“Sometimes a side project can grow into something much bigger”
This small business owner explains how she turned her company around with a unique idea.
Read the article here: https://fora.ie/readme/changing-business-model-3264905-Mar2017/
“Sometimes a side project can grow into something much bigger” – Fora
While we still sell high-end promotional gifts to this day, we’ve ventured into selling products for employee incentive schemes and reward programmes.
That part of the business came about almost by accident but it’s what saved us.
Without fully realising it, we had started a separate part of our business during the nineties.
We covered service awards for Wyeth, which is now Pfizer, where we would personally deliver gifts to their 300 staff.
Out of that came the idea for GetGifts.ie, a human resources reward and recognition programme that we launched a couple of years ago. HR managers use it to buy rewards for staff that hit certain sales targets or reach a milestone in their careers.
It also takes advantage of the small benefits exemption scheme, where employees can receive a tax-free, non-cash bonus of up to €500 every year.
Once we accidentally found that niche, we put all of our resources into it.
When we couldn’t grow our promotional goods sales, we put all of our energy into getting onto the HR departments at the countries top companies so we could become their preferred supplier for gifts.
It just goes to show that sometimes what starts off as a sort of side project can grow into something bigger.
I love the gifts industry now. I get to help HR teams at big companies make their staff feel valued for all their hard work.
Our research has shown that when companies spend even just 1% of their payroll on recognising their employees’ hard work, it can make such a huge difference.
My last piece of advice for anyone who is looking to turn around a struggling business is to work with customers you like and find yourself a mentor.
My mentor was financial consultant John Crawley. He took me under his wing and helped me believe in myself again.
John reminded me I am the one who sets the bar I am the only one who can get my hands dirty and get stuff done.
I have three children now, so the bar is even higher today than it was during our tough years. I hope I’ll be ahead of the curve from now on. With the help of my family and friends, I am pretty sure I can be.
Louise Lonergan is chief executive of Lonergan Corporate Gifts.