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My experience working with a wide range of young businesses, from complex financial software through to artisan food producers says, it is easy to get distracted by products and forget that the underlying success drivers are the same regardless of what you make or do.

girl at wall

A visit to The Climbing Wall in Sandyford, a 3 week old fledgling business already packed with happy customers on a freezing January night made me stop to think.  What gets customers in this case to a business with no marketing or advertising budget?  What separates success and disaster for a young business in the early scary days?

“The wall” is an indoor state of the art climbing wall in Sandyford industrial estate. So, your business is very different, but the same answers apply and will help you succeed early.
  • Passionate attention to  all customers, including the ones future customers. I dragged along a friend who doesn’t climb, and had no intention of doing so.  She instantly felt welcome, even though climbing up the wall until then was something she only does at business meetings. Your customers may come in many forms and will have different needs. See the world from their perspective – are they confused? Scared? Stressed? Finding it hard to park? At the Wall you feel safe and at ease. And yes, of course, she climbed. And is now hooked.
  • Create a happy place where staff are as engaged as you are in looking after customers with care. Your staff must feel like a really core part of your baby business.  Get them on board and make sure to find ways of harnessing all their bright ideas about how to make your project a success
  • Know your customers intimately before you start. Alan and Brian really understand their market, and are well networked. They already understood exactly what climbers want and immediately ran simple high impact events that have built up loyalty, traffic to The Wall and loads of Word of Mouth publicity, always the most powerful form of marketing. This also helps you create a sense of community and shared values among your customer base, so your customers stay longer and believe in what you do.  Happy customers come back.
  • Be clever about how to position and communicate what you offer: .The Wall makes canny use of social media and press coverage to get the story out in a more targeted and dynamic way than any ad ever will.  Network, but be savvy about how you use that precious network.
  • Know your competition equally intimately, know when to compete (and how) and when to collaborate. Sometimes collaboration is the right strategy – work together and instead of splitting a new small market you can grow it together, creating greater awareness by acting as a group and attracting more people to a new service or product.
  • Good team - make sure all the practical stuff is under control.  The top team here includes a marketing whizz and an employment law specialist.  They have team skills to make sure the business is set up on a sound financial footing, property and planning skills and expertise to make sure design and operations are top class.
  • Finally – do something you love. The chances are you will be very good at it!
  Moira Creedon is a facilitator and consultant in Strategic Finance and has worked with both corporate and public sector clients worldwide helping decision makers at strategic level to understand finance and improve their ability to formulate and implement strategy. She teaches on IMI’s Diploma in Management and a number of Short Programmes including the Senior Executive Programme. See our Spring 2015 schedules here: IMI Diplomas Spring 2015 and IMI Short Programmes Spring 2015 [post_title] => 'Off the Wall' tips for early business success [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wall-tips-early-business-success [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:58:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:58:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=8958 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20899 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2017-11-22 07:48:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-22 07:48:10 [post_content] =>

In our 21st Century Age of Science and Technology, the volume of information available to us is enough to make our heads spin. Finding market information that is reliable and credible is a challenge that often defeats us, and for many organisations, the cost of commissioning primary research can be prohibitive. Market Research is the only sector where the ‘Secondary’ should be undertaken before the ‘Primary’. This saves time and money by finding crucial market information, from reputable third-party sources, to inform our decision-making process. On the face of it, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

market-researchMarket Research is a process; it’s what we do. The frequency with which we do it is determined by our business needs, the speed of change in our industry and the impact of external forces on our sector.

Market Intelligence is how we use our research to inform our decisions, on an ongoing basis, as part of our strategic planning process.

Working with my IMI colleague, Cariona Neary, we have discovered that linking market research to established market analysis models makes it easier for organisations to get real value from their research. Meaningful market intelligence is found when the data is used to identify opportunities, as opposed to data being found to support a strategic decision that has already been made.

Discovering how and where to start, differentiating between reliable and spurious data, understanding how to use your data and building a framework that allows you to track mission-critical information on a regular basis is the key to real market intelligence. Here are 5 quick-start tips from my toolkit:

  1. Start with the Economy

Check unemployment and consumer confidence levels – these trends indicate the economic health status of your target market, and this information is feely available from EU statistical websites and national government sites.

  1. Reliable Business Data & Reports

The IMI Library should be your first port of call as they have access to several useful online sources. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre is an essential resource – if you are an EI client. Other business libraries that I frequently use, where clients are not EI clients, are the various business libraries in London that are free to use. Old-fashioned library work is cheaper than purchasing third-party reports that quickly become out-of-date.

  1. Online Sources

Reputable online sources include trade bodies, websites, blogs and magazines. I keep an eye on industry conferences where keynote speakers can often provide an insight that was previously unknown.

  1. Comparing Like with Like

This is where basic maths comes into the equation! Inevitably, you will need to do some basic calculations to marry the information and data from the different sources that you have found. Online maths calculators and Excel spreadsheets are hard to beat, though there are many software applications with varying benefits available online.

  1. Ongoing Tracking & Evaluation

Once you have identified the key market indicators that you need to track, the different intervals for updates and the KPI’s for measuring progress and success, you can create your market intelligence dashboard. Using a single-page dashboard means that key market factors can be reviewed efficiently as part of your monthly/quarterly management meetings.

Developing in-house market research capability to deliver meaningful market intelligence is a sure-fire route to competitive advantage, and, at the end of the day that should be the whole point of the exercise.

g_-024-1Gráinne Kennedy is an IMI associate  is an award-winning market research expert, with a background in international advertising who delivers data-driven communications solutions and advertising campaigns to client companies building international brands and businesses. Gráinne is a guest lecturer at the IMI.
[post_title] => 5 Tips For Turning ‘Market Research’ into ‘Market Intelligence’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => draft [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-tips-turning-market-research-market-intelligence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-28 00:04:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-28 00:04:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=20899 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16066 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2016-09-13 12:24:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-13 12:24:52 [post_content] => Adrian Funham photo2Previously a lecturer in Psychology at Pembroke College, Oxford, he has been Professor of Psychology at University College London since 1992. He has lectured widely abroad and held scholarships and visiting professorships at, amongst others, the University of New South Wales, the University of the West Indies, the University of Hong Kong and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has also been a Visiting Professor of Management at Henley Management College. He has recently been made Adjunct Professor of Management at the Norwegian School of Management. Since 2007 he has been nominated by HR magazine as one of the 20 Most Influential People in HR. IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business – what would they be?

AF: Every Disruption involves threat and opportunity.

IMI: What does that mean? AF: We live in turbulent times: times of both threat and opportunity that really test managers. So what are the fundamental principles of good management to ensure staff are happy, motivated and productive? Can you teach experts to become good people managers and if so, how? What is the role of money in motivation? And how can we engage rather than disenchant our staff? We know from futurologists that the world of work is changing fast, even though many predictions have not come true. But where we work, for whom we work and with whom we work are all in flux. How do you manage the older worker? What are young people really like in the work-place? What is the work-place and organisation of the (near) future going to look like? Finally, I address the (continual) management of change. Which strategies work best and why? No one ever said managing people was easy: but we can learn to do it better and ensure our organisation thrives and survives in an uncertain world. Adrian Furnham is a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place on Thursday 29th  of September. To register please click here.   [post_title] => "Every Disruption involves threat and opportunity" Six Word Wisdom from Adrian Furnham [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => private [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => every-disruption-involves-threat-opportunity-six-word-wisdom-adrian-furnham [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-12-13 18:22:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-12-13 18:22:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=16066 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6304 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2014-03-07 10:13:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-03-07 10:13:52 [post_content] =>

We began our Six Word Wisdom series in June of last year. Since then we have spoken to a variety of thinkers in the field of management and organisational development to ask them to condense for us their advice for business into just six words... It's building up to be quite a collection....we thought it was time for a recap. So what have our contributors said?

They have pointed out the importance of taking account of the individual when trying to build succesful organisations:

Build the Organisation of Your Dreams - Prof. Garreth Jones

Everybody counts - Develop the human now! - Doug Silsbee 

They have pointed out the need for all businesses - of all sizes - to take account of the power of big data and analytics:

Learn to compete with Data. Now. - Dr. Thomas C. Redman

And they have told us that we are not in Kansas anymore and that we have to stay agile and focus on the differentiated value of what we are offering:

Rewrite your playbook for transient advantage - Prof Rita McGrath

Develop a compelling customer value proposition - Prof. John Fahy All in all 30 words that say a lot. We'll be continuing to grow the series as we call on the expertise of those in our network.

[post_title] => 30 words your business needs to hear? Friday Blog Roundup [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-words-business-needs-hear-friday-blog-roundup [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:17:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:17:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => /?p=6304 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4779 [post_author] => 15 [post_date] => 2013-09-06 09:39:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-06 09:39:08 [post_content] => With the surge of new computing capabilities afforded to us through cloud computing and data analytics there has been a significant increase in the ability to source, integrate, manage, and deliver data within organisations. The emergence of a new breed of technologies means that traditional restrictions on data processing have been overcome and the resulting boost to information capacity means that all organisations can become more agile, flexible, lean and efficient The term Intelligent Enterprise is being used to describe those that seizing the opportunities presented. This has led to a demand for people that can make this “Intelligent Enterprise” a reality. The bottom line is that without the right skills and capabilities, new technological innovations will not only be of no benefit to firms but may actually become a disadvantage to those that are unprepared to implement them. Indeed, staffing and skills have been singled out by firms as the top barrier to Agile Data Analytics, with 61% of respondents citing them as a challenge in our recent report for the Cutter Consortium. So what can organisations do to become Intelligent Enterprises and get the most from big data? We believe they need to develop three main skill bases: 1. Technology support 2. A deep analytical capability 3. A savvy understanding of what big data can deliver Organisations will increasingly be employing not only Data Miners, Data Scientists, Data Architects, Database Administrators Business Developers and Business Analysts but those individuals that combine skills from those roles such as Project Managers, Data Visulalisers and Programmers Developers. [caption id="" style="float:center" width="300"]Intelligent Enterprise Skills & Roles Mapping The Intelligent Enterprise - mapping skills and roles[/caption] At the centre of the skills bases are the Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Data Offers (CDO) that will drive the transformation. With a skill set that covers all three categories, individuals are ideally placed to successfully lead their organisation into an era of extracting tangible value which is currently hidden in organisational data. It is from this perspective that we have designed the IMI Diploma in Data Business, which provides knowledge and insight into each to three areas. To find out more about how you can develop these skills come to our Information Evening for our Diploma in Data Business and Diploma Cloud Strategy in the Marker Hotel, Dublin 2, at 6pm on Tuesday 10th September register here. Tadhg Nagle is joint Programme Director of the UCC IMI Diploma in Data Business and a lecturer and researcher in Information Systems at University College Cork. With a background in financial services his expertise is in strategic innovation and emerging and disruptive technologies. [post_title] => 3 critical skills to develop if you want to work for the Intelligent Enterprise [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 3criticalskills-6 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:34:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:34:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/news-and-events/?p=2142 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11952 [post_author] => 65 [post_date] => 2015-09-25 15:20:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-25 15:20:30 [post_content] =>
sue cox
Sue Cox is a Learning and Development Consultant and a Tango dancer.  She has worked extensively with the public and not-for-profit sectors as well as the corporate world and has developed and led social inclusion projects across the UK. She is interested in how we develop our own potential and how we connect better with others in order to be more effective in our organisations and relationships. She will be a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference on 8 October 2015 IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business - what would they be?

SC: Want better leadership? Develop your followership.

IMI: What does this mean? SC: Many organisations invest heavily in developing and recognising good leadership but give little or no thought to actively cultivating good followership. Leadership is, by definition, a relational process however there is no leadership unless there is a leader/follower dynamic. When we focus only on developing leadership, we give visibility and importance to one aspect only, neglecting the contribution of followership and the untapped potential of the relationship between the two.  How much do we lose by doing so? A powerful illustration of what this looks like in practice can be seen in Argentine Tango. There is a misconception in Tango that the leader is in control and the follower is relatively passive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tango is complex, improvised and co-created in the moment and it depends entirely on the leader/follower dynamic.  Good followership amplifies and strengthens leadership; good leadership maximises the followers’ contribution. The quality of their connection elevates the whole dance to a greater level of performance. Misconceptions about leadership and followership are seen as often in the boardroom as they are in the ballroom. If you want to release potential in your organisation and be resourceful and creative in the way you respond to change and opportunity, the challenge is to develop everybody’s ability as both leader and follower, so that each can play their full part in co-creating the dance. IMI: Where should we look for further information? SC: Visit my website at Ballroom2Boardroom.com 

tango

Sue Cox spoke at the IMI National Management Conference on Thursday 8 October. This event has now reached maximum capacity however if you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email your contact details and company name to conference@imi.ie. [post_title] => "Want better leadership? Develop your followership" Six Word Wisdom from Sue Cox [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => want-better-leadership-develop-followership-six-word-wisdom-sue-cox [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:42:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:42:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=11952 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Fiona Buckley

Fiona Buckley

28th Mar 2019

Fiona Buckley is an IMI associate and expert in the fields of work behaviour, leadership, coaching and mentoring.

Related Articles

'Off the Wall' tips for early business success
5 Tips For Turning ‘Market Research’ into ‘Market Intelligence’
"Every Disruption involves threat and opportunity" Six Word Wisdom from Adrian Furnham
30 words your business needs to hear? Friday Blog Roundup
3 critical skills to develop if you want to work for the Intelligent Enterprise
"Want better leadership? Develop your followership" Six Word Wisdom from Sue Cox

Women are still guilty of not supporting each other in the workplace

How did we get to a place today that women still don’t feel comfortable advocating for each other in work? Empowerment for women is certainly in vogue and while the last few years in particular has highlighted the need for positive changes for women in the workplace, have things really changed?

Gender quotas, pay parity, saying no to harassment – the right things are being talked about – however we still have a long road ahead in our organisations and it starts with each and every woman.


Women helping women
Research shows that when a woman exhibits some act of kindness, it triggers a greater reward signal within women than it does in men. Therefore, women tend to feel better when they help other people. Research also indicates that women are generally more relationship driven and more privy to these aforementioned acts of kindness.

This begs the question of why we are seeing less of these instances in the workplace. The reason why women who display aggressive alpha female behaviour towards their female colleagues therefore still remains unclear. The gender confidence gap still very much exists and is the reason why more women need to lift others as they climb. As Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, is fond of saying: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’’

Why are we seeing less instances of women helping women in the workplace?
(Photo source)

Many successful women are still marking a reluctance to help other women and are guilty of still pulling up the ladder behind them or even worse; by actively kicking the ladder out from under other women. From displaying harsh behaviours in the boardroom, to gossiping, to being aggressively assertive, to not having your back, the list goes on. Is it down to competition over fewer high-level positions, fear, imposter syndrome or is it still attributable to that old trope of the “Queen Bee”?


The enemy within
.
After coaching many business women last year, I strongly believe inner confidence is still a root cause and the main culprit for this type of behaviour. An African proverb says, “when there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm’’. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy as woman are not supporting other women because of their own fear and anxieties.

The pressure for women to be perfect in this instant social media world is also a contributory factor. For those that are working mothers, the mother guilt is at an all-time high now and this is naturally spilling into the workplace. As a result, people are lower in resilience and they are continually comparing themselves to other women which is the classic hallmark of low resilience.

Another known theory is that when women are underrepresented in the workforce, they see fewer opportunities for individual advancement. This prompts the need to act in individualistic ways and to evaluate other women more negatively to eliminate threats to their career opportunities.

Unconscious bias has been high on training agendas and the awareness is certainly out there, but what are we doing to address this. Are we tackling our biases within our organisations and calling each other out on it?

As a woman in business you must continually ask yourself what you have done recently to help other women in your company and/or sector. If you have a female rising star on your team, are you supporting her and championing her as much as you could? Are you creating opportunities to let her shine? Are you encouraging her to reach her potential? If not, why not?

Be the women who reach’s down that ladder with extended open arms. Break the self-fulfilling prophecy and  be the difference you want to see across organisations.


 

Fiona Buckley is Associate Faculty with the Irish Management Institute (IMI) facilitating on a number of public and custom programmes, including IMI’s Taking the Lead – Women in Leadership programme and the Women in Aviation Finance Leadership programme.

Fiona is a Business Psychologist, Work Behaviourist and Executive Coach specialising in the areas of Leadership, Work Behaviour, Women in Business and Interpersonal Skills.

Related Programmes

If you're interested in women in the workplace, you may be interested in these IMI programmes.