Communicating key policies to staff is vital to any business
Question: I employ a large number of migrant workers from Eastern Europe, and many of them have only a limited grasp of English. What action must I take to ensure that these employees know my company’s key policies?
Supply services |or produce goods which are vital
Question: Now that the Northern Ireland economy has slipped into recession, what can we do to maximise the survival chances of our company?
Taking payment online need hold no fear for businesses
QUESTION: Can you advise on the options available for accepting online payments via my business website?
Research potential export markets before committing
QUESTION: I want to explore export opportunities for my business. Can you advise on how to go about researching overseas markets?
How to tackle firms breaching contracts
QUESTION: I’ve heard that the credit crunch has meant that, intentionally or not, companies are increasingly breaking their contracts. How can they do this and legally where do I stand if this happens to me in my business?
Protecting your key people is always a worthwhile move
QUESTION: What sort of plans should I be looking to put in place to protect my business from unforeseen events?
A positive attitude is your best asset during a recession
QUESTION: Credit is really tight, business risks are increasing, investment is stalling, inflation is rising, asset values are falling. What is a business leader to do?
Connecting with audience is key to online marketing
QUESTION: Why do so few people read the e-mail newsletters which we circulate to the customers of our manufacturing business as part of our marketing campaign?
Getting the best from your website is vital for firms
QUESTION: I’ve recently launched a new website for my business and would like some advice on getting the best from it.
‘Energy champion’ can help cut costs
Question: I’m concerned about the impact of rising energy costs on my business. What can I do to reduce my use of energy? Sam Knox, a member of Invest NI's sustainable development team, replies: There are several ways you can reduce your business energy bills and carbon emissions, including designing more efficient processes and changing employee behaviour. You could also save money by switching to alternative energy sources.
Scenarios can help prepare businesses for times of change
QUESTION: I run a small but thriving business. With the current ‘credit crunch’ and so much focus on climate change and rocketing fuel prices, I am concerned about what the future might have in store for business owners such as myself. How can I plan for the future?
Innovation is the key to improving your business
Question: With the business climate deteriorating, I want to ensure that I am running my business to optimum efficiency. Have you any advice?
Small firms should be proactive in bid to beat credit crunch
QUESTION: How do you expand your business within the current economic climate? Harry Parkinson, managing director of Close Invoice Finance (Ireland), replies: Although there's no denying that most SMEs across the UK and Ireland are feeling the pinch of the credit crunch, it's certainly not all doom and gloom. A recent survey showed that more than half of SMEs polled expect their businesses to expand over the next 12 months, and many of them don't feel that the market slowdown will directly impact their plans for growth.
Development of new products is crucial to business growth
QUESTION: I have a product that is selling very well at the moment. Should I invest in developing a new one or keep my focus on the one I already have?
Check website for working hours rules
QUESTION: Can you advise on regulations surrounding holidays, rest breaks and working hours relating to staff?
Cream of the crop in the business world
Learning to succeed in the public sector tendering process
QUESTION: I’d love to have a go at tendering for public sector contracts, but I don’t know if my company would make the grade. Can your organisation offer any help?
Have a plan to deal with those who use IT to spy on you
QUESTION: I read that IT security breaches are becoming more common. What basic steps can I take to secure my IT systems?
Options to consider as retirement looms
QUESTION: I am approaching retirement and confused by the various options on offer. Can you explain what the main alternatives are?
Business Opinion: Golden era beckons for Northern Ireland tourism
Canadian exploration company Dalradian Resources Inc has announced it's going to start digging a little deeper for gold in Gortin, Co Tyrone.
John Henderson Holdins Ltd: Steady growth year on year
For the year ending on December 31, John Henderson (Holdings) is the parent company to a number of subsidiaries with a range of activities – wholesale and retail – in food distribution, mainly in Northern Ireland, but alongside extensive sales elsewhere.
Help & Advice
Shortage of mentors hampers recovery of the Northern Ireland economy
I came to Belfast 10 years ago on a three-month contract and was immediately hooked. The reason was simple: I had arrived in what seemed like a business utopia.