Catherine Fulvio On Running A Fast Growing Business

Success Story : Catherine Fulvio

In our latest client ‘Success Story’ TV chef, author and proprietor of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School, Catherine Fulvio shares advice on how to keep up with a fast growing business.


Ironically it was when her business started to grow fast that she was most challenged as a business owner.

“With my business growing so fast I was finding it hard to keep up.”

Catherine describes the challenges that came with such fast growth. 

“I was in the business all the time and found it all consuming.”

Watch Catherine’s Success Story to hear what change enabled her to successfully manage her business through a sustained period of rapid growth.   

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you spend less time working in your business fill out the below form: 

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The More You Learn, The More You Earn

The more you learn the more you earn

The statistics speak for themselves: the more you learn, the more you earn. OECD reports show that the gap between graduate and non-graduate salaries in developed nations is widening. Here in Ireland, this is reflected in average graduate starting salaries increasing to €28,461 – Grad Ireland, 2016. 

However learning is not exclusive to universities or to people in their early twenties.  It goes beyond qualifications. Learning is the process by which we acquire new knowledge and skills.  Whilst knowledge is a valuable resource the psychological benefits that result from combining knowledge with experience are even more powerful – Sense of Mastery. Sense of Mastery is identified by renowned developmental psychologist Erik Erikson as the catalyst that results in successfully developing through each life stage.

By committing to learn something new you are actively taking steps towards changing your life for the better.  Regardless of how small the learning, it increases your self esteem, confidence, sense of hope and optimism.  We require these key psychological resources in order to achieve success.  Successful people earn more because they choose to learn more.

Business Mastery

Mastery is the first step on a business coaching ladder that leads to results. When we build on a solid foundation there is no limit to what we can achieve. Therefore by mastering these 7 elements of your business you can turn it into a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you. 

  1. Money Mastery – Knowing your historic , present & future numbers
  2. Break Even Mastery – Knowing how many sales, customers or euro you need to break even
  3. Reporting Mastery – Knowing your daily, weekly and monthly figures to make informed decisions for future
  4. Test & Measure Mastery – Predicting future profits  by measuring KPI’s in your business
  5. Time Mastery – Improving productivity of you and your people will determine your success and profitability.
  6. Goal Mastery – Having clarity about where you are going and where you are driving the business is vital to your success
  7. Self Mastery – Being disciplined to keep focused on achieving goals.

By the very fact you are reading this article proves you have the motivation to achieve success. If you are ready to work twice as hard to be successful – Stop! A better decision is to improve your knowledge, develop your business mastery and as a result turn your dream into reality. 

If you want to know more about how can help you climb the ladder from mastery to results just complete our form below:

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How To Cultivate The Right Culture For Your Business

Finding the right company culture for your business

As the business owner, it’s up to you to define your company’s culture. It is important to create an atmosphere that encourages excellence while still promoting a sense of belonging to a team. Your employees will only move in the direction that you lead them in. Remember, the culture of your workplace starts at the top and trickles down the ladder from there.

Setting the right tone for your business can seem like a daunting task for those unfamiliar with how to go about it properly. Fortunately, there are a few simple yet powerful steps that you can take to seed your business with the right behaviours and mind-set, to ensure that it will blossom into something greater.

1) Never play favourites

You will always get along with some people better than others. It’s human nature to align better with certain personality types. That does not excuse or justify showing preferential treatment to staff. If you allow subjective factors like that to influence who you hire and promote, you undermine the integrity of your workplace by showing that competence and merit are not valued or rewarded. Violating this rule fill your business with ‘brown-nosers’ and ‘backstabbers’. Make sure that a person’s work ethic and performance is the sole dictating factor in their promotion. This ensures that focus on excellence will works it way right down to the most junior employees in your company.

2) Hold yourself to the highest standard

Your employees follow your lead. The standard you set for yourself will be the standard that your employees ultimately hold themselves to. If you ask your employees to perform a particularly dirty task, be the first to do so yourself.  If you ask your employees to stay late, be prepared to do so yourself when required. Similarly if you insist that your employees keep their smartphones off of the floor, don’t repeatedly check your own phone in front of staff. Holding your team to a different standard than what you hold yourself to is a sure fire way to lose your respect and credibility as a leader.

3) Set goals, follow up & acknowledge success

Disengaged employees never start off as apathetic and unmotivated. In most cases, it is a failure of leadership that has led a person to become disengaged with their job. Preventing that process from beginning is accomplished by setting clear goals while still empowering the employee to achieve them. People will take pride in what they do if they know that their efforts are recognized by management. Set a target for your team and hold them accountable to it, but make sure that you give them ample feedback along the way.

If your employees know that you are paying attention to what they do and  that you trust them to perform at their best, they will exceed your expectations.  A worker without focus is an unproductive and unhappy one, but one that is micromanaged will begin to doubt their own abilities and self-worth. Find the right balance between the two, and you’ll be amazed at what your employees will accomplish.

To hear more on how we can help you cultivate the right culture for your business complete the form below and we will get in touch:

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6 Tips To Maximise Your Most Precious Resource

Time - Your Most Precious Resource

When we ask business owners what their most precious resource is, they usually answer with money, employees or family. What is less stated is the one resource that can never be replenished or gained back – time.  Business owners that struggle with time usually share the same behaviours. They don’t delegate or prioritise tasks well. They tend not to be well-organized in their day-to-day lives. These issues are easy to fix as long as you make the small but significant changes to how you approach tasks.

If you aren’t sure how to go about using your time more effectively, consider applying some of the following tips and see how they work for you:

1  Plan Your Day

If you find that your day tends to be rather chaotic, consider investing in a planner and writing out how your day will progress. Don’t try to rigidly adhere to it (since unexpected events can cause your plans to change), but make an effort to stick to it as best as you can. For added effect, sort out your tasks by priority and urgency. This will help you directly visualise the relative importance and impact of each task.

2  Break Down Large Tasks Into Smaller Ones

Having a colossal task in front of you can be very overwhelming. For example if you have to clean your entire house in one day, it can be hard to know where to start. Instead of thinking about cleaning the entire house it helps to break it down by room. This way, you still get the work done while making it seem much more reasonable

3  Organise Your Life

This goes somewhat in hand with item #1, but this tip speaks in a more general sense. If you aren’t using a filing cabinet, get one. If your inventory is a mess, start tracking it. Make use of technology – computers can be your best friend! Organising your home and business life won’t just make things run more smoothly – it’ll positively affect your psyche.  It is much easier to focus when working in a neat, clutter free environment whether that be your desk, office or home

4  Delegate

This point can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t know how to tell somebody to do something, it’s time to learn. You cannot be in four places at once, so find three other employees and tell them to do three of those tasks. Micro-managing is both a morale and a productivity killer, and many bosses fall afoul of this in some way. If your employees can’t be trusted to perform a certain task, that is YOUR fault. Train them well so that they can, and your life will be made so much easier

5  Don’t Strive For Perfection

Instead, strive for excellence. Pushing your team to do better is a fantastic goal, and one that will enable your business to reach new heights. But straight perfectionism is impossible – we’re only human, after all. Demanding perfection from your team will only contribute to stress and a lack of trust in faith in you as a leader. Business owners who demand perfection are also frequently micromanagers; that is a toxic combination that will do a lot of damage to your team’s psyche over the long term

6  Just Say No

No, the most powerful word ever spoken.  You can say this at any time and without having to give a reason for it. If you don’t want to do something or don’t want something done, just say no. You are never obliged to say yes to somebody or something. Remember your business works for you not the other way around.

If you want to achieve a better return from time spent contact us to hear more on ways in which we can help:

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How Well Is Your Team Performing?

Well performing fully engaged team member in office workplace

Are you confident that you know how your team is performing?  For many people this may seem like a question that has a blindingly obvious answer.  After all, many business owners pride themselves on knowing  all of their team’s strengths and weaknesses.  For some it may be based on relevant KPI’s.  For many small business owners it can be more of a got feel based on observations around work ethic and attitude.

Define your company values.

It is essential to define how performance is being measured in your business. Whilst most people are aware of the importance of setting KPI’s , there is  less awareness of the importance of alignment to your company’s values.  Let’s take a look at how combining performance with alignment to company values gives you  undisputable actionable insights in relation to managing team performance.

Defining your company values is a crucial first step. It sounds obvious but is often overlooked.  It is especially relevant to clearly define what a high or low performance actually looks like  in relation to the various roles within your business.

There are four key categories into which an employee’s performance can be placed.

  1. Low Performing Not Aligned To Company Values
  2. Low Performing  & Aligned To Company  Values
  3. High Performing Not Aligned To Company Values
  4. High Performing & Aligned To Company  Values

If asking teams to self evaluate it is important to bear in mind that people tend to under score their own performance . This is due to a  common fear of being asked to justify it.

Once you have evaluated how well your team is performing and their alignment with your company values, it is time to take action.

Low performers who are NOT aligned to your company’s values.

Turning performances like this around usually requires a lot of time and resources.  Individuals in this category can be a negative influence within a team and can hold back progress. Hence, it is important to address this sooner rather than later.

Low performers who ARE aligned to your company’s values. 

It is not all bad news in relation to low performers. Those that are well aligned to company values are a different proposition.   A number of factors may cause this. The good news is that they can be easily addressed. Sometimes people in this category may have been over promoted or promoted without adequate training. Low performing well aligned staff are usually popular with both colleagues and customers.  Some additional  direction, feedback or training can be enough to improve their performance.

High performers who are NOT aligned to your company’s values.

People in this category often cause a dilemma.  What do you do with a star performer that has maverick tendencies? Perhaps they don’t gel with the wider team?  In this scenario one option is to coach somebody into alignment with your company’s values.  Another option is to allow these people to work in a way that they are happy with. They might prefer to work alone separate to colleagues.  It is important that as business owner you are happy with the outcome.

High performer  who ARE aligned to your company’s values.

Finally, these are the people you must keep highly engaged and developing. They are the future leaders of your business. They will respond well to being reminded of their importance.  Also, they will benefit from exposure to strategic planning discussions with senior management and director’s.  In an increasingly competitive recruitment market these are the people who will attract interest from eager recruiters. You don’t want to lose great people like this from your team.

At ActionCOACH Ireland, we offer a range of employee engagement, business growth and leadership programmes. Leave your details in the below form if you would like to discuss how these programmes can ensure your team realises their full potential.

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TC Matthews On The Key Benefits Of Having An External Adviser In Retail…

Research shows companies that seek external expert advice achieve a stepped change in their growth and performance. Yet many SMEs can still be reluctant to take the leap.

Paul Clarke, Financial Director and General Manager of TC Matthews Carpets, the largest independent carpeting and flooring retailer in Ireland shares his experience on how engaging an external Business Coach has helped galvanise their team, increase sales, and achieve real growth. Listen to Paul’s story below:

We hope you enjoyed listening to Paul’s experience. If you feel that your business could benefit from a fresh perspective, and you would like more information on how you could achieve similar results to TC Matthews, we would be delighted to speak with you.

Please take a moment to fill in your details below and we will be in touch:

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The Secret To Building a Profitable & Sustainable Childcare Business In Ireland

The Secret To Building A Profitable & Sustainable Childcare & Early Education Business In Ireland
Last week when listening to a feature on the cost of childcare in Ireland on Today FM’s Last Word with Matt Cooper, I was struck by the rather alarming findings from Early Childcare Ireland on the cost of doing business in the sector.

Their report states that the average childcare service in Ireland, whether private or community run, urban or rural, is operating on a break-even basis.

For those that do make a small profit, it’s usually too little to re-invest or provide good career opportunities for staff, making recruitment and retention of good team members a huge challenge.

Consider the additional external factors coming down the tracks such as an increase in minimum wage, increases in refuse costs, rents, rates and insurance, the task of building a sustainable, profitable childcare business may seem unachievable!

Making a Profit In Childcare

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to  be the case. Just like any other type of business, you can build a very successful and profitable childcare business by implementing some small but significant changes to your business model, and introducing systems to measure the numbers.

Hear Nessa from Little Learners Success Story…

Case in point is one of our clients Nessa McNamara who established the award winning Little Learners Montessori & Pre-School in Drumcondra in September 2011.

Back then Little Learners was a preschool running for 3 hours a day, catering for children aged 3 – 5 years, with a maximum of 33 children.

Nessa’s business concept was an instant success. Parents loved her unique combination of a creative curriculum delivered through the Montessori method. The business strived to be a friend and support the family first. The business end of things came second as a result it struggled to keep it’s door open at the end of its first year.

Nessa sought help and funding from her local bank, and her AIB bank manager suggested she consider a Business Training and Coaching programme run by ActionCOACH. This course informed and opened Nessa’s eyes on how to structure a business without losing its essential charm.

Today Little Learners is starting into its seventh year, employs over 30 team members, has 3 locations and caters for over 380 families. Nessa has turned what she originally described as a ‘hobby’ business that was just covering the costs into a highly profitable enterprise that has won multiple awards, has a firm plan for the future and most importantly of all has not lost its heart.

Please take a moment to listen to Nessa’s success story in her own word’s in this short 1 minute video:

If you would like more information on how you could achieve similar results to Nessa, we would love to speak with you, so please take a moment to fill in your details below and we will be in touch:

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ActionCOACH Scoops Franchisee of the Year at the Irish Franchise Awards 2017

On Friday, May 19th at the Radisson St Helen’s Hotel in Dublin the winners of the Irish Franchise Awards 2017 in association with AIB were announced.

The awards recognise excellence in franchising and reward the outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals in the franchise industry.  230 guests attended the black-tie gala event hosted by Newstalk’s Jonathan Healy

The judging panel for the 2017 Irish Franchise Awards included Newstalk Business Presenter and former Irish Dragon Bobby Kerr; Greg Swift, head of enterprise at Dublin Local Enterprise Office; Michael Bradley, former CEO of the Irish Franchise Association and Elaine O Regan of the Sunday Business Post.  

On the night, Paul Fagan, Director of ActionCOACH Business Coaching, was awarded  Franchisee of the Year (Service) in recognition of the phenomenal results he and his team achieve with Irish businesses across the country through their professional Business & Executive Coaching, and Training services. Client results show year on year business improvements, 2015 to 2016, as follows: Profits up 227%; Sales up 19%; Employment up 27%.

Tom Shanahan (RIGHT)presenting the award for Franchisee of the year Service to Paul Fagan of ActionCOACH (LEFT) (Photographer: Karen Morgan/Lensmen)

Commenting on the win, Director Paul Fagan said:

It’s a great honour to accept this award on behalf of my team and our clients. Irish businesses are operating in an increasingly competitive and demanding market. Our services help both new and well established businesses to stay on top of their game and remain competitive and profitable. We are passionate about what we do, and look forward to helping many more Irish companies achieve phenomenal success”.
Pictured at the Irish Franchise Awards in association with AIB at the Radisson St Helen’s
Hotel was all the winners on stage (Photographer Karen Morgan/Lensmen)

Earlier this year, Paul and his team’s achievements were also recognised when they retained ‘Best Firm in Europe’ for the 3rd year in a row at the EMEA Business Excellence Forum & Awards 2017. Business Coach Rory Smyth also picked up the highly coveted ‘EMEA Business Coach Of The Year’, for a second year in a row.

Coaching, while often associated with sports, is just the right toolkit for competing at the highest level. The undisputed effectiveness of having a coach in sports is proven the world over, and ActionCOACH is matching the results in coaching Irish Businesses. Clients in Ireland experience a €5-10 (500-1000%) return for every €1 invested in coaching with ActionCOACH, some doubling their sales and employees in as little as 3 years. With award-winning results like this, the future is bright for ActionCOACH and the Irish businesses they work with.

How Trump & Brexit Affect Irish Business Podcast

With the political world in chaos from Trump to Brexit to a potential Frexit, how can businesses deal with increasing uncertainty? How can businesses plan for success regardless of the external factors?

These were just some of the topics for discussion on podcast which featured our own MD Paul Fagan. To listen to the interview in full please listen here:

Does your business have a comprehensive and actionable business plan for the first quarter of 2017? If you’d like to block out a day to create a 90 day plan with the help of 6 business coaches to get 2017 off to a great start, you may be interested in our Business Planning Workshop this Tuesday Jan 10th, there’s still a few spots left!

Click here for more info or to register or call us on 01-891 6220.

Business Excellence Award Winners 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to recognise and celebrate all your achievements both personally and professionally throughout the year.

Last Friday we celebrated the phenomenal successes of our clients at our annual ActionCOACH Business Excellence Awards & Lunch 2016 held in the Gibson Hotel.

These awards honour the outstanding results achieved with our Irish SME and corporate clients. From the nominations received, results show that in 2016 our 1-2-1 Business Coaching clients:

·         Increased Profits by 227%

·         Grew Sales by 19%

·         Created 68 new full time jobs.

All our clients have achieved outstanding great results throughout the year and should be very proud of their accomplishments.

Our finalists and award winners at the ActionCOACH Business Business Excellence Awards 2016 were as follows:

Best Retail Business

The finalists for Best Retail Business 2016 were:

Winner: Haven Hire

Audrey Kilgallon, Haven Hire with her Business Coach Rory Smyth 

Audrey picked up this award in recognition of the strong performance and growth of her business in 2016 after a challenging few years in their industry. Haven Hire are constantly learning & looking for new ways to diversify & be different from their competitors. This year they reinvested in their business, added new fleet, & hired new team which has all contributed towards top class customer service and overall strong business performance.

Best Service Business

The nominations for Best Service Business:

Winner: Little Learners

Nessa McNamara, Little Learners with ActionCOACH MD Paul Fagan and her Business Coach John O’Sullivan

Holding on to her title for the second year in a row, Nessa and her team operate a service that is a leader in Childcare. Their methods have been recognised as the best in the country.  This year Nessa continued to increase her profitability, while also expanding her premises and adding 8 new members to her growing team. There is no doubt that the future is bright for Nessa, her team and all the kids at Little Learners.

Best Hospitality/Tourism Business

The finalists for Best Hospitality/Tourism Business:


Winner: Vagabond Tours Ltd.

Rob Rankin, Vagabond with his Business Coach Jeannette Naughton and ActionCOACH MD Paul Fagan

Vagabond Tours are recognised as the original and best small group tour company in the country. Rob and his team had a very successful season, and this year achieved impressive growth in both Sales & Profitability.They have also bought a new office, launched an impressive new website, and are building an amazing team having brought several new team members on board.

Best Manufacturing/Wholesale Business

The finalists for Best Manufacturing/Wholesale Business:

Winner: Creation Station

Eamonn Elders, Creation Station with his Business Coach Rory Smyth and ActionCOACH MD Paul Fagan

Creation Station are a truly unique company. They pride themselves on their ability to create ideas for their clients who want something different, and bring them to life. In the 14 months working with ActionCOACH, Eamonn has grown his business significantly. This year he has also systemised the business and handed over more responsibility to his team leaving him much more time to focus on the important aspects of running the business. Impressively, Eamonn is also now taking 2 half days off per week and is fully confident that he can do this while continuing to grow the business.

Best Community Impact – Job Creation

The nominations for Best Community Impact:

Winner: SL Controls

Keith & the team at SL Controls created an impressive 14 new jobs in 2016. With offices in 4 different regions in Ireland, SL Controls have made a positive impact on these regions by providing numerous jobs to the local economy both directly and indirectly. They already plan to employ another 50 employees in 2017/18 across all 4 regions.

SL Controls recognise that any success they enjoy is as a direct result of the team of people they work with and as such work hard to encourage, reward and develop their team with excellent incentives and training opportunities.

 Best Company Culture – Team & Leadership

 The nominations for Best Company Culture:

Winner: Portumna Retirement Village

Tony Williams and Peter Freerick, Portumna Retirement Village with their Business Coach Marina Bleahen

Team work is the essence of nursing care and Portumna Retirement Village received this prestigious award in acknowledgement of their strong culture and the fantastic service the entire team of 84, both management and nursing care team provide to the community.   Following a very clear programme to implement a strong management structure and Cultural Change, Portumna Retirement Village now thrives on teamwork and are focused on their commitment to excellent service and a bright future at Portumna Retirement Village.

Client of the Year 2016

Winner: Kevin Egan Cars

Kevin Egan, Kevin Egan Cars with his Business Coach Jeannette Naughton

Kevin Egan is a true entrepreneur, and is widely recognised for being a leader in the Irish Motor Industry. He picked up this award in recognition of the strong performance of his business across all categories. His business, Kevin Egan Cars has achieved significant growth in 2016,  won numerous awards including the SIMI Irish Car dealer of the year award for the 2nd time, and after-sales award for best workshop in Connaught.  They also recruited 10 new staff members to double their work force and create a winning team with a strong identity and vibrant company culture.

Heading into 2016 we are determined to maintain this standard of performance and to help all our clients grow faster than both the market and their competitors.

If you would like to achieve similar results to our clients in 2017 join us at our 2017 Business Planning Workshop Tuesday 10th January 2016 in the Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel. Click here to register your place today.

To view the full album of photos from our ActionCOACH Business Excellence Awards & Christmas Lunch please click here.


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