Bobby Kerr is recognised as one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs and is the chairman of the growing Insomnia Coffee Company, the largest independent coffee shop chain in Ireland. However, Bobby did have his share of tough decisions and challenges along the way to become the well-known businessman he is today.
Bobby had many roles in his early career, including working on the oil rigs in the North Sea and spent three years catering in Canada, before he came back to Ireland and set up his own coffee business Perk. He would later merge the business with Insomnia and little did Bobby know it would become such a nationwide success with over 140 shops throughout Ireland.
However, Bobby had some tough decisions to make on his journey to now. When his father became ill, he took over the family business of running the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny along with having his own job in Dublin. After a few years of trying to balance both years, Bobby realised he needed to make the tough decision to sell the family business in order to achieve success with his own company.
He is probably best known for being one of the original dragons on RTE’s Dragon’s Den where he invested in many a business and is very passionate about helping small business owners. He offers a wealth of advice in the podcast including how he uses the fear of failure to drive him to succeed, tips he would give to small business owners on how to succeed in the marketplace and much more.
Here are four key learns to take away from Bobby’s podcast:
1. Don’t be afraid to let go. After Bobby’s father passed away, he took over the Newpark Hotel in his home county of Kilkenny and also tried to balance it with his job in Dublin. However, Bobby realised he could not keep going back and forth between both. He came to an agreement with his family to sell his father’s business which was undoubtedly a tough decision because it meant so much to them. While Bobby admits he does miss it, he believes it was the right decision. Sometimes we want to hold onto things we have an emotional attachment, but it could also be the very thing to hold you back from achieving success.
2. Work in Good Places. Bobby believes that if you get the chance to work in a growing and expanding company, you are on the road to success. Bobby has been grateful for all the vast experience of places he managed to work in through his career. All these opportunities helped Bobby develop into the successful businessman he is today. If you manage to find a good place to work, Bobby believes the rest will look after yourself. However, determination and good old-fashioned hard work are important too.
3. Chance your arm. There was a time in his early career that everything nearly went pear-shaped for Bobby. In his early days, Bobby nearly went bankrupt and describes that he was “hanging on by a shoestring.” Bobby had a big decision to make and merged his business Perk with Insomnia. With the success he has now, he is less inclined to take risks but his advice to small businesses in a time of uncertainty is that you must be willing to take risks. Don’t worry about what might happen and make those important decisions. Take a risk, deal with the challenges when you come to them and see what happens.
4. Use fear to drive yourself forward. Fear and worry is a natural thing, but it is how you deal with it that is important. Don’t let fear take over your life and procrastinate, but rather start taking action and all those worries will begin to fade away. Bobby admits he was afraid of failing and letting everyone down and that he used his fears to make him even more determined to make his business a success. If he did not keep going and believing in himself, he would not be where he is today. Don’t live in fear of what might happen and start taking action to achieve your goals. Action cures Fear!
Do you agree with my takeaways from Bobby’s podcast? Was there anything else you learned from the interview? I would love to hear your thoughts so please drop me a comment below.
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