SFA Fortnightly Update

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine. 


Do you want your business featured on the SFA Instagram? Find out how here.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with support from the Enterprise Forum and the Retail Consultation Forum have launched a survey to get a better understanding of business issues around implementing Covid-19 Prevention Measures. Results from this survey will be used to inform strategies that can help businesses implement measures to further reduce the spread of Covid-19 for both customers and employees. You can find the survey here.


Ibec member Duff & Phelps have put together advice for small business owners in relation to commercial leases and the current Covid-19 crisis.  


If your business is having difficulties paying electricity and gas bills, read about the Commission for Regulation of Utilities temporary supply suspension scheme for non-domestic customers impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. 


Check out the resources available to members to support the reopening of small firms post COVID-19.


Two years on from the implementation of GDPR. it is important to regularly ensure your business is being compliant with the processing of personal data. Read to learn about the eight privacy rights for individuals under GDPR and what they mean for your business. 


Finally, we also provide recent press coverage.


As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit our website.


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director


SFA in the media
  • Business Recovery Package
  • Minimum Wage
  • Road Map for Reopening

Business Recovery Package

Minimum Wage

  • The SFA was featured in the Business Post regarding a freeze on the national minimum wage until 2023. 

Road Map for Reopening

  • The Journal mentioned the SFA's support, praising the plan as a first step towards recovery. 
Feature your business on our Instagram!

The SFA is on Instagram and we want to promote your business...

Would you like to be featured on the official SFA Instagram account, @SFA_Irl?


We will be dedicating posts on Instagram to our members a couple of times a week, showcasing the wide range of businesses we represent. You do not have to be on Instagram to take part in this, and you do not need to be currently operating - all SFA Members are welcome!


All you have to do is:

  • Send in a high-resolution photo of your choice (whether that is your shop, your products, a photo of your staff members, or anything else that you think represents your business)
  • What you would like your post to be focused on
    • That your business is still currently operating
    • How your business got started and what you hope to achieve in the future
    • Why your business is one of the best small businesses in Ireland
    • How the SFA has helped your business
    • Anything else you want it to be about (relating to your business of course)
  • How to reach you - whether it is your Instagram handle, your website, or your email address

We of course welcome you to follow our profile and encourage you to tag us in any past photos you've taken at SFA Events, or any other photos you would like us to see or share. 


To participate in being featured on our page, just send an email with the information listed above to briana.mctiernan@sfa.ie.  

Support for paying electricity and gas bills launched

If your business is having difficulties paying electricity and gas bills, take a look at the temporary supply suspension scheme  from The Commission for Regulation of Utilities...

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities has decided to implement a temporary supply suspension scheme for non-domestic customers impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. Any customer who avails of the scheme will have no energy or network charges billed for their business premises supply point for the duration that the measure is in place. In effect, the consumption for their supply point would be estimated at zero and their fixed network charges will be suspended.


To avail of the scheme customers will engage with their supplier to complete an application form. The supplier must get the consent of the customers to apply to the relevant network operator to have the measure applied to their supply point. This scheme is voluntary; suppliers are not required to offer it to their customers.


It is important to note that the CRU’s definition of SME relates to energy use and energy tariff type and not personnel numbers. More information about the scheme and eligibility can be found here.

SFA Reopening supports

Check out the resources available to members to support the reopening of small firms post COVID-19...

It is clear from the launch of the Roadmap for reopening society and business, new business supports and the National Return to Work Safely Protocol that the reopening of the economy is going to be gradual and that tackling this virus and ending the threat to public health remains absolutely paramount.


On the SFA website smaller businesses will find several resources on how to maintain safe working environments and information on how to manage businesses during these difficult times.


Listen to our webinars on health and safety, hear from rugby legend and serial entrepreneur Jamie Heaslip on how to manage a business at this time and update your business skills by learning from our experts on resilience, navigating change and communicating with your customers.


Register now for this week’s Webinar: Navigating your Brand through this Crisis.


Our Health and Safety Advice contains information on how to prepare a health and safety statement, conduct a risk assessment and much more.


As many employees will continue to work remotely for the remainder of the summer, check out our updated remote working document.


Additional COVID-19 HR and business advice can be found here.


Today our colleagues in Ibec launched the Reboot & Reimagine campaign, which includes contributions from SFA members. This campaign outlines a series of actions in three phases; the next 100 days, end of 2020 and the end of 2023 to Reboot & Reimagine the economy. These actions included the need for greater cashflow and liquidity measures to support smaller firms, further commercial rates relief, the reintroduction of 9% VAT rate and employment supports.

GDPR Guidelines

Read on to learn about the eight privacy rights for individuals under GDPR and what they mean for your business...

It has been two years since the implementation of GDPR. It is important to regularly ensure your business is being compliant with the processing of personal data. Read on to learn about the eight privacy rights for individuals under GDPR and what they mean for your business.


These rights need to be detailed in your privacy notice. For more information on this visit  www.dataprotection.ie. The eight rights for individuals are:


1. The right to be informed

What this means is that the individual should know what personal data you are collecting on their behalf, why you are collecting their personal data and who has access to it in relation to third parties. For example, if you use an outsourced payroll provider to process employee wages this would need to be detailed in your privacy notice. You must provide information such as the country in which the processing occurs, the legitimate interests of the processor, data retention etc.


2. The Right of Access   

This means the individual has the right to access the personal data belonging to them that you process. This will come via a data access request and you will have up to one month to give them their personal data unless it is excessive and then you should keep the individual informed of this. You can read more information about managing data access requests here. One could ask why and how you process it, who sees it, how long it will be stored for etc.


3. The Right to Rectification  

This right allows the data subject to have their personal data updated and amended without undue delay if they feel the information is out-of-date. This should particularly be carried out if the data is inaccurate as this could have an impact on them or others. If you held the phone numbers of the data subjects and they had not been updated, you could risk contacting a customer who did not provide their consent. The business should provide a process for the data subjects to update their own information either verbally or in writing.


4. The Right to Erasure  

This right is also referred to as the right to be forgotten whereby all personal data relating to an individual should be erased and no longer kept on any paper based or electronic systems, including the cloud. However, if there is a regulatory or legal requirement to retain the data, this overrides the right to be forgotten so this particular right is not absolute.

5. The Right to Restrict Processing  

The data subject can exercise its right to limit the way a business processes their personal data which can be an alternative option to requesting the full erasure of their data. They might have issues with the information you hold or how you have processed their personal data and request the processing of it to be adjusted. In most cases you will not be required to restrict an individual’s personal data indefinitely but will need to have the restriction in place for a specific duration. Like the right to erasure, this is not an absolute right if a regulatory or legal requirement overrides this right. For example, if a legal claim needs to be defended the personal data would be processed for that purpose.   


6. The Right to Data Portability  

This right allows an individual to request that their personal data be transferred over to some other business and it only applies to data controllers. An example of this might be that an individual wants to transfer their data from one utility company to another. It allows them to move, copy or transfer personal data easily from one business to another in a safe and secure way and the data should be provided in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.


7. The Right to Object

An individual has the right to object to the following:

  • processing based on legitimate interests or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority (including profiling)
  • direct marketing (including profiling)
  • processing for purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics

It is essential that if you receive an objection to direct marketing this activity must be stopped immediately.   

8. Rights to Automated Decision Making and profiling  

Businesses will need to state if they use automated profiling so that an individual can request if they need to be aware of any automated decisions that have been made and whether it will stop them doing or obtaining something. An example of this might be a CV selection software that has no human intervention and it matches the keywords from a job advert with the CVs of potential candidates.   


If you would like more information on GDPR or to discuss your requirements further, please contact Emma at SFA on 01 6051668 or at emma.crowley@sfa.ie or visit our GDPR section on www.sfa.ie/advice   

Navigating Landlord and Tenant Lease Options during Covid-19

Duff & Phelps have put together advice for small business owners in relation to commercial leases and the current Covid-19 crisis...

The economic disturbance in the global economy as a result of the coronavirus is having far reaching consequences. The economic shock on the property market has jeopardised the interests of both landlords and tenants and in many instances raised a need to revisit the terms within existing lease agreements. Business owners and landlords should act quickly and consider the re-negotiation of these terms. Proper commercial and legal advice at this time is essential to protect each parties’ respective interests.


When re-negotiating lease terms, it is important that both parties fully appreciate their counterparts’ position. Only then can meaningful negotiations take place.


Tenants Position

It is important for landlords to understand that tenants have likely experienced a substantial collapse in turnover which has put their business at risk. The implications of this collapse in revenue will likely be severe and the change in circumstances may affect the tenant’s ability to meet its contractual obligations.


Landlord Position

It is important for tenants to understand that their landlords, in many cases, have monthly obligations to a financial institution. A shortfall in rental income will not only reduce a landlord’s revenue stream, it will also jeopardise its ability to meet its required repayments, breaching contractual obligations to the bank or lending institution. If the landlord is a “professional landlord,” tenants should be aware that the landlord’s business is the operation of commercial investment properties. Lack of rental income represents a risk to the landlord’s business in the same way a reduction in turnover for a restaurant represents a risk to the tenant’s business.   


Landlords and tenants are struggling, and they both need to understand that the current circumstances do not absolve either party of their respective contractual obligations. It is imperative that both parties work together to ensure their individual interests are protected. A solution should be devised with this objective in mind.   

There are a number of options available to landlords and tenants such as:  

  • Temporary rent freeze / “rent holiday” whereby a portion of the rent is deferred until a later date  

  • Term exchange option (e.g. a rent abatement for term/break extension agreement)  

  • Implementation of stepped rent whereby a reduction of rent in the short term is recovered later in the term 

  • Waiving rent payments in lieu of an equity stake in the business  

This is not an exhaustive list and there is no “one size fits all” approach because no one lease is the same. Additionally, all landlords and tenants have different obligations and business requirements—what works in one scenario may not in another.  


One certainty is that tenants must act and engage with landlords as soon as possible. Ignoring contractual obligations in the short to medium term is sure to have severe long-term implications. There are instances where tenants have advised their landlord that they are simply not paying rent for the foreseeable future. Failure to pay rent or to engage with your landlord to come to an amenable solution could ultimately constitute breaches in contract, a build-up of rent arrears and costly legal disputes. A build-up of rent arrears and impending legal disputes will most certainly make the recovery of any business more difficult than necessary. It is worth considering the advantage your competitors may gain by engaging early with their landlords and coming to a mutually beneficial agreement.  


The SFA and Duff & Phelps will host a Teams call on landlord tenant issues on 26 May at 11am, book on here.

Webinar: Navigating your Brand through this Crisis
  • 14 May

This webinar will provide owner-managers with relevant and useful advice on how to protect and develop their brand and stay connected with their customers and staff in these challenging times. No matter what sector you are in this webinar is for you.

The webinar will focus on:

  • Revisiting your Brand Purpose and why this is crucial right now
  • Brand Behaviour - activate this purpose through communications and actions both with customers and employees
  • Communications - Brand silence is not an option but it is imperative to set the right tone
  • Adjusting (understanding your customer and their changing needs)
  • Planning for the Future - the recovery will come

In this, member only, webinar you will hear from Gillian Horan, CEO and Creative Director of The Pudding. Gillian is one of Ireland’s leading authorities on brand. She has advised a range of corporate and private equity groups on how best to reposition and commercially leverage their corporate and employer brands to drive revenue, attract top talent and drive growth. Gillian has been responsible for a number of significant rebrands in the Irish marketplace and beyond. She also works with brands to develop their employer brand strategy and Employer Value Propositions which enables businesses to attract top talent, can cut their costs per hire by 50% and can reduce staff turnover by a third. Some of her key clients include Smyths Toys, Colgate, Norbook Pharmaceuticals, Nursing Homes Ireland, Sheraton US, Carton House, Conrad Dublin, PREM Group, Renatus, Coole Swan, Kinvara. Gillian spent 12 years lecturing in Branding, Marketing and Entrepreneurship in one of the leading hospitality colleges, the Shannon College of Hotel Management. She has served as a Non-Executive Board member at General Paints/ Colourtrend and also served as a Board Member of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisors (IMCA). Gillian is a member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland and the Institute of Designers in Ireland.

Please use Google Chrome to register and view this webinar.

This webinar is free, but you must pre-register.

Please note that registration closes 1 hour before the webinar starts.

Teams Call: Sustaining your business during and after a time of crisis
  • 19 May

What is it about:  “Doing nothing is not an option”

Do you:
1.Have a clear agreed continuity (Survival) goal for the next 3/6/12 months?
2.Decide what % of your resources, will be focused on each of your priorities?
3.Understand what is your unique message to your target audience?
4.Clearly know who your target audience is?
5.Rank your company's priorities, for the next 3/6/12 months? How?
6.Have a clear prediction what your company will achieve over the next 3/6/12 months?
7.Measure the results of each action your company takes to get these results?

What learnings/ takeaways expected:
Over this 30 minute, Noel Quinn CEO of Bitsing, will answer the 7 questions above, walk through case studies and show simple practical steps to take, to help you move forward. Bitsing is a unique methodology that for more than 20 years works with clients, through coaching and training, to prepare you for the recovery and achieve your continuity (survival) goal.

This Teams call is free of charge but you must pre-register (this link will take you to another SFA page, click on "book now" on the right side).

Teams Call: Navigating Landlord – Tenant Issues
  • 26 May

In this 30 minute Teams call you will hear about the different options available to you, how to negotiate with your landlord and some of the dos and dont's when it comes to commercial leases. This call will be delivered by the Real Estate Team of Duff & Phelps.


This call is for members only. It is free but you must pre-register, and using Microsoft teams is suggested..