Noel Cocoman started his business with the support of Dublin North West Area Partnership’s Enterprise Development team. In this interview TAP Intern, Kim Warnock, asked Noel how he got started.
Ongoing frustration working in banking led me to look around at starting my own business. An off the cuff remark on holidays by my wife, Catherine, that there was no decent kids shoe shop on the north side was the spark.
Tell us how you first got involved with the Enterprise Development team in TAP?
My wife and I spotted it on the internet, so I contacted TAP and attended a meeting which I found very supportive. I went on to receive supports in terms of the Start Your Business Course, Bookkeeping and Accounting for Small Business and Selling.
What do you find most rewarding about having your own business?
The satisfaction after a busy and successful day, getting positive feedback from parents.
What do you find most challenging about running your own business?
Managing cash, resisting the temptation in buying more stock and predicting what styles and sizes will be needed.
Do you wish you had done anything differently?
I wish I had haggled more on the rent and put pressure on the selling agents to make sure the landlord had the building in a good working condition.
What would you tell somebody who is thinking about starting their own business?
Well actually there are a few things! Don’t be afraid to fail. Carry out stress test projections again and again. Be more pessimistic on turnover and income. Watch for the unforeseen costs. Ask your trusted friends for honest advice. Perform market research before you open. Develop a business plan.
What else can you tell us about Feet & Co?
After four years in business, it’s proven there is a need for a quality kids shoe shop in this locality. Mothers will still spend more on quality shoes to ensure kids are wearing proper footwear. We support local primary schools and we avoid mainstream advertising as there is a lot of goodwill out there and we are doing really well so far. Social Media has been a help and most importantly we are committed to providing a quality service into the future.