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Busy Lizzie Business Brain with Olwen Dawe @ Irish Business Intelligence

28 Aug

Do the boring stuff: market research, planning and financials

This week we interview Olwen Dawe who is the creator of Irish Business Intelligence.

1. Why did you decide to start your business?

A culmination of events! And a genuine desire to work for myself… I had always harboured a real interest in running my own business, but hadn’t ever been brave enough to take the plunge.  When things became somewhat turbulent in the late noughties, I took my chances and dove  head-first into self-employment.  Enterprise and regional development were  natural choices for me; I’ve always been interested in individual and collective growth and development, making change for the better – thankfully the times we’re in are conducive to those kinds of projects so I’m very fortunate.

2. What have been the biggest challenges and achievements for your business?

There are lots of challenges in business; mainly managing ones’ own feelings about things, I find! There are lots of swings and roundabouts in the early days, and I found that a little troublesome to start withI always say that you’re tested in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine when you run your own business, but you also learn an infinite amount about yourself and others in the process! My biggest challenge has also been an achievement: being able to handle ambiguity.  I could well have been referred to as a tad of a control-freak in my managerial days, however, that’s all changed now! In business, you carve out your own destiny – but equally, you have to be able to accept that a lot of things are beyond your control.  Deliver excellence at every turn and accept the learnings that come your way.  A tangible achievement has certainly been the fantastic clients I work with: exciting SMEs with amazing vision and drive, charismatic entrepreneurs and forward-thinking regional and rural development agencies and organisations – all making an important contribution to Ireland Inc’s recovery.

3. What are your plans for the future?

I am delighted to work in the area I do, and want to continue to do so into the future.  Much of my work is project-based, so I constantly seek to broaden my portfolio in terms of sector and delivery outcomes.  I relish a challenge, hence why I work in the enterprise and regional development end-of-things! Every piece of work is different.  I’m hoping to do some more work in the creative and social enterprise arena, as well as cross-border initiatives – and as time goes on, I identify new focuses… the grey cells are seldom bored!

4. Who do you look up to in business?

There are so many people I admire… I’ve been fortunate to meet many great Irish entrepreneurs, all from different walks, through my association with Network Ireland – a few names that spring to mind? Tina Roche, Norma Smurfit and Nicola Byrne are very inspiring ladies [and I could think of dozens more too!].  I think the essence of entrepreneurship is vision, resilience and persistence.  If you can keep yourself on that track at all times, you’ll stay focused.  I’m also a big fan of Richard Branson, mainly because of his unfaltering commitment to innovation within a brand, he carries himself in a very genuine, unfussy way which is also very welcome… obviously, the same could be said of the late Steve Jobs, another extraordinary entrepreneur.

5. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Do the boring stuff: market research, planning and financials.  Most entrepreneurs either a) hate it b) avoid it or c) pretend they did it. Don’t kid yourself; in business, what you don’t know will always hurt you.  Do have a vision:so many start-ups think it’s big picture and not ‘for them’. It is.  The big vision will keep you focused during the tough times and you’ll be able to revel in it when you’ve started to see the results.  Do have a team of honest supporters: beware the cheerleaders! Honest but supportive peeps are necessary when the going gets tough.  They’re also the pat-you-on-the-back types when things come good.  Don’t give up: you’ll know if there’s no future, but when you know there is – don’t throw in the towel

6. How are you gaining visibility and promoting the business?

In my line of work, most client projects are gained through longevity and reputation – however positioning is helpful.  I blog regularly on topics related to my area of expertise, as well as utilising social media [LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook] and forums.  I enjoy writing, which means I find blogging enjoyable, and as a result, tend to get quite a bit of newspaper coverage too!

7.   Do you use any Social Media?

I’m a major advocate of social media, it’s fantastic to be able to connect with so many individuals and groups – as well as sharing knowledge and information.  My media of choice are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  From a business point-of-view, LinkedIn is a great tool for building relationships, whilst Twitter allows you to interact, share [and learn] what’s going on in the business community and elsewhere.

More about Olwen

Olwen Dawe is Owner and Principal Consultant at Irish Business Intelligence [IBI]. Olwen works in the enterprise and regional development sector, project managing and advising agencies and enterprise organisations on specific areas or rural, regional and enterprise development. Offering a hands-on and practical approach, IBI also acts as a Business Partner for SMEs, providing strategic business development and communications advice and support, focused on real results for clients. Olwen also mentors and supports start-up enterprises through the various enterprise agencies.

Olwen graduated with a BBS [BA] Hons. in HRM and IR from NCI, and has also studied at the IMI [Irish Management Institute]. During her career, Olwen has worked with some of Ireland’s best known corporate companies [such as Tesco Ireland] as well as well-established indigenous Irish companies [imag!ne, Celtic Invoice Discounting Limited]. Olwen’s experience spans HR, Operations Management, CRM and Marketing, in retail, telecommunications, manufacturing and professional service sectors.

A member of Network Mayo since 2007, Olwen has served on the committee since 2009, becoming President of the branch in 2011. Olwen was appointed to the National Executive in 2012 as Secretary. Olwen is a previous recipient of a Network Mayo Businesswoman of the Year Awards, winning the ‘Employee’ category in 2009; she was also shortlisted for the national award and received a nomination for an IMAGE Businesswomen of the Year awards in the same year. This year, Olwen received a JCI Mayo TOYP award [The Outstanding Young Person] for services to business

Starting a Family Friendly Business in Ireland

19 Dec

Starting a Family Friendly Business in Ireland

Working in a company or running a business may require additional time. And for that, you need to sacrifice the hours that you must spend for your family. As you grow as an employee or a businessman, the needs of your life partner and children grows as well. Because of it, you become to think that working, while it is actually for your family, is not at all family-friendly. Though, that would not be the case if you start your own business at home.

Running a home-based business is basically just the same as getting employed or managing a regular business. The difference is you are close to your kids and there are comforts that a regular occupation is not able to bring. Though, starting a home-based enterprise is not easy at the beginning. When you are at the early stages, cash flow is slow and your profits are limited. You are your own boss, nonetheless, so you have the option to stop or to continue. Since you chose the latter, let us move on to some helpful ideas to help you get started.

First, do not believe in alluring promises you see online. Certainly, an entity that pops out, promising that you can earn as much as 8,000 Euros in just one month is too good to be true. Home-based entrepreneurs testify that these promises actually are. There are no quick fixes when it comes to earning such a huge amount, so judge accordingly.

Second is research. Reading about the market on and off line will show you what exactly the consumers need. Manufacturing a product or offering a service that nobody needs will only lead to waste. Study your market before investing your capital. Conduct a feasibility study to determine whether a product or a service has a stable market. For example, a product and a service that does not go out of being needed is food. Use the power of the internet and social media to make the public aware about your food business.

Third, consider your capital. Your financial capability will determine the magnitude of your home-based business. In line with this, think about where you would get your fund. It may be from your savings or your job separation pay. You can augment your resources by availing loans. Just inquire to your preferred insurance company or your bank if you consider this option to increase your resources.

When you have everything taken into consideration, like you have finally decided on a company name, proceed on making your business legitimate. For this step, you may ask a lawyer or your local government offices for the proper procedures. One essential step on building up a business is visiting the website of Companies Registration Office. From there you can download the application form. After completing the form, mail it to their postal address; the information is included in their website as well.

Take advantage of the free business mentoring programs that the Irish government provides. This way, you can sustain your home-based business, or better yet, make it more successful. As you see, working and earning should not take you away from your family.

Busy Lizzie provides businesses and individuals with the time they need to focus on other tasks. We have a variety of services available to make the lives of our customers easier at an affordable price. Our office is staffed with experts that range from secretarial and administrative to experienced marketing and sales professionals.

Clear the Cobwebs and Make Room for Christmas Cheer!

12 Dec

In a few weeks time, the whole world will soon be celebrating Christmas again. Basically, this occasion is commonly fun- filled and an experience with a merry Christmas with people dear to you is something great to cherish for the rest of your life. And since we are still some few months away, we still have time to prepare – prepare everything in the house from Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, and anything that entails Christmas. How about the most important thing to prepare – yourself?

There are so many times that we may not feel at the best parts of ourselves. There are times too that we may not feel to be at our brightest. During those times, it is very important to treat them as your best opportunity to reflect and ponder on the things that you have had during the past few months or days of your life. Pondering will help us think of the best ways to let the inner light within us to shine to the fullest.

 

Basically, if you are someone who is really interested to clear the cobwebs and make room for Christmas cheer, you will come to the point of knowing the right way on to do the clearing process. This also applies in the workplace where you need to keep everything organised. Sorting things out and clearing what needs to be cleaned the working environment are important factors that every employee needs to practice. Accomplishing all the tasks before getting a vacation will surely give your peace of mind during your being away from the workplace.

In any workplace, there are tons of tasks to do and often, the amount of work cannot be accomplished within the expected time given. The concept of Virtual PA in any company can minimise the amount of work that needs to be done within the day. If hiring such personnel is time-consuming, then acquiring the services of the experts is the best thing to do. At busylizzie.ie, you can enhance the quality of your life by making a balance with work and family life.

Since Christmas is one of the most celebrated occasions every year in the whole world, clearing out your workload in order to spend time for the holiday is the best way to enjoy the season. It is but normal to encounter tonnes of work before the holidays. Yet, it is still required to accomplish all these in order to have a peaceful Christmas vacation. It is fine to go through that pressure of finishing all the work rather than spending the holiday with a lot of pending work to go back to. Having a fresh start after the holidays gives you more motivation to employ your daily tasks.

So, to make yourselves prepared for the upcoming Christmas, you have to be prepared to undergo pressure and have the work done at the right time. You will finally realise why it pays to the Cobwebs and make room for Christmas cheer.

Nurturing Team Players

7 Sep

Upon seeking employment, one of the most common qualities that an applicant must have is to be a “team player”. In the work environment, an employer should make sure that the employees in the company are comfortable in working as a team member. For newly hired employees, adjusting to a new environment requires time, and fitting in with the group will lead to a productive organisation. As a team player, each employee plays an important role in achieving the goals of the company. Being a team player means that cooperation from each member is expected instead of just following orders or giving orders as a leader. It is normal that not all team members like one another, or that a particular member may not be liked by everyone. It is extremely important that personal matters should be set aside when a team is assigned a task. Each team player must be reliable to accomplish his or her duties as a part of the team. Communication and respect are two of the most important aspects of being an effective team player.

Team players are part of a business team, not a social gathering. While friendships may grow and develop among co-employees, it is important to remember that professionalism is always a top priority, especially when it comes to work-related tasks or projects. If there are conflicts between co-workers, these should not be a hindrance to the performance of the team in achieving the desired output.

As an employer, one should be able to determine which members of the team are more effective as leader, and which ones are efficient in being natural followers. Roles can be switched as well, to allow for the professional growth of team players. When assigned to be a leader, an employee should know his or limits in taking charge, so as not be labelled as being too bossy or arrogant, and in some cases, disrespectful to the supervisor. A follower, on the other hand, should also have respect towards the leader, and should communicate effectively if there are concerns regarding the task at hand.

Employers should establish within their subordinates their roles and responsibilities as a team player, and as an employee. Regardless of personal issues, an assigned task should be accomplished within the given time period. As team players, working with others with respect will lead to an effective team that can get the job done because personal matters will not hinder them from doing their tasks.

As employers, one should not ask employees to be team players. It is to be expected of them naturally. Cooperation, respect, and communication from team players will result to the achievement of goals. As long as team players are working well with each other, the goals of the company will be met, with a structured and strong team behind it.

Remember that as an employer or supervisor, one should interact with team players and show constant support. Should the members of the team need your help or assistance, they should not hesitate to approach you and discuss any concerns with you. Communicating effectively can lead to a productive team, wherein different opinions, suggestions, and concerns can be discussed in order to achieve goals and accomplish tasks that have been assigned to them.

Busy Lizzie provides advice on all types of back office outsourcing solutions, including quality social media services.

Tel: 00.353.(0)1 514 3401|Skype: busylizzielifestylemanagement

Email: info@busylizzie.ie | Web: www.busylizzie.ie

Help Your Employees Get Organised – Some Tips and Guidelines to Follow

1 Sep

When it comes to the different types of employees that exist in this world, it is not surprising to take note that there are actually only two types of them – those who are well-organised because they simply crave for such  characteristics and structures, and those employees who simply love working or living in the world of the disorganised.

But it is however amazing to note here that even disorganised people still has the ways to find what they are looking for no matter how chaotic their situations seem to be. Seeing these people who way makes you think that they simply follow a “system” which can only be understood by them alone.

Organisation – A Matter of Degree

Successful organisation is generally defined as spending the smallest or lease amount of time that is required to come up with the most organisation to perform the job quickly and more efficiently. Organisation in the workplace is a matter of proper task delegation to the appropriate manpower. Problems occur in the absence of organisation. Hence, if this factor is missing then the operation seems to be chaotic that even employee personal issues would come in. An organised structure can be handled well by busylizzie.ie. The presence of back support office can promote an organised working environment.

So how will you ever know if your employee needs your support and assistance particularly in the aspect of getting himself organised? Below are some pointers and guidelines you should know to help you detect whether or not your employee needs to have help from you to get his life organised:

  • It takes a longer period of time (seems like forever) for an employee to remember the things you have asked him.
  • They are usually late when attending meetings at the office and they usually fail to present a report or information once they are already there.
  • Easily gets frustrated with small things within the workplace.

If these signs are evident to your employee then there should be immediate things that should be done to help them. Also included are some useful tips and guidelines to help you maintain a good and conducive working environment for you and your employees as well.

  • Let your employees know how well you really like working in an organised workplace.
  • Let them know the kind of “system” you wish to establish inside the workplace; this will make them adjust their selves of your so-called systems from theirs.
  • Managers should be given the tips and pointers on how to relay things concerning to the workplace structures to the employees.
  • Let the employees know when and where important papers should be documented and stored.
  • Tell them when do you want your mails.
  • Tell them of small details you want; for example, is if preferable for you to have simple emails or have those messages and documents printed.
  • Everyone in the office should also inform you the locations of the important things needed in the workplace no matter how big or small they are.
  • Being an employer, you should help your employee the ways on how they can identify the organisation structures or systems of their friends.
  • Set up an organisation structure which may prove essential for employees to follow.

Everybody in the office may his/her own organisation process but you have to understand that setting up and enforcing processes and procedures will greatly improve an organisation as everyone in the workplace will be following one basic organisation structure. Although manpower may be complete, the presence of Virtual PA can enable quality work with less expense. Outsourcing throughout Ireland for virtual personal assistant and back office support positions can be done by the experts. Let busylizzie.ie get into your office and spell what proper organisation is all about.

Keeping Your Cool in Steamy Situations

16 Aug

Steamy situations happen not only in literally hot places but figuratively in places where stress is on a high level. The workplace is a common place where the temperature is high due to stressful work load and demanding superiors. This kind of situation creates pressure in the workplace making every employee work under difficult conditions. With this, every individual in the workplace must know how to deal with such amount of pressure. Thus, the concept of cooling oneself under steamy situations must come in.

Times of stress usually occur when you are put in a situation wherein your workplace comes with lots of problems; no matter how small or big these problems, it will be very important to consider yourself to be cool at all times as this will help you put everything in the right place.

To keep your cool, take a deep breath and you should exude patience and understanding; simply combine these two characteristics and you will be able to control the situations particularly when you need to fix a heated situation or problem inside your workplace.

This is how it works: in terms of literal situations where the human body responds to a high-temperature environment. On a deeper context such situations can happen in many ways. Say for example, the presence of such situation in the workplace. Oftentimes, the office is a place where pressure is on a high level due to administrator’s demands and regulations. Having this is a common scenario, it is essential that you have to keep yourself cool in this situation by promoting a clear mind set in employing your job. One of the most important things that you have to learn is to keep up with what needs to be prioritised. It is but normal to encounter a heavy work load and with the proper organisation of carrying out the task, then all these can be accomplished within the expected time.

If you are running an office with less manpower and too much work load, the presence of Virtual PAs can help minimise the workload with less expense. These individuals need not be physically present to employ the job, but they can perform tasks in a home-based structure. Most of their jobs are computer based and all the systems follow a systematic online procedure. By acquiring the services of busylizzie.ie, a back office support company, you are assured that your office will be in proper order and outsourcing for manpower will no longer be a problem as this comes with trusted and reliable delegation that helps in outsourcing in Ireland and other places around the globe.

Should You Take It All With You?

20 Jul

We are taking the office and work with us on vacation more than ever. Grab your smart phone, tablets, laptops, and keep in contact with social media. Gone are the paperback books with their worn pages and bent corners; now we read e-books. The massive retailer Amazon’s core market was books, but is now concentrating on building its rapidly growing Kindle market. Amazon is currently working on a full-featured tablet, on which you can read your downloaded books, magazines, and newspapers, but also check your email and Facebook to your heart’s content. Don’t forget lying on the beach with your Mp3 player in your ear listening to lectures, self-improvement audio books, or music.

Skeptics are worried that taking our world with us when we are supposed to be escaping from it could be dangerous. Just because we are physically removed from the environment of work and career, it is still necessary to be mentally and emotionally removed as well for the small amount of holiday time that is taken. Young professionals, particularly those under 35%, say they are more relaxed knowing that they are staying connected with colleagues, able to put out fires that develop while they are away, and keeping down the work load that will be on their desks while they are away.

As for toting along our technology to our vacation spots, 78% of those young professionals in Britain claim they would never consider going without. They hit the fun spots, but then share their exploits on Twitter, Facebook, instantly uploading pictures and stories. Hotels, restaurants, and even beachfronts are desperately trying to accommodate these young techies with free Wi-Fi, plug-ins, mobile electronic centres, and tourist towns are making deals with cell phone companies faster than you can say “dial-up”.

What’s wrong with being able to instantly download the newest bestseller and listen to your “relaxation” playlist while you soak up the sun? These days we don’t have to worry about what’s happening on the job while we are away because we can go mobile. These are wondrous developments due to our innovation and creativity. Or, have we gone too far and become unbalanced? Where do you stand?

SME Start-up Reminders

30 May

It goes without saying that SME start-ups should begin with a great idea, inspiration, and lots and lots…and lots of research. Many a small business has floundered because someone had wonderful enthusiasm, but once on the road lost her way. If you’ve just started your business and find yourself in this position, you are in good company. Remember, no matter how much research you do and preparation you do, mistakes will happen.

From the start, try to avoid as many errors as you can. Reach out to other business owners in your market (yes, you have to first figure out what that market is!) and ask them what mistakes they made and how they suggest you can handle them better. Don’t be shy. Most entrepreneurs value the chance to mentor. Attend trade association meetings and start networking and learning from those experienced in your trade.

Talk with potential customers before you try to sell to them. Are they the target market you consider them to be? Is the market already to swollen so there is no room for you to squeeze in? Ask questions like, “How often do you buy this product or service?” “Where…?” “How do you feel about your provider?” Find out any reasons that you may want reconfigure your plan before you invest too heavily financially.

The legal issues involved in business start-ups are crucial, but attorneys’ hourly costs can break you before you start. Do your own research, draft your own documents, and then check in with a lawyer to for guidance. The same goes for an accountant. Do as much as you can yourself and not only will it save you money, it will help you understand the business better.

Wait until you see the promise in your business before setting up an office, purchasing lots of equipment, supplies, or stock. This mistake can also knock you down before you get started.

Enthusiasm, a dream, and an excellent work ethic are all you need hang out your shingle, hand out those cards, post those Tweets; just make sure your steady on your own two feet first before you hit the road.

Pros and Cons of Hiring an Intern

9 May

Pros and Cons of Hiring an Intern Hiring an intern has a lot of pros, but it may not be a win/win situation in every situation. When considering hiring an intern, you might want take the following into consideration.

PROS:

  • Interns provide extra help usually at a college or higher skill level.
  • Save money.
  • Interns earn little or no pay but do expect valuable work experience.
  • Interns can bring new, fresh insight into your business.
  • Interns can be hired for specific skill area projects, rather than a general helper.
  • Interns benefit by the on-hands learning experience and earn school credit.
  • You are helping train the future colleagues in your field.

CONS:

  • Hiring an intern requires the same search and interview process as hiring a full employee; as well as time must be spent training.
  • It cannot be assumed that an intern can immediately jump into an employee’s role, and an intern could become frustrated and discouraged if this assumption is made.
  • Lots of paperwork/forms/report usually accompany the intern earning credit.

In summary, hiring an intern may save you some money and definitely fulfills a specific need. It also gives a young person on-the-job training and you are servicing your community. However, if time is of the essence, this might not be the best path to follow. Keep in mind that hiring an intern needs not only benefit you, but should greatly benefit the intern as well.

Working from Home and How to Stay Sane!

5 May

There are many benefits to telecommuting or working from home.  This is different from having a home business that you run, in that you don’t need to be concerned with marketing, sales, staff, etc. If you are an employee of a business that has work from home options and provides you with the equipment and software you need, there are still important considerations for both your work and your family/home life so you can avoid the common pitfalls of working at home.

Whether you are sewing, doing data input, making phone calls, or preparing corporate taxes, it is essential that you are able to work without distractions and concentrate on what you are doing. Make sure your family, particularly if you have young children, understand that whatever area you have designated as your work space is unavailable during your working hours. It is essential that everyone in the household understands and respects your goals.  Also, helpful is having a regular schedule of “business” hours so that everyone becomes accustomed to the schedule.

As important as being left alone to work is, it is equally important to stay in touch with the outside world and your colleagues. Many options are available to you quite easily. Communicating online literally opens up the world to you via Internet connection. Always make sure you are available by either  home phone, business line, or mobile phone.  Depending on your schedule, set up weekly or monthly online or in-person meetings to make sure you are keeping up to date in your industry.  This will also encourage you, as lack of motivation is a frequent obstacle for telecommuters.

Working from home is not the same as being at home. Try to avoid volunteering your time or scheduling family appointments during your work hours, or your life will become cluttered and chaotic with no definitive line between work and personal time. Most workers who are also parents of young children have come to realize that an at-home-office does not save money for child care costs.  It is difficult to care for children while fulfilling job obligations. Remember, an at-home based job deserves the same attention and obligation as an in-office position does.

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