Inside Track Q&A
Based on your experience in the downturn, are the banks in Ireland open for business to SMEs?
All I can speak for is our own bank, AIB Lucan, and it’s most certainly open for business. They’re very proactive. If they can help us in any way they certainly do.
What one piece of advice would you give to the Government to help stimulate the economy?
The main thing is job creation stimulus. That would be number one. The other thing I think is of great importance is to develop the education system to teach foreign languages at a young age. I think that’s crucial because we’re no longer dealing commercially within our own country and most companies are trying to export product.
There is a vast market in France, Germany, etc and it makes things so much easier from a business point of view because you can ring up and converse with them directly and it brings up a lot more business opportunities.
What’s been the biggest challenge you have had to face?
I’d say the biggest challenge we had was penetrating the market nationwide and we did that at a very early stage. Hence we’re listed in the four principle multiples. We’ve held on there and held our place. I’d say we’re one of the few small companies which have listings in all the major multiples.
Especially in the early years we kept very close contact with them. You know what they’re thinking then and, if you have to make adjustments, you can.
How do you see the short term future for your business?
I’d be quietly confident but we’re certainly emphasising ongoing progress on the research and development side. The more products we would have, the easier it is to survive because you have a wider range of consumers. But you want to be sure that what you’re producing is what people want.
What’s your business worth and would you sell it?
Well I would sell it but, not to be smart about it, it would depend on the price and if the price was right, especially in the current climate.
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