Bobby Kerr is back again this week as our resident SME Agony Uncle, and has some expert advice

Dealing with Slander 
First up this week, Bobby deals with the very serious issue of libel and slander. Brian runs an SME, and has recently heard things about his business that he claims are grossly untrue, and are damaging the business's reputation within the industry. Brian wants to know the best course of action to take, and how to approach the matter without making things worse and adding fuel to the fire. He just doesn't know what to do. 
Bobby's Advice
First of all, there's a lot that we don't know about this case. Slander in any form is indeed an extremely serious matter, so my first bit of advice for Brian would be to keep it to himself before seeking professional assistance. The last thing Brian wants to do is spread the slander himself, by talking about the issue. Before seeking legal advice, there is a conversation that he needs to have with either a HR company, or possibly a small firms association to make sure he has grounds for seeking legal action. There are HR companies that specialise in the legalities around the area of employment, and as we are not privy to what this particular slander refers to, my best piece of advice would be to seek professional help. If he is a member, he could also perhaps seek advice from ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association).

Again, just to reiterate that slander in any form is a very serious issue, with lots of legal ramifications particularly for smaller businesses that rely heavily on word of mouth and close relationships with clients and customers. I feel for Brian in this instance, as I am aware that as a small business, he may not have access to funds for legal proceedings, however he definitely does need to seek further advice and proceed with caution. 
Too Much in Demand - Is There Such a Thing?
Next up this week, is a very interesting one and it comes in from Colm. Colm has recently been offered roles from two competing companies, and has now been approached by a third, who also operates in the same industry. Colm wants to know how to approach this and to ensure that he makes the best decision. Money aside, Colm wants to know what else to consider, in making the right decision. 
Bobby's Advice
This is an extremely good problem to have, and is certainly rare that someone's services are being fought over by three different companies, in the same industry no less. Colm is in the optimum position here for negotiation. 
Colm is obviously a high flyer and extremely good at what he does, however there is a simple process that he needs to engage in before making any big decisions: 
  1. Consider - Colm needs to talk to each company and put each offer on an equal footing. Because he mentions that money is secondary, he needs to consider the other factors that make each company worth going for. 
  2. Evaluate - After talking to each company, Colm needs to evaluate each offer and compare the merits of each to his current situation. Are there more opportunities at one particular company? How do the locations match up etc? Things that seem small in comparison all add up to a final decision in the end.
  3. Negotiate - Luckily for Colm, he has a lot to work with in terms of negotiation. He is clearly in high demand within his particular industry, and there is leverage there for him to work with. However, he cannot afford to mess anyone around either, and this is important to remember. 
  4. Decide - After carefully going through the previous three stages, Colm should have enough information available to him to make his final decision, and not based solely on money. 
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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