SME Agony Uncle - Bobby Kerr has some more expert advice for employers and employees


Small Scale Sponsorships
First up this is week is Danny, who is the owner of a pub in a small town. Danny has been asked by the local GAA club to sponsor the senior team. The issue however, that Danny has is that most of the GAA players and supporters usually frequent a different pub down the street on a regular basis. Danny is looking for some expert advice on how to approach the matter without offending the local GAA club, but also without alienating people in the community if he refuses to sponsor the team.
Bobby's Advice
OK, so Danny has a few decisions to make in this instance.  His initial gut decision here is probably to refuse, however this could backfire and reflect badly on both Danny, and his business. My advice for Danny from the outset would be to start off small, and scale it from there. If its possible for Danny to firstly sponsor an event, or perhaps an individual match to weigh up further opportunities and find an intro into the club. Danny should then look at linking the sponsorship of this particular event or match to something that is happening in his pub. Danny’s main objective in this situation is to increase his business and convince potential customers to go to his pub, instead of his competitors.
Sponsorship is all about measurement, and if Danny can measure an increase in business as a result of the sponsorship, then it may in fact be a viable option for him. Sponsorship is one of these things that if not recorded and evaluated, the value can become lost over time. Starting small, by sponsoring an event/match or maybe even visiting training sessions to hand out refreshments etc. could also be a good idea.
My advice for Danny is to go for it, but start off slow if possible and earn the club’s respect. Link the sponsorship to events in his pub to attract new customers and this could become a worthwhile investment. As they say, there is money in GAA.
Dealing with Holiday Requests
The next query comes from Miriam in Kerry who runs a busy retail shop in Kerry. Miriam is concerned as all the staff are looking to book holidays in the first two weeks of August, which is the busiest time of the year for her business. The seaside location means that the business is seasonal and Miriam needs to ensure that staff are aware of the situation, and not all request time off at the same time. Miriam is concerned about how to approach the matter with staff as she is afraid that they will leave when she needs them most.
Bobby's Advice
In a situation such as this, particularly with the type of business that Miriam is running i.e. seasonal in nature, it’s crucial to have core staff on hand to make sure the business stays operational. Good communication is extremely important, and my initial advice for Miriam would be communicate with staff the importance of the time of year, and how it will impact on the business and indeed how it will impact on other staff members. Miriam needs to outline that holidays during the busiest few weeks of the year are subject to approval by management. The earlier Miriam can communicate this, the better. Ideally, this should be made known to staff from the outset, when they begin working at the business, and this also sets expectations for staff and they are completely aware of the situation from the beginning. It’s the employer’s discretion to decide how time off is co-ordinated and approved, and Miriam can exercise her right to do this.
Negotiating a Pay Rise
Lastly this week comes from an anonymous listener, who is looking to negotiate a pay rise with their employer. This person regards themselves as hard-working, valued employee and has been told this on numerous occasions by management. The company has told this person that they will indeed receive a pay increase, when the company has the money available. This employee feels as if they are being somehow strung along by the company, and that other perhaps “less productive” employees who are perhaps more pushy will receive a pay increase before they do. This person is looking for some advice on how to approach the issue with management, or should they seek opportunities elsewhere.
Bobby's Advice
This person firstly needs to pick their moment, and secondly needs to get themselves into a better negotiating position. It must be difficult being told by management that they are valued by the company and each time they have a review, are told that the company is not in a position to increase their salary. It’s also very difficult to see colleagues in similar roles receiving pay increases. After time, this will naturally have an effect on morale and motivation. This person has clearly been demotivated in their current role, and this needs to be addressed with management. If they are being told one thing, and the actions of management consistently show something else, then there comes a time whereby they need to make a decision. Seeking opportunities elsewhere may be a good decision in this instance, however I would still approach management and make their feelings known before making a final decision on this.
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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