In his latest blog posting, our CEO urges all members to keep an eye out for opportunities large and small to support Irish Australian business and shares some tips on making the most of your membership.
I often get calls or emails out of the blue from companies based in Ireland who are keen to do business in Australia. Some are in early stage thinking and just need some background to help develop their planning. Others are at a mature stage and ready to be supported in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland who do a very good job for clients in their space arriving into Australia. Indeed, we are pleased to be able to work with them on the upcoming Trade Mission in September.
On occasion though, we hear from businesses who are somewhere in between. They aren't of a size or operating model that fits with the state agencies but have good products, services, ideas and have taken the initiative to develop a solid plan for the Australian market.
I recently met with one such company whose entrepreneurial MD, in a clear statement of intent, had made the trip to Australia under his own steam, no subsidised tickets or pre-filled appointment books, just passion for his company and a willingness to get out there and talk to people. As they say in Australia, "he backed himself in".
The company is a SME based in the west of Ireland, an area that hasn't been spared the ravages of economic difficulty. It's not a major multinational firm but it means a lot to him and it means an awful lot to the families supported by the jobs it sustains and may create in the future. Their aim was to secure a partner in Australia and distribution of their products. By coincidence, I ran into a Greek contact in the days that followed the meeting who liked the product and has undertaken to explore the opportunity. I wish them well in their negotiations and look forward to more Irish/Australian/Greek business deals!
Assisting that Irish company in their efforts in Australia can make a difference. It might not grab the headlines of the major trade missions or the next FDI from a global brand but if enough of us can connect more effectively within our network and keep an eye out for opportunities like this then the good will out.
Looking more deeply at the sequence of events also tells a tale. Here was someone who joined the Chamber (a very good first step!) and made a point of coming to talk to us about what he was planning in more depth. This is a key element. Your Chamber provides a framework and opportunities to interact with the network but can't really be expected to be a free, outsourced, sales and marketing function at the basic level of membership.
The most significantly influential factors in member success are how active you are and the level of contribution you make to fellow members through your membership.
Do you come to events?
Have you listed in the Business Directory?
Have you joined the Members' group on LinkedIn?
Have you considered hosting or speaking at an event?
Have you applied to participate in the Business Mentoring Program?
There are so many opportunities for you to connect with the group, don't let them pass you by. Just ask Cathal Uniacke from Custodian Safety Services. Cathal recently joined the Chamber and committed to speaking at one of our breakfasts. Another guest listening to his presentation told one of their contacts - another IACC member - about him and he has secured a significant piece of work from it. These things don't happen by accident, they're directly related to your activity so don't stay on the sidelines.
Join, renew, bring a friend, share your stories and get involved!