Bord Gáis Energy is the proud sponsor of SFA Business Bytes, a series of free seminars for SMEs to upskill and gain access to valuable expert business advice. The sponsorship is part of Bord Gáis Energy’s ongoing commitment to supporting the SME sector.
At a recent event, we spoke to Francine O’Byrne, managing director of The Relocation Bureau Ltd. to gain some insight into the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the coming year.
"Continuous staff development ensures high levels of client satisfaction at all times."
The Relocation Bureau Ltd. has been offering cost effective relocation services to the corporate sector since 1990, assisting employees of international companies and their families to move and settle into new destinations worldwide.
Having grown the business into one of Ireland’s leading relocation companies, Francine attributes business success to her extensive experience.
She says, “Our company, which consists of eleven professionals, has more than 80 years combined experience in this industry. We have assisted thousands of transferees and their families to settle into new destinations both in Ireland and worldwide and it is this experience which gives us the advantage.”
She is also an advocate for the importance of up-skilling and it is very much part of the company’s strategy for success.
“We strive to continually improve employee skills through training in a challenging and rewarding environment. It is through continuous development that we ensure high levels of client satisfaction at all times,” she explains.
KEY CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR 2013
Francine is also responsible for the marketing and networking functions of the business and has plans to build key contacts abroad over the coming year.
“The plan is to continue to grow our corporate client base and develop strong relationships with overseas relocation companies who have the potential to refer business to us from around the world.”
SME BUSINESS CLIMATE
Francine sees increasing competition as a key challenge for her business and the SME sector in general; “Less experienced individuals providing a cheaper service continues to be a challenge for us.”
However, she also sees a number of opportunities for SMEs in this economic climate.
“During a recession small and medium sized businesses must control costs and offer added value to clients. SMEs can also offer a more personalised service and build key contacts which will stand them in good stead when the economy recovers,” she explains.
ENERGISING THE SME SECTOR
Francine believes the key to reinvigorating the sector is for both the banking sector and government bodies to provide more support for small to medium sized companies.
“There are substantial supports for starter companies but I would like to see the IDA and Enterprise Ireland place more emphasis on promoting the many well-established small Irish companies over the coming year,” she says.
BUSINESS BYTES SEMINARS
Francine presented a brief overview of The Relocation Bureau Ltd. at a recent SFA Business Bytes seminar supported by Bord Gáis Energy. She gives an account of what she learned from the free seminar, entitled Succession Planning – the time is now’;
“It struck me how important it is to plan for succession well in advance, and it was also very helpful to be briefed on the tax changes which will come into effect on 1st January 2014,” she concludes.