion featuring three previous winners of the SFA National Small Business Awards chaired by Acting SFA Director, Aviné McNally. We do hope you will be able to join us for what will be a very enjoyable evening. For any queries queries contact Alan Sherlock, Tel: +353 1 605 1664, alan.sherlock@sfa.ie

SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013 Page 5 of 8


SFA Events‌

SFA National Business Awards 2013 On Friday, the 6th of September An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD formally launched the SFA National Business Awards 2013. The aim of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland, and to recognise the vital contribution of the small business sector to the Irish economy. The 2014 programme marks the 10th year of the Awards. .

1

AJ Noonan SFA Chairman, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., Avine McNally Acting SFA Director

2 Lisa Corcoran, O2, Avine McNally, SFA and Barry Mccleary, CEO, Megazyme

3 AJ Noonan, Chairman, SFA, David Duffy, CEO, AIB, Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland and Linda Forde, Brand Manager at AIB

4

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. at the launch of the SFA National Small Business Awards with Awards Sponsors Page 6 of 8

SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013


News In Brief…

Why is Mental Health in the Workplace such an important issue? One in four of us will develop a mental health issue at some stage in our lives. The most common illness is stress related, which, if we are honest we can all be susceptible to during difficult times. Stress can be difficult to cope with and it is when our coping skills are compromised is when we are vulnerable to illness, both physical and mental. Mental health and work are essential to each other. Recent research has found that the majority of Irish people would deliberately conceal a mental health problem at work for fear that it would have a negative impact on career and professional relationships. Mental health remains an area that many people do not understand or may fear, and as a result, it is not talked about. The effects on a business can include loss of potential labour supply, unemployment, absenteeism and reduced productivity. Therefore, it is vital that companies put the right structures in place to support employees. Encouraging open communication is vital. Very often employees are reluctant to seek help initially. Best HR practise points out that early intervention is key and that employers and colleagues are crucial to promoting a positive work culture where everyone is treated with respect and dignity and issues such as bullying and harassment are not tolerated. As an employer what can I do to reduce stress in the workplace? While each workplace will have unique requirements, the following tips may help to improve worker satisfaction and efficiency. Where possible: • Give priority to staff welfare and safety with clear policies on harassment and bullying • Develop a clear set of organisational values which all staff share • Develop clear, achievable and consistent goals for the organisation • Clearly define each staff member’s role and responsibilities • Give a high priority to training, supervision and support of staff

• Maximise communication and consultation particularly at a time of change

.

• Ensure regular appraisal on performance • Provide good-working conditions – adequate space, minimum noise levels, controlled heating, natural light and ventilation. • Alternate rewarding and unrewarding work • Ensure fair distribution of work • Encourage good staff network

Greg Fry, Social Media Consultant

2. Identify your Audience How can employees cope with stress at work? • Manage Your Work Load & time effectively Set priorities • Delegate where possible and appropriate • Define problems precisely • Improve communication • Plan your time – including your free time • Avail of training opportunities • Maintain Physical Fitness • Eat a sensible diet • Have sufficient rest • Decide on some agreeable form of exercise and make it a habit • Develop interests outside work Article developed by Ted Tierney, Deputy CEO Mental Health Ireland

Social Media……. What is your plan? “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else” - Yogi Berra Many companies have jumped on the Social Media bandwagon without much thought or any sort of a real plan. Whilst there is no denying that Social Media is a big deal and the vast majority of companies need to be online and using social media, without clear defined goals and a well thought out strategy many end up becoming busy fools online. So what should companies consider before they dive into Social Media? 1. Define your Goals Before starting blasting the world with your social media updates, decide what you want to achieve. Eg. Increasing my sales by 20% using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook within 12 months. Always ensure your Goals and Objectives are realistic and clearly defined.

Who are your target customers? Where do they hang out online? For example there is no point spending a large amount of money and time on Pinterest unless your customers and potential customers are there. Identifying who your audience is will help determine which social media channels to use and what tone of voice you should adopt. 3. Assess your resources Don’t launch straight into a Social Media campaign if nobody in your company has the expertise to make results happen. Assess the skills available within your company and determine if you need additional help, training or you may even want to consider outsourcing. 4. Choose the right channels Pick the social media channels where your customers and potential customers are active. You may be better focusing on two or three platforms (eg. Twitter and LinkedIn) rather than trying to be on every Social Media site out there. 5. Listen to conversations and implement your strategy in your chosen channel or channels Listen to conversations about your company, your competition and your industry online. Connect and engage with your target market. Start valuable conversations and demonstrate your expertise 6. Measure, Measure, Measure Measure everything you do online and take full advantage of the various analytics tools available to you. Make sure you have Google Analytics linked to your website and you spend time looking at who is coming to your website, where they are coming from and how long they spend on your site. Ask yourself how can I do better? Stop doing the things that are not working and do more of the things that are.So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to revisit your Social Media plan..

SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013 Page 7 of 8


IS YOUR COMPANY ‘EXPORT READY’? Given the ongoing difficult economic conditions, small Irish firms are presented with a challenge. That challenge is to grow sales and increase the profitability of their businesses against a backdrop of continuing weak domestic demand. But progressive Irish companies are not sitting on their hands waiting for demand to pick-up and instead are looking to new international markets to offset the downturn in the local economy. If your business has performed well in the Irish market have you considered selling your product or service outside of Ireland? By developing your business overseas not only can you tap-in to significant new market opportunities but your business can also reap many other benefits. In particular it can help spread your business-risk and enable you to achieve greater economies of scale which in turn should help you to become more costcompetitive. In addition to the potential financial benefits, by developing your business overseas you can open up your company to ideas for new products and services. It can also add significant value within your company, increasing the skills and knowledge of your employees as well as building confidence and expertise. Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director of DHL Express in Ireland has seen this trend develop in recent times. “We see it in our trading patterns and it’s clear to me that more and more Irish SME’s are taking their first steps into the export marketplace. These companies are disproving the notion that exporting is only for large enterprises with very significant financial resources. Our role in DHL Express is to facilitate international trade and we’re more than happy to provide advice and guidance to those companies who are new to exporting.”

SMALL FIRMS ASSOCIATION

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And it’s clear those SME’s that do embrace exporting are more likely to be successful in the longer term. Indeed a recently released study commissioned by DHL Express demonstrates that SME’s working in international markets are twice as likely to be successful as those only operating domestically. A survey of 410 SME’s across 11 different countries reveals that successful firms are active in international markets. Managers interviewed cited some of the key benefits of an international approach as access to new markets, knowledge and technology transfer, and an opportunity to diversify their products and services. The research also shows that globalization is increasing and that the newer the business, the more likely an SME will be involved in international operations. Significantly, the most successful companies examined also plan to increase exports in the near future. Bernard McCarthy picked up on this theme. “I don’t think that the research findings are especially surprising – indeed for me they just confirm what I would have always believed. The potential benefits of expanding your business into international markets are self-evident but it’s not something that a company should enter into lightly and any business - large or small – needs to carry out the necessary research and planning before entering a new export market. But neither should any company be put-off by perceived obstacles or complexities, which with proper planning and preparation can be readily overcome.”

who will deliver your goods safely, securely and on-time to your new export customer”. “For a small company, taking the first steps into exporting can be exciting but also a little daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process” explained McCarthy. “At DHL we’ll provide guidance and support in addition to an end-to-end service, including customs clearance if you’re exporting outside of the EU. We’re the logistics experts so we can give you the peace of mind to concentrate on managing your customers, winning new orders and competing successfully internationally.” “Ireland is a small marketplace so for many companies it makes perfect sense to look beyond these shores for new customers and new opportunities,” concluded McCarthy. “I would encourage companies to look to the EU as a first-step as exporting to any of the 28 countries which make-up the EU couldn’t be easier. Remember the EU operates as a single market so for the vast majority of goods and services there are no customs or regulatory restrictions. That means that you have free access to the 500 million consumers that make up the EU. So get ‘Export Ready’ and take your business to the next level!”

“There is plenty of support available to new exporters or those companies considering taking that first step; in particular Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Get Export Ready’ program provides a wealth of information and advice. Enterprise Ireland also run various export workshops and support programs which can be invaluable to new or prospective exporters.” So whilst entering new export markets isn’t a guaranteed route to success for every business, there are undoubtedly big opportunities for the companies with the right products and services. “Research and thorough planning is critical for success,” continued McCarthy. “It’s very important to know your sector and the strength and weaknesses of your product or service within the new potential market. Make sure that you have the required working capital in place and be aware of exchange rate issues when dealing outside of the Euro-area. And of course be sure to partner with a reputable logistics partner

Bernard McCarthy, MD, DHL Express Ireland

Confederation House, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 01-605 1668

info@sfa.ie

www.sfa.ie SFA Now That’s What I call Business OCTOBER 2013

Sfa newsletter issue 5 Oct 2013  

Sfa newsletter issue 5 Oct 2013

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