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09th May 2017

Four Irish entrepreneurs share the secrets of their success


Brought to you by AIB. 

Get some start-up tips from the people who’ve been there.

Starting your own business is one of the biggest decisions you can make. You’re taking control of your own future and throwing away the safety line that comes with working for someone else.

The best thing about starting your own business is that you can build something really special and you’ll reap all the benefits of your hard work. On the flipside, you also have to assume all the risk. And nobody ever built their own business without plenty of blood, sweat and tears!

One invaluable source of information for any start-up is people who have already travelled down the same road. Other entrepreneurs or business people can tell you what to look out for, advise you on potential pitfalls and give you the benefit of their experience.

Here are the thoughts of four Irish business owners who spoke at the AIB Start-Up Academy Summit in Belfast.

What traits do entrepreneurs need?

Hotelier and founder of the Beannchor Group, Bill Wolsey, who recently launched a £7million Steve McQueen-themed hotel called Bullitt in Belfast, spoke about the traits that entrepreneurs needed to have. Having grown his business from a single pub into one of the biggest hospitality groups in the country, he knows what it takes to succeed.

“I think the key traits needed for success are honesty, tenacity, stamina and luck,” Wolsey said. “Lots of entrepreneurs want to be the best at what they do. When international hoteliers come to Belfast, I think I can compete with them and beat them, I don’t fear them.”

Facing your fears and learning lessons

Budget Energy CEO, Eleanor McEvoy, is a familiar face from her appearances on Dragon’s Den. Having built and sold two businesses before taking on a third venture, she’s been through the process plenty of times. She warned that the most dangerous thing in business is thinking that you know it all.

“The bad days will help you survive,” McEvoy said. “You have to look at them, learn from them and then put them to one side and move on. ‘Fear the fear and do it anyway,’ because we all get scared in business, but we ignore it.”

The importance of mentorship and encouragement

Irish entrepreneurs share the secrets of their success

Diane Roberts, Managing Partner of Xcell Partners, explained how finding the right mentors or people to offer advice can be a major help when you’re learning the ropes. She recalled that she wasn’t exactly overburdened with people suggesting that she start a business when she was younger! It’s something that she tries to encourage in others now.

“I think mentors have incredible power,” Roberts said. “I always encourage start-ups to get in touch with me. It’s always nice to get an email!”

Driving yourself forward

Caroline Wilson, Founder of Belfast Food Tour, had a legal career before she turned her hobby into a successful business. She believes that you have to find motivation by challenging yourself on a daily basis.

She isn’t motivated by money but by the challenge of creating something that is a reflection of both her and her work. She pointed out that starting your own business is not for the faint-hearted.

“There’s something to be said for achieving something every day for yourself and also being the master of your own destiny,” Wilson explained. “For me, it’s not about money, it’s about growing something special.”

With those words of inspiration still hanging in the air, you may want to consider how you could take control of your own destiny. If you’ve already taken that leap of faith, those useful tips could help you to reach the next level with your business.

To read the full business article from which these stories were taken, check out AIB’s blog here.

Brought to you by AIB.