Six Things I Learnt After Our First Year In Business
Atlantic Treasures - The Fish Stop in Killybegs celebrated its first year in business last weekend. We opened our doors in September 2019 and got off to a great start, offering fresh, frozen and chilled seafood as well as a fantastic range of artisan produce. Like many businesses we faced many challenges and without doubt, Covid-19 was one of the main tasks we faced in 2020, but it also presented some brilliant learning opportunities. To help budding entrepreneurs, I wanted to share six things I learnt after our first year in business:
Building The Right Team
I’ve been involved in business for many years, but one thing is certain – you need to have the right team around you to make your business a success. We are incredibly lucky to have such a hard-working team with great personalities working with us. Build a team that shares the same ethos as you and reward them when you can for their dedication and commitment. Late last year, one of our key employees had a serious health scare but the community spirit of the town and immediate help from James, Ray and John was incredible. I can’t thank them enough for their support.
Adapt and Meet Customer Demands
Having a product that meets customer demands and needs is vital to the success of your business. The Fish Stop supplies a brilliant range of fresh catch from our Atlantic Ocean but customers are also looking for simple meal solutions that don’t take too much time to prepare. Ronan, our famous singing fishmonger, used his skills to create pre-made gratins, homemade breaded goujons, fish kebabs and cook-bag fish meals with specialty glazes and butters. It’s ideal for the customer who may not be familiar with cooking fish but gives them the opportunity to eat fresh food in a convenient way.
As well as The Fish Stop, I also look after business development at Atlantic Treasures in Killybegs. Like every business, you face various issues that need your attention and juggling two businesses can be tricky but you need to take control and make sure you manage your time so you’re effective. Make a list each week and always take some time in the morning and evening to review so you can plan for the next day. If you find you’re always putting out fires and you’re exhausted after every week, you need to look at what you’re doing and how you can manage it better.
Don’t be afraid to work with other local businesses and champion local produce. We’re proud to stock Donegal artisan products on our shelves at The Fish Stop. Not only are we giving our customers an added product range, we’re also supporting other local businesses. Earlier this year, we also teamed up with Hughie’s Bar to create a new seafood experience Hooked & Cooked that brings people to the town, keeps them there and supports two, if not more, businesses. A win for everyone!
Looking after your mental health is vital and can sometimes be a taboo subject for people in business. Whether you’re an early riser or night owl, try and fit in a 30-minute walk or read a book to give yourself a chance to relax. (I really enjoyed The Purple Cow by Seth Godin). In the early days of The Fish Stop I tried to be in two or three places at once, but I quickly realised I had to change things. It was the best thing I could have done and means I’m ready for each day.
Learn From Mistakes
The last thing I’ll say is that you need to learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed of making them – we all make them but the key thing is to learn from them. If you’ve been doing the same things for two or three months and it’s not working, you need to change it up. If a member of the team makes a human error, be understanding and put in place procedures so it doesn’t happen again.
You’re on an exciting journey of business, so enjoy the little successes and rewards. Best of luck to anyone thinking about setting up a business or in your first year. And a special word of thanks to the great team at The Fish Stop and Atlantic Treasures for helping make them the success they are today.
If anyone is starting a business and would like to have a chat with me, I’d be more than happy to help out so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org