Thursday 29 September 2016

Problem Solver: What was the best thing about your time at Superquinn?

Feargal Quinn

Published 28/01/2016 | 02:30

Feargal Quinn
Feargal Quinn

Q: What did you enjoy most about the time you spent in Superquinn?

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A: What a great question! The reality is that I probably enjoyed it all and that was one of the reasons why I was so passionate about what we did.

Indeed, I could argue that every one of the three and a half thousand people in the business enjoyed what they did and brought the same passion with them. There were lots of specific things that I enjoyed, like meeting customers on a daily basis, engaging with our staff, seeing our market share grow and I very much enjoyed when some of our staff came up with new innovations which other retailers hadn't thought of.

But what I enjoyed most of all was broader than that. It was seeing three and a half thousand people working together and achieving a result. It was hearing from customers how they enjoyed their shopping experience. It was about winning an award for some initiative one of our branches had taken. It was about seeing one of our staff receiving an educational qualification, which had been supported by the business.

What I enjoyed most was the success of others. Seeing people succeed and being able to applaud their success were the moments of every day and every week when it all seemed worthwhile.

Q: I was lucky to find a job in the depths of the recession but now want to move on. I plan to start an engineering contracting business as I have much experience as an employee in this area. How will I attract clients without that critical "first project" to reference and is it ethical to approach potential clients before I leave my employment?

A: I think you have hit the nail on the head when you said you have a lot of experience in this area. That is your key asset.

While your first project will of course be important, your more important message is that you bring with you lots of expertise, education and skillset.

I'm sure you have plenty of contacts in the industry if you have worked here for a while. Start with that group and send them all an email to say you are setting up your own business and you would appreciate any introductions they can make for you.

Go and have a coffee with as many as possible. I see no reason why that can't be done right now before you move. Just make sure it is done on your own time and there is no possible conflict of interest with your current job.

There are a host of tools you can use to promote your new service as you approach the go live date, eg emailing key potential clients, creating a marketing flyer, establishing a digital media presence, attending trade fairs and networking etc.

In summary, I feel your biggest opportunity to grow new business will be via personal contacts to start off. Spend time making a list of everyone you know in the industry, and lots of time chatting with this group. The only word of caution is to make sure, as best as you can, that you create a business plan to set out your overall vision. This will give you the structure you need to help get you off the ground.

Send your small business questions to himself@feargalquinn.ie

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