To serve or not to serve

Technology, to many, is a dark science. As business owners we spend...and spend... on new technology. But do we need to? Can we, should we, sweat basic assets such as file servers. Here Trevor O Connell challenges: Are we getting the best from our investment in our file server? How many business owners and business managers face this dilemma each year? And how many IT firms rush in to sell you the latest in Microsoft Windows Server Technology without ever considering the simple question : “Am I fully utilising my existing server?”
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Small Business Technology – are you getting left behind?

No matter what type of business you’re in, it’s important to ensure that you’re working as efficiently as possible – not only to maximise your time, but to stay competitive. Technology has developed so fast of late that yesterday’s new innovations are today’s standard operating tools – and it’s easy to lose track of all those technological developments and indeed discover which ones are essential to the development of your business and which are just a waste of your capital.
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10 places to give away!...

Here’s a chance to spend an evening listening and maybe even interacting with two legendery team managers (and they weren't bad players either) from the pantheon of Cork GAA greats. Billy Morgan and Donal O Grady both took Cork Football and hurling respectively by the scruff of the neck and managed teams that went on to win coveted all Ireland titles.

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The sun shines and....meltdown!?

Apparently, we’re heading into one of the warmest summers since records began 130 years ago. Wasn’t it a great summer that kicked off the economic boom back in the mid 90s? Wonder if we’ve learned anything?
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CFO survey Q1 2010 - Navigating the challenges

Third quarterly Deloitte survey of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of major Irish-based companies, conducted among CFOs of listed companies, large private companies and Irish subsidiaries of overseas multinationals in March 2010.
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Marketing made simple

Put simply, marketing is about matching every part of your business with your clients...
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The Changing Landscape of Online Marketing

In my previous article I talked about the importance of having a digital strategy. This week I’ll look at some of the dominant areas of growth in online marketing and evaluate some of the important trends we are likely to witness in the next 12 months.
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Time for businesses to start thinking inside the ‘strategic box’

Every month, I try to figure out what subject I should pick for this column. This time I decided to go for ‘creating or adapting business models for new economic conditions’. I promptly forgot about it but, revisiting the idea as my deadline loomed, I was stumped. I found myself having to look at it again and again to figure out what was wrong. I think it is the ‘new economic conditions’ part.
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How valuable are business networking events?

Fusion Accounts, which have copped on to how this site works and are working it, share experience of networking at a recent Regus event in Belfast. As well as being a worthwhile insight into networking, the blog is worth it for the one liner ‘businesses can survive without profit but they can’t survive without cash.’

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Using technology wisely is sweet work for Jamjo

Start-ups in the new media sphere must be flexible and adaptable when developing their business model, according to James O’Sullivan, coowner of website developer JamjoDesign.

‘‘In our business, there is no revenue model that you can write down and follow each time,’’ said O’Sullivan. ‘‘In most cases, our revenue would come from the build stage. However, we do small bits of maintenance on an  ongoing basis for different clients. We also have sites which would need significant maintenance and new content every month.’’
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Upping the sporting game in Cork and beyond

Cork retailer Maher Sports has launched two new ventures in the past six weeks, leveraging existing locations and expertise to take the company to the next level.

‘‘Our most recent venture is a baby nursery called Baby & Nursery@North Main Street, which opened late last month,’’ said Yvonne Maher, director of Maher Sports. ‘‘We noticed a baby boom happening and did some research around the Cork area. There has been a lot of interest so far as there is nowhere else like this really in the northside of the city.’’
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Ensuring its name is on the Cup

Cup Print, a Clare-based manufacturer of paper cups, is seeking external investment to bring its production capacity in line with demand for its products. ‘‘We are in talks with Enterprise Ireland and looking to raise e200,000 from an outside investor,’’ said Terry Fox, chief executive, Cup Print.

‘‘We are now Europe’s fastest-growing paper cup manufacturer, and we want to expand and invest in more machinery to match the growth. It is not huge money, but it would fund our next phase of expansion.’’ Securing this investment would also allow the company to take on new staff this year, Fox said. ‘‘By this time next year, we expect to double our volumes to about 10 million cups per year.
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Strategy plays central role in online success

The last decade witnessed massive growth in consumer internet channels from search engines to social media sites such as My Space and Facebook. Internet retailing continues make seasonal headlines and since 2000 Britain and Ireland Internet shoppers have spent an estimated €250 billion online, rising from €1.2 billion in 2000 to an estimated €55 billion in 2009.

However despite the opportunities for retailers, business and public agencies it’s clear that many organisations are missing out on internet sales and  gaining online traffic.
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Make a decision!

Decision making is an inescapable task for managers. The quality of those decisions determines the success of a manager's efforts.
To improve decision making, particularly when the big decisions count, the following guidelines can help.

Try not to spend too much time on small matters.
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Controlling your cash flow

Cash is the money used to pay bills, wages, taxes and other expenses. How you manage this cash is critical to the success of your business. Efficient cash flow management can enable you to fuel the business with sufficient liquidity to keep it running smoothly.
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You don’t solve death by dying more slowly

"Don’t ignore your cashflow implores former Dragons’ Den star Doug Richard, who was speaking at Surviving and Thriving: controlling costs to boost your business, the British Library’s latest Inspiring Entrepreneurs session."

And despite frequent success the founder of bootcamp education series, School for Startups, is not afraid to get his hands dirty or too proud to take a  deal when necessity demands.

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What’s the best way to create new jobs?

Based on a recent study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, it’s by stimulating more startup businesses.

The study, High-Growth Firms and the Future of the American Economy, found that in any given year, the top-performing  1 percent of companies account for some 40 percent of jobs. Within that category, fast-growing “gazelle” companies (3 to 5 years old) make up less than 1 percent of all  businesses, yet account for approximately 10 percent of net new jobs in any given year.

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Prove your value and you will thrive

There have been expert panels to date and some of the overriding themes to come out of the discussions has been that it’s not all doom and gloom out there and there are still plenty of opportunities to be had for entrepreneurs. In fact many see it as a time of growth, as recession drives innovation, according to regular SBC contributor,  accountant  Jamie O Hanlon.

Many business owners may feel that such comments are out of touch with
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How to avoid social media meltdown

When internet marketing experts are asked for an example of how not to use social media for business, they usually mention the Habitat Twitter incident. 

Last summer, furniture retailer Habitat attracted a wave of adverse publicity by issuing irrelevant tweets in which they crudely forced themselves into highly popular Twitter topics. To add to the negative PR blizzard one of the topics included the Iranian democracy protests which were occurring at the same
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Preparation key to global enterprise

Innovation and networking are the foundations for a strong economy of entrepreneurs.

To create a new beginning for the economy, we need to innovate and we need to export. They go hand-in-hand.

So how do you get ready for international markets? It is not much different
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