Starting A Company: Advice From Mark Daly

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Get your finances in order, work hard, and enjoy the hustle,” is the advice that Mark Daly gives to young entrepreneurs, “Your business is a living, breathing thing, and it grows and changes with time. Enjoy watching it grow and evolve.

In 2013, Daly started a company that produces and sells all-natural beef jerky. After working as a technical consultant at Concur Technologies for over 5 years, Daly was inspired to start his own company. The decision to start a company and become his own boss was both an easy and difficult decision that took Daly a long time to make.

When you work for people who have such drive and passion for what they do, it’s very difficult not to be inspired to be a success yourself,” Daly says, “it’s infectious! I owe those guys a lot in terms of work ethic and drive for what I do.

The decision to sell beef jerky as a business was a matter of need and personal preference for Daly, who had always loved beef jerky and spicy food. He began experimenting with growing super-hot chili, noting that people’s palates are changing and expanding to include spices from around the world.

“I started just by making (jerky) for myself as when I started, there was no jerky available here in Prague,” Daly explains, “I’m a healthy eater and I love food, so I wanted jerky that was as healthy as possible: nothing artificial and no chemical preservatives. Slowly, people started to taste my jerky, and the feedback was tremendous.”

For those considering starting a business, Daly suggests speaking to business owners, networking and finding out their stories. Connecting with people who have already been through most of the challenges can be very educational. He suggests using websites like Entrepreuner.com and points out that there is a wealth of information out there to help start-ups. Also, from his experience, other entrepreneurs are generally happy to help and offer advice to newbies.

If you’re thinking of starting a business, heavily research relevant markets and discover your competitors and the potential for innovation before writing your plan,” says Daly, “Business plans don’t need to be long, boring, and drawn out but they need the essentials: finances, marketing, sales, etc.

Taking his own advice, Daly is constantly doing more market research on jerky. He explains that it is important to watch for changes in the world, for example in the way people eat. In today’s fast-paced societies people are snacking more rather than sitting down to eat, which creates the need for highly nutritious snacks. Making observations like this and adapting your business accordingly can make the difference between succeeding and failing.

Having a global marketplace at your fingertips can be daunting for some start-ups,” says Daly, “but for us it’s been exciting. We’ve been very lucky to have engaged some influential people who love our products and share it via their social media channels too.”

Daly stresses the importance of making short-term and long-term plans as well as predicting what obstacles might pop up and creating preemptive plans to avoid them. Time management is another important aspect: maximizing the use of one’s time and knowing when to take time to regroup and relax to prevent burnout is very important, but it isn’t everything.

Making sure your finances are in order is very important,” Daly explains, “ensuring that you have capital to keep going until the business starts paying for itself is key: and where most start-ups fail.”

His final tip is to build a strong team around you. It’s important to have a group of people around you with whom you have a clear division of responsibilities and a shared vision. Having that support structure helps everyone in the team grow.

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