Tag Archives: back office ireland

Are you a Graduate?

11 Feb

student flyer

Busy Lizzie Business Brain Interview with Orlaith Carmody

16 Sep

This week we interview Orlaith Carmody from MediaTraining.ie

1.    Why did you decide to start your business?

I  started  the original business, Dorland Training, with Gavin Duffy in 1992 in response to a perceived need for communications training, particularly in the area of media relations.  There were many PR companies in operation at the time, but very few companies which specialized in training people to do it themselves – not the full PR package, which definitely needs to be handled by a specialist, but the front line media interviews. From the get go we were very busy, but we kept the business small and specialist.  Over the years my hands on time has changed.  In the nineties I took up a contract with RTE and then my family intervened – by then Gavin and I had married, and I needed to take some time out when my kids were small. We rebranded the business as Mediatraining.ie a number of years ago, and with Gavin’s involvement with the Dragon’s Den, I am busier than ever managing the show. We have broadened our offering recently  to leadership and management training, prompted by our experience of brand building with the Dragons’ Den companies.  I also do a lot of work with women in business.

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

Over the years there has always been the nagging feeling that we should be growing – employing more people, offering more training options, reaching more of our target market – but in reality when something is not broken, why try to fix                                                             it. We are small and specialist and do what we do very well. People know how to find us, and what we can do for them.  The return is in seeing a client perform really well when having questions fired at him or her on Prime Time, or delivering                                                                 a presentation at a conference that gets a huge reaction. I have a client at the moment who is growing every day as a public speaker. Every time I see him I am impressed by how much he has improved since the last time.  There are so many ill-prepared people who get up and speak at conferences and events and do it so badly.  We sit at these things and listen politely, and then give out afterwards about how boring the speaker was, or how awful the ‘death by PowerPoint’ was.  A small amount of training can make a huge difference to how you perform.

3.     What are your plans for the future?

To take on new and interesting projects, to work with interesting people, to do what we do further afield.

4.     Who do you look up to in business?

This will sound corny, but I really do look up to Gavin.  He is a power-house of creativity and energy, and has an innate sense of how things should be done, and what will play right and what won’t. But he will be the first to admit he is not a                                            detail person, and this is probably why we work so well together. I make sure  the back end is completed.  Another person I really admire is Michael O Leary, the one who runs HRM Recruit, not the fly boy!  Michael set up in business on the same day as we did all those years ago in the serviced office next door to ours. He has grown the business strategically over the years and is now poised to take it to the next level internationally. He invited me to join his Board of Directors last year and I am really enjoying being a part of the story.

5.     What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Love what you do, and only launch a product or service that you really, really believe the world can’t do without.  That belief and passion is the only thing that will keep you focused and keep you driving forward. Money and fame and                                                              professional reputation are all good in their place, but on their own they are not enough as drivers.

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

We have never engaged in big marketing or advertising campaigns.  We do B2B promotions from time to time in specific areas and the work comes in.

7.       Do you use any Social Media?

I have begun to use it quite a lot recently, but again I think I use it quite strategically, and usually to help the organiSers of an event that I am chairing or speaking

More about Orlaith

Orlaith Carmody is Managing Director of Mediatraining.ie, a company specialising in the communications training and management development of individuals and organisations. As a keynote speaker, conference chair and seminar leader, Orlaith has addressed some of Ireland’s most influential business people and networks on the subjects of professional business development and corporate leadership. Also a director of a number of other SMEs in recruitment and production, Orlaith regularly delivers engaging and energetic seminars on Pitching for Success, Building Confidence in the Workplace, Self Esteem, Goals and Strategy & Successful Networking; and she has also presented at international conferences in the USA and Canada.

Alongside founding her company, Mediatraining.ie, in 1992 Orlaith had a successful career as a print & broadcast journalist with several Irish news organisations including RTÉ, where she is today a member of the Board of Directors.

Orlaith is happily married to television ‘Dragon’ Gavin Duffy and together they have four teenagers. She is an active media commentator on her blog, www.orlaithcarmody.com and hosts and contributes to a variety of radio programmes on LMFM and Newstalk.

Busy Lizzie Business Brain Interview with Sandra Lawler @ Alternatives

11 Sep

This week we interview Sandra Lawler from Alternatives.

1. Why did you decide to start your business?

My business partner Aldagh and I had been in the corporate world for 15 years and wanted to create something that we could own and grow. When we came up with the idea of providing a way for clients to access great marketers in a flexible and alternative way, we decided to go for it.

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

Definitely the economic downturn in 2008. A challenge to go through it and an achievement to survive it! We had a well run, award winning business, with a motivated team-but business just came to a halt as many businesses just stopped investing in marketing and cut back on marketing staff, consultants, training… our key services. Luckily we had a good cross sectoral spread of clients and a strong, trusted brand which helped us survive the worst of those years

3. What are your plans for the future?

To double our business in 3 years-but won’t reveal our plans publicly 🙂

4. Who do you look up to in business?

Anyone who has taken the risk of going into business, who has worked relentlessly in the toughest of climates to create something that adds value to clients and that employs anybody at all. It’s risky and consumes so much of your time and your thoughts. So hats off to anyone who has done that.

5. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Where to start?

Do what you’re passionate about.

Think big-you’ll put in so much effort and time anyhow you may as well think big, as think small.

Make sure you have the right team. It’s all in the team. Ensure you have good sales, finance and marketing expertise, as well as your technical expertise.

Don’t come with a product and just try and flog it. Think customers first and create from there.

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cashflow is the biggie-particularly today.

6. How are you gaining visibility and promoting the business? Do you use any Social Media?

We have worked hard to invest in our brand since 2000 and even when budgets were tight, we never stopped investing. We’ve developed the brand online, we’ve advertised, sponsored key community events, spoken at conferences, sent direct mails and e-zines. But as ours is a service business our brand lives or dies in the experience marketers have with us every day-and this has been a key focus for us.

More about Sandra

Sandra Lawler is Managing Director of Alternatives, the No 1 marketing talent business in Ireland, which she co-founded with Aldagh McDonogh in 2000.  Alternatives specialises in interim and permanent marketing recruitment, marketing outsourcing, consulting, training and digital, helping companies successfully drive their market performance.  Alternatives were finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2006, won the Image/ Sunday Times Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2007 and the Chambers Ireland Best SME CSR Award.

Busy Lizzie Business Brain Interview with Pat Keogh @ Call Management

4 Sep

If you decide to go for it, just commit fully to it so that you are not wondering later on…what if

This week we interview Pat Keogh from Call Management in Cork.

1.Why did you decide to start your business?

I always wanted to work for myself as I wanted to be in control of my own future. I worked in the wine trade for 5 years and increased turnover from 200K to 1 million in that period. I got very little thanks so that really motivated me to set up on my own. The major obstacle was finding the idea as drive and ambition on it’s own is not enough.

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

I left college with an Honours B Comm degree from UCC majoring in marketing & management but knew nothing about running a business such as…vat returns, prsi, employment law, payroll packages, limited company versus sole trader (advantages & disadvantages).

I had to learn as I went along which is crazy after spending so much time in college.

In 2008 we lost a client that made up 50% of our turnover with very little notice, that was a major challenge to stay in business and continue to pay staff and suppliers.

Our major achievement to date has been our ability to re-invent ourselves from initially offering just call centre inbound call answering we are now offering Live chat, e-mail handling, mystery shopping, business mailing address and a whole host of market research packages. I also decided to go back to college and did a Diploma in International selling with D.I.T. last year in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland to help us with our re-invention.

3. What are your plans for the future?

We are launching a new company in Sept 2012 called Arema Connect which will concentrate on the UK market.

Arema will be completely separate with it’s own website and identity but the work will be completed from our contact centre in Cork.

Arema will be using web-based technology such as live chat, large volume voice mail drops, social media management.

4. Who do you look up to in business?

John Concannon would be  a major influence on me because he is determined, successful and above all he never lost his sense of humour. I firmly believe that you should enjoy what you do and gain satisfaction from working with other people. I believe that our staff are our most valuable asset and John shares that philosopy and has always focused on growing his business by using Ireland as his hub. He has offices in Poland and South Africa but his head office will always be in Ireland.

5. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

If you find an idea that you are comfortable with, seek as much advice as you can but remember that the final decision is yours.

If you decide to go for it, just commit fully to it so that you are not wondering later on …. what if

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

We have registered with Enterprise Ireland, entering awards such as ccma.ie, SFA, european business awards, registering with governing bodies such as ccma.ie and call centre helper in the UK, blogs, media articles, meeting with chamber of commerce, google adwords testimonials from clients, networking, referral partners  and good old fashioned word of mouth

7. Do you use any Social Media?

Currently we are using LinkedIn, Facebook & twitter

Call Management
1G The Atrium Building
Blackpool Retail Park



Phone:- 00353 214824300

Busy Lizzie Business Brain with Aoibheann from Ard Bia

21 Aug

This week we interview the lady behind the brand Ard Bia – Aoibheann…

1.    Why did you decide to start your business?

Because no one would employ me or i could not find a job at all

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

Biggest challenge: finding a good accountant, I had 7 terrible ones ..

Achievements: to have a business come back from the brink during the hight of the recession to now having a turnover of over 1.5 million and employing 30 staff.

3.     What are your plans for the future?

Keeping up good quality food, service and continuing to look after our wonderful customers and employing more people.

4.     Who do you look up to in business?

I really admire Aron McMahon from Cafe Rua in Castlebar he is my professional pin-up !

5.     What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Do it! But make sure what you are doing is coming from a place a true belief

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

the press love us, so we keep giving them more..

7.       Do you use any Social Media?

Yes heading towards 2500 Facebook friends and very strong on twitter, it’s essential these days

More about Aoibheann and Ard Bia

Aoibheann Mac Namara – studied Art History at University College Dublin followed by a postgraduate degree in Arts Administration at NUI, Galway during which time she worked part-time at (and was fired

from!) the original Nimmo’s. She travelled and worked in art galleries around the world before working in Soho House and Babington House, where her real education began. After a stint cooking in a Buddhist centre in Cavan, Aoibheann opened Ard Bia Café in Donegal in 2001. Two years later she moved the business to Galway, initially to Cross Street, then above Tigh Neachtain on Quay Street and then to the iconic Nimmo’s building under the Spanish Arch. In 2008, Aoibheann had a baby, Önundur (Öni), with whom she sits and watches the sea from where they live and work on The Long Walk.

Aoibheann has started travel writing, which she hopes will see her into a more gentle retirement.

The Ard Bia cook book is now on sale, for your copy try here

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