Opening a new business is one of the most exciting and scariest things that you can do!
In my earlier life I opened many new businesses including fast food restaurants and music stores in different parts of the country. In each case you put your heart and soul as well as money into the new venture and you literally cross your fingers and toes that all of your assumptions about the ‘gap in the market’ are correct and that when you throw those doors open it is a success.
Of course you do your utmost beforehand to assess the opportunity but in truth from my own experience it is only when you actually open those doors that you discover if your venture will be a success or not.
I will admit truthfully that not all of my ventures have been successes – some of the businesses I have opened had to be shut within a year or shorter. In some cases external circumstances dictated against them but in others I just got my assumptions wrong and I overestimated the demand resulting in a loss making scenario. Thankfully I had other profitable ventures to carry these losses but it is very costly, painful and frightening when something doesn’t work.
When this happens it dampens your entrepreneurial spirit, you tend to become risk averse but after a time the true entrepreneurs will dust themselves off and try again!
These days in Fuzion I and my team are in the privileged position of helping many new businesses in Ireland open their new ventures. It’s exciting but as we all know only too well there is no guarantee of success. All you can do is give yourself the best chance of success – ‘Prepare to win’ is a phrase my good buddy and ex-Cork City FC manager Pat Dolan used use frequently.
Every time I see a new business opening it thrills me as it captures that adventurous entrepreneurial spirit – another brave soul who believes enough in what they are doing to take a risk. We need to celebrate this and take it as a big sign that confidence is recovering in our economy.
Just two weeks ago it was fantastic to see the doors open of a new fish restaurant, Quinlan’s in Princes Street in Cork – things are definitely improving in Cork when you see people having the confidence to open new places.
Something even more fantastic was the little sandwich board that I spotted outside Nash 19, one of Quinlan’s neighbours.
Instead of listing the specials for the day “Welcome to our new neighbours” it read, which was a very generous gesture from another restaurant, who effectively would be a competitor of sorts of the newcomer.
This gesture must have been hugely uplifting and encouraging to Quinlan’s who were about to find out very quickly if Cork was ready for their new restaurant.
As usual I like to tweet when I see a new business opening and very cleverly Quinlan’s responded to my tweet by inviting me and the Fuzion gang in for our #FuzionFriday lunch, which is our team tradition, one that we have kept going for 15 years.
We duly accepted the invitation and enjoyed a really great ‘fish and chips‘ lunch (and some vino!) at Quinlan’s and when we were there I had a great chat with their owner, Liam Quinlan, a Kerryman from Cahirciveen.
The first thing he mentioned to me was the fantastic support and welcome he had received from his new neighbours, many of which would be competitors. He spoke about the welcome from Claire Nash and the Nash 19 sandwich board, he mentioned Ernest Cantillon from Electric, Salvatore and his mum from Rossini’s, some of his other close neighbours and some of the traders from the English Market who all popped in to wish him the best. He had been warned beforehand that an ‘outsider’ like himself would be ‘up against it’ in Cork.
This welcome has made all the difference to him – he explained to me how he has been months getting the place ready, which has resulted in him staying away from his young family a few days a week and at the same time he has an existing business to run. Getting the doors open is a colossal task but in truth that is only the start of it as you need to work hard to build a business so it is a success. Despite the excitement it can be an exhausting and lonely time for a business person. Why do we do it? ..we just do!
Personally I was absolutely thrilled and proud to hear about the genuine warm ‘Cork’ welcome that some of the business people in our fantastic city have given to Liam and his team – well done to everyone involved. Hopefully the word will spread and even more people will open their ventures in our fantastic city, creating jobs, filling those empty units and providing more choice to Corkonians and visitors alike.
We live in a competitive world and one where we have to focus practically all of our energy on our own business. It is too easy to forget about good manners and making a little effort to be nice and take a little time to offer a genuine welcome to another business person trying to make something positive happen. Even better buy some delicious fish and chips!
These small gestures can make a huge difference.
The really great thing about giving a warm welcome is that it speaks volumes for those who offer it – being a great neighbour is actually great for business and our great city.
Well done Cork!
Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland