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ISME, in association with Griffith College, created these resources to address key concerns raised by business owners during the COVID-19 crisis.

These below resources will be available through late August 2020. 

Topic 1: Stronger Together – The Tactical Toolkit

  • Enabling remote working
  • Banking supports and reliefs
  • A practical guide to government crisis relief supports
  • Q&A video with Naomi Butler

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Topic 2: Crisis Communication for Internal and External Audiences

  • Crisis communications
  • When a crisis occurs, what steps do you take?
  • Communicating during coronavirus/COVID-19
  • Communications strategy

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Topic 3: Analysis and Planning – Evidence-Based Decision Making

  • What does success look like?
  • Coming full circle as an SME
  • How do I continue/reopen my business?
  • Some reassuring realities
  • Google Digital Garage

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Topic 4: Optimising Your Supply Chain and Operations for Smarter Business

  • Optimising the supply chain
  • Practical things to do today for SMEs
  • Adjusting to the new normal

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Topic 5: Financial Management in Uncertainty

  • Working capital management
  • Debtor and creditor management
  • Management of stocks
  • Cash management
  • Dealing with the banks
  • Getting the most from your accountant

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Topic 6: Change Management and Innovation– new challenges bring new opportunities

  • Emergency Strategy
  • Response Strategy
  • Resources Strategy
  • Exit Strategy

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Bonus Webinar: Privacy and Data Protection in the Remote Working World

  • GDPR housekeeping
  • SMEs must comply with strict laws
  • Six things for understanding the life-cycle of the personal data you handle
  • Working remotely - heightened risks

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Topic 7: Reconnecting – Marketing to your audience post COVID-19

  • Tips for communication
  • What is a value proposition?
  • Product-led marketing vs brand
  • Branding
  • Top online blunders

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Topic 8: Demystifying the Tax implications of COVID-19

  • COVID-19
  • Firefighting – negotiating your way through COVID-19 tax supports
  • Strategising – succession planning, entrepreneur relief, retirement relief

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Topic 9: Leadership and Motivation – empower your people, achieve your goals

  • Leadership, caring for and empowering your team
  • A business needs direction
  • Agile & flexible leadership
  • Difference between leadership and power
  • Leadership and management – what is the difference?
  • Culture - implementation and execution

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Topic 10: The Power of ‘Future’ - Building a New Reality for Irish SMEs

  • Strategy as thinking and acting, not planning
  • Scenarios? Stories about what the future might look like
  • The VRIO framework
  • Revenue streams

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Further Information
Topic 1: Stronger Together – The Tactical Toolkit

This session focuses on the current crisis companies find themselves in. Its goal is to provide support and practical advice for the here and now. Many SMEs are focussed on survival, today we will hear from four key speakers on practical guidance to navigate these unprecedented times.

Welcome Address: Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive of ISME and Dr. Tomás Mac Eochagain, Academic Director, Griffith College

Enabling Remote Working: Nick Aikman, Channel Sales Manager at 8x8 and Stephen Mackarel, Managing Director, workair Ireland

Banking Supports and Reliefs: Catherine Moroney, Head of Business Banking, AIB

A Practical Guide to Government Crisis Relief Supports: Naomi Butler, Head of Tax Compliance, KSi Faulkner Orr

Q&A Video with Naomi Butler

Topic 2: Crisis Communication for Internal and External Audiences

We are in the midst of a global public health and economic crisis. At a micro level, businesses are in the throes of their own individual crises and are now making serious decisions in order to manage their operations and reputations now and into the future. The aim of this workshop is to provide SMEs with the tools necessary to inform their communications strategies and shape their messages to their stakeholders during this difficult time.

KeynoteNigel Heneghan

FacilitatorAoife O Donnell 

Topic 3: Analysis and Planning – Evidence-Based Decision Making

Data, data everywhere. There is no question that we are living in the age of working with big data. Spanning across businesses of all sizes, from a giant conglomerate working with regional customer insight teams to a local retail business reviewing their first Shopify analytics report. The prestigious report from Gartner, The Magic Quadrant lists business intelligence analytics as one of the key areas it tracks as a growing global trend. More and more businesses are differentiating themselves from the competition with powerful data visualisation. This strategy can improve efficiencies and allow for better team information sharing, communication and understanding. With more eyes and minds focused on data than ever before the Covid-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to analyse and your historical information and data to mine insights for better decision making in the future. There has never been a time like this before for many businesses where the focus can move from day to day management to focus solely on strategic planning. The only questions remaining are what does success look like to you and do you know the right questions to be asking the data in front of you?

Keynote: Eimer Hannon

FacilitatorMichael Bosonnet 

Topic 4: Optimising your Supply Chain and Operations for Smarter Business

If a supply chain fails, a business will fail too. Unfortunately, we need a pandemic to remind us that creating and managing a resilient supply chain is a strategic function. Furthermore, on average 50% of the turnover of any business is spend with third-party providers, products and services and we depend on procurement and supply chain professionals to spend that money wisely, recommend the best commercial decisions, negotiate the best value for money, mitigate the risks. If a supply chain fails, a business will fail too. This is a truism for all sizes of businesses, any industry, any sector. Strategic procurement is focused on doing the right things and doing them right, for the triple bottom line of your business, for your profit, your people and the planet.

Keynote: Donal Daly 

Facilitator: Ingrid De Doncker

Topic 5: Financial Management in Uncertainty

Financial management is the heart of an organisation’s success and essential to the long-term sustainability of an organisation. This session focuses on the objectives of financial management including maximising value and providing key support to management for decision-making. The SME owner/manager will gain an appreciation of working capital management and important analysis techniques while also considering the current economic factors and related financing sources available to businesses. These skills will assist you in exploring the financial environment in which your business operates and understanding the practice and importance of working capital management. By the end of the session, SME owner/managers will have gained insight into financial analysis, sources of finance and the measurement of performance and efficiency.

Keynote: Mark McEnroe

FacilitatorSuzanne Burdis 

Additional Resources:

Topic 6: Change Management and Innovation– new challenges bring new opportunities

Recent events and the current situation most businesses find themselves telling us that we need to be able to change and to manage change. Over the past two decades, change management has been one of the most widely researched areas of management, and there are key messages all business managers can take. Among these are typologies, techniques and tools that enable us to analyse our organisation's capacities, competencies and capabilities; innovate our business models; and recreate our businesses in ways that make them better prepared for future shocks by building what is known as 'dynamic capability'. This latest scenario can be viewed as a 'crisitunity' - how we respond to the crisis can offer an opportunity to build a future alternative that is more resilient, robust and response to future alternatives the environment might cause.

KeynotePádraig Ó Céidigh

FacilitatorMark Campbell

Bonus Webinar: Privacy and Data Protection in the Remote Working World

This workshop addresses privacy, conduct and data protection essentials for businesses facing new challenges with global remote working and preparing to return to on-site operations. While many organisations have enabled privacy compliance programmes to meet General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, many are still on the journey. The thrust into global remote working has posed new challenges, some of which must be handled by strengthening privacy, employee conduct, data protection policies and procedures. In this webinar we explore those changes, discuss practical options to implement improvements and answer questions from the group. Also, we review recent regulator guidance and court decisions that will require even more changes this year and next for all businesses for both their physical and digital operations.

Keynote: John Popolizio, sovy.com

Facilitator: Michael Bosonnet

Topic 7: Reconnecting – Marketing to your audience post COVID-19

In this rapidly changing business environment, you will need to adapt your strategic marketing plans and ultimately rethink how you engage with your market in order to sustain your business into the forecasted economic uplift.  Taking the right marketing actions at this time is challenging but now there is a unique opportunity to reflect, analyse and practically refine your marketing planning. The fundamental roots of communications lie in strategic planning, continuous intelligence gathering, value proposition clarity and possible refinement. This bite-size course is a must for management teams of small businesses who not only want to survive the current crises but who aspire to thrive once the storm has passed.  

KeynoteAnne Gallagher

FacilitatorsSíodhna McGowan and Orla Veale

Topic 8: Demystifying the Tax Implications of COVID-19

Eventually, our businesses will need to be restarted and our strategies re-thought. Taxation has always been, and will continue to be, a key player in our fire-fighting endeavours as well being a major influence in our strategic decisions. This session addresses two pivotal areas. Firstly, firefighting – negotiating your way through the myriad of COVID-19 tax supports, including the wage subsidy scheme. Secondly, strategising – including areas such as succession planning, entrepreneur relief, retirement relief and buyback.

Keynote: Tom Maguire 

Facilitator: Paula Byrne

Topic 9: Leadership and Motivation – empower your people, achieve your goals

This workshop examines the pivotal role of leadership and management in determining organisational culture and successful execution of strategy. Participants are encouraged to consider how they might modify their own current or future leadership and management behaviours; and to recognise the importance of continuous development in leadership and management roles.

KeynoteFergal McCormack 

FacilitatorDenis Wolinski 

Topic 10: The Power of ‘Future’ - Building a New Reality for Irish SMEs

Jim Power provides a macro-level overview of the global economic landscape post-COVID-19. This facilitated session focuses on the concepts, perspectives and tools associated with the discipline of strategy formulation and development. It places the concepts and tools within the complexities of undertaking business in this unprecedented market context to go beyond the prescriptive “toolbox” approach to strategy making.

Keynote: Jim Power

Facilitator: Justin Keogan