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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] => 2019-11-08 10:45:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-08 10:45:36 [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] => 29596 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2018-12-30 14:51:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-30 14:51:55 [post_content] => [post_title] => 2018 hghlights from IMI speakers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2018-hghlights-from-imi-speakers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-07 12:47:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-07 12:47:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=29596 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14099 [post_author] => 77 [post_date] => 2016-03-16 11:02:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-16 11:02:45 [post_content] =>

One of the most common struggles people have in life is speaking in public.

presenting 2

Source: www.webdesignerdepot.com

You may have always managed to avoid these scenarios like the plague. You may also be in a place where enough is enough and you just want to be equipped to be comfortable and confident to present without the all the drama attached. From a personal perspective, it can be sometimes easy to wiggle out of these stressful scenarios.  Sooner or later from a professional context, avoiding a presentation at work or leaving it until the last minute can start to impact your career or work life.

Where to start – start with yourself and your thoughts

Most people have the same fears, looking silly, what will people think, being forgetful, babbling or not getting to the point. It is really important to overcome these fears and understand where these unhelpful beliefs come from.  Once you challenge these beliefs you can make huge strides which will impact both your personal and professional life.

Understanding stress

Most people become stressed when it comes to public speaking. Surveys often quote that the number one fear amongst the population is public speaking. To put this in context fear of death is number two on the list. It is useful to remember the purpose of stress. Stress is a function of the human body designed to protect you, once you reframe how you see stress it will make public speaking such a different experience. To help with this reframe remember: FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. The more relaxed you are the easier it is to communicate, so find ways to relax before presenting.

Confidence

Helpful beliefs about your self is a great start to increasing your confidence. Always play to your strengths. What people tend to do is compare themselves to others and then they never match up. Comparing yourself to others can be limiting and damaging. Everyone has their own personality and style. Play to your strengths be your authentic self. Sometimes you just got to imagine that confident state and fake it until you make it can be a good strategy until it comes second nature to you.

Structure

Always start with the audience in mind. What is the purpose of your presentation? What would interest them? It is really important to capture the audience’s attention and maintain their attention. Here preparation is key. Have structure, a beginning, middle and end. Ensure you know what key messages you would like them to remember and find ways to make those messages memorable. Remember: what would you like the audience to think, feel or take action on.

Engage the audience

Many people would love to have the confidence to engage the audience but just don`t know how. This is about understanding your audience and meeting their needs. Build rapport, be brave and curious when it comes to audience interaction. Being able to read people`s body language and influence people will increase your ability to engage the audience. Remember, always put yourself in the audience’s shoes.

Practice makes perfect

If you ever learned to drive a car, you will know you didn't just drive automatically to your destination without guidance. Treating presentations the same will help you improve. Seek feedback from others on how you could improve and look specifically at what others do. Remember, look back, reflect on what you did well and find ways to improve. Focus on presentations as a learning experience to becoming an expert to presenting with impact confidently.
Corless William IMI
William Corless is an ICF accredited ACC Coach. He brings over fifteen years’ experience in general management, supply chain, team development and strategy. William is an IMI associate faculty and teaches on Presenting With Impact.  _____________________________________ [post_title] => “I have just been asked to do a presentation”... Relax and take your finger off the panic button [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => just-asked-presentation-relax-take-finger-panic-button [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-08 10:19:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-08 10:19:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=14099 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11950 [post_author] => 64 [post_date] => 2015-10-01 14:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-01 14:00:00 [post_content] =>
Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Group UK
Rory was appointed Creative Director of OgilvyOne in 1997 and ECD in 1998. He has worked on Amex, BT, Compaq, Microsoft, IBM, BUPA, easyJet, Unilever and won numerous awards along the way. In 2005 he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Ogilvy & Mather Group UK. He was elected President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in 2009 for two years. Rory is also a visiting professor of Warwick University and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate (D. Litt) by Brunel University.  He 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?

RS: "Think like a biologist"


IMI: What does this mean? RS: There is a dangerous tendency for people to look at businesses and markets as though they were pieces of engineering: and should be managed and understood in Newtonian terms. Today more than ever it's more useful - at least most of the time - to use the mental models we use to understand complex and evolving systems. biologist Source:www.askabiologist.asu.edu IMI: Where should we look for further information? RS: A great first place to start is by reading Robert H Frank's book The Economic Naturalist, and his later work The Darwin Economy. Nassim Taleb's Antifragile is a long but mind-reshaping read. The other areas of worthwhile study are evolutionary psychology and behavioural economics. These seek to understand how (and why) people - often unconsciously - make decisions in reality, and why this may differ from narrow and naive theories of economic rationality. Where to start here? Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein. And The Rational Animal by Griskevicius and Kenrick. Sapiens, by Noah Harari, Butterfly Economics by Ormerod, Adapt by Tim Harford and The Origins of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker would also be an essential read.   Rory Sutherland s a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place 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] => "Think like a biologist" Six Word Wisdom from Rory Sutherland [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => think-like-biologist-six-word-wisdom-rory-sutherland [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-08 10:28:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-08 10:28:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=11950 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8010 [post_author] => 37 [post_date] => 2014-09-04 14:33:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-04 14:33:32 [post_content] => Due to a number of factors such as technology and globalisation our day to day lives - whether business or personal increasingly involve broader international networks.  And while in the IMI blog we often consider our "effectiveness" in how we interact with and manage others but all too often we do not discuss the critical factors of nationality and culture. How do cultural differences impact on your ability to do business? And how can we make sure we are maximising our relationships with those in our network who may be operating with cultural differences to our own.   Erin Meyer is a professor at INSEAD, one of the world's leading international business schools. Her work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Singapore Business Times and Forbes.com. In 2013 the Thinkers 50 named her as one of 30 up-and-coming thinkers and in October 2013 British Airways Business Life magazine on their list of 'Ten Dons to Watch'. Her work focuses on how the world's most successful global leaders navigate the complexities of cultural differences in an international environment.   Erin-Meyer IMI: Based on your current work - if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business - what would they be? EM: Succeed Globally with a Culture Map IMI: What does this mean? EM: Today, whether we work with colleagues in Dusseldorf or Dubai, Brasilia or Beijing, New York or New Delhi, we are all part of a global network (real or virtual, physical or electronic) where success requires navigating through wildly different cultural realities. Unless we know how to decode other cultures and avoid easy-to-fall-into cultural traps, we are easy prey to misunderstanding, needless conflict, and ultimate failure. Yet most managers have little understanding of how local culture impacts global interaction. Even those who are culturally informed, travel extensively, and have lived abroad often have few strategies for dealing with the cross-cultural complexity that affects their team's day-to-day effectiveness. To help people improve their ability to decode the cultural differences impacting their work and to enhance their effectiveness in dealing with these differences, I have built on the work of many in my field to develop a tool called the Culture Map. It is made up of eight scales representing the management behaviours where cultural gaps are most common. The eight scales are based on decades of academic research into culture from multiple perspectives. To this foundation I have added my own work, which has been validated by extensive interviews with thousands of executives who have confirmed or corrected my findings.   The scales are:
  • Communicating: explicit vs. implicit
  • Evaluating: direct criticism vs. indirect criticism
  • Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
  • Deciding: consensual vs. top down
  • Trusting: task vs. relationship
  • Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoidance
  • Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time
  • Persuading: applications-first vs. principles-first
By analyzing the relative positioning of one nationality to another on each scale, managers learn to decode how culture influences day-to-day international collaboration and therefor avoid the common pitfalls. Managers have always needed to understand human nature and personality differences – that’s nothing new. What is new is that twenty-first century managers must understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before. They have to be able to determine which aspects of their interactions are simply a result of personality and which are a result of differences in cultural perspective. IMI: Where should we look for further information? EM: Read The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business.  Or my HBR article:  Navigating the Cultural Minefield www.erinmeyer.com. Erin Meyer will be holding a Masterclass at IMI on September 30th.  If you are interested in attending click here to register. [post_title] => "Decode cultural differences to suceed globally" Six Word Wisdom from Erin Meyer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => six-word-wisdom-erin-mayer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-08 10:50:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-08 10:50:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=8010 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Dr. Philip O’Reilly

Dr. Philip O’Reilly

6th Nov 2019

Dr. Philip O’Reilly is the Programme Director for the IMI MBS in Digital Business and a Senior Lecturer at University College Cork.

Related Articles

'Off the Wall' tips for early business success
2018 hghlights from IMI speakers
“I have just been asked to do a presentation”... Relax and take your finger off the panic button
"Think like a biologist" Six Word Wisdom from Rory Sutherland
"Decode cultural differences to suceed globally" Six Word Wisdom from Erin Meyer

Demystifying Blockchain: Sucking Ether and Spending Gas

Distributed Ledger Technology “Aka Blockchain”, is a hot topic among organisations at the moment and has been the subject of much hype. Organisations are now seeking to move beyond exploratory use cases and Proof of Concept’s (POC’s) towards scalable pilot and operational systems. Blockchain has the potential for significant economic and business effects. The Blockchain is immutable, meaning transactions cannot be changed/deleted once added to the Blockchain. This allows Blockchains to act as a reputable source of unchangeable, verified and valid information.

What is a Blockchain?

A blockchain is a tamper-proof, shared digital ledger that records transactions in a public or private network. Distributed to all member nodes in the network, the ledger permanently records, in blocks, the history of asset exchanges in the network. It is constantly growing as miners add new blocks to it to record the most recent transactions. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order. Each full node (i.e. every computer connected to the network using a client that performs the task of validating and relaying transactions) has a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically when the user joins the network. The blockchain has complete information of addresses and transactions. These can all be queried using a block explorer such as blockchain.info or etherscan.io.

To ensure that only legitimate transactions are recorded into a blockchain, the network confirms that new transactions are valid. A new block of data will be appended to the end of the blockchain only after the computers on the network reach consensus as to the validity of all transactions that constitute it. Thus, transactions only become valid once it is included in a block and published to the network. In this manner, the blockchain protocols are able to ensure the transactions on a blockchain are valid and never recorded more than once, enabling people to coordinate individual transactions in a decentralized manner without the need to rely on a trusted authority to verify and clear all transactions[1].

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that execute exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference[2].

What is Ether?

The crypto asset (or cryptocurrency) which the Ethereum network runs on is referred to as ether (ETH). Ether is used for paying for things on the Ethereum network, for example investing in a Decentralized Application, or dApps as they are commonly known, involves sending Ether to the dApp developer[3]. Ether’s value is determined by an open market where people buy and sell it for fiat currency. These exchanges can be easily accessed from any smart phone or computer using exchanges such as Coinbase[4].

EVM and Smart Contracts

A smart contract is a piece of code that the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is able to execute on the blockchain. Once this piece of code has been added to the blockchain, the smart contract itself cannot be altered, only the storage of the smart contract can. This means that there now exists some piece of code that acts as a contract and that is available for anyone to use.

That’s Gas

Programmable computation in Ethereum is funded by fees, termed ‘gas’, and a transaction is considered invalid if a user’s balance is insufficient to perform the associated computation. ‘Gas’ describes units of computational power in Ethereum, while ‘gas cost’ is used to denote how much gas is required to perform an action on the platform. Finally, the ‘gas price’ is how much each unit of gas costs in ether. The total cost of an action on Ethereum is the gas cost multiplied by the gas price. If the gas price stays the same while the value of ether increases, as has been the case so far, then the overall price of smart contracts increases. How much a specific computation will cost is defined by the complexity of the computation.

Therefore, there are many parallels between a Blockchain ecosystem and a traditional market. Information is stored and exchanged. There is a cost associated with transacting on the platform. Individuals exchanges value via contracts, automated via technology. Blockchain is simply the technological platform upon which all of this happens.

[1] Peters, G. W., & Panayi, E. (2015). Understanding Modern Banking Ledgers through Blockchain Technologies: Future of Transaction Processing and Smart Contracts on the Internet of Money.

[2] Ethereum Foundation. (2016). Ethereum. Retrieved from Ethereum: https://www.ethereum.org/

[3] Oberhaus, D., & Pearson, J. (2017, June 16). Okay, WTF Is Ethereum? Retrieved from Motherboard: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/okay-wtf-is-ethereum

[4] Coinbase. (2017). How To Buy Ethereum. Retrieved from Coinbase: https://www.coinbase.com/buy-ethereum?locale=en

 


Dr. Philip O’Reilly is the Programme Director for the IMI MBS in Digital Business and a Senior Lecturer at University College Cork.

Philip has delivered keynotes and workshops to numerous multinational companies and at leading practitioner events including the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland National Conference.