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27th Dec 2018

“There’s always somebody not doing something,” Niall McGarry on taking opportunities

Jamie Concannon


“You’re better off finding gaps that are completely there to be exploited.”

Much of the time, successful business ideas revolve around simple problem solving and opportunism. If your idea solves someone else’s problem and fills your own coffers in the process, you’re on the right path.

Niall McGarry, Founder of and Maximum Media, was talking to host Tadhg Enright on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™. When the original idea for came to him, much of it was borne from helping local businesses in Galway.

“So I was dealing with a lot of business owners in Galway who, at the time, were spending a ridiculous amount of money on advertising and they didn’t realise it. So I’d often go to some of my clients; ‘Do you know how much money you’re spending on advertising?’,” Niall said.

One person that comes to mind is Joe Carroll of Zhivago music stores, which were extremely popular in Galway city. In his efforts to promote his five stores, Joe had spent about €120,000 on advertising.

“The ad would be in the back of the paper it would look shit”

Despite the exceptionally high price tag, the results weren’t coming in for Zhivago. The advertising lacked a brand strategy, and needed someone to consistently get the company’s core message across.

“He would ring me on a Tuesday evening and try to get an ad in the paper on a Wednesday morning. The ad would be in the back of the paper it would look shit. It would have no brand strategy, and the result would be poor,” he said.

“I said ‘Joe look, if we sit down and we planned this 120 grand, I’ll take you know 15% and I guarantee I’ll get more advertising but I’ll make sure that the posters in your window, the newspaper ads in the paper and the radio ads would all have a commonality in terms of theme,’ and that’s what impact media was trying to start,” he said.

Looking back, the best business opportunities often look like an open door that no one else was walking through. When Niall wonders why no one else seized these opportunities, he said that’s simply the nature of being an entrepreneur.

“There’s always somebody not doing something and I was straight in there and spotted the gap. And again that’s a huge part of business, like a lot of people go ‘I’ll do this thing somebody else is doing already and I’ll do it better,'” he said.

“You’re better off finding gaps that are completely there to be exploited and then do them as well as you can but get so far in front of people that people find it hard to catch you. So why wasn’t there anybody? That’s business and that’s the opportunity,” he said.

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