'When I'm in my 60s, I know I'll be saying that there are things I wish I knew in my 40s'
Marc O'Dwyer, Chief executive, Big Red Cloud
'One thing I know for certain is that there are things I wish I had known when I started my career in my 20s - but when I'm in my 60s, I know I'll be saying there are things I wish I knew in my 40s!
"In my 20s, I didn't challenge the status quo too much - I accepted that in the workplace there were certain processes and procedures and 'that's just how things were...' However, as I moved into my 30s I realised that just because a process or system had been in place for many years, that didn't mean it didn't need to be changed or updated.
"A thought-process as simple as this is ultimately what has brought the Big Red Cloud to where it is today - before cloud computing our business was a successful accountancy software package provider - but I recognised back then that we could remain as is and continue to be relatively successful, but knowing always that the business would become dated eventually. Or we could bite the bullet and move with the times - and bring the business to the cloud. And that willingness to develop has paid off.
"Another bit of advice I would give my younger self is that if someone tells you that giving something for nothing is not good business - that is, in my experience, absolute nonsense. We offer potential customers a 30-day free trial and that is a key driver in growing our customer base. Our customers are small-to-medium-sized businesses - some have two employees and others have 20.
"But budgets are still relatively tight for those in business and people are loathe to sign into contracts for a service of which they have no experience. Ultimately, if you have a product or service that you are confident in and you know will deliver, then why not give people a taster?
"The crux of it is, if your service is as good as you say it is, then the customer will see that too and will want to engage.
"Finally, use every single resource available to you in business. If there are grants available, then find out about them; if there are support services in your industry, then utilise them.
"Ultimately, when an Irish business succeeds, it benefits the whole economy - so there are structures out there to help make that happen. Also, your peers and colleagues in business know the struggles and challenges faced by business owners and managers, particularly when you're starting out.
"And for the most part, those who are already established in business are usually more than happy to lend a hand and impart some of their pearls of wisdom."
Sunday Indo Business