Blarney and The Luck of the Irish

All four of my grandparents came from County Mayo in the West of Ireland (three from Bohola, one from Clooneen), so I've been exposed to Irish customs, traditions and blarney all of my life. So I wanted to write about two Irish characteristics which you can use to help your business (even if you're not Irish).

business advice

The first is blarney; it's the Irish gift of gab. It's also the ability to present things in a positive light - to make positive statements about your product, your service or your business.

I once had a salesman call on me, trying to sell me some printing. He opened with, "Printing is a very difficult business because there are so many things that can go wrong. That's why we can't print everything but here's what we can do."

Saints above! That man needs a dose of blarney in his presentation. I'm sure a printer in Dublin or Galway would have said something like this: "We're a great printer and our customers love us because they realize that printing can be a complicated process. They appreciate the fact that we look out for their interests and make sure the job comes out the way they want it."

So, put a little Irish blarney in your presentations and you'll likely close more sales.

My maternal grandparents purchased this Bohola pub in 1922.

The second is the Luck of the Irish. In the early 20th Century, Americans were amazed at the success of many Irish immigrants. They attributed it to the 'Luck of the Irish'. And the phrase stuck. But many other immigrant groups moved quickly up the economic ladder after their arrival in America - European Jews, Italians and, more recently, Vietnamese and Cambodians. There were three things that all of these immigrants did to make their own luck:

First, they employed internal networking. They used the advice, skills and contacts from close relatives to find new business or employment opportunities. They used these same contacts to improve their economic situation and meet new people.

Second, they used semi-internal networking by joining clubs, fraternal organizations, churches, synagogues, and societies to meet a wider group of people who could extend friendship and help. In the early 1900s, the new Irish immigrants often joined the Sons of Ireland and the Knights of Columbus to make new acquaintances.

Finally, they began networking externally to reach out and meet the rest of the community. That's what John B. Kelly did. One of ten children of an immigrant couple from County Mayo, he became successful at masonry work in Philadelphia from 1920 onward. Growing up in Philadelphia, I remember seeing his 'Kelly For Brickwork' t-shirts all over town, long before corporate logo apparel became popular. You may not have seen those shirts but you'll probably remember John's daughter - Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco. (A real Princess, too - not bad for a second generation Irish-American!)

Remember that Luck is simply Preparation meeting Opportunity. That's what the Irish (and other immigrants) did. They were prepared to find and cultivate opportunities; they made their own luck.

So, I'm recommending you to do two things to make your business better. First, make positive statements about your business, making sure that you've removed all negatives - put some blarney in there! Second, get out there and network to expand your business base. And, start doing it now ... remember the old Irish proverb:

"You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind."

Other Pages Of Interest

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