Author Archives: Brendan

  2 kids are playing.   They’ve a long piece of wood and a pin.   They take turns putting an end of the piece of wood to their ear while the other kid scratches the other end of the piece of wood with a pin.  The sound of the pin scratching one end is amplified at the other end – to the kids’ delight.   This scene is witnessed by a young doctor as he walks briskly on a cool morning through the courtyard of the Louvre Palace in Paris.   A couple of months later … Continue reading

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  So which came first – the chicken or the egg?   It’s a brilliant question – destined to cause creased foreheads and even headaches if someone tries to figure it out.  I’ve an answer for you.  But first I want to tell you about another chicken and egg scenario.   China recently announced that it’s reversing its 35 year-old one child policy.  The official line is that the policy was a success – by limiting the population and growing the economy’s output the per-capita income grew.   But maybe it’s not so simple.  Picture the one … Continue reading

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  Is it true?   Do many hands make light work?  Or do too many cooks spoil the broth?   Maybe your answer will depend on your individual inclination.  It’s perhaps similar to how some people subscribe to “fortune favours the brave” in contrast to others who think it best to “look before you leap”.   But enough of the contradictory idioms.  And back to whether many hands make light work.   If you are making a decision on your own then no agreements are needed.  It’s just you – deciding unilaterally.  If two people are involved … Continue reading

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  Have you heard of Mount Juliet?   It’s a golf course here in Kilkenny.  And I’ve been there a number of times – never to play golf – but to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.   Back in August  I was on my way there to meet my accountant for a cuppa.  I thought I was taking my normal route but for some unfathomable reason I took the wrong road.   Mortifying for me to admit – I pride myself on my nose – but there you have it.  I messed up.  No excuses.  We all mess … Continue reading

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  Last year I made a mistake.   I left it until mid-June to plant my sweet-pea – my favourite flower.   That was too late. All I could do was to give them lots of water, stem-support and slug pellets – and then hope for the best. Thankfully I still got a reasonable crop.   But I was lucky. Hope is a crap strategy. It’s actually no strategy at all.   So the idea was to improve in 2015. How was I to do so? Well of course Mother Nature can confound us. So there was … Continue reading

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  Get rid of a customer and boost your profit?   “How the hell can that work” you’re wondering?   “And this is coming from Brendan who’s always harping on about focussing on customers.”   No – I haven’t gone crazy.   And no – neither am I contradicting myself.   Let me illustrate with numbers.   Imagine you have annual revenue of €1,000,000. And imagine it’s producing a profit of €40,000.  It’s a low margin – but it’s on the right side of zero!   But wait – let’s dig a little deeper into this scenario. … Continue reading

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  One Friday morning at the end of January I was talking to a friend who’s a business owner – and who was feeling overwhelmed.   He was overwhelmed to such an extent that he wasn’t really looking forward to the approaching weekend.   All the work that needed to be done just felt like a huge weight – a weight that would be on his mind all weekend and awaiting him on Monday morning.   He wasn’t just having Sunday night blues – his blues were already in place on Friday!   Not good!   Do you … Continue reading

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  What do you do when you face a really tough challenge in your business?   Give up?  Keep banging your head against the wall and expect a different result?  Get creative?   Maybe medical researchers can help guide us – from their work on antibiotics.  Antibiotics are fighting a war against bacterial infection.  And there is growing concern in the medical community about our ability to, long-term, win that war.   The problem?   Disease-causing bacteria are relentlessly fighting back.  Recently I was listening to a medical report that said that there are some strains of … Continue reading

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  “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.”   So said Calvin Coolidge – 30th President of the US.  He was in office nearly a century ago – 1923-1929 – but what he said is timeless.   A few weeks ago Ireland played Germany – the worthy World Cup Champions this past summer in Brazil.   So here’s the scene : After the regulation 90 minutes we are losing 1:0.  4 minutes of added time are announced.   The team is wrecked physically and mentally after 90 minutes of trying to counter a superior … Continue reading

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  I’m guessing that once or twice you’ve shared my irritation at being asked to answer bad questions?   There I was one Friday a few weeks ago – answering a phone survey on banking services for small businesses.   The guy was asking me to what extent I’d consider choosing particular providers.  The first provider he mentioned was my own business banking provider – Bank Of Ireland.  I said the question wasn’t applicable to me as I was already with them.  He said that unfortunately there was no “not applicable”  or “they’re already my provider” options. … Continue reading

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