Business Irish

Saturday 1 October 2016

'Plough on, and focus on the small steps you can make in the direction of the bigger vision...'

What I wish I’d known before I started

Padraig McEneaney, Chief Executive, Celtic Pure

Published 15/11/2015 | 02:30

Padraig McEneaney has big plans for Celtic Pure
Padraig McEneaney has big plans for Celtic Pure

'Having left school at the age of 16 to run the family farm, I realise now how limited my knowledge was on small businesses and entrepreneurial skills at the time of the company's inception in 2000.

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"I've had to work twice as hard since, putting myself forward for workshops with the likes of Monaghan Board of Enterprise and Bord Bia - all of the organisations that help companies develop their business.

"I would have learned a lot of invaluable information through doing that.

"I remember thinking in our first week of business - this is after we've made a turnover of €250 - that there must be a market here for our water. That was the positive sign we needed to get up and go and build the next step. Gradually we built up a local customer base and this developed out into a business plan we could build across the country.

"Starting small, with an investment of only €10,000, I wanted to be able to reduce the risk if it didn't work out.

"It was a safe approach - however, I had the broader vision always at the front of my mind. I decided early on that I was the only person who could make the business happen. The bigger picture took shape in 2013 when we built an initial 3,000 square foot purpose-built factory on a greenfield site near the family's farm. The factory has since grown to over 30,000sq ft.

"My advice to others who find themselves in a position like I did? If you are going to create and build your own business then perseverance and determination are key attributes which will serve you well.

"Not getting early access to finance and a lack of belief in my vision from investors were issues that prevented our business from growing as rapidly as it could have in the early days. I learnt to plough on and focus on the small steps you can make in the direction of the bigger vision.

"You have to be prepared to work very hard and be able to manage the growth and the cash flow of the company. If it's production and manufacturing and in order to scale, you will have to automate and spend the money on machinery. After that, know your growth margin.

"Over the years we have invested greatly in our business and have plans to expand. Celtic Pure now produces 60m bottles per annum - which we hope to increase to 100m by 2017."

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