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Small Business Advice Launch in Clonmel


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Small Business Advice Launch in Clonmel

  1. 1. Introduction to <br />The Small Business Advice Programme<br /><br />March<br />2011<br />
  2. 2. Background to the programme<br />Initiated by key business and political figures in the Cork area during Q3 2009 <br />A voluntary response by the business community to the challenges of the recession<br />Programme launched as a pilot programme in Cork in October 2009 with broad support from business community<br /> including;<br />Bord Gáis - CEO John Mullins on the board<br />Plato Cork - Director JJ O’Connell on the board<br />Cork Chamber<br />Cork Business Association<br /> and cross party political support<br /> including<br />Simon Coveney TD ( FG) - on the board<br />Billy Kelleher TD (FF)<br />Batt O’Keeffe TD (FF)<br />
  3. 3. Governance Structure<br />Governance Structure<br /><ul><li> based on a typical structure of a “not for profit” organisation
  4. 4. Constitution (“memo and art.s”) drawn up and approved by a Supervisory Committee ( “board”)</li></ul>Supervisory committee<br /><ul><li>Responsible for direction of the programme
  5. 5. Meets bi-monthly
  6. 6. Board members</li></ul>John Mullins, Eddie Hobbs, Simon Coveney, JJ O'Connell & Denis Kirby<br />Programme Project Manager John McSweeney attends meetings also<br />
  7. 7. Participation in the Programme<br />Participation <br />On a strictly voluntary basis by Small Business Owners, Advisers, Sponsors and Supporters. <br />Costs and Resources<br />All participants bear their own costs, Small Businesses, Advisers, BGE as Project Manager, Sponsors and Supporters<br />BGE providing resources to implement the pilot programme <br />Project management <br />Administration and IT support<br />Budget to advertise programme<br />Plato providing resources to train and support Advisers<br />
  8. 8. Adviser Panels<br /><ul><li> 3 panels of experienced advisers have been assembled;
  9. 9. 36 in Cork Region
  10. 10. 25 in SE Region
  11. 11. 25 in MW Region
  12. 12. Advisers are experienced business people who volunteer their time to give practical advice
  13. 13. Small businesses can tap into this pool of knowledge via the programme
  14. 14. Target to have 25 advisers “active” at any time per region
  15. 15. Advisers sign up to a Code of Conduct
  16. 16. Confidentiality
  17. 17. Ethical behaviour
  18. 18. Advisers complete a short profile which is used to match the small business requirement with the particular expertise of the Adviser.
  19. 19. Plato train all the advisers.</li></li></ul><li>Application Process <br /> Five ways for small businesses to contact the programme; <br />Online - via the website<br />Email -<br />Phone LoCall Hotline – 1-850-763-763 <br />Fax Hotline – (021) 4534341<br />Post - Small Business Advice Programme, PO Box 51 Gasworks Rd., Cork <br />Small Business Owners participate in the programme in accordance with the Terms of Engagement <br />Small Business owners agree that programme participants do not assume any liability the Small Business <br />
  20. 20. Application Process ( contd…)<br /> The Project Manager makes contact with the small Business Owner, <br />gets further information and;<br /> requests the small Business Owner to complete and submit a short questionnaire. <br />as part of this process the applicant will confirm acceptance of the Terms of Engagement <br />The Project Manager then matches the requirements of the Small Business Owner with one or more of the Advisers.<br />
  21. 21. Application Process ( contd…)<br />The contact between the small Business Owner and the Adviser consists of 1 to 3 meetings. <br />The typical duration for each meeting is 2 -3 hours.<br />The Adviser keeps a log or some brief notes of;<br />the discussions at the meetings <br />the nature of the advice given.<br />The Project Manager follows up with the small Business Owner after the Adviser meetings <br />Gets feedback on the process<br />Ensures the requirement of the Small Business Owner has been met<br />Determines requirement for meetings with further Adviser(s)<br />
  22. 22. Typical Issues for applicants<br />Managing fixed costs<br />Rental/lease costs<br />Debtor management<br />Collecting payment<br />Bad debt issues<br />Credit terms – small business being squeezed by their clients and suppliers any of whom are much larger. This is a particular problem for small service companies<br /> Raising finance<br />Working capital / overdraft facilities<br />Capital to grow the business<br />Management accounts<br />Many small companies particularly sole traders have quite informal accounting processes. While this is not a bad thing in busy times, it is a disadvantage in a downturn.<br />A small business needs to know how profitable the business is and indeed how profitable the specific products and services provided are<br />
  23. 23. Typical Issues for applicants contd…<br /><ul><li>Marketing and growing the business
  24. 24. How to increase revenues and replace lost revenues
  25. 25.  Developing business plans
  26. 26. To raise finance
  27. 27. How to utilise spare capacity
  28. 28. Grow into new areas
  29. 29. Supplier Issues
  30. 30. Renegotiating terms with Suppliers
  31. 31. Sourcing material from far east
  32. 32. Downsizing
  33. 33. How to outsource/contract out supplies/services
  34. 34. How to reduce employee numbers
  35. 35. Laying off staff and government supports
  36. 36. Discontinuing unprofitable products/services</li></li></ul><li>Feedback from small businesses <br />Feedback has been sought from applicants as part of closing out the applications<br />Feedback has been positive in all instances<br />Typical comments received;<br />Found meeting with Adviser very worthwhile<br />Advice received very practical<br />Pleasantly surprised by the experience of the Adviser<br />Got some issues to think about – may not implement all suggestions but glad to get them anyway<br />Did not learn anything new but was good to have a sounding board to verify on the right track<br />Good to talk to someone who is in business also<br />Got encouragement to keep going in a difficult time<br />Good to have a contact to bounce ideas off in the future<br />
  37. 37. Feedback from small businesses (contd...)<br />Small businesses were also asked their views on how the Programme could be improved<br />Questionnaire – suggested making more user friendly<br />This has been addressed <br />Follow up opportunities for networking with other business people<br />Have introduced the businesses who requested this to programme sponsors and supporters<br />Plato<br />Local Chamber of Commerce<br />Local / Regional Business Association <br />
  38. 38. Programme Status Update <br />As of 21st March 2011 there have been 196 applications for assistance<br />Most applications via website c. 85% the rest by phone and post c.15%<br />Geographic profile of applicants<br />106 No. from the Cork Region: 69No. from the SE Region: and 21No. from the MW Region.<br />Typical size of company<br />Most are small owner managed business with less than 5 employees<br />
  39. 39. Typical Applicants<br />A wide range of businesses have applied from various sectors including:<br />Retail<br />Fashion<br />Maternity/children clothing suppliers<br />Decorating supplies<br />Manufacturing<br />Kitchen manufacturers<br />Engineering companies<br />Wholesale <br />Construction supplies<br />Services <br />Equipment Maintenance<br />Childcare Facilities<br />Catering and Hospitality<br />Hair and beauty services <br />Web design /software<br />
  40. 40. Analysis of Applications – Cork Region <br />
  41. 41. Expansion Phase 1 - The SE Region<br />The programme was expanded to the South-East Region in May 2010<br />Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny<br />Again broad support from the business and political community for this expansion<br />All local chambers were very supportive<br />Expansion launched by Minister Batt O’Keefe on 10th May 2010<br />Launch was chaired by Waterford Chamber - Mr Tom Murran, President.<br />
  42. 42. Expansion Phase 2 - Mid West Region<br />Board asked to look at expanding to the remaining counties in Munster (Tipperary, Limerick & Clare)<br />keen to ensure that all expansion phases are done successfully in a controlled fashion<br />This was done with the support of the local business and political community<br />Programme Launched by Minister Peter Power, TD.<br />Hosted by Limerick Chamber in Thomond Park in October 2010.<br />
  43. 43. Questions & Answers<br /><ul><li>Thank you for inviting me here to give you this presentation
  44. 44. Questions?
  45. 45. Contact Details:</li></ul>Online - via the website<br />Email -<br />Phone LoCall Hotline – 1-850-763-763 <br />Fax Hotline – (021) 4534341<br />Post - Small Business Advice Programme, PO Box 51 Gasworks Rd., Cork <br />