The Challenges of Scaling a Business

Great to be part of the Dublin ChamberUlster Bank leadership event on the challenges of scaling a business. Participating in a panel discussion with Shane Ryan of Fiid and Oonagh O’Hagan of Meaghers Pharmacy Group was Code Institute CEO, Jim Cassidy. 

Scaling at Pace

Jim Cassidy has led Code Institute from a start-up to a rapidly expanding international business. It was recently awarded third place in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50. He advises businesses to have sufficient capital in place to scale but to remain aware that it can only be spent once. Discipline, focus on core activities to the exclusion of non-core activities frees up the resources to scale at pace. Code Institute is growing its business globally, with imminent announcements on new B2B markets and product developments in 2020.

Financial Challenges of Scaling

Oonagh O’Hagan focused on tackling fear and failures to advance a business. Newly graduated and convinced that Meaghers Pharmacy was her destiny led Oonagh on a hunt for £2 million (punts) financial-backing. That was just first hurdle. The enterprising Tyrone woman badgered a bank into meeting her. She rapidly composed a business plan and managed to swing the loan. Scaling swiftly to nine pharmacies between her initial branch in 2001 and 2008 seemed like the perfect trajectory. The 2008 and the ensuing recession brought massive HSE drug-payments cuts overnight challenging the viability of her operation. Resilient by nature, Oonagh placed her trust in her employees. She briefed them early on and leveraged their help in troubleshooting the financial challenges. Their input and innovation have evolved the business model which now includes a thriving online pharmacy with international ambitions. 

Pivot to Progress

Long working hours and a poor diet led Fiid founder Shane Ryan to create a plant-based ready-meal business. The realisation that a slapdash diet was impacting his health and wellbeing was the cornerstone for the creation of Fiid. Shane overcame several false starts and personal obstacles before bringing the Fiid brand to market in its current form. Critically, that process involved a shift in thinking to develop an ambient product that has a year-long shelf-life. Listings in Tesco Ireland followed by Sainsbury’s UK. Which brings him to his next challenge, fulfilling those orders!

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