How to hire your first employee

Hiring your first employee is one of the most important things you will do as a business person. You need to get it right.
Starting a new business is an exciting, and stressful, time for any new entrepreneur. One of the toughest phases that any new business can experience is growth. There will eventually come the point where you will reach the limit of what you can achieve as a one-man show. When it comes to hiring your second in command; you need to not only make sure you are choosing the right person for the right role but that you are in a good position to hire. Here are some items to check off your list when hiring your first employee.
Recruiting – know what you need
Full time, part time or just a few hours a week? Salesperson or office admin? Deciding which role you need to hire for first is just as important as the person you hire. Are you gathering more interest than you can keep up with and need a second salesperson to help with demand? Or are your suppliers not getting paid and admin is backing up? Perhaps you need both. Sitting down and deciding the most important role to help you to get to the next phase of growth is important. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of hiring your first employee but don’t hire because having a second salesperson sounds good, hire because you need them. 
 

Advertise the role
Choosing the wording and platform to advertise your position can be just as important as the person you want. Ensure your job description is as detailed as possible so candidates know exactly what they are applying for. Vague titles, such as Business Development, can mean different things to different people so try to add as

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Four unusual yet effective ways to network

Networking is evolving beyond windowless conference rooms filled with awkward silences and lacklustre finger buffets.
Awkward. That’s the word that springs to mind when thinking about traditional networking events. The term itself, “networking event”, tends to conjure up images of awkward interactions. A room full of people wearing poorly-placed name tags (there’s always one person who has the shame of a handwritten badge), desperately trying to make a great first impression, while hoping no-one has noticed that this is their third trip to the wine table in less than an hour.
Whether you love it or loathe it, networking is a necessity, and the importance of having professional contacts in a connected sector cannot be underestimated. Leveraging the relationships you have, both professionally and personally, can improve business alliances, increase sales and create job opportunities, where they may not have existed previously.
Thankfully, networking is evolving beyond windowless conference rooms filled with awkward silences and lacklustre finger buffets – cheese and pineapple on a cocktail stick anyone? It’s not 1992, guys. Today, networking can be done in a variety of ways, and we’ve outlined four strategies you can use to expand your professional circle, without ever having to wear an adhesive sticker again.
The gym
Whether it’s your comrades in CrossFit, your fellow pedal pushers in a spin class or the people you share a nod and smile with on the gym floor, the place where you work out can sometimes provide a better environment to make connections than the place where you work.
So, yes, you may be more focused on obtaining your PB (personal best) rather than working on a BP (business plan), but that’s not to say you can’t mix a little business with leisure. 
Whether it’s grabbing a smoothie after a workout or chatting to your spotter about challenges you face outside of

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Seven signs you’re a workaholic

Do you skip holidays, shun hobbies or constantly check emails on your work phone? If the answer is yes, you could be addicted to your job. 
If you are starting or growing or running a business, it is often impossible to avoid long hours and high levels of pressure. However, this kind of stress isn’t good, no matter how ‘macho’ it is perceived to be. Below are seven signs you may be harming your most valuable asset – your health.
1.    You bring your job home
Passion and dedication are key elements to success in any role. However, it’s also important to have a place away from work where we can unwind; this is usually found at home. While it may sometimes be necessary to bring a piece of work home when a deadline is approaching, when a person starts doing it on a regular basis it could be a sign, they are addicted to their job.  
2.    Not being in work makes you anxious 
Nerves can be good; they can keep you sharp and are a good indication that you care about what you’re doing. However, if you experience anxiety simply because you are away from your desk and are unable to enjoy yourself after hours, there’s a good chance you’re a workaholic. 
3.    You skip holidays 
It’s great to be able to say you love your job, but everyone needs a break now and then. Of course, getting time off can sometimes prove tricky, but if you actively avoid taking holidays instead of more work, you could have a problem.

4.    You don’t take sick days
Having a clean slate where it comes to sick days is commendable. However, if working through an illness puts your health or that of others at risk, you may well be addicted to your job. 
5.

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Agri Life – the pulse of a farming nation

‘Younger farmers are more ambitious, with three in five (61%) of those aged under 50 planning to grow the business over the coming years’ – Dr Loretta O’Sullivan.
Four in ten (43%) farmers plan to expand their farms over the next one to three years, with a similar number (44%) indicating that they would prefer the farm to remain the same size, and 13% intending to scale down.
New research, conducted for Bank of Ireland’s ‘Agri Pulse’, surveyed farmers on a range of topics including farm output, input costs, market prices, their investment plans and business ambitions.
One in four farmers (25%) expect to see an increase in output over the next 12 months, with 62% expecting no change. One in three (31%) saw an increase in farm output over the past 12 months, with half (52%) seeing the same output.

More investment
The Agri Pulse points to broadly positive sentiment among the farmers that participated in the study. One in four (24%) expect to increase investment in the farm in the next 12 months, with 59% keeping the same level. Replacing and upgrading buildings, equipment and vehicles and purchasing livestock are the main focus, with investment in new farm buildings, land and equipment and vehicles also cited (especially by dairy farmers). The majority plan on spending up to €50,000.
“The results show that a large number of farming businesses are on a growth track. While most of those planning on expanding over the next one to three years are likely to do so cautiously, the rest are set to actively pursue opportunities to grow. Younger farmers are more ambitious, with three in five (61%) of those aged under 50 planning to grow the business over the coming years,” says Dr Loretta O’Sullivan, group chief economist, Bank of Ireland.

The pressure points
The data points to some pressures on the input

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Pink Kong’s great adventure

‘We are passionate about the content we are developing and believe our work can compete on the international stage’ – Niamh Herrity.
Dublin animation company, Pink Kong Studios, was co-founded in 2014 by producer Niamh Herrity and creative director Aoífe Doyle. Here, Niamh Herrity talks about building a business in one of the most creative, yet competitive, industries in the world.
Our business idea was to build a scaled, commercially strong business producing high-end animated content for worldwide viewers. 
This past year has been great. I won a Dublin City Women in Business Network ‘High Potential Business’ award. The company was shortlisted in the Bank of Ireland national startup awards in two different categories, and our short film ‘Meanwhile on the train’ won awards on the international film festival circuit.
We’ve just completed a short film, ‘Urban Tails’, commissioned by RTÉ Animated Short Schemes to be aired Autumn 2016. And we are really excited to have been awarded funding from The Irish Film Board to do a short film which is currently in preproduction.  
Being accepted into Cartoon Forum is an excellent way to get your project in front of the eyes of the industry. We had previously applied without success; the competition is fierce so that disappointed us in the past. However, we kept going, building on our ideas and are delighted to be pitching this year.
I think whenever there are setbacks you should allow yourself to take that moment to be disappointed; it is human nature. Consider it and then move on. Life is full of hurdles, so you just need to learn how to take it on board, make adjustments and not get too bogged down by it. Day to day stress is different to ‘setback’ stress. Planning your day and setting tasks helps combat the stress of the things you need

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Are these Ireland’s friendliest businesses?

The Friendly Business Awards are organised and hosted by Junior Chambers Ireland Dublin. Here we talk to some of the winners about their journeys so far, and what it means to be a ‘friendly business’.

Counter Culture: Overall Winner
The initial idea for Counter Culture, a trendy restaurant on Dublin’s Mercer Street specialising in healthy food, came while owner Ronan Ryan was in the States. “I visited a restaurant in Washington DC called ‘The Protein Bar’ and was blown away by the concept,” he explains. While the concept was not directly transferable to Dublin, he liked the idea of offering Irish consumers a healthy alternative to salads. “I liked the idea of offering people a hot, substantial food offering as opposed to the usual salad boxes.”
Like the other businesses who were honoured, a customer-focused approach to doing things has been a key ingredient to Counter Culture’s success. “Encouraging staff to get to know customers is the primary focus. Once you get beyond ‘weather chat’ it’s plain sailing after that.”
Ronan (grey shirt) is pictured with MC for the event, Maria Walsh; Chambers Ireland Dublin President, Ronan Neacy; Pamela Flood; and Michael McLoughlin, Head of Business Banking for Dublin Central. 

Bodyfirst Nutrition: Winner – Digital Experience 
“I’ve always been into training and taking supplements, all the way back to when I was in college,” says Ray Shah, owner of Bodyfirst Nutrition (pictured in the blue suit).  
In 2011 the former reality TV star and radio host started taking his training seriously and began purchasing supplements in a shop on the Southside of the city where his girlfriend worked. “I was living in Raheny, and one day I asked myself; why am I driving to the Southside of the city to buy this stuff? I was driving by Clontarf and could see big guys coming out of the

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Avoid these mistakes when growing a business

Starting a business is a good thing, but success is not always guaranteed.
In June 2016, Niall McGarry, founder of Maximum Media expressed his frustration about Ireland’s startup culture and the notion that just because a new company raises money, it is seen as a success. 
“Startups: Getting funding is not success! Success is attained through proving your business model by achieving sustainable profitability,” he said on Twitter. 
He went on to warn that new companies shouldn’t ‘celebrate’ raising funds because raising money is not proof of a business model. 
“People should look to create a business not a startup,” he declared.
McGarry, himself a successful business person, is, of course, correct.
Eleanor McEvoy, CEO of Budget Energy Northern Ireland says that success in business is all about the balance sheet, it’s about making money and having sustainable cash flow. 
“You have to remember that success in business is all the bottom line. It’s about making money, not feeding your self-image. If it’s ego you are after, you’d be better off doing something else.”
While running a business can be rewarding, for most, it is an experience fraught with threats. A new business is most vulnerable during its first few years of growing pains. 
Below are five ways to give your business the best chance of growth. 

Choose your partner (s) carefully
It’s a good idea to go into business with another person. If they are your friend or a family member, make sure everyone knows what’s involved and what could happen before you start. Many businesses have been started by siblings, and many families have ‘rifts’ as a result. 
Sign an agreement that sets out the rights and obligations of each partner. You may trust your business partner at the start, but things can change quite quickly as the firm either starts making money or losing money. 
READ MORE: Hire the right people.
Set a vision 
What

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Exporting from Ireland? Help is at hand

Does your business have ambitions to export? If so, this programme could be just the ticket.
The Irish Exporters Association’s, in collaboration with InterTradeIreland, is seeking to recruit 20 new SMEs for its Export Knowledge Programme.
The Export Knowledge Programme’s primary aim is to improve an SME’s ability to export.
The programme takes selected participants through a “journey to improve their capability to export into existing and new markets”.

20 companies from varying sectors take part each year.
The main partners are ABP Food Group, DHL, Euler Hermes, and PwC along with Bord Bia and the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs.
For more information contact sineadbranigan@irishexporters.ie.
 
READ: Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters’ Association on planning post-Brexit.
 
YOU MAY FIND USEFUL: Intertrade Ireland’s Brexit Factsheet for Business.

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Genesis – an Irish software firm with global ambitions

‘Our software isn’t just about saving hospitals time and money, it’s about improving the patient experience.’
Irish software firm, Genesis VMI, says it saves the NHS millions of pounds each year and wants to do the same for hospitals in the U.S. and Ireland.
Genesis managing director Noel O’Hanlon says while Ireland is a market the firm would like to enter, his main target is the States.
The software that Genesis provides allows hospitals (and its suppliers) to monitor hospital stock in real time, thus allowing hospitals to carry less stock.
“Our system also works very well if there are product recalls,” says O’Hanlon. “In the event of a recall the process is automated. The hospital knows exactly when and where any of the products were used and is able to act with accuracy.”
The company is currently working with 17 hospitals in the UK and is targeted to add another 25 this year. Plymouth Hospital – which helped develop the system with Genesis – has estimated an annual saving of £1 million from a previous spend of £4.9 million.
The difficult Irish market
Despite securing (and growing) a customer base in the UK, Genesis says it’s proving difficult to enter the Irish market.
“The Irish health service tends to have fragmented decision-making, so it’s a bit more difficult here, but, as I say, we’re confident it will eventually come on board,” says O’Hanlon.
“If it was used here, I think the Irish healthcare system could save up to €50 million per year.”
 

Success story
Genesis has annual revenues of €1.2 million. Revenue for 2017 is projected to be over €10 million.
“Genesis is a big Irish success story,” says O’Hanlon. “We’ve had excellent support from Enterprise Ireland and our goal is to target the 6,000 plus hospitals in the U.S.”
“Healthcare costs are going up all the time and pressure is coming on

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‘Nature’s playground is my boardroom’

A business life full of adventure. We meet Ronan O’Connor from Ardmore Adventures in Waterford. 
Ronan O’Connor set up Ardmore Adventures in June 2009.  His background spans both lifeguarding and water sports activities. He is one of the most experienced lifeguard instructors in Ireland and has been teaching and coaching all aspects of lifesaving since 1996. O’Connor was a beach lifeguard for seven years and has competed for Cork at both national and international level as well as coaching subsequent competitors to become national champions.

A true pioneer for the outdoor life, he wants to make it easy for everybody to access and experience the Irish outdoors.
‘I love teaching and want to introduce people to the outdoors – it’s a free resource, and I’d like to see more people get out and try the activities in their local area.’
Ardmore Adventures is located next to the beach in picturesque Ardmore Bay in Waterford. It offers adventure activities in unspoilt natural locations across Waterford and Cork. Activities include rock climbing, sea kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, archery, team building, lifeguard and first aid courses.
It’s a seasonal business, and during the busiest time – summer –there is ten staff working at Ardmore. Outside the summer season, O’Connor does a lot of work training lifeguards, kayak instructors and first aid. He also travels around Europe to teach instructor training. 

Getting the word out
O’Connor’s primary sales tools are his local business peers. A lot of business is referred his way from the hotels, B&Bs and the local tourist office.  Equally, Tripadvisor has been an active source of referrals for the business.
He has a website, blog, YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter accounts but admits it can be difficult to keep everything updated. Over the years they have been featured on RTÉ’s Nationwide, No Frontiers and The Holiday Show.  
Recently they struck

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