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MEMBERS OF THE NIABT BOARD PICTURED AT THE FIRST MEETING OF THE NEW BOARD FOLLOWING THE 2015 AGM

Members of the NIABT Board pictured at the first meeting of the new Board following the 2015 AGM.
l-r Richard Stewart, Nicola Bothwell, Phil Flanagan MLA, Chris brown, Stephen Kelly, Vice Chair, John Stewart, Barry Turley, Noel Brady

We’re heading in the right direction, but. . .

IN the last 20 years the Northern Ireland business community has grown in numbers, learned to dress well and become younger. While older establishment figures still rattle around the members’ lounges of the CBI and IoD, the new suits are dominating.
The ICT sector, for example, employs more than 18,000 in greater Belfast, marketing
and design agencies are matching the quality of top Dublin and European operators and the agri-food sector has gone all street-foodie and cool.
Is there room in this brave new world for any of the experienced seniors? Noel Brady’s record goes back to the 1980s which makes him one of the establishment.
But Brady has approached the challenges with a David Bowie style strategy of continual change and adjustment.
The former CEO of SX3 is now one of the top business advisers and fixers in the north. His agency, NB1, offers potential newcomers, investors and expansionists to Northern Ireland markets the kind of service only an insider with the deepest roots could provide. He says these roots go back 37 years in public and private sectors.
“When I was a civil servant and Margaret Thatcher was in charge, a policy of market testing was introduced to identify areas of government which could be privatised,”
he recollects over a light and lunch in Ox. (We are surrounded by some of those earlier establishment figures and Noel nods graciously to them all. They all know him.)
“One of the first functions to be market tested was the area I was in, computing, in the then Department of Finance ,” he says. “The Central Information Systems Division became the first to be outsourced in 1991 and I went with it.” The division became part of the CFM Group, then ICL and now operates under the Fujitsu brand.
Brady appears flamboyant with an expensive brush top hair cut, a pair of red-framed spectacles and chunky gold jewellery.
His manners are impeccable, there is no hint of narcissism and the clarity of his thinking is unparalleled.
“When companies approach me with a view to entering Northern Ireland I analyse them back to the bare metal. Once I understand their offer, I work out a network engagement plan to begin plugging them into Northern Ireland’s fabric. There are many layers of this fabric. My job is to connect them to those networks,” he says.
There’s something of the doctor’s bedside manner about him. His ability to listen and assimilate complex information is well known. His experience crossing from public to private sector also informs him of his current economic views.
“Market testing worked 25 years ago so why would it not work now? This is not about taking jobs out of the public sector because 20,000 posts are already earmarked.
It’s about doing what we said we’d do which is create more private sector jobs to replace the shrinking public sector.”
If Finance Minister Simon Hamilton wants to rebalance the public and private sectors here, Noel Brady’s advice is to devise a new privatisation strategy, reintroduce
market testing and get on with it.
Despite the challenges our economy faces, his outlook is cautiously positive. “There is a distinct sense that we are heading in the right direction. But I never underestimate how fragile our collective confidence can be.”

Avaya Tees off with Simon Community to tackle homelessness in Northern Ireland

Top Telecommunications firm Avaya will again play principal sponsor for the Annual Simon Community Corporate Golf Day at Dunmurry Golf Club, Thursday 11th September.
Aidan Furlong, Channel Manager “Avaya Ireland is delighted to be partnering with Simon Community for a second year and we’re only too glad to be supporting the charity as it aims to help make homelessness in Northern Ireland a thing of the past”.
Attracting a range of corporate teams from across the province, Golf Day has over the past 10 years generated £60,000 for Northern Ireland’s homeless population.
Noel Brady Chairman of Simon Community’s Corporate Fundraising Committee – “Golf Day is always a highlight for Simon Community and we’re delighted to have Avaya on board as our Principal Sponsors. Corporate sponsors are vital to our charity and I’m looking forward to teeing off with Aidan and his team again this year”.
A limited amount of Four Ball spaces are still available, for more details call fundraiser Brian Shanks on 028 90232882.

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Note to editors –
Simon Community NI is the leading homelessness charity in Northern Ireland, operating 21 temporary accommodation units across the country.
In FY 2013/ 2014, Simon Community NI received 33,000 calls to our helpline 0800 171 2222.
For more information about Simon Community NI please contact Joanne English on 028 90 232882 / 07767 116723. joanneenglish@simoncommunity.org
Pictured – Aidan Furlong, Channel Manager Avaya Ireland with Noel Brady, Corporate Fundraising Committee Chairman, Simon Community and Brian Shanks, Corporate Fundraiser.

Noel Brady Nb1– celebrating ten years helping businesses grow in Northern Ireland

“Tackling a business tender – whether private or public – requires a set of skills and knowledge that most companies just don’t possess. It’s a very specific and exact discipline that cannot be taught overnight and it’s one where simple mistakes can cost the few points that will make the difference between success and failure.” 

  Noel Brady

Noel Brady’s persona is the same in private as it is in public. The height (he stands at over six feet), well groomed head of pure white hair and a selection of colourful glasses that would put Specsavers to shame gives him a presence that makes him both memorable and interesting.

“But this is me,” Noel says. “I’ve always been a big guy with a big personality. That’s the way I am. Yes it helps when you’re in sales and marketing to have a memorable face or image, but the person behind the glasses is the same as the image: personable, friendly, a bit quirky perhaps, but always very focussed on my clients.”

It’s these characteristics that have helped Noel become one of Northern Ireland’s most recognisable faces and build his very successful business consultancy, Nb1, into what many local businesses find is their first port of call when they need help with a specific business problem or when they are completing a vital public sector tender.

But business wasn’t Noel’s first calling. Fresh from education, he entered the Civil Service at the age of 17 as a clerical officer……….

During an interview I conducted some time ago, my then interviewee told me that when asked how many children she had, his mother always said ‘I have two: one living and the other works in the Civil Service.’

But Noel, who worked in Service from 1975-1991, is clearly confident that it was that experience that proved invaluable in his subsequent career.

During his time working in ICT and procurement he gained an understanding of exactly how the public sector ticks, why tenders succeed and fail, and set up a network of contacts that would be the foundation of his claim today that ‘if somebody lives and breathes in Northern Ireland, I can reach out to them.’

From the civil service Noel moved to CFM Group Ltd and ICL before joining the newly formed SX3 as a founder Director rising to the top spot of managing director before taking the plunge in 2004 to set himself up in his own business: Nb1 – named simply because there is only one Noel Brady, so when you hire Nb1, you’re hiring Noel. His clients have his undivided attention at all times.

“I’ve built my business over the past ten years by providing two very distinct but equally as important, services,” Noel explained. “First, because of my public sector experience and training I can help businesses who are competing in tenders. And as an strategic advisor I can provide executive support services to a company acting as an extra Board Member with a specific brief of sales and business development.”

The art of Tendering
For anybody who has trudged through the reams of information required to complete a tender, then cut their margins to the bone to be sure to win it, only to be told that you were unsuccessful having failed by a few points, the very thought of completing a public sector tender is daunting.

Which is why it is very refreshing – if not a little unusual – to have somebody tell you they love completing tenders. But that is exactly what Noel says early on in our conversation.

“Tendering is an Art Form. 1 savour the challenge of completing a successful tender,” Noel tells me. “Tackling a tender – whether private or public – requires a set of skills and knowledge that most companies just don’t possess. It’s a very specific and exact discipline that cannot be taught overnight and it’s one where simple mistakes can cost the bidder the few points that will make the
difference between success and failure.”

During the recent downturn many companies entered the arena of tendering for the first time as they sought new business and for them Noel’s input into their tenders was – and continues to be – vital.

Whether they handed him the full responsibility for completing the tender or simply requested his experienced eye to double check and ensure they had maximised their strengths, his experience was invaluable.

“Across Europe the tendering process is basically the same providing opportunities for local business to compete successfully on a local, regional, national and international stage,” Noel says.

“By working with clients to help them recognise their hidden strengths and then applying those to the tendering process, we have been able to secure a lot of new business in all of these markets.”

Business Builder
The other hat that sits well on top of that shock of white hair is the role of business builder for many companies either indigenous or those looking for an opportunity to enter the Northern Ireland
market.

As a Belfast Harbour Commissioner, Honorary Fellow and Chairman of the Sales Institute of Ireland, chairman of the Corporate Fund Raising Committee and board member of the Simon Community, chairman
of Sentel Ltd and other non-executive director roles, Noel has clearly been recognised by the Business Community here for his enthusiastic commitment to Northern Ireland. It is a recognition that comes from over 39 years of dedicated working within Northern Ireland’s business community to continually strive for success for the people here.

He is extremely proud of his roots in Belfast City. “Working as a Harbour Commissioner is a dream ticket for me, I love Belfast and to see it grow and prosper into the world class city it is becoming is just awesome.”

And it is all of that experience and knowledge that comes with Noel when he accepts a new client who is either looking for strategic partners to build their business or simply needs an injection of knowledge and governance that will help the business reach its fullest potential.

There are a lot of great companies in Northern Ireland. But there are more good ones that could be great with the right strategy, focus and processes in place,” Noel says. “And often they can achieve those things by inviting a consultancy like Nbl to join them and complete an audit of what’s good and what could be improved within their business.

“Sometimes they don’t have the contacts they need to complete a project and I have helped identify the right people for them. Other times it’s been a matter of completing a profile of their customer base and devising a new engagement strategy that will open more doors. Then it’s a matter of getting them in front of the prospect and selling the product.”

Something this business dynamo has done successfully every day for the past ten years and has no intention of changing the winning formula any time soon!

THE PRINCE’S TRUST TO TACKLE “ IT SKILLS GAP “ WITH PRIVATE SECTOR

The Prince’s Trust supported by Noel Brady of Consult Nb1 Limited, welcomed around 45 market leaders in ICT to the launch of an initiative aimed at helping disadvantaged young people make their first steps into training or employment in this sector.

This latest partnership between the Trust and the private sector will begin with a pilot programme, Get Started in Coding. Targeted specifically at young people aged 16 to 25, the introductory training will combine basic confidence building exercises with a practical coding experience.
“ The purpose of this first strand is to enable young people who may not have the qualifications but do have the necessary aptitude, to become inspired and encouraged to explore a career with a ICT theme,” explains Noel Brady,
“ I have been working with the Trust for a number of years and believe that there has never been a better time to address this skills shortage. One way to meet this challenge and help disadvantaged young people get into employment is to have a joined up approach between charities such as The Prince’s Trust and the private sector companies involved in ICT.”
Talking at the launch Ian Jeffers, Director with The Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland said,
” We are committed to embedding STEM across all of our programmes and welcome the business expertise and support that the IT industry in Northern Ireland can provide to help us engage young people with technology, establish partnerships and building skills that are vital in today’s job market.” replica watches

Sentel Appoints New Chairman

Picture: Sentel Managing Director Ger Connery and newly-appointed Chairman Noel Brady discuss how their working partnership is taking the company’s exportable service to significant new clients.

One sure sign of success for Carryduff-based telecoms software company Sentel is the rarity of its local contracts. With 80 per cent of its business taking place outside Northern Ireland, the 14-year old company has been making huge strides in the last year under Chairman Noel Brady and Managing Director, with both men looking forward to further growth.

As export-led growth is recognised as a key factor in growing Northern Ireland’ economy, Sentel is taking a strategic step in the right direction. Last year, Sentel’s new TEM360 product development was coming to maturity and Connery sought Brady’s advice on positioning the product for market entry, particularly in the public sector across the UK and large managed service providers.

“The TEM360 is a product which really is centered on directed towards organisations that spend upwards of £500,000 on their telecommunications costs per annum, so you’re really talking about big public sector and large private sector organisations,” Brady explains.

Together, they set out to meet potential clients and developed a three-year marketing plan, which led on to Brady’s appointment as Chair. replica watches

“From a perception point of view,” Brady relates. “I was attracted to Sentel because they’re a young company, they’ve got an innovative product set and quite a lot of challenges to break into the market, but exciting business challenges.” The product needed to be taken to the next stage, Connery explains: “We could see that we now had an opportunity to go up the value chain and to pitch in at a higher level. Noel has vast experience at that level and we work very strongly as a team to deliver the right results.”

Respect Your Customer

by Gary Burnett – CEO-NI – A platform for Northern Ireland’s senior technology executives

Gary: Noel, tell us a bit about your career to date.

Noel: I started with the NI Civil Service in 1975 as an unemployment benefits clerk in Corporation Street office, Belfast. I was 17 and I stayed in the Civil Service until ’91. In the DHSS I worked in a number of different jobs, but the main change came when I moved to DFP in 1980 (Department of Finance & Personnel). In those days what we would now call a Business Process Engineering Consultant was known as an Organization and Methods Study Officer! So I was trained as an O&M practitioner. We were trained to look at processes, procedures, forms, people, technology – everything to try and make the process faster and more efficient. So it was the early days of business transformation and all the buzz words we know, like BPO, BPR and so on. Often the solutions we began to find revolved around technology. The solution to a business problem might be electronic typing, top-end electronic calculators, golf-ball typewriters, early word-processors – which were innovative for their day. The leading names then were Wang, Brother, IBM, Olivetti– this sort of equipment was drastically changing the way people did their work.

A PC came on the market called the Rair Black Box, an 8-bit machine. And it came with a calculator, spreadsheet and a word-processor. We got hold of one of these in what was called the Small Systems Division of DFP. And this Rair machine made a big change in the Civil Service, because we were able to show people for the first time a computer that was small, that could do word-processing and spreadsheets and it made an amazing difference to people. The PC revolution was only starting round about then.

As time went on, I got involved in bigger and bigger solutions and I got involved in large IT procurements – large office automation projects. The first office automation system in the Civil Service was procured from Digital for DFP and I led that project.

The next big change for me was, in 1989, Margaret Thatcher introduced “market testing” where the whole civil service across the UK had to market test certain functions and if it was cheaper to do it in the private sector, then it had to be privatized. In Northern Ireland, one project was identified and it was the market testing of CISD, the central computing function. I don’t know whether they chose that because they thought it wouldn’t end up being privatized – but anyway as it turned out when it was advertised in the European Journal, we had a storm of companies interested. So CISD was privatized and the contract was won by CFM Group Limited, which then became ICL-CFM, which is known today as Fujitsu Services.

I had been project manager for the project and when the contract had been won, CFM approached me and asked me to be their Director of Business Development, selling back into the public sector. Now, that was a big change for me – up till then, I was a career civil servant, had been for 17 years.

Gary: What you’d been doing was very hands-on, very operational. That’s a very different role, and different skills set from what you were now being asked to do.

Noel: It was a big surprise! When I was asked to for the main sales job, I was very surprised indeed.

Gary: What would have happened if you had not been asked?

Noel: I’d have just stayed in the Civil Service and I had a career mapped out in front of me. I could look forward to, maybe a bit of promotion, another big project, maybe some more promotion. I’d have become a sort of efficiency/ICT/procurement specialist and that would have been my career in the civil service. The idea of leaving and taking up a sales job was a strange option.

When I joined CFM, I didn’t know what a salesman did, the basics like how do you sell things, how can you be successful at this? What do I do on day one? But, within 3 months, I just loved it. I took to it naturally and thought – why haven’t I been doing this before? Now, of course, I probably was doing it before – selling people new processes and so on – but I wasn’t actually charging them for it! But in this new situation, you were selling and people were buying and they liked it and you got a bonus as well – I got a buzz from selling, and the more you sold the more you made, there is an excitement in it …and personally I got a great kick out of having satisfied customers. It’s an old cliché, but it’s absolutely right – people buy from people. It’s all about relationship building.

Gary: And is that true with public tenders too? When you see the tender documents on your screen or advertised in a newspaper, that looks like a clinical process where someone ticks boxes as they evaluate your response. Is relationship still important here, too, Noel?

Noel: It’s still the case. Obviously there’s a process in tendering and you have got to answer the questions and fill in the forms. 70% of it is that. That has to be right. The public sector has to be very tight on this. But I often say to people, if you’re putting 50 to 100 pages in front of people and you want them to read what you’ve written, and to give you a high mark for the quality of your proposal, it almost needs to read like a book. It needs to be a good read. When people read the management summary, you want them to want to read on. So the management summary makes them think – they seem to understand our requirements, they seem to have some good proposals, cost seems about right – and that leads them on to the rest of the document. And if there’s a nice flow to the document.

I always say to people, when you’re writing the document, decide on a theme. Decide on some major messages that you want to keep to the fore. Say something about your company or your service or your people that you think gives you the edge, then make that a major theme of the document – keep repeating it. Decide on your main selling point, keep playing the same message over and over and that’s the way to make sure you get it across.

I have owned my own company since 2004, my company is NB1 – it stands for Noel Brady 1. When people do business with my company, they’re dealing with me. I will do the job, I won’t have someone coming in to do the NB1 service. It will be me personally. Now that obviously restricts the growth of my business, but that’s the way I want it – I want it to bring a personal service to my clients. So I try to build that sort of relationship with my clients very quickly. You can’t work with somebody if they don’t like you or if they don’t understand what you’re trying to do, or if you haven’t explained it properly. If you haven’t created some rapport and if you haven’t understood their business too and their problems.

I very quickly learned, when I took up the sales job, because I had worked in the public sector, the relationships I had built with people stood by me – and that taught me something. There was trust, there was relationship, there was respect. When people talk about bad sales people – those salespeople have stepped over the line of respect and friendship.

Gary: That’s a very interesting word to use about sales, isn’t it? Respect. It’s at every stage, isn’t it – from when you first talk to the customer and try to understand their needs – right through to delivery and making sure they get value.

Noel: The trouble with sales people who have bad reputations is that they don’t have respect for the people they are selling to. They just want the forms signed, they don’t care what type of product or service they are selling or how they will be supported in the future. They never go back to see how the customer feels.

Respect is very important. Mutual respect too, You expect your client to have respect for you as well. I wouldn’t work with people who would be disrespectful to the way that I want to work. So it’s important to understand the limits of a business relationship. It’s possible to go beyond those limits – where you try to over-sell, or try to force people to buy something. Sitting back and listening – the old 80/20 rule applies – when you only speak 20% of the time – you definitely sell more by listening to people. Sometimes they ask for additional products as well, and if you haven’t been listening, there may be opportunities going past you.

Gary: In talking about respect and your customer respecting you as a salesperson – what do you do to earn that respect?

Noel: I think you have to be honest with people. In my business, where people are asking me to help them sell their products and services, sometimes I need to be quite direct and say – guys, your whole approach is wrong, people in this market are not even aware of you! And this can be a great shock to people! Sometime you have to be straightforward and honest, but you do it in a way which gains their respect. You try and work with them and help them along the way. But always be honest and straight. Telling someone that everything’s great may not take them anywhere.

Sometimes people don’t take your advice – that’s up to them. In talking to some clients about their tendering process, their attitude has been – we’ve been doing this for years, we don’t need any help with that – but then six months later they tell you they’ve not got back on to a public sector framework which means they’ll not get any business for at least the next four years. That’s a very costly mistake. But they could have spent a few days looking at how they do things, a wee bit of investment…the payback is huge, but the downside is also huge.

Gary: So having moved into business development and sales, Noel, has that been the direction of your career ever since?

Noel: Yes. Whenever CFM became ICL-CFM, I became Client Services Director for the public sector in Ireland. Which helped me build up my network across the whole of the public sector here even more.

Gary: At that stage, Noel, you must have had guys working for you who had been in sales a lot longer than you?

Noel: Yes, quite a number of them. That was interesting! But my job was to find the big opportunities and pass those back to the sales guys. The more I could find, and the more they could convert, then we all won our bonuses. So, once the sales started coming in, everybody saw that the process was working. This was between 1991 and 1998 – ICL-CFM won some fantastic contracts. We grew from 145 people to 700 in seven years. Our first contract was the civil service which was worth £4m a year; by the time I left, we were turning over £77m a year. In Northern Ireland, that was huge growth.

Two good friends Robert Bailes, Norman Greg and I were head-hunted and we became the founder directors of SX3. This was a big start-up! 450 people overnight! I became Sales and Marketing Director for the Group. The plan was to grow the company through contracts but also through acquisition. In a period of 18 months after we started in SX3 we acquired 6 companies. This was a much bigger role for me, it was across the whole of the UK and the salespeople of any companies we acquired worked for me.

I then became MD of Ireland around 2002. I enjoyed some elements of that but not others – I wasn’t close enough to the customers. But it was good experience to have – running a company of 850 people, £72m turnover, part of a plc group.

When I left Sx3 in 2004 I had a number of choices going forward. I had offers to become CEO of this or that – because I had spent 14 years growing two companies into much bigger companies – I could have tried to do that again. And then there were other opportunities to take some equity in a company. But there was also the opportunity to do something on my own – but the question was, could I really build a business around it? It took me about 3 months – some people had asked me to come and help them with bids, with building a sales strategy and team – and after about 3 months I thought, there’s something here, but is it sustainable as a business?

The turning point was in July 2004 when I created NB1 as a limited company, mainly because I could not handle international clients who were Plc’s if I wasn’t a limited company, but also by that time I was convinced I could make a go of the business.

Gary: Everything about this direction, Noel, was different than anything you’d done before. You’d worked for sizable organizations, you’d been working in the context of a team – almost every aspect of what you are about to do is different. Now you’re working for yourself, on your own, it’s so different…

Noel: Totally. There’s not a day now in my company life that is the same as the day before. I don’t work 4 days a week for company X. Today I might be working for company X, tomorrow for company Y. And company X might be a public sector body and company Y a Renewable Energy company from Europe that would like to do business in Northern Ireland. One day I might be doing work with a company’s board, tomorrow helping another organization do a business strategy. I’ve other roles as well – I’m a Belfast Harbour Commissioner, I’m a non-exec with a company and I’ve retainers with different companies, in different industries. So every day is different. I work with small companies right through to large global players, but who have a very small footprint in Northern Ireland.

Gary: That really must keep you on your toes, Noel, from day to day? Did this sort of working come naturally, right from the start?

Noel: At the start, it was very, very different indeed. I’m a very process-driven person, that’s the ex-civil servant in me. So I like having things under control! And when you look 3 months ahead and see all these half days and days with different companies doing different things, it’s very daunting at the start. Your customers are paying for your advice and experiences, so they’re expecting you to say something profound! They expect you to tell them what needs sorting and how to do it. Sometimes I act as a mediator when problems occur within or between companies, or I might be hired to establish if there’s an appetite for a merger with a certain company, discretely. So I can be hired to do a lot of different things – but it’s all basic good experience and advice. I understand how the public sector works, I have worked in big corporates, I have worked in sales roles, I have been an MD, I’ve been a member of boards, so all these things come together. And if I don’t know the answer to somebody’s question, I know how to find it. Sometimes for particular situations specialist advice is required my job is to find someone who can do it at a reasonable price for my client.

Gary: A lot of what you do Noel, is around business development. How do you think we fare, here in Northern Ireland, with regards to our business development skills, and particularly in the IT industry here?

Noel: One good thing about working for ICL back in the early ’90s was that their training for sales and marketing was superb. Account management, management of pipeline, processes of engagement – all that was part of ICL training programmes. I wonder do today’s companies actually invest in that level of training for their sales people. I chair the Sales Institute and it’s a big issue with us – we’re trying to get the profession to be more professional. We have professional sales programmes from basic certificate right up to degree level and Masters level – mostly in ROI but available in NI if required, the difference being that in ROI the courses are heavily subsidized by government grants but this is not the case for our courses in NI.

We have a gap in sales and marketing skills in NI. I work with clients’ sales teams and there is an absence of real killer sales people. When you look at the IT industry over the past 20 years, you can probably name the 5 or 6 sales people who have sold the really big deals.

Some technology companies think that the person selling needs to understand the technology. I don’t necessarily agree with that. They need to understand the benefits of the technology – yes – need to understand what the technology can do for the client. Beyond that they can bring in a support person to explain more details.

Gary: Translating the features into benefits. Too often not done.

Noel: I think one of the key skills that I see that is lacking is being able to close, knowing when to close the sale. Sometimes you can close the sale in five minutes, sometimes it might be two hours, sometimes you might have to leave it until the next visit. The ability to close, the confidence to close, not being arrogant, reading the signals right. Watching the body language, the signals, you just know that the person wants to buy. You then just need to close it down professionally. Next time you are in your favourite shop observe someone closing a sale – I love watching food sales people at work – when they say “do you want me to leave this beside the till for you sir” – you’ve just been closed by a professional!

Gary: Noel, a last question – you’re dealing with a whole range of industries – as you look round Northern Ireland, what do you think we’re good at?

Noel: I think NI People are very good at building relationships. The difficulty can be getting to the people you need to talk to. And sometimes you need help with that. But Northern Ireland companies have a good work-ethic – people respect that – we tend to be proud of what we do, the service or product. The issue is back to the front-ending, the selling and marketing of it. We’re not good at that. A lot of the problem is to do with access. Once our companies get access, they tend to be very successful.

Gary: So we just need to add a bit more professionalism to the sales and marketing side of things?

Noel: I think so. And networking is very important. You don’t sell things sitting in the office, you sell things out meeting people. But it’s all about raising your profile – it’s no good if people don’t know what you sell and what you’ve got. Profile is so important. In times of austerity at the moment, some companies will be taking the view – batten down the hatches, don’t go to events, no marketing, no events, we’re cutting down our sales force. We’ll starve our way through the crisis. Absolutely the wrong way to go. There may be a crisis, but there is still business there to be got! You’ve got to get out and get it. The clients are out there, they’re not in here, you’re not going to build your business waiting for the phone to ring!

Reproduced with permission from: http://ceoni.wordpress.com/

About Gary Burnett

Fabrio’s Gary Burnett has many years experience in the ICT industry, working in Ireland, the UK, Europe, India and the US. He helps technology companies change and grow.

Nb1 Team Scores for Simon

The Simon Community held their now famous annual golf outing at the Dunmurry Golf Club on the 8th September 2011. 23 Four-Balls from an array of local, National and International Companies jousted for a range of excellent prizes – all in the aid of Charity.

Pictured representing Nb1 at the event is Jimmy White,Echo Managed Services Garry Cullen, Wholeschool.TV, Brain Shanks, Simon Community and James Conlon, NIAVAC.

Simon Community Annual Gala Ball

The Simon Community NI Gala Ball is just one of their annual events to raise much needed funds. The evening was hosted by Frank Mitchell and was a great success.

This event helped raise funds and awareness for individuals and families who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless in Northern Ireland. Pictured Right:- Frank Mitchell, Barbara Brady and Noel Brady, Below:- NI Corporate Fundraising Committee, Peter Russell, Joe.ONeill, Joanne Grant &
Sir George Quigley with Chairman Noel Brady.

Noel Brady welcomes Minister Arlene Foster

The Sales Institute Northern Region held its September Breakfast Seminar at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast.

The keynote speaker was Minister Arlene Foster, from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETi). The seminar was entitled; ‘Private and Public Sector working together to achieve economic growth’.