It’s not getting any better from those I talk to in business. However I could be wrong.
So I decided to have a spot for people involved in business, self employed, SME and beyond to express general commercial insights and anecdotes, opinions and general rants moans and solution based posts about the past, now and the future as they see it. If anything but to correct and/or refine my own bias within my own myopic Commercial circle to the benefit of all.
If you want to post something but are concerned about associating information even with you anonymous user name you can PM me the info and I will post anonymously for you here. Confidence assured with further editing if required to preserve total anonymity.
The important aspect here is for people to get a broader view than just their own commercial activity or commercial circles which may give them a heads up ahead of any CSO figures or industry reports present which allows players to make decisions as to the kind of landscape and trading conditions they are venturing into, or something thereabouts.
It also might helps other to talk out loud in a way that might alleviate the stresses building up.
We have other watch threads, you can post links but it woudl be best if they are in relation to your own insight or anecdote.
I’d also be interested in how this compares to other countries. Does it explain the otherwise inexplicable gulf between prices here and elsewhere? A couple of times recently I had to buy laptop power supplies and batteries in a hurry from a local shop (not one of the mega-size PC World/Currys types). Prices generally were more than twice the cost of ordering from a UK website, including shipping and exchange rates. A particularly odd thing is that I see some similar differentials even on Irish websites which one assumes don’t have the same overheads as physical retail outlets. How much money is the country haemorrhaging due to the fact that, for certain goods, there’s no point in even looking in an Irish shop.
Retail is the most obvious and often interface of commercial activity most people have but there are numerous types of business out there. Retail is one of those that has a ver high profile. What I am actually looking for here is not question form say users/customers/clients but stories form the inside. We coudl talk about the price of a head of cabbage all day and such are totally valid observations and ones that have been made before it is not what I envisaged for this particular thread.
Perhaps what I imagined people might need is to talk about are their commercial life and decisions in broad terms they have had to make over the last few years to deal with the ever changing scenario how this has affected their personal fortunes and commercial circumstances, what they see in the future coming down the line and how they might intend to deal with it and so forth from an Irish and Irish global perspective.
I’m trying to reach out so that the less heard voice of small commerce has a place to explain their side. There are a lot of people who have suffered silently, are still suffering that need to talk about it more than is being done IMHO.
What better than do it anonymously just to get it out and say “there I said it!”, a commercial cathartic expression if you will.
It would not be that difficult to implement. I’m not sure how useful it would be without a recognisable username, though. I mean, there are some people on the Pin that I wouldn’t want anywhere near my food.
I’m not in senior management. I work for a large American multinational, more than 30k employees worldwide, that has made pretty good profits for many years now. 2012 was a record year for the company, I don’t want to be specific about 2012 yearly net profits, but it was significantly greater than $1Billion.
They manage to get those record profits partly by shafting their workforce by reducing benefits and going years without giving anyone in the lower levels a yearly pay rise or bonus. Knowing that there are buggerall jobs (in our sector) out there means they have a ‘like it or lump it’ attitude. So, since 2008 there has been one annual pay rise (of 3%) and no bonuses for me or any of my colleagues. I am informed that this year there may be a pay rise, but probably 2.5%. Its hard to quantify the UK’s total inflation (RPI) from 2008 to 2012 but I think its was 13.3% so I am down at least 10%.
Another thing is that they are not replacing staff who retire or move on, so there is some overtime so I can make up that 10% but at the cost of my family life.
Bottom line is that many of the younger staff are saying they will jump ship as soon as they can and are actively looking for jobs elsewhere now (one Irish guy has accepted a job back in Ireland). Older staff are not likely to jump ship but are not breaking a sweat day to day either, morale is pretty low. Overall, customer expectations are not being met, there will be fallout because of this in the coming years… people do not forget bad service. Management have come up with the great plan of paying university graduates peanuts and putting them on a intensive 2 month course to train them up to do the job, but out of 5 of them, 1 left pretty much immediately, 3 are just plain useless and require micromanagement constantly and 1 is able to do a reasonable job autonomously.
I own a small IT company based just outside Dublin - 2 employees. Web and systems development - whatever contracts we can get our hands on really.
I could probably double my salary by going to a multinational but this would mean a long commute and all the crap that goes with a large company. My wife works in a multinational and it seems like a yearly race to the bottom. They get paid well but seem to be treated very badly. Few car park spaces, roaming desk policy etc etc.
Here it is more relaxed but we still have to put in the hours when deadlines are looming. We all have our own offices with an open door policy as commercial space is really cheap outside Dublin. I feckin hate open plan!
Business wise, things have been steady for the last year or so, just covering costs and sometimes a bit more.
Lambton->Willis->Manners->Courtenay would be the heart of the retail sector with the most expensive shops on Lambton. The most expensive in this sample, the unit on Willis, has an annual rent that would cover you in Westport for a mere 4 months. New Zealand is hardly the cheapest place on earth by a long shot, and is in the middle of a property bubble, and prime city-centre retail space is still three times cheaper than rural town space in feckin Mayo!
That’s how insanely out of line Ireland still is, and how much adjustment downwards in rents and prices is still to come.
Yes but can you put a price on the piece of mind you get, knowing you can ask the local Taoiseach to help you get a loan from the bank?
If a business in Westport can pay that rent, the locals must be getting flieced in the prices that business charges them.
Back on topic, in my own circle MNCs seem to be doing well, and one of my close friends who is in SME’s is doing very poorly. The business is borderline, but thankfully there were no property plays so it’s manageable for the moment.
However what is not reported is it hasn’t come back yet since the reports will not be out till after June.
March and beyond I hear reports some traders have continued to experienced what might be the worst three months.
Feedback from many sources indicate that March was simply a write off. I am not sure who can afford to write of more than one month in a 12 month years at this point in the game. Every excuse under the sun was showcased to expalin March. A combination of the clustering of multiple public holidays combined with awful weather (note garden centres down almost 30% yoy with Hot Beverages up 5% clear correlation with prolonged cold weather in my view).
I imagine if things are as they anecdotally seem to be in the domestic economy many will not last to the end of the year. Human capital to my mind is about to run dry if it has not already plus the vista of increased commercial rates in Dublin and perhaps elsewhere seems set to make that final decision for many to call it a day.
I welcome others points of view and relevant insight.