KEHLAN KIRWAN: Kehlan Kirwan reflects on important business lessons from four days of talks

Kehlan Kirwan reflects on attending business events across the country over four days and some of the most interesting aspects that struck him throughout.

Community is everything

At an event in Ennis, the talk was about how businesses need to support each other and help to bring about better things by working with each other.

Building a vibrant high street with open store fronts benefits everybody but cannot be achieved unless everybody comes together to make it happen.

Recently, the whole country was captivated with a Boeing 747 making its way to a planned ‘glamping’ village in Enniscrone in Co Sligo.

Entrepreneur David McGowan was rightly hailed as a business hero but it also showed the power of having a community of people invested in a project.

Presenting and pitching are not the same thing    

Presenting your idea is not the same as pitching your idea. A presentation is about informing, pitching is about selling.

Andrew Keogh, who is one of Ireland’s best pitching coaches, talked about how to convince people to buy into your idea.

“A great pitch will always beat a great idea for investment. It’s not good enough to look at other businesses and say that your idea or your service is better.

If they pitch better than you, you won’t get investment. If you don’t capture people in the first 20 seconds, they are already tuning out.

It’s all about stories, telling the best stories and convincing people that this is something they need. Use a real life problem or humor but get people to understand the story and they will understand what you’re doing.”

The ability to pitch is a skill all CEOs and employees should have alike.

A ’brass neck’ is just what you need

Having a ‘brass neck’ is usually seen as a negative in Ireland. In business, however, it’s just what you need.

At one of the events, I managed to catch up with an entrepreneur who had recently landed a major deal.

Key to her success was walking through the company’s front door and asking to see the CEO; if you don’t ask you don’t get. Growing a brass neck was half the battle.

There is no ’I’ in team

Too often we make the mistake that the CEO or manager is the only person that matters in a business.

CEOs merely steer the ship, employees keep the engines running. Being a leader isn’t about dominating everything, it’s about delegating and trusting your team to follow through.

That’s when development and innovation happens.

Write everything down

Every company needs to use a lean business model canvas. The LBM canvas can open up some real possibilities within your business and find the real model that could help drive your company forward.

Any number of canvas models can be downloaded from the internet and it will save you a lot of time wandering around your business looking for answers.

The model is designed to be problem- focused and visual. It aims to get to the heart of a firm’s customers, value proposition, and finances.

The past few days have been a great experience. I’ve been back and forth across the country twice in four days.

The business community is moving beyond finding its feet again and is looking to the future.

Anybody who moves around the country a lot will see businesses developing internal models to make themselves better.

That goes for large corporations and startups. Both realise that being lean allows a business to keep pace with the demands of the modern environment.


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