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Some Business Tips For Managing In Tough Times

Credit: Alejandro Escamilla – Unsplash

Here are a few short business tips for managing in these tough times:

  • Cost Control Reduction

    Compile a list of all your direct debits & standing orders for things that simply go through “on the nod”. Review the list & decide whether you really need all of them. Thinking of magazine & newspaper subscriptions, club memberships etc. Even if you don’t save any money, you’ll at least think about things.

  • Stakeholder Networking

    Make a conscious effort to contact & talk to relevant external stakeholders. People such as suppliers, your bank relationship manager, major customers. The simple act of staying in touch helps keep business relationships strong. In the event of you experiencing difficulties, you will more likely get the necessary support.

  • Business Opportunities in Adversity

    Though normal business trading conditions are effectively shut off, are there possible opportunities in the crisis? Ones that may not necessarily cost that much to pursue. For example – if you previously taught piano one to one, why not now do it via Zoom? Yes you would have to charge a lower fee per session but it would not only keep the small business going, it would also strengthen the relationships with your clients into the future.

  • Management Systems Health check

    If your business is still operational but at a lower capacity level, there could be benefits in carrying out a full health check & review of your management systems. Everything from how financial reporting is compiled to operational procedures to internal controls & risk management. Are there potential blockages in those systems that hinder a business when in full flow? By doing this type of review you may make your business more “flexible” so that when normal trading resumes you’ll be better positioned to take account of opportunities & growth.

  • Revisit Government & Other Supports 

    The impact of the pandemic crisis is likely to be felt for some time. So a grant or some other form of support that you didn’t qualify in earlier stages of the pandemic, may  now be open to you. It is worth reviewing all bodies offering support to see if there are any such possibilities.

If you would like to delve into any of the above business tips in a bit more detail or indeed any other business & management issue you’re currently facing then please contact me via the Contact page. Also, feel free to visit EFM Ireland for further details on “pay as you go” financial management services for businesses seeking the benefits of a Finance Director – but without paying an FD’s full-time salary.

Entrepreneur? Taking The Leap To Being One – Three Quotes To Inspire


Entreprenuer In The Making
Entrepreneur In The Making?

Entrepreneur – thinking about taking the leap? If you believe in the idea of a portfolio career & that independent working will increasingly be the norm in the 21st century, then here are, in my opinion, three great quotes in support of the idea. First of all:

What’s In It For You

“Being a successful entrepreneur is about improving society, adding things that were not there before. This includes personal wealth accumulation, but if that was your only target you are nothing more than a miser. The wealth of money is nothing compared with the wealth of being totally free to think, create and innovate at will, and the knowledge that you have added value to society. An entrepreneur is an innovator, inspirer, leader and creator who adds to the lives of customers, staff and shareholders. An entrepreneur’s life is full of excitement, energy, fun, friends and job satisfaction.”

                                                                                              Alex McMillan
                                                                                              “Be Your Best Entrepreneur…And Beyond”


What’s In It For Society

“We need, each and every one of us, to know that we can make a difference. We need business that respects and supports communities and families. We need business that safeguards the environment. We need business that encourages countries to educate their children, heal their sick, value the work of women and respect human rights.”

                                                                                             Anita Roddick


Your Guiding Compass

The Conduct of a True Professional:

“I will create value for society rather than extract it.”

                                                                                          Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business Professor

Of course these are personal to me  and I could have picked out many more but in deciding to do what I now do – setting up Smart-21 & being a business advisor – reading quotes & stories from many other people who had done something similar helped me in coming to more than one decision. Data & research analysis very definitely has its place but so do inspiring stories or quotes. As a result, therefore, I hope these give you a start.


Ten Questions

First Post Pic - Questions

To open the blog, I thought it would be an idea to imagine being given a series of questions by a journalist. Then, the answers appear as a mini profile article in a newspaper. Other sections of the website detail the services offered by Smart-21 & why. I wanted this first post to further build the picture people have. So here goes with the questions:

Where did the idea for Smart-21 come from?

Leadership, soft-skills, personal development, management as well as “Gets Stuff Done Skills” are key in the 21st Century where Portfolio Careers & independent working will increasingly be the norm. So, providing a supportive resource for individuals & businesses to successfully navigate that environment is why I set up Smart-21.

How did you come up with the name?

Simply put, the 21 refers to the 21st Century & the Smart is about being well, smart in developing the proper talents & skills to be effective.

What brought you to Smart-21?

Starting to read business books from my early twenties, which led to exploring not just business & management practices, but also the so called soft skills side. You cannot perform a role properly without he necessary technical or “hard” skills but being strong in soft skills (e.g. critical thinking) really adds that extra “oomph” to performance. This interest was further piqued when I completed a Diploma in Management with the Irish Management Institute as one of the core subjects was organisational behaviour. Combine all this with how I believe the 21st Century is from a work perspective & the need to provide supportive resources to people, led me to creating what I believe will be just such a supportive resource.

The most important innovation in your lifetime to date?

Without any shadow of a doubt, the internet. A great leveller allowing people set up businesses easily & at low cost.

Give us one of your favourite quotes

“To rely on youth…. not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” – Robert Kennedy

What books do you have at your bedside?


– “The Snowball – Warren Buffett And The Business Of Life” by Alice Schroeder
– “The Fix” by David Baldacci, though this is on a Kindle with many many more books!

What would you most like to tell the thirteen-year old you?

Three things:

  1. Think back all the way to the Stone Ages. Then imagine Mr. Caveman coming to the edge of his cave, looking out &
    saying “I don’t like the look of that”. Now if he had stayed inside & not had the courage to venture out, then where
    would we all be now?
  2. – “Life is a challenge – Meet it,
    Life is a song – Sing it,
    Life is a dream – Realise it,
    Life is a game – Play it,
    Life is love – Enjoy it!”
    – Unknown
  3. Finally, remember that your parents do know things – ask them questions. Teenagers do not have a monopoly
    on knowledge!

If you could interview one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Nelson Mandela to ask him how he did it.

Are you messy or organised?

Organised, definitely but with an occasional bout of messiness to show I can be… messy!

Finally, would you rather be a tiny elephant or giant hamster?

A tiny elephant. Despite its size, it would still be able to roam & explore.  A giant hamster would likely just have a giant wheel on which to run in one place. No thanks.

Keep dreaming!