There's a scurry of activity on the entrepreneurial front so far this year, and us only a week in. I'm delighted to see it. Lots of people working away on business plans; I was getting emails over the Christmas asking me for cashflow projection templates and information on available grant aid from various sources. Lots of people gearing up for the new year, planning their attacks on the recession! I love it.
As predicted, not many of the businesses are ground-breaking and mad. This is not the time for risk taking. OK, some people are thinking about starting luxury businesses which I have to question, and gently ask a few tough questions about proving a demand for the service/product before they invest 90% of their redundancy package in a frills-filled start-up. I'm not a damp squib, I'm a realist. I wouldn't be able to sleep if I say idly by and didn't make a few realistic suggestions here and there.
However the majority of people dropping by and asking questions are planning to start normal businesses, assured that the recession will create a bubble of opportunity for high quality value for money service offerings. And I couldn't agree more. I've said it before - this period of time will bring out a desire for quality, stuff that will last and give the best value for money. So it turns out that Frugal Ireland has been hiding behind Tiger Affluence all along - who knew?! The crappy half-arsed low-quality rip-off merchants will fall away, out of the marketplace and the quality businesses will remain. Hurrah.
Over the entire course of the Christmas period I only met one retailer who was rude, and didn't have the phrase "customer service" in his dictionary. He was a dic in fact. But his business partner made up for it by being utterly lovely and helpful. So that's just one person who took a sale for granted. The rest of the country has been realising that the customer is back to being king - and values their revenue enormously. Hurrah for the consumer.
So if you are thinking about starting a business and wondering what to get just right - remember the simple things. Service at a decent price, with a smile. That's it.
Simplicity I tell you. All the best ideas are so simple and straightforward. The trick is not to overcomplicate things. Good luck!