BIO | In the crisis from a small to a high-end company: successful with downsizing

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Disclosure & Image Rights:  Fáilte Ireland supported our trip to Ireland by taking over travel expenses. Images by Kieran & Ronan Ganter. Photo Location: Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin 18, Ireland.

Slow-Grow is a recognized principle for sustainable growth smaller Company , But even fast-growing companies can downsize - and then afterwards the more successful start again. Ganter Brothers

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Downsizing as a business strategy

An example of the successful downsizing of a company are the Ganter brothers from Dublin, who in the meantime have borrowed a bike from their chauffeur service and today transport customers like Bruce Springsteen and Bill Clinton.

Kieran Ganter has always been someone who could not be stopped by many ideas. In general, this would be called entrepreneurial thinking. To this day, he is hard to get rid of the business that traces him to dinner and to the holidays.

Better than the competition

The two came to their chauffeur service but by chance: The father Leon Ganter worked at the Irish Tourism Federation in Dublin and was looking for someone who drove a Japanese journalist through the area. That was 1996 when Kieran was just 21. Later, he and his two-year-younger brother Ronan studied tourism and started developing ideas for their own Company to develop: Ganter Chauffeur Drive was born.

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But the two of them didn't just want to offer a driving service, they wanted to do things better than the competition: "You can do everything better if you dare, and we had a good feeling about it," explains Kieran of his motivation. So the two developed a personal travel program: “We wanted to offer our customers something special, not pre-made travel routes,” explains Ronan.

Marketing as a personal matter

Marketing was also a personal matter for the two of them: they established contact with important governmental organizations such as the Food Board, Enterprise Ireland or the Tourist Board. In addition, the two traveled through other countries and even talked with the tour operators on the spot.

They benefited from the fact that they also speak Spanish and French. “Tourism is a business that relies heavily on trust. People want to know exactly what they are spending the money for when booking, "says Kieran." Therefore, good service and word of mouth are extremely important for marketing. "

Social media and internet are only marginal issues

Social media and the Internet, on the other hand, are only a marginal topic in the marketing mix. "If we had a restaurant, it would be more important because it was about everyday business," Kieran explains.

“Although customers like to check the Internet, they check the reviews on Trip Advisor, but since we offer a high-end service, it doesn't matter in the end.” Another important argument is the time factor: “Using social media channels is simply very time-consuming, because we prefer to personally look after our customers,” says Ronan.

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“Employees make everything more complicated”

The two do not want to hire other employees: "Employees make everything more complicated", the two explain from experience. Because the young chauffeur company had grown very quickly at first - in three years to a thriving company with 14 freelancers.

There were also various contracts with car companies. “We tried to take on every job back then,” says Kieran. But this also brought with it organizational problems: "Sometimes the agencies and tour operators made mistakes in the appointment," says the entrepreneur. And strict standards were also applied to the employees: "Anyone who forgot an appointment, we will not have worked with in the future," he explains.

Downsizing in crisis

When 2008 hit the economic crisis and prices fell all over Ireland, they both radically reorganized: they sold the cars and opened a bike rental with 20 wheels.

They also developed the concept for “Doublin by Bike”, an individually organized bike tour. In addition to the crisis, personal considerations also played a role: "We could have made it despite the crisis, but we wanted to have more time for our families again," report the two.

Quality instead of quantity

Downsizing brought about a decisive change: in 2011 the two sold their bicycles and returned the two to their limousine service - but differently than before: “We deliberately focus on high quality: only two vehicles, but Mercedes instead of VW. Our goal was to provide a high quality service for an appropriate price - and a company that can be managed with fewer employees and less organizational effort. ” Today, Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsten are among their customers, and National Geographic reports on the chauffeur service.

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The two have maintained a small connection to the bike rental: "We like the idea of ​​gentle tourism," explains Ronan with a smile. "We will soon be offering adventure tours in which people will be picked up by limousine after their bike tour. ”

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