The National College of Ireland (NCI) is running a series of breakfast talks over the next few months featuring ‘outstanding, innovative speakers on a range of thought-provoking topics in the areas of management, marketing and human resource management’. And they got off to a flying start last Friday morning with Norah Casey, Harmonia CEO and sole female on Dragon’s Den.
Norah started with a brief background on how she got into publishing and spoke at length about the publishing business and how the industry has been struggling with online revenue. It would appear that print is still a force to be reckoned with thought, even in the digital age. For example, in Germany 50% of all advertising spend is still with magazines. Not surprisingly, when Norah was speaking about the costs involved in publishing magazines, the top two were printing and marketing. Never really going to be able to get away from those costs in this industry I’m afraid.
She spoke about how Harmonia’s prize title in the publication stable, Irish Tatler, has been using the brand to expand with such ventures as iVenus, Women of the Year Awards and the Beauty Awards, and the Spa Awards and the Designer Showcase which is now an international project. Similarly, Food & Wine magazine has spawned the Christmas Show, the Club Card and the Blue Plaque Awards. In addition to the revenue streams these bring in, the events are as much about building the brand as anything else.
The second part of the talk was Norah’s top ten pieces of advice on how to make it in business and I’ve listed them below for you to mull over. All very practical and worth taking on board.
- Do your homework
- Prepare to work hard
- Work on the business model
- Get everything free
- If you fail, move fast
- Decide on how to fund growth
- Review strategy
- Maintain harmony in your life
- Realise that money is not a dirty word
- Never stop learning (well I suppose we were in the NCI)
Looking forward to the next talk – Helen Tynan, Director of People Operations with Google – on 6th July.
And with a title like ‘Corn Flakes and Commerce’ who do you think sponsors these events? That’s right…Kellogg’s of course (oh and MetroHerald too). So it was bowls of Rice Krispies all round.