Just do it, like… Padraig O’Sullivan, Paradering.ie

Tell us a little about your business Padraig…

ParadeRing.ie is an online thoroughbred catalogue for buying and selling horses. We give small to medium sized breeders and trainers a platform to sell their horses in a more cost effective and time efficient manner. We help buyers source quality Irish horses easily and provide great information on each horse. We created this online community for thoroughbred buyers and sellers to interact in a more convenient way. 

What inspired you to start your own business?

I loved horses and horse racing from a young age and was always interested in starting my own business so I wanted to work at something I loved doing.

How did you get your business off the ground and what supports did you avail of?

I started talking to trainers and breeders around Cork to find out what their main problems were and found that selling their horses was their most pressing problem. They were complaining about the high costs of going to the sales and so I came up with the idea from talking to them and then went about researching the idea. I researched the market and put together a business plan to see if the idea would be viable. I got accepted to the IGNITE Programme in UCC which was a huge help and gave me lots of support. Through that I also got a mentor from the Enterprise Board, now known as the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), and this was great help to me.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Know your audience. For example, my customers wouldn’t be the biggest Facebook users so it’s better focusing my marketing in other places. It’s important to get to know what your customers use and don’t use so you can focus on the key areas that will get your message across to them. Try as many things as possible to see which works best with your customers.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?

Getting customers is never easy and especially when you are a new company with a new product that has way of doing things that people aren’t used to. I needed to educate the customers on using the internet to sell their horses.

Who is your hero?

I don’t really have one, but I think what Jeff Bezos from Amazon has done is amazing when how on paper the company has kept making losses because he keeps re-investing in the company to grow and improve constantly. That is different to most companies and almost all start-ups can resonate with that philosophy.

What’s the best thing about having your own business?

It gives you freedom to work on what you love doing and you are not restricted to certain hours in the day. It also gives you a sense of pride to see something you have created standing on its own and trying to grow it to the best it can be.

Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Loads! I suppose getting it to market faster and getting more customer feedback as quickly as possible. That is the best way to make a product that your customer needs and wants to use, as you never know until you get them using it and paying for it.

What are your business plans for the next 12 to 18 months?

At the moment we are working on a re-development of the site and are tailoring it towards horse buyers so it will be more useful to buyers from all over the world. We are working with the latest technology to help buyers to search, analyse and predict the best horses so they can buy for their individual needs.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering starting a business, what would it be?

Keep an open mind as you go along and always listen to what your customers are saying about their problems are and what they need.

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