Brussels calls on member states to support ‘collective’ pension savings

first_imgEuropean Union member states must promote “collective” pension savings vehicles, the European Commission has urged.Releasing its annual growth survey, the European executive also praised efforts by a number of countries in reforming their first-pillar pension systems, arguing that a majority of member states had amended systems to “better withstand” the impact of increased longevity.It noted, however, that the reforms could result in further “challenges” and insisted that, to ensure the success and continued support of state pension reforms, steps needed to be taken to maintain retirement income levels, extend working lives or provide other sources of income through “complementary” pension savings vehicles.“Member states,” the report continues, “need to support the development of collective and individual pension plans to complement public pension schemes, including by removing obstacles at European level.” Social partners, it says, also have an important role to play, depending on the circumstances.The reference to collective and individual pension plans is likely to be an attempt to present both second and third-pillar pension saving as viable ways of increasing income on retirement.Olivier Guersent, the most senior civil servant within the Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union directorate general, recently suggested the pan-European pension product developed by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) could play an important role in developing pension saving where occupational systems were not in place.At the same event, EIOPA chairman Gabriel Bernardino suggested there was space for a pan-European occupational defined contribution system.The Commission’s report comes only a few months after social affairs commissioner Marianne Thyssen argued in favour of greater supplementary savings, while acknowledging the “limited” ability of many households to contribute to such systems.last_img read more

15C AND (MAINLY) GLORIOUS! THE DD WEATHER REPORT WITH THE MOUNT ERRIGAL HOTEL

first_imgDONEGAL Daily Weather Report, in association with The Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, Tel 07491 22700.Today’s Weather: Very mild at dawn with temperatures starting the day at 8C, perhaps a couple of degrees lower along the coasts, where mist and fog may linger into the morning.Generally a dry day with bright sunny spells especially in the afternoon. Temperatures are 5C above average for this time of the year with Donegal seeing the warmest weather today of 15C, or even 16C at times, especially in the south of the county. The warmer weather will continue, according to Met Eireann, though BBC NI reckons it will be cooler for the rest of the week with wetter weather for the North West.IT’S FIFTY-50 Tuesday at Dexter’s at the Mount Errigal Hotel today. Enjoy a Dexter’s Sharing Platter for Two for just €29.50.2x4oz Irish Burger with Blue Cheese & Onion, Ribs, Breaded Prawns, Spicy Chicken Wings, 2 side orders & BBQ dip!The Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, Tel 07491 22700.  15C AND (MAINLY) GLORIOUS! THE DD WEATHER REPORT WITH THE MOUNT ERRIGAL HOTEL was last modified: April 1st, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegal daily weatherMount Errigal HotelTuesday deallast_img read more

How to Stay Out of the Startup Graveyard and Scale

first_imgThe path to scalability is littered with failed startups. GinzaMetrics CEO Ray Grieselhuber offers advice on making your company a success story, instead of a cautionary tale of early-stage promise unfulfilled.Navigating the path from early stage to growth is a make-or-break moment for any startup. Ray Grieselhuber, co-founder and CEO of SEO and content marketing platform GinzaMetrics, recently sat down with OpenView to discuss the keys to that transition (listen to the full interview here), and how a major requirement is keeping your company out of what he calls the startup graveyard.Establishing the Right Customer Acquisition ModelFor many SaaS companies, the shift in focus from searching for the right product/market fit to scaling execution and ramping up growth typically corresponds with a shift in the organization’s sales model, as well. In the case of GinzaMetrics, Grieselhuber explains that in its early days the company was focused on acquiring customers entirely via inbound marketing. Once they started gaining traction, started seeing upsell opportunities, and hit a certain volume of customers, however, it became clear they needed to formalize and build out their sales function.Getting to that kind of tipping point is a terrific milestone for startup companies, but for many, it’s unfortunately also the beginning of the end. Building out your sales function can help you sign up more customers than ever before, but it also adds to the cost of acquiring them. Unless it can balance out that cost by raising prices or otherwise adding revenue to compensate, a startup is printing itself an express one-way ticket to ruin.The Startup Graveyard Click to enlarge.To stress the danger that high customer acquisition costs (CAC) can pose to young companies, Grieselhuber points to the work of SaaS expert and blogger Joel York. York plots SaaS sales models on a graph with price on the Y axis and the cost of acquiring and retaining customers — which corresponds with the complexity of the model — on the X axis. “On the low end of each axis, where it doesn’t cost much to acquire customers and you’re not charging them very much, you have a self-service model,” Grieselhuber explains. “That’s where we were early on, relying completely on inbound marketing and leads.”The next stage up and to the right is the transactional model, where you start seeing salespeople at the very least in closing roles. “You can still rely very heavily on things like content marketing and SEO to fill the funnel,” Grieselhuber advises. In fact, that can help keep you from having to spend spend a lot of money on lead research and lead generation.“Nine times out of ten, when I look at other Saas startups out there, the number one problem I see happening is they’re simply not charging enough money.”ray-grieselhuberRay Grieselhuber, CEO and co-founder, GinzaMetricsAt the upper right quadrant of the graph is where you find enterprise solutions with both high prices and high complexity. The sales process for acquiring a single customer can take months (or even years). These companies have in-the-field sales reps taking people out in an effort to sign big annual contracts, as well as a support team, professional services, and everything else necessary to serve high-maintenance customers.As long as your price and/or your revenue rises along with your company costs, you’re golden, Grieselhuber explains. The lower-right quadrant of the graph, however, is what he calls the startup graveyard. Companies with complex products and prices too low to cover acquisition and retention costs are doomed — and the road to the graveyard is crowded. “Nine times out of ten,” he says, “when I look at other Saas startups out there, the number one problem I see happening is they’re simply not charging enough money.”Grieselhuber does offer a ray of hope for CEOs approaching the growth stage for the first time. Some companies are able to move up the price and complexity axes smoothly as they develop. His own company, GinzaMetrics, is one such scenario in which account maturity offered more opportunities for up-selling as customers saw increasing value and opted for a higher level of service.3 Tips for Staying Out of the Startup Graveyard1) Keep Your CAC Low for as Long as Possible via Inbound MarketingTo steer clear of the road to ruin, keep your CAC low — particularly for a self-service sales model. “Before you look at adding sales, concentrate on things like web marketing, obviously SEO, content-marketing, and other low-cost inbound tactics,” Grieselhuber suggests. It’s even a good idea for companies that are operating in a transactional model with higher prices and costs to focus on an inbound strategy. “Often, the quality of your content marketing efforts are going to be the only thing that really differentiates you.”2) Before You Hire Anyone in Sales, Make Sure You’re Targeting the Right ProspectsIf your company reaches a point on the price axis that justifies an investment in outbound channels, then you can begin building a sales team and a lead generation machine. Even then, Grieselhuber says, your sales strategy needs to be “focused and targeted at the right people.”3) Keep Things Simple, Organized, and Invest in AutomationIn order to keep your costs in check, keep your sales process simple and organized, work toward maintaining clean customer data, and invest in automation for a product that requires as small a support team as possible. “On the back end,” Grieselhuber says, those factors “really have a big impact on your overall ability to deliver quality at a lower cost of acquisition.”How have you managed to balance out your CAC? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below.Photo by: Leo LaporteAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more