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*Required Field

  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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  Recently I was on my way to a meeting with my accountant.  The meeting wasn’t boring at all – and included two lovely homemade coffees!   Anyway, on my way to the meeting I was driving around Kilkenny’s ring road – a ring road that has a footpath and cycle path alongside it.   A woman was jogging – and pushing a baby’s buggy as she jogged.  Now I hope the buggy was sturdy and well-oiled – otherwise she was risking dislocating her shoulder and/or bouncing her baby out of the buggy!   Fair play to … Continue reading

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  If you are in a room with 22 other people there is a slightly greater than 50% chance that at least 2 of you will share the same birthday.   Do you doubt that?   It would be natural if you did.  It’s counter-intuitive.   However, stay with me a little as I explain it.   If you are on your own in a room, the chances of you having a birthday unique to yourself is 100% – or 365/365.   If a 2nd person enters the room, the chances of them having a birthday unique … Continue reading

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  A few years ago I was in BNI – a referral-based networking group.  At every meeting you did a pitch to the members in the room – and indirectly to their networks.   One week I asked the people in the room to raise their hands if they felt they were delivering excellent customer service to their customers.  17 out of 21 raised their hands.  One of the 4 who kept their hands down intrigued me.  Let’s call him “John”.   John intrigued me because, without prompting , he offered the comment : “No WAY can … Continue reading

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  The problem with memories is that they’re often false.   Let me explain…  You’ve probably heard about what can happen to a “true” story if John tells it to Mary and Mary then tells Patrick and Patrick then tells …..  until someone tells the story back to John.  The story will probably have changed substantially.   But that’s not the only problem.  As individuals we revise our memories over time.  Totally innocently.  And we can do so with conviction.  As Elizabeth Loftus said in a TED talk in Edinburgh last year, memory works “more like a … Continue reading

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