Saturday 24 February 2018

'I'd tell my younger self to slow down, stay focused and ask more questions'

Justin McInerney Founder & CEO OF Accuflow

CEO Justin Mc Inerney. Photo: Diane Cusack
CEO Justin Mc Inerney. Photo: Diane Cusack

Justin McInerney

'I started my own business when I was 24, at a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Ireland wasn't the centre of entrepreneurial activity that it is today. It was very hard to raise finance then, but all the same I managed to found and then sell two businesses. You've got to work really hard. It's a simple thing, but you have to realise that it is not going to fall into your lap.

"I learned early on the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people. I was very lucky in that I started out at the same time as a group of my friends in Cork were starting businesses themselves.

"They are a good bunch. Some of them were in construction, some were in restaurants; we were a bunch of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. I am still friends with them to this day.

"I sold the business, Pulsar Direct UK, to the Grafton Group - and after that I had a decade in the school of Michael Chadwick, who is an extremely smart guy and working with him, I really learned quite a lot.

"When an opportunity presents itself, and you know you have a good chance, you have to go for it. After 10 years at Grafton I suppose I was bored. I looked at the market and I could see that energy and utility costs, particularly water, were going to keep going up, and I knew that 1.3 million homes in Ireland have no heating controls at all. It's essentially like having a car with no steering wheel.

"You've got to make sure that your business is well funded. It's something that I have learned the hard way and made sure I had in place for my third business, initially from myself and now we're raising the next round of series A funding.

"You've got to know what it is that you need to do, and then execute it well. When I first started out in business I was trying to do everything at once - but founding and selling two businesses of my own and a decade working for Grafton Group taught me about the importance of quality accounts, about quality financials and about how to get the money in place to attack the right market.

"If I was going to advise my 24-year-old self right now - based on the experience that I have gained over the years - it would be to slow down, stay focused, and to ask more questions. I wouldn't change much in what I have done though."

Sunday Indo Business

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