‘The future of work is flexible’

Are you tired of the long commute? The Hatch Lab in Gorey is to host an event to discuss the future of work and why remote working benefits businesses and their people.

Event in Hatch Lab on 1st of February to explore the future of work
Remote working benefits businesses, people and local economies
78% of businesses have implemented some form of remote working policy
Over 200,000 remote workers in Ireland
Roughly 2,500 people commute out of Wexford every day for work
Access to talent is the biggest challenge for Irish SMEs

 
On February 1, Gorey will host a major flexible working event at the HatchLab. The event, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, will help businesses, big and small, understand how they can implement flexible working policies to benefit them and their staff, and thus support talent acquisition and retention.
Long and stressful daily commutes affect not just workers but also their employers. Business owners are increasingly willing to encourage remote working as it has a positive impact on productivity, profitability, staff morale, recruitment and talent retention.
“By 2025, remote working will rival fixed office locations.”
“Flexible working also benefits the wider society and local communities,” says Emer Cooney, event organiser. “There are 200,000 remote workers in Ireland, and this number is growing rapidly. In Wexford alone, almost 2,500 people commute out of the county every day. Allowing even a proportion of these commuters to work within the county would reduce work-related stress, and benefit the local economy by redirecting spending towards local retailers and businesses. It would also alleviate traffic congestion on major routes, and reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, which are key state priorities.”
“Organisations that don’t offer flexibility will lose talent.”
Isolation doesn’t have to be an issue
For remote workers, the key challenge of working from home can be isolation. This has driven the emergence of a multitude

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/working-from-home-the-future-of-work-is-flexible/ on
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How to master the 5/55 email strategy

If you can master email rather than letting it master you, you’ll have more time to grow your business.
Email can be great for serving customers and listening to their needs. However, it can also drain time and energy and distract business owners and entrepreneurs.
Email is generally the source of most customer queries. How can you stay on top of things without email distracting you from the other work that needs to get done?
Reactive mode
Mobile phones allow us to respond to any message anytime, anywhere. But increasingly our mobile phone notifications are driving our agenda for the day. How many days have you set out a plan, then worked non-stop all day only to finish with none of your intended tasks done?
Constant notifications from email and other social media apps cause constant distractions from the work we plan to do.
Deep thinking
Tasks like writing quotes or proposals require a deep level of concentration. To get this level of focus, we need to work uninterrupted.
The statistics on our ability to focus are alarming. If we are distracted by a notification, it can take up to 23 minutes to get back to the same level of focus (Ref1). And this occurs even if we only switch away for 30 seconds.
Business owners are great multitaskers and get lots of things done. But this research shows that the quality of decision-making and creativity is really diminished. It can be viewed as skimming rather than genuinely working.
Try something new
Email is generally the biggest distracter so let’s look at a strategy to take control.
There is no point in telling business owners to work with their notifications switched off. How about a strategy that allows you to stay in touch throughout the day while gaining uninterrupted time every hour for deep-thinking productive work?
“Think of what you can achieve in

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-to-take-control-of-email-use-and-make-it-work-for-you/ on
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Designing an effective CSR strategy

There is a new movement looking at how CSR budgets can be spent more effectively.
It seems like businesses today are getting better and better at tracking return on investment. This is especially true when it comes to investing in IT infrastructure, training, or sales and marketing spend.
What is still largely unexplored territory, however, is tracking return on investment around corporate social responsibility spend, or CSR.
But there is a new movement toward looking at how this budget could be spent more effectively.
To be clear, CSR involves more than donations. It can encompass everything from employee safety, training, childcare, education and healthcare to environmental efforts and even taking stances on political and social issues.
The 2018 Deloitte Millennials Survey shows a new generation of workers with a different expectation of their employer. They expect businesses they work for to have a more significant social impact, and this has an effect on loyalty and productivity.
So building trust with employees through CSR efforts is an increasing area of focus but also requires a delicate balance. These efforts can often be criticised as either insincere or not going far enough.
“It makes sense to give where you can help the highest number of people, to the greatest degree with your money.”
Effective CSR
One Irish company recently set up with the mission to make improvements in this area, is ‘Effective CSR’.
The business concept of Effective CSR is based on the model of Effective Altruism, a philosophy which has grown out of think tanks in Oxford University and in essence is about applying an investment mindset to the world of doing good. If you are going to donate some money to charity, then according to Effective Altruism at least, it makes sense to give where you can help the highest number of people, to the greatest degree with your money.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/designing-an-effective-csr-strategy/ on
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The ThinkBusiness Brexit Hub

Are you prepared for Brexit? Do you need support and guidance? If so, help is at hand.
As the UK prepares to depart from the EU, Irish SMEs must prepare for the consequences of Brexit. Irish businesses need to understand and manage the risks of Brexit to their businesses, while also making sure they have access to finance. The tools below will help you prepare for, and manage, risks. 
Cash flow planner
Make sure your business has enough cash flow in the next few years. Use this free cash flow template to prepare for any market changes.
Sensitivity analysis template
This brilliant tool allows you to show the possible impacts that market changes will have on your business plan and your cash flow. It’s free to download and is an essential tool to help you deal with Brexit.
A sales forecast template
Another great tool that will help you prepare for Brexit is this sales forecast template. Remember, it’s best to prepare for change. Please don’t wait to react to it.
A brilliant business plan template
It is always a good idea to revisit your business plan and prepare a new one in light of Brexit. This excellent template is free to download and use.
The Brexit Loan Scheme
This is a €300 million loan fund made available to eligible firms in Ireland as they face into Brexit. The money will be lent at a fixed rate of 4%, the most affordable rate on the market. Apply now.

Related Resource

Prepare for Brexit
This is Bank of Ireland’s Brexit centre where you will find excellent analysis and advice from market specialists. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/prepare-for-brexit-and-manage-the-business-risks/ on
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What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT is probably the most popular analysis tool in business. It’s easy to create and helps to write a business plan. 
If there was a competition to find the most popular analysis tool in business, chances are that a SWOT would be the winner by a big margin.  It’s used by training consultants, facilitators and consultants as well as the people involved in startups, family businesses and major corporations.
Users love its simplicity and how it can be used to inform the content of a business plan, the creation of a new product or service or a decision on whether or not to enter into a new market.
So what is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT is short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
Strengths and weaknesses tend to focus on internal factors such as products or services, brands, prices, costs, profits, performance, people, skills and infrastructure.
Opportunities and threats should be externally focused and centre on markets, customers, sectors, audience, trends, competitors, economic and social factors, among a host of other factors.
Strengths need to be better than a competitor’s. Weaknesses need also to use competitors as a point of comparison but also a business’s ability to pursue a particular opportunity. It is often helpful to analyse strengths and weaknesses from a number of perspectives – those involved in the business (owners, staff), customers and competitors.
Opportunities should offer a business a chance to grow, become more profitable and/or otherwise enhance its market position. They should be realistic and not too aspirational. Threats are scenarios that could be damaging to a business through decreased sales, higher costs, loss of competitiveness or a host of other factors.
How is a SWOT created?
Very simply. Gather a group or a team together. Nominate one member of the group to facilitate and use a flipchart and markers. Brainstorm the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-is-a-swot-analysis/ on
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This is why you need a Power of Attorney

Most people are very familiar with the concept of a Will – a legal document which sets out your wishes as to how your assets are dealt with following your death.
But what if you would like someone to carry our your wishes, or act on your behalf while you are still alive? This is the concept of the Power of Attorney.
In Ireland, there are two types
In Ireland, there are two types of Power of Attorney. The first is a simple “Power of Attorney” and the second is an “Enduring Power of Attorney”.
“In its simplest terms, an Enduring Power of Attorney is where you appoint one or two persons to look after your affairs.”
What do they mean?
In certain transactions (for example property transactions), you may be asked to execute a “Power of Attorney”. This is a legal document where you give another person the power to act on your behalf (your “Attorney”) in all or certain elements of a particular transaction. Usually, these permissions are limited in scope or time – such as the power to execute a document on your behalf in a certain transaction only or, alternatively, to execute documents for you for a defined period. These Powers of Attorney either expire or come to an end if you become mentally incapacitated.
“An Enduring Power of Attorney is that it can only be put in place while you have the mental capacity to do so.”
On the other hand, in its simplest terms, an Enduring Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint one or two persons to look after your affairs, in the event that you are medically diagnosed as incapable of doing so, at some point in the future.
The important thing to note about an Enduring Power of Attorney is that it can only be put in place

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-is-the-power-of-attorney-and-why-you-need-one/ on
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Learn how to do finances in minutes

DoLearnFinanace is a game-changing tool for entrepreneurs. 
This is brilliant. I watched these short videos and now I feel like an expert.
I never really ‘got’ accountancy before. I had a blind spot when it came to finances. Now you can learn how to do finances in minutes. It sounds too good to be true, but seeing is believing. 
All you have to do is watch a few short videos and, within minutes, you will be able to create, test and explain smart business and financial models.
“DoLearnFinanace is a game-changing tool for entrepreneurs, teachers, students, advisers, lenders and investors,” says Prof. Thomas Cooney, DIT School of Business.
“The vision of the founders is to help create an environment where no small business fails (or fails to reach its potential) because of a financially naïve business model,” says Jack Foley, CEO of DoLearnFinance.
To get access to DoLearnFinance and Fablinker, REGISTER FOR FREE.
Watch the videos below.
Finance for startups – first steps

What happens when you include your overheads

What happens when you include funding and fixed assets

How can you increase your profits?

How to make sure you don’t run out of cash

How to assess your business model like a pro

 
Don’t forget, to get access to the Fablinker tool you just have to register here. It’s free to use. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/learn-how-to-do-finances-in-minutes/ on
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Backyard at Blas returns to Blas na hÉireann

Bank of Ireland announces partnership with Blas na hÉireann as Backyard at Blas returns for a second year.

The hugely successful Backyard at Blas will return to this year’s Blas na hÉireann which takes place in Dingle on October 4, 5 and 6.
Backyard at Blas is a meeting space designed to bring food producers together in an informal way to meet and share experiences and insights on running a business, and to offer support to those starting out.

Speaking about the partnership, Liam Sheedy, director of Munster for Bank of Ireland said, “We are very happy to partner with Blas na hÉireann to create Backyard at Blas at the Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards. We saw many Irish producers visit the space, negotiate and complete deals.
“Bank of Ireland has always played an active role in supporting Irish food businesses. The energy and passion that producers in this sector have for the work they do and the wonderful local Irish products they create is something we are proud to back. These producers source many of their inputs locally, making a significant contribution to the rural economy in Ireland,” says Sheedy.
“Food & Wine editor Dee Laffan will speak to the team behind London’s renowned Borough Market.”
The programme for Backyard at Blas 2018 is packed full of talks with experts across the industry. On Friday, October 5, food writer Aoife McElwain speaks with Pat Mulcahy about topics raised in Aoife’s book, ‘Slow at Work’. Other themes on the day include online sales – how to navigate this medium for the first time and financial planning for future growth, the decision is yours – making the right decisions for your business. The final talk is titled ethics and metrics and editor of Foodandwine.ie Dee Laffan will speak to the team behind London’s renowned Borough Market.
With four more

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/backyard-at-blas-returns-to-blas-na-heireann/ on
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My tax bill is due, and I need help

If you don’t have the money to pay your tax bill, what are your options? Also, what expenses can you claim back against tax?
If your tax bill is due and you don’t have the cash flow to pay it, you are not alone.
This is an issue that affects thousands of small business owners and sole traders around the country each year.
The annual tax bill, however, doesn’t have to cause you sleepless nights.
“You can pay off the loan as quickly as you want without paying additional fees.”
One of the best and most affordable solutions is to take out a small business loan with competitive interest rates and no prepayment penalties. This allows you to pay off the loan as quickly as you want without paying additional fees.
You can quickly apply for the loan here.

Related Resource

What expenses can I claim back each year? 
You are allowed to claim against expenses that are directly related to the running of the business. These include: 

Purchase of goods for resale
Wages, rent, rates, repairs, lighting and heating 
Running costs of cars, vans or machinery used in the business
Accountancy fees
Interest paid on any money borrowed to finance the business 
Lease payments on vehicles or machinery used in the business

What can I not claim back? 
Section 81(2) Tax Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA 1997) lists expenses specifically disallowed. Some of which are:

Capital items purchased.
Expenses for domestic or private use e.g. apportionment of dwelling house expenses if working from home.
Entertainment costs (any lunches with clients, coffees, etc.)
Any interest paid to Revenue for late filing.
All food and subsistence paid by a self-employed person.

Rule of thumb – any expenditure incurred which is not wholly and exclusively incurred for business activity is disallowed.
 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/my-tax-bill-is-due-and-i-need-help/ on
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