Entrepreneur - The story so far

Hi I am Ruairi Gough, sales and marketing professional, business owner, entrepreneur. Product of a good secondary school education, along with four years spent studying marketing in DIT Aungier Street. Like many of my peers I walked out of college straight into the Celtic Tiger! But like many people I never saw the end coming and nine years into my sales and marketing career I was shocked when I was given one months notice in June 2009. Did the company not know, how valuable I was? Could they not appreciate I had a massive mortgage to pay? I realise now, its not that they didn't know, but economic circumstances dictated that the business was not going to be as successful as predicted and it made no sense for them to keep us employed. It was then I made a promise to myself that no matter how hard I had to work, or what I had to do I was going to become self sufficient and financially independent.

October 2009 - Sales Agent Network - Niche Recruitment website In October 2009 I decided to try my first business idea, a niche recruitment website where businesses could find commission-only sales people. I built the website with a local web designer in 3 months for €1,500 and then started calling all of the businesses who were advertising jobs on the existing recruitment websites offering them a free trial on my website for a month. I worked on this project full-time for 15 months and got over 50 listings from Ireland, Portugal and Belgium. Based on the website success I was accepted onto the Endeavour Programme (www.endeavour.biz) in January 2011, set up by Jerry Kennelly (tweak.com) in Dublin. Sales Agent Netwok was not selected for Phase 2,  and I took this as a sign that perhaps this website was not the greatest idea, and I should try something else.

Key learnings:

  • If you want an online business, you need a technical person on the team
  • A website business can be started with little or no money
June 2010 - Spontaneous Marketing - Marketing Services Company In June 2010 my brother and I set up a marketing services company called - Spontaneous Marketing to work with SME's. We set up a series of networking events in local counties to promote our business under the banner of - The South East Business Network. We ran events in Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford and amassed a database of over 1,000 businesses, with around 250 - 300 attending our events. Unfortunately we had very little success with the SME's as people were trimming costs and doing their own marketing. We have recently changed our approach for this business and we are targetting larger businesses who have bigger budgets, but this has been just as difficult. Watch this space

Key learning:

  • SME's are under pressure financially, and most will do their own marketing if they can
Jan 2011 to Present - Dental Marketing Ireland - Specialist Marketing Services Company Following on from our experience with Spontaneous Marketing and noticing an opportunity in the market we set up www.dentalmarketingireland.ie in January 2011, and thankfully got our first client in March 2011 www.dunlaoghairedentalcare.ie In the past 15 months, through hard work and perseverance we have created a national marketing consultancy business and currently have clients in seven counties. The dental industry is under pressure right now and needs help to bring its marketing up to par, this is where we come in.

Key learning:

  • A niche business can succeed but requires more work initially and a good understanding of the industry
The new business - To be announced and launched in September 2012



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