Jim Barry on Brexit: "Opportunity will come from this"
"There’s always opportunities if you sniff them out."
Much of the time, being an entrepreneur boils down to the ability to spot an opportunity. Be it a gap in the market or a demand for something that has become a rarity off the back of a crisis, it's having the nose to find it and the nous to exploit it that will make you a successful body.
It's probably a word that people are growing increasingly tired of reading about, but Brexit remains one of the major talking points of world news. Especially so for Irish businesses, as the uncertainty around exactly what will happen has left many worried about what the future has in store.
Not so for Jim Barry, Managing Director of Barry Group, whose wholesale business has found success through thick and thin over the past 64 years. Speaking on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur of The Year™, Jim said he believes Brexit could offer opportunities for those willing to take a leap of faith:
"I actually think opportunity will come from this. I really think it will. Products can be imported from Europe maybe as opposed to England. There’s always opportunities if you sniff them out".
There’s been loads of challenges over the years. You go back to the nineties when interest rates were at 20% - the eighties and nineties - there’s been continual challenge over the years.
Through thick and thin
As likely as it may be that Brexit will offer opportunity, it will by no means be an easy road to follow. Overcoming such challenges can often be the making of a business, and Jim said that you can often come out the other end much better for the experience:
Most businesses that are around for the length of our business have seen a number of turbulent periods over the years.
You probably end up better after the period once you get through it, because you’re forced to get to a higher level and run a better business.
Founded in Cork back in 1955 by Jim's father James, Barry Group has pushed through some of the most difficult periods of modern Irish history. Be it a financial or political crisis, it can serve as an opportunity to strengthen your business.
Going back to the financial crisis of recent times, Barry Group found a way to thrive in what were incredibly difficult circumstances. Despite unprecedented conditions that put a tremendous amount of pressure on business owners, the company outperformed the entire grocery industry.
As Jim said himself, Brexit should not be thought of any differently:
"So I’d be looking at this as opportunity that we will ultimately be running a better business once we’re over the challenge".