Archive for March, 2010

Pulling on a Bandage called The Recession

In my opinion the second half of the recession kicked off today. After a brief rally in confidence on the day the banks get bailed out by the Government (they need €22 billion to cover losses on property!), Quinn Direct and Quinn Health Care were appointed a administrator on the back of an application from the Financial regulator. Basically public confidence went down as fast as the bank shares did today.

With prices in property still being held up by the hope that they could ride out the down turn and banks increasing their charges to normal people on stupid things like current account fee’s to circumvent the income from not issuing enough new loans, things are looking grim. Think of it like after pulling on a bandage called the recession since 2008, today they finally just ripped the last bit of bandage in one fast pull and although there will be more stinging in the coming weeks and months. It’ll soon be done with and things can finally return to normality.

So whats does this mean to Joe Public?

Well a few people have been heard that they wouldn’t be receiving their wages on time from businesses who are struggling to meet payroll, other SME owners are telling horrendous stories about selling family treasures to meet payroll things look fairly bleak for some businesses of yesteryear success. Business like all living creatures die naturally or get eaten, if they didn’t the appreciation of living wouldn’t be matter so much and people would expect rather than enjoy or earn success.

But there was always going to be a rally before the final drop, this is fairly standard graphing on stock market trends. People see the light and run for it, others pull back with rational and take some of the capital off the table and catch out the short term gamble investors.

Its unfortunate but things are going to get a lot worse in the coming 6 months, many businesses will close, more jobs will be lost, I hate to say it but increases of suicides from people who’s personal measurement of worth was measured in Euros and cents, but not sense. While all this is happening however the buds from the flowers that never had the opportunity to take control of their destiny and launch a business will begin to emerge and with it once again an age of adding value in exchange for reasonable compensation.

Complementary Competitiveness

Tonight as I ordered take away i came across an enlighten concept from an unlikely source – My local Chinese takeaway. As i finished ordering the phone operator informed me that i should collect the food from the competitors take-away and gave me directions. I was a bit surprised and she explained how the restaurant I had called was closed for renovations and they had agreed to sever their clients during the interim.

So was this a good or bad marketing strategy?

Effectively they were giving the customers to the competition was my first reaction. But then I realised I would have gone to the competition anyway, the restaurant was closed and they were the obvious second choice. So why forward on the number and encourage the competition? Well I only have one take away number in my phone and this is now still the case. I surely would have looked up and saved the alternative if this were not the case. When they reopen i will still call that number when the need arises. Also they could / should have monetarised the customers by forwarding to a traceable phone number to get commissions.

They have a now strengthened a healthy relationship with the competition and even shared staff to help them with the increased business, keeping the staff in wages during their closure.

So by passing the sale to the competitor they lost the sale and kept ownership of the customer. By putting the customers needs first they conceded a battle and won the war, in my opinion at least.

So how can you apply this to your business? Can you establish your firm as the one that your customers turn to for all their answers? Do you make friends or foe of your competitors?

Are An Garda a law onto themselves?

I’m was really annoyed (and slightly worried) this evening.

I got a call on my private mobile this evening, a gentleman wanted help from customer service at one of my businesses. As its outside of business hours this gent decided he’d call me on my mobile… now I don’t know this man and my personal mobile number is something very very few people have and although i like to work long hours… on a bank holiday like it is now i switch off from work, totally off.

So the obvious first question was – “Ofcourse i’ll can help you. But would you mind telling me where did you get my personal number”. He told me he looked it up. I explained it’s ex directory and not listed anywhere, thinking someone might have published it online . “Listen, it’s none of your business where I got your number, I have a problem and your gonna sort it out” – He was a Guard.

Now its not that i ever mind helping a customer, but no one likes been spoken down to, especially by someone ringing you in the middle of dinner. Since this guard has gotten my number illegally through his capacity as a guard (Is there no data protection anymore?), I was worried. Not that anything was wrong, but if a cop is the type that will break one law who knows i might find myself getting pulled over every ten minutes or worse.

So i left my dinner, luckily i hadn’t sipped the wine yet and drove into work. Traced his order and called him to tell him that it has been delivered this afternoon (it was only ordered yesterday) and was signed for by… and gave him the name of the guard on duty.

So that’s how i spent my bank holiday evening and now i’m in a foul mood…. Site Launch

This weekend i finally got around the putting up some content and working on the design for Zatori website. It was something that’s sat on the to do list, but had never been touched. Really do people ever get to the Important but not urgent sections of a to do list… Anyway i made it a priority this weekend and so far here’s the first draft.

Zatori Website Screen Grab

Zatori Website Screen Grab

Having got some great feedback on twitter we will be lightening the theme a bit, as several people i really respect thought it was too dark – something i liked, but hey majority rule on this occasion. If any readers have any thoughts or feedback on the site i’d love to hear it.

The other interesting thing we’ve done is laid our cards on the table and spelt out what two new businesses i’d be launching in 2010. I don’t thing we’ve let the cat out of the bag, but if anyone’s interested in what industries i’m looking to shake up, visit the Zatori site.