By Evan Gray, founder of Laundrie
People are frightened to utter the words ‘boom’ or ‘tiger’ in the same sentence, but there’s no denying it. Dubbed the ‘Celtic Phoenix’, Irish people seem to have money once again and in typical fashion, Irish startups are cropping up all over the place.
Very quietly, under the radar, the Irish economy has slowly been pulling itself back together. House prices are soaring, restaurants are packed out every night and hipster coffee shops are opening on every corner.
Starting a business is a huge endeavour. It’s all well and good to throw money at a startup, but it’s a massive commitment. You don’t want to end up bust when the bubble inevitably bursts again.
It takes serious determination, but if you do it well, you can create a company that will survive the trials and tribulations of the Irish economy.
The first step is to come up with an idea that you are passionate about and believe in. You won’t get far if you don’t believe in it.
Without proper planning and a clear image of the business model, there’s a higher chance things will fall apart
The idea for my business came about when I worked a busy nine-to-five job and could never make it on time to the dry cleaners. I thought if there was an app service that would sort my dry cleaning for me, I would definitely use it. It was a simple idea but I really believed in it.
The idea is just the first step though. It is of the utmost importance to develop a clear understanding of how a business will work from the outset.
Without proper planning and a clear image of the business model, there’s a higher chance things will fall apart.
NAIVETY DURING RECESSION
For me it was important that the business be financially successful. Financial modelling was imperative to see if Laundrie was going to be a viable business and what would be required in order to get the business going.
Of course, the best laid plans and all that. Most of the assumptions I made turned out to be completely incorrect! You just can’t foresee so many of the issues which occur. An important thing to remember is adaptability, if things don’t go to plan, shift gears and carry on.
As a young Irish entrepreneur starting out in the recession, I expected somewhat naively to get incentives from the government. In fact, quite the reverse was true; I didn’t receive any support in terms of funding or resources.
I felt that they tried to make the application process deliberately awkward so as to discourage people from attempting to apply.
I wasn’t dissuaded by this so I focused on funding Laundrie myself. It took a while to save the money but it was worth it. Starting your own business with no massive loans hanging over you really takes the pressure off. Startup funding would have been great, but I knew I had to make my business a success regardless.
As a young Irish entrepreneur starting out in the recession, I expected somewhat naively to get incentives from the government. In fact, quite the reverse was true
Growing my startup was always on my mind. I’m always thinking of things to do and try to bring more to my customers. A huge percentage of our business is repeat customers so we are always striving to improve.
It’s one thing to own a business, but it’s another to create a dynamic and successful one which keeps up with its customers’ needs and is able to adapt to the times.
That’s what makes owning your business a 24/7 job, its constant growth and maintaining momentum. You need to re-evaluate constantly in order to improve your offering and efficiency.
With every step of growing a business, issues will crop up. Preparing our EU expansion is difficult in a whole range of new ways! Other countries aren’t going through the mini-boom that we seem to be.
My advice to people considering a startup is to go for it, if it’s something you are truly passionate about. Starting a business because it’s trendy or a sign of the times won’t end well – it didn’t for many people last time. It’s easy to get over-excited by all the opportunities you see but in my opinion it’s better to focus on one thing and do it really well.
About the blogger
Evan Gray is the founder of Laundrie. Set up last year, Laundrie is an on-demand dry cleaning and laundry app. Users have their laundry dry cleaned without having to leave home or the office, to the best standard and price.
After just over a year in business, the Dublin company already has over 5,000 customers and growing. Laundrie now has its sights on mainland Europe.
Fundraising through a group of private investors is almost complete, to facilitate the launch of the service in both Amsterdam and Brussels.