Alexander Graham Bell would turn in his grave. All the great ambassadors of customer service would be disgusted. Business owners and chief executives would be furious. I'm referring here to the bizarre reality where so many firms do not return customer phone calls. From 'not having time' to 'forgetting', to 'not having the answer' and being 'let down by somebody else', I've heard all the excuses. But none of them stand up to scrutiny.
If you attend any tech event in the Silicon Valley, you won't last 10 minutes without hearing an entrepreneur claiming their technology is 'changing the world through reduced thread switching latency' or 'making the world a better place through seamless fabless semiconductors'. No pitch is complete without making bold claims, reflecting a holistic Californian mindset that 'we are making the world a better place', no matter how tenuous the case may be.
This week is the big week for our recently launched 'mini-product'. Will we get paid? Three weeks ago, we launched a very small part of our Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product. The main product is nearly, but not quite, ready to launch, but we're itching to start getting it out there.
We as a nation have built great expertise and credibility as international traders. For more than a hundred years, Irish trailblazers have jumped on boats and aeroplanes to every corner of the world, and achieved great success exporting and importing goods and services. Much of that success has come from great business savvy, and from us having a reputation for being friendly, personable and intuitive. That has enabled us to build rapport and make great long-lasting connections.
It's one of our nearest neighbours, one of Europe's most stable economies, and is a key world player in agriculture, medtech, luxury goods, and the automotive and aerospace sectors. But despite a €2.5trn economy and consistent growth, France may often be overlooked as an export market by Irish firms. And the reason may be deceptively basic: language.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday started out as American phenomena, aptly named due to the traffic jams that were caused by the weekend shopping frenzy which accompanies Thanksgiving. It has now become an annual retail norm around the world.
'It's my dream job," the young woman told me, with a smile on her face. An international chief executive for whom she had previously worked, and whom I had previously coached, had recommended we meet. So last week found us sitting across from each other at a crowded cafe.
The average Irish shopper is expected to spend up to €300 on Black Friday this year. But the shopping frenzy has sparked concern among the climate conscious, with thousands of delivery trucks expected to take to the roads - not to mention the mounds of packaging.
It's no secret that there is a direct correlation between innovation and business success. It aids companies to scale, to diversify into new markets and increase value. We know from research that diversifying export products through innovation plays a major role in scaling companies, and that investing in knowledge-based capital can help firms increase productivity performance.
Startups are much more about practice than they are about theory. Some of the best ways to learn how to make the right decisions are to look and learn from the decisions of others. There's a story from the founding of HubSpot (the online marketing unicorn company) that I've always found interesting.
THE Food Institute UCC, Ireland's largest collaborative research and learning institute for food-related activity, has announced details of a global food finance summit which it will host in partnership with Cork University Business School and Goodbody Stockbrokers.
There is a crisis in the workplace right now due to a shortage of talent. Almost every sector that I work with is challenged with recruiting and then retaining good people. The war for talent is heating up. Earlier this month, Vodafone announced 16 weeks' paid parental leave. How can small and medium-sized enterprises compete?
There is a region close by, with a population of more than 27 million people, that could go a long way toward helping Irish exporters beat their Brexit blues. The Nordic countries - Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland - do not only offer a large variety of competitive and highly developed sectors, but also a great sense of cultural familiarity, which allows Irish companies to easily make new business connections.
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