Being a trailblazer and setting up a business is not an easy path. In fact, it’s a path often strewn with expected and unexpected obstacles. At time, these can seem overwhelming.
So, ahead of the finals of The Pitch 2019, powered by Samsung, we asked our nine trailblazing, risk-taking finalists for their advice for all new business starters.
"Customer feedback, good and bad, is the true test of whether or not something is worth pursuing."
"Have a plan but don’t be afraid to change and adapt as you learn. Constantly look for feedback from your customers, their feedback, good and bad, is the true test of whether or not something is worth pursuing. Think big. Thinking like a small company will only limit growth and opportunities. Denise O'Connor
Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Cosmetics
“You will meet road blocks along the … but believe in yourself and your business and it will be worth it.”
“Go with your gut and once you're passionate about your project and are willing to work hard it will be great. Naturally you will meet road blocks along the way, you won't learn anything if you don't but believe in yourself and your business and it will be worth it. Now with that said I am not saying for a second that I believe I have conquered it all, I haven't done a fraction of what I want but I am trusting the journey.” Aimee Connolly
Spotlight Oral Healthcare
“Trust in yourself and set yourself goals.”
“Trust in yourself and set yourself goals. It’s not that we ever doubted our company or products, it was more the process of setting it up and bringing it to the market can be really daunting. But we trusted and believed in ourselves and we were adamant that we could make something that would be one of the best products out there. We are both very driven, ambitious and are constantly pushing ourselves each year by setting goals and surpassing them. It can be tough at the start but it’s completely worth it. It’s empowering and rewarding setting up your own business.” Lisa and Vanessa Creaven
“With the right attitude it will come out better than you could ever plan.”
“Nothing will ever come out exactly the way you plan, roll with the punches, keep the head down and rest assured that with the right attitude it will come out better than you could ever plan!” Padraig and Orlaith Sweeney
“There will always be reasons not to do something and nothing will ever be perfect.”
“Starting is the hardest part. So try and remove as many obstacles as you can right from the start. Just move quickly and don't overthink too many things. There will always be reasons not to do something and nothing will ever be perfect. If you stall, you'll stop. Most importantly, reach out and ask people for advice. Everyone we have reached out to has helped us and have been incredibly generous with their time. It's the one thing that continues to blow us away.” Diarmuid McSweeney, Niall Horgan and Karl Swaine
Dead Centre Brewers
“Know what success looks like. Keep your eyes on the prize … push through the hard times.”
“This is a tough one. Brewers I spoke to before starting always told me not to do it, it would break my heart. I would actually say the same to a new brewer trying to enter the market. I genuinely believe that if I knew then, what I know now I might have made a different decision. However, if you're starting a journey...have a goal, a destination. Know what success looks like. Keep your eyes on the prize and if you really believe in what you're doing, push through the hard times, source the capital, build something that you can be proud of in a way that you can be proud of and keep in mind that it's not meant to be easy. There will be tears, there will be sleepness nights, there will be missed family time...but you're building something. What you build is up to you.” Liam Tutty
“Friends and family will tell you what you want to hear, customers will tell you the truth.”
“It is so important to get out there and start trialling your product or service in a real world environment as quickly as possible. We spent our weekends at farmers markets for the first 18 months as we worked on refining our recipe and getting our offering ready for launch into retail. There is no substitute for getting direct feedback from people who are paying for your product - friends and family will tell you what you want to hear, customers will tell you the truth.” Rachel & Brian Nolan
“There can be no failures in business if you learn something from every new road you ventured down.”
“Just go for it! Lots of budding entrepreneurs reach out to me regularly for advice, however they usually spend most of the time I give them talking about why their business idea might not work. After the obvious initial planning and research stages, my best advice is to just give it a go. There is no other way of knowing and the window of opportunity for a business concept that may fill a gap in the market closes a little every day you hesitate, until someone else grabs the opportunity from within your reach. When I started Mummy Cooks I had a dream of teaching mums how to cook healthy food for their child. While the premise of the business is still the same, we have gone in so many different directions over the years and evolved to become the successful business we are today. There can be no failures in business if you learn something from every new road you ventured down. The journey to success is a winding path with many twists and turns along the way.” Siobhán Berry
“Keep taking baby steps and making gradual progress.”
“Be proactive yet patient. Things don't just happen overnight. Building a business is like learning to walk, you keep taking baby steps and making gradual progress. Eventually all these steps add up and you'll then realise how far you've come.” Sacha Cahill & Dan Nugent
The nine finalists of The Pitch are (in no particular order): Dead Centre Brewing, Gym Plus Coffee, Mummy Cooks, Nobo, Optimise Home, Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Cosmetics, Spotlight Oral Care, Sweeney's D3, Ambr Eyewear.
The premise of the Pitch is simple – IMAGE and Samsung recognise, reward and enable self-starters with brilliant business acumen who have developed an innovative idea from initial concept to commercial success.
The Pitch 2019 offers the opportunity to win a potentially career-changing prize worth up to €100,000. The judging panel consists of Jo Malone CBE (entrepreneur and founder of Jo Loves), Bobby Kerr (broadcaster and founder of the Insomnia Coffee Company), Linda Nolan (Head of Marketing Samsung Ireland), Clodagh Edwards (CEO IMAGE Publications) and last year's winner Jennifer Rock (CEO and founder of The Skin Nerd).
On September 5, 2019, the finalists will pitch their business to the judges and in front of a live audience. The event will be held in City Hall, Dublin and is sure to be an evening of adrenaline and excitement.
The judges will be listening out for comprehensive ideas and strategy, as well as creativity, tenacity and game-changing ideas for 21st-century business.
The winner of The Pitch 2019 will take home an incredible prize worth up to €100,000 for their business. This includes the latest suite of Samsung mobile, business and boardroom technology. They also receive a multi-platform media package from IMAGE Media to promote their business. This package will be customised to the company’s needs and could include exposure in IMAGE, sister publications, on IMAGE.ie and across IMAGE social channels.
If that wasn't enough, Irish digital and social agency Teneo PSG Digital will host a masterclass introducing upskilling them in the area of digital strategy and marketing aimed at maximise their online presence.
Read more: Jennifer Rock on winning The Pitch 2018
Watch: Meet the judges of The Pitch 2019