Archive for the ‘Recession’ Category

15 years and my Fuzion journey!

September 11, 2015

Fuzion PR -2 015

I can’t believe that it’s 15 years since I handed in my notice to my boss (and separately to my ex – but that’s another story!!!) and 15 years since Fuzion was born!!!

I had gotten to the stage at the ripe old age of 34, where I knew that I could have run the business I was working for much better than my boss, and I thought with an attitude like that perhaps I should start my own business.  So I borrowed a laptop until I could afford my own, invested in a logo , some cool business cards and got the word out that Fuzion was open for business!!

At the time I was living in Tralee and later that year I emigrated to Cork!

Deirdre Waldron on the Cork Chamber billboard

I never looked back and am so proud of everything that Fuzion has achieved.  I know that I’m so blessed by all of the friends I have made since then and the talented people I have worked alongside, many of whom have played  a big part in the Fuzion story.  And I am especially blessed for the life Greg and I have made together in Cork, thanks to Fuzion.

Fuzion PR and Marketing

Little did we know when we leased our first office in Cork city that the wheels would very soon fall off the Irish economy and our services were deemed as ‘dispensable’ by many clients who were in fear of the recession. It was a very challenging time, so we rolled up our sleeves, we worked even harder, we dug deep and instead of cutting back we grew our business and opened an office in Dublin! When I look back this was a fantastic achievement considering the harsh environment.

We called it ‘storming the recession‘!

Fuzion Communications Team

So to mark 15 years I thought I’d give 15 things that I have learned about business, that have really helped me along my Fuzion journey:-

  1. Tenacity is the difference between success and failure
  2. Be absolutely sure you have the right people on the bus with you
  3. Treat everyone with respect, even those a**holes who don’t deserve it!
  4. Pick a life partner who thinks you could conquer the world
  5. Admit when you make a mistake, it’s the first step to fixing it
  6. If in doubt, always go with your gut
  7. When hiring, look into someone’s eyes rather than their CV’s
  8. Don’t work with clients where you care more about their business than they do
  9. Business is no place for negative people
  10. Do some pro bono work –  it will come back to you in so many ways
  11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there’s lots of it out there
  12. Work every hour that’s needed Monday to Friday, but treasure your days off
  13. Dress every day as if you have a photo call
  14. Confirm everything by email

And most importantly what we are doing today:-

15… Celebrate the milestones and never waste a good story about your business!
Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRHappy Birthday to Fuzion and a huge thank you to every single person who has supported us along the way and been part of our journey!

Dee x

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

We can’t let the South Mall go south!!

August 6, 2014

South Mall, Cork

When I was in college in Cork in the early ‘80’s I used love to walk down South Mall and take in the atmosphere of this bustling busy business street and I vowed I’d someday work there – that is of course, after I travelled and conquered the world!!!

I always knew that Cork would be my home and after a long and winding road now it is. I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to not only work on the South Mall, but that I own a business on this historic business precinct.

We have an equally good location in Dublin on Fitzwilliam Street and even though we continue to grow in Dublin, Cork will always be my base and the South Mall will always be where I am drawn to work – and often play thanks to great places like Electric, right across the road from us!

I know though at the moment I am seeing the Mall with tinted glasses.

Because it’s home to me the glare of all the “To Let” and “For Sale” signs fade into the façades of the buildings. But what must people think when they look at the South Mall now, when viewing the area as a location to set up a business?

With all the vacant signs, it’s probably the last place people new to the city would consider setting up a business. I bet sometimes some people think all that is missing is the tumble-weed – although there are weeds growing off many of the empty buildings!!!

Something has to be done.

Reports and studies are great but are they getting us anywhere? Is anyone taking the advice, recommendations on board? Where are the incentives to encourage people to move into the South Mall? Are the Estate Agents doing their jobs properly? Is there something more the business community could be doing? Is there more that the landlords should be doing to make their properties more attractive to businesses?

Electric, South Mall

It just breaks my heart sometimes when I see another business leave, just as strongly as it leaps for joy when I see a business opening. Thankfully there have been a few in the last six months.

Perhaps the business community on the South Mall should join together?

Now I know we have an excellent Chamber of Commerce and there is the Cork Business Association – but should we mount an organic PR campaign for the South Mall; where businesses pro-actively talk up this great business precinct and support the businesses on the Mall.

This could not only help keep businesses on our main business centre but also encourage more businesses to make the South Mall their home. We could make sure new businesses on the Mall are welcomed by neighbours, through social media, through one to one well wishes and the ultimate support, by doing the best to do business with neighbouring businesses.

The South Mall could once again become a real thriving business community, supporting each other and encouraging new neighbours.

So who will start the ball rolling………

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron is a Partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

 

Learning to Crash Land

March 29, 2013

Plane on the Hudson

We were passing some time in New York (we were there for the christening of my brother’s daughter) on a bitterly cold January 15th, 2009 so we found ourselves in the cinema.

We came down the escalators after the movie finished to hear loud sirens and watched as police cars, ambulances and fire brigades sped by in quick succession.

We grabbed a cab to Penn Station and the female taxi driver agreed to take us once we weren’t going in the direction of the Hudson – a plane had just crashed in the river. Her mum called on her mobile and warned her to quickly get out of Manhattan.

By the end of the short cab ride the incident was clarified on the radio – it wasn’t a terrorist attack. It was a freak accident caused by a flock of Canadian Geese and the Captain, Chesley Sullerberger, a former Air Force pilot managed to land the plane safely on the water with all 155 passengers very shook but all in one piece.

Thank god ..

Two days later we touched down at Shannon Airport and grabbed a newspaper to catch up on news since we had been away. Right on the front page we read about one of our clients, a hotel in Kerry that had gone into liquidation – not only did they owe us quite an amount of money but it was obviously the loss of a client.

What were we facing this year?

Over a period of the next few weeks we lost a few really good clients as the wheels came off the economy and budgets were being slashed by everyone – we had just moved into offices only a few months previous and it felt like our plane was plummeting!

Of course we panicked, of course we were worried but we dug in just like we always do. We had a great team and we needed to have faith in ourselves and in our ability.

I remembered clearly one of the lessons of Napoleon Hill in his book published in 1937 “Think and Grow Rich” – Have faith and believe that you will succeed ..he spoke about something that he called “The Secret“.

We have always adopted a positive philosophy, which has served us well – Two months later we won our biggest account, we picked up a few other accounts and later that year we started running training courses – it was an incredibly tough year including some other large bad debts but somehow we managed to bring our plane in without losing any of our passengers!

Since then business has continued to be challenging with plenty of turbulence but thankfully we continue to have faith and we always seem to survive, grow and thrive.

One of these days it will get easier ..won’t it?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork.

Why We All Need to be a Little More Mr. Blue Sky….

August 27, 2012

I was delighted to read Paddy Clancy’s article in today’s Irish Examiner.

I was actually starting to get concerned about my unwavering optimism and general good feeling about Summer 2012. While the world and its mother have been giving out about this terrible Irish summer, I have been waxing lyrical about how surprisingly nice the weather has been over the past few months. I’ve been getting a few strange looks, but I honestly don’t know what people have been complaining about.

Almost every morning I have managed to walk to work without getting lashed on and most evenings I return home on foot in mild, warm weather. Fair enough there’s usually a downpour at some point during the day, but if you listened to MET Eireann they would have you believing that we’re up to our knees day in day out in flash flooding, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Not the case from where I’m standing….what about you?

Now, the mandatory Irish chit chat about our terrible climate doesn’t really bother me, it’s as natural as a morning cup of tea to discuss the weather in this country. But to me it feels as if MET Eireann and very often, the media, seem to focus so much on ‘where it’s going to rain’ as opposed to ‘where it’s going to shine’ and fair enough, I know it’s science, but couldn’t they cut us a break?!!

My attitude now is just look out your window in the morning and take it as it comes. (Unless you’re a golfer  it seems– my father lives by that forecast)

The most concerning thing is the impression it is giving out to international tourists and to all of our lovely family and friends who have emigrated and who, aside from the recession, are almost afraid to give up the sunny climes of Australia and America for ‘depressing Ireland’.

We depend, more than ever, on Tourism for simulating employment and revenue, yet we shoot ourselves in the foot day in day out by giving out about the climate. The whingers are feeding that perception and as per Paddy’s article today, I’m not the only one who believes that. Donegal has clearly enjoyed a fantastic summer, and if you spent any time at all in Dublin and Kerry over the last few months you would have enjoyed some amazing weather and quite a few ‘al fresco’ dining/drinking opportunities!

How many times have you heard people say “We’d be the best country in the world if we only had the weather”. Well, newsflash: Ireland has an unpredictable climate and high levels of rainfall annually – get over it.

Ireland is a fantastic country, despite our current recession and perceived climate. Every day I experience optimism and positivity in the most unlikely places, and most importantly, a little bit of sunshine. I think we could all make a better attempt at encouraging people to come here, by complaining a little less and maybe taking some time to highlight the sunny days when we can. Don’t you think?

Gina Kelly is an Account Director at Fuzion

Gina on Twitter 

Gina Kelly operates from the Fuzion PR office in Dublin

August 10, 2012

Katie Taylor - Frenzy !

Like the rest of you the Fuzion crew ended up ducking out of work early and headed to Sober Lane (great name for a bar!) to watch Katie Taylor’s Gold Medal Winning Olympic Fight.

I must admit that I had never seen her box before these Olympics but my heart was in my mouth for that really close, nerve racking match as we all watched on the edge of our seats.

Of course it was fabulous for Ireland to win a Gold medal and it was extra special that such a special young girl did it for us, but I did feel there was an extra dimensiongoing on.

To me it felt as if the whole country had funnelled all of our hope, our depression about the recession, our frustration about the lousy weather and even our disappointment about the Euro Championships onto the shoulders of this girl and really “needed” her to do something great – we really, really needed her to do this, maybe in a disproportionate way? After the fight was over I saw a tweet by someone who declared the “recession to be officially over” – I knew what she meant!

The match was really strange with both boxers being very cagey and slow to engage – it had all of us quietly biting our nails but then I listened to the Irish crowd in the stadium and they were literally in a “frenzy” lifting the roof off with their sheer noise. I wondered were they even watching the match? – if they were as nervous as we were, they would have been in near silence. I worried at one point that they might pressurise Katie into launching right in there too quickly, but she kept her focus and did her job.

Were we watching more than a contest for an Irish gold medal – I wonder?

Well done Katie & thank you! 

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Is the Grind worth it?

February 1, 2012

Is the Grind worth it?

In recent months I have posted about the importance of following your passion and also about avoiding the trap of a job that does not provide fulfilment. Isn’t there a huge personal risk in letting that happen?

I received a response to one of these posts that really moved me and it did make me think long and hard about the grind of working for yourself.

Interesting sentiments Greg. Having always run my own businesses and taken risks from the perspective “you’ll regret what you didn’t do” this is something I’ve reflected upon a lot – At one stage I left a very cushy public sector job and we then went through very tough times as the recession hit.

It’s very hard to comfortably make a good living in Ireland now – fair play to anyone who can make more than they could in the corporate world once all salaries, outgoings etc. are paid. I’ve gone back into the corporate world and am making more than I did at my business at the peak of the boom- with none of the recent stress.

At the end of the day all that matters is your ability to educate your children and give them a decent lifestyle. I would guess that that guy at Guinness slept easy at night and his kids have never wanted for anything.

If you have a true vocation it makes sense to do what you do best – and follow that path. However most small business and startups are struggling – I see people grind away for years, barely surviving – and this is not a good place to be over the long term.

When I read this I started to feel a little guilty that maybe I am being a little disrespectful with my blog posts to all of those who have tried their utmost and despite everything it just still has not worked out for them.

I’ve been reflecting on this ..

If you find a better life working for someone else then well done to you – I hope that in Fuzion we are giving our team a good life.

If you find yourself without work then I would encourage you to take control of the situation and  try to start off something for yourself. It is hard but it can be great fun (and yes…very worrying and stressful at times).

But, someone somewhere always has to be the starter..

If you try and it doesn’t work … well done, at least it was your grind.

What do you think?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Twitter and the New Car!

January 16, 2012
Car Salesman
At least this guy was making an effort!

My meeting had gone well, I was in a really positive frame of mind so I decided I would take the first step towards possibly ordering a new car for the start of 2012.

On the way back from my meeting I popped into a car showroom just to get a feel for the prices of the new cars, the second hand cars and of course what I would manage to get as a trade in for the Santa Fe that had served us well since the beginning of 2007 despite the high mileage.

I first spent some time looking at the “premium collection” parked outside, the collection of two and three year old cars all in great condition. Hmmm … not bad at all!

I then dared to venture into the showroom to look at the new models and I must admit feeling excited about the thought of being able to drive one of these beauties at the start of 2012. I was waiting for the approach from the salesman to start a possible conversation that could have resulted in a sale – a few of them were busy at their desks, a few walked past me with folders and a few were chatting to other possible customers.

I looked, I waited, I looked again and I must admit after a while that I was feeling a little deflated as car salesman after car salesman seemed to decide that I was an unworthy customer – did I look broke, did I look like a “tyre kicker”, did I look like another casual browser who was just going to waste their time? In any event I ended up leaving after about 20 minutes having spoken to no one.

Those who know me quite well will not be surprised that how I was feeling at that moment was shared on Twitter … “I must look like I am broke, the car salesmen didn’t come near me” I tweeted.

Jaguar XF
I know …. isn’t it a beauty!

About 10 minutes later I received a call from a friend of mine who is in the motor trade who had spotted my tweet – he was initially concerned that this could have been his car showroom and that there was some issue with his customer service. I assured him that it wasn’t and that if my route back from my meeting passed his place I would have definitely have called in. Needless to say the conversation came around to me possibly being in the market for a new car..

I collected it beauty on the 5th January, it’s a beauty..

Who said twitter was a waste of time for business ..?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Are You Ready? ..

January 9, 2012
Phil Lynott - This Lizzy
Are you Ready !!!!

I was 14, it was 1979 and I stood there in awe in a hot, sweaty and packed City Hall as Phil Lynott roared down at us with his fist shaking .. “Are You Ready?“.

Of course he was greeted by loud roars from the thousands of rockers. Again he roared “Are You Ready?” and he managed to increase the decibels even more from the devoted audience.

Once more he roared the same even louder and with the crowd now in a frenzy the band launched into an incredible version of the song “Are You Ready” and lifted the roof off the place!

I was mesmerised…to this day it must have been my best ever concert moment and it cemented my passion for music. Thank you Phil!

So, start of another year and to take a lesson from the Phil Lynott school of motivation … Are You Ready?

It’s a time for resolutions and of course we all have the very best of intentions so I just wanted to offer you a few of our Marketing & PR tips to help you on the way – if you’re as passionate as Phil about your business as he was about his music this will be valuable ..

  1. Positive Intent – before I go into all of the practical stuff it is vital that you have this and that your let your team know that you want them to have the same. This should be the driving force behind every thing you do. You will be amazed the opportunities that come your way and will appear when you have this mindset.
  2. Get in the game on-line by being found – this is the low lying fruit guys. These are the punters who are already looking for your products or services. Test it – try a few searches and see how you perform (for example PR firms in Ireland should hopefully bring a listing for Fuzion). If you are not found for your priority keyword searches you should optimise your website and maybe consider a pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google.
  3. Online Communication – if you decide to communicate to all your customers, previous prospects and other contacts right now could you do it? If not consider adding an email newsletter service to your communications and let people know of changes to the business, new products, new services, awards and other news on a regular basis. This is easy to set up and it is easy to capture new contacts for your newsletter directly from your website.
  4. Social Media – one of my buddies gave me some guidance recently gently advising that I was too concerned about online. I’m sorry, when I see an opportunity maybe I just point it out until I see it being grasped! Online gives you an opportunity to amplify your existing efforts – In truth very people in business today are using the popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook properly. There are a few who are thriving by using these very cleverly – thankfully we are one of these and to be honest we could always do even better. Social Media Consultancy is a thriving industry because there is a huge appetite to learn by those who have spotted the importance of this communication medium.
  5. Good stories – one of our motto’s at Fuzion with our clients is Never waste a Good Story. If there is good news happening in your business, if there are interesting personalities, if there are changes that should be publicised and great products then get them out there with a strong PR Plan. Every business has good stories – don’t waste them. PR can be a very effective and economical way of getting your message out there.
  6. The Mirror – have a good look in the mirror for your business. Does your branding, signage, website and other tangible visible elements properly reflect the quality of your business, products and services? Right now take a glance at your business card! It may be time to refresh your branding and put your best foot forward.
  7. Advertising & Promotions – If you have pulled back on activity in this area then maybe it is a time to revisit this activity. There is terrific value to be had if you do this in a very planned way, securing great prices and also negotiating promotions and editorial coverage. The chances are your competitors have cut back on their activity – time to steal a march on them?
  8. Marketing Plan – Map out all of your Marketing & PR activity including your budgets for the year and share this with your team. Try to ensure that there is a constant stream of activity so that your business is always very visible with your target audience.
  9. Measure – Track the performance of your activities, giving each of them a proper chance to seed so that you can properly assess their effectiveness. Flex your plan where necessary.
  10. Be Ready – Be ready to grab those new opportunities as they come along – they will!

Have a great year and we should leave the last word to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Storming the Recession?

September 13, 2011
Perfect Storm

Navigating the Storm

At the beginning of 2009 I wrote this article for a few publications – this was written when “panic” was at a peak and we were all scrambling and desperately trying to find solid ground as the earth was crumbling under our feet:

Storming the Recession (Feb 2009)

Right now the country is gripped not only by Recession, but by Depression. The fear is absolutely tangible with everyone, as we face the storm that is raging all around us.

The money men are telling us to chase our debtors aggressively, delay our creditors as much as possible and cut back on spending.  That’s fine if we all existed in isolation of each other but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this approach will have everything grinding to a halt in a very short space of time.

Instead of this negative approach how about, rather that defence, think attack and work towards Storming the Recession?

Let’s work hard – carefully but positively; let’s deliver great service to our customers instead of just good service and let’s keep our eyes wide open to spot the unique opportunities that will present themselves in this unique climate – can we allow ourselves to keep an open mind to the many opportunities that are out there?

Your approach to Marketing Activity will be a key factor.

If you cut back on your Marketing activity where will this leave your business? What impact will it have on volume?  Will you fall behind your competitors, lose your footing in the marketplace and could it damage your business in the long term?

Also, if your competitors pull back from their activities does this present you with an opportunity?

Without a doubt business will not come as easy as it has in the recent past.  You will need to be more pro-active than before, as your competitors could well be chasing your customers more aggressively than ever before.  Can your business really afford to hide at the moment?

Accepting that the financial health of business may have changed you should re-evaluate your activities and seek better value from your Budget:

  • Advertising – Evaluate effectiveness & negotiate (never has there been a better time to bargain!)
  • Bring PR into the mix – Achieve valuable editorial
  • Promotions – Get your message out there through prize giveaways, often this can be achieved with no media cost
  • Direct Marketing – Communicate directly to your target audience
  • Customer Database – Ensure your database methods are in order so you can communicate economically and build customer loyalty through communicating information and offers
  • Cross Selling – Increase business with customers by attracting them to other services
  • Review – Make sure you are recording the results of your campaigns
  • Team Review – All your staff should fully understand your objectives
  • Web Optimisation – Ensure that your website is in order and that your prospective customers can find it easily.
  • Business Network – Increase your network of contacts proactively by joining and participating in business networks such as the Chamber

Storming the Recession is a positive strategy to deal with the current climate.

By delivering great service, operating as efficiently as possible, and by not hiding in the marketplace, you will be in a position to take advantage of the unique opportunities that will present themselves during this period and ride out this storm.

Have you stormed the recession?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

p.s. with the benefit of hindsight I would change none of the advice given except that Social Media has become huge in this time and I would add the full embracing of these free platforms this to the mix.


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