'There is no good time to start a business, you just have to go for it'

Launching a marketing firm in the recession sounds like a terrible idea – but for this company it worked.

By Anthony Byrne CEO, Product2Market

IN A TIME when businesses were dropping like flies, I decided to set mine up.

Some people would have said I was mad, however I couldn’t wait for the economy to get better to get up and running. I just needed to find the opportunities in the mess of the recession.

Starting any business in the recession seemed like madness, but I was starting a lead generation and marketing company – which means I no longer was mad, I was deranged. In times of recession, marketing departments are often halved and the budget goes out the window.

Still, myself and my co-founder, Len Brennan, knew there was an opportunity there. People don’t stop needing marketing in times of recession, they just think they do. While we could see the pitfalls, we could also see great opportunities a small startup would have never been offered during the boom.

Office space

One such opportunity was office space. We were able to rent prime real estate much more cost effectively than we ever could have during the boom. This allowed us to create a professional work space from the get go.

We were only starting out, but from the outside looking in we looked established – which can really make all the difference when closing a client. It can give your clients confidence in your ability and professionalism.

Hiring

The recession also meant that highly qualified people were on the unemployment line and challenging and engaging roles were few and far between. For the country as a whole this was a sad situation, however here we had another great opportunity.

It was going to be much easier to attract talented staff with a much larger pool to draw from. Great people were being let go from senior positions, people with vast amounts of experience, talent and skill.

We have had a great team from the word go, people who really wanted to work here and make a career for themselves. Their professionalism helped us to work with some of the biggest companies in the world, tech giants like Microsoft, Zendesk and Twitter.

We were able to find our niche fairly early on, and we have stayed with the tech industry throughout. That means our balance sheet is strong and we are continuing to grow. Our hope is to grow from 80 to 120 staff this year, and to grow again to over 250 in 2018.

Advice

The lesson is that there is no good time to start a business, you just have to go for it. Do your research, find your niche, find what makes you better than the rest and just jump in.

There will be struggles, there will be a lot of ducking and diving but that is part of the fun and excitement of it all too. Being successful in business is not about having one great idea, rather it is about how you execute that idea and turn any threats that come your way into something positive.

No matter what situation you look at in life or business there will be negatives, it is how you deal with them that determines whether or not you are an entrepreneur.

Anthony Byrne is CEO and co-founder of Product2Market.

If you want to share your opinion, advice or story, email opinion@fora.ie.

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