Monday 24 October 2016

'Have belief and commit yourself to your idea - even if it wasn't part of your initial plan...'

What I wish I’d known before I started: Denise O'Grady, Way2pay Founder

Denise O'Grady

Published 11/10/2015 | 02:30

Denise O'Grady
Denise O'Grady

'Before entering the world of technology, I worked for a number of years as a teacher. I also have school-going children, and in both situations I found it annoying that cash and cheques were still the main way to pay for things like school trips, books and extra- curricular activities.

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"As a teacher, I witnessed first-hand the time teachers waste on collecting cash in the classroom, and as a mother I often found myself caught at the school gates with no cash. I thought that this system was inefficient, dated and a great hassle for both schools and parents.

"Having started out as a primary school teacher I didn't think I'd find myself owning a company specialising in schools payments. However, I'm from a family of innovators so it was inevitable I'd go into business at some point in some way.

"What I didn't know before I started was that your business, which for a time might have prospects of greatness, might really be the stepping stone for what's next. While you might be sentimental towards your company, often you need to go with the flow and allow it to evolve organically.

"You cannot be fearful of transition. You never really know what's around the corner but you have to trust your experience and knowledge and go with your instinct. With my own experiences I could relate to the product I envisaged, knew it could solve problems for schools and parents and eliminate inconveniences around paying by cash and cheque - so I went for it.

"While you might think 'this is it' once you have your business up and running, it's important to spot niche areas from within that business, not just outside that business. It might be right there in front of you.

"Many people stress the importance of strict career goals but I view a willingness to change and adapt as essential components for successful careers, particularly in the ever changing world of technology. A strong business plan and ambitions for your start-up are of course fundamental for growth, but things change.

"It's essential to be disruptive in your thinking. For me, I spotted a problem - in this case old-fashioned schools payment systems - and recognised the means to fix this was through the use of technology. Of course, it's never as simple as it seems and you will meet many hurdles along the way, but it is possible to see your idea come to life. Start small, be determined, have belief, and commit yourself to your idea, even if it wasn't part of your initial plan."

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