Is the grass always greener on the other side?

by

London

Did you know that 48,000 Irish people run part of their business in Britain?

I didn’t until, out of curiosity, I popped along to a conference aimed at those interested in dipping their toe in the UK market. Entrepreneurs by their nature are ambitious so there’s naturally a perception that a leap across the pond will be the Holy Grail for business growth and expansion. Wanting a bite of the cherry is naturally tempting for entrepreneurs in Ireland in light of the fact that the UK accounts for €4 out of every €10 generated from our export sales.

So if you’re doing business in Ireland – it can’t be too hard to do the same in the UK. Can it?

While in theory the markets may seem similar, it’s vital that those considering stepping into the UK market invest a great deal of time and planning. It takes months of advance budgeting and planning as well as in depth desktop research of the; market, landscape, locations and workforce. How will you generate the right awareness for your business in such a large marketplace and do you know enough about that marketplace to start to answer that question?

Do you have the finances to sustain the business and the promotion of it while you are on that awareness curve?

Justin McInerney of Accuflow spoke at the conference and was refreshingly open about his experience of setting up his multi million business in the UK.

He warned businesses to exercise caution and that achieving success in the UK is a hard slog: “Many don’t realise that at the beginning that travel and operating costs can reach £1,000 a week”

He also went on to describe how he first set up his business in an area which sounded good on paper – it was a hub for countless other business, but the downside of that meant that the workforce was transient and he found it difficult to retain staff given how many employment opportunities they had on their doorstep. I can only imagine the resources and time the company spent on hiring and rehiring staff.

At the conference, organised by Cork Chamber, I got chatting to an entrepreneur who was keen to investigate the UK market but from a brief and casual chat about their business, it struck me as to whether they were anywhere near optimising the Irish market opportunities with their product.

While it might make perfect sense to look at the ‘bigger opportunities’ the grass may sometimes seem greener when it comes to the UK or any overseas market. It might just make sense to optimise the Irish market first – explore each and every opportunity to achieving business success here first when you have the best and right positioning. If you haven’t achieved that in this country then it might be illogical to feel you can achieve it in another, more competitive market such as the UK.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

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