Gary targets voucher firm success

EACH week the Evening Times will throw the spotlight on one of the dozens of new businesses determined to succeed.

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Gary Cooney set up Vip Local Vouchers.
Gary Cooney set up Vip Local Vouchers.

They are the future for Glasgow and the west of Scotland's economy and are working hard to achieve success in the face of continuing economic hardship.

Many start-up businesses are struggling to take off due to the economic downturn and this column will offer advice for potential start-ups.

Each start-up will answer the same questions about their business with their answers showcased here each Wednesday.

This week, Gary Cooney and Laura O'Neill tell us how they set up Vip Local Vouchers.

Who are you?

Gary Cooney. I co-founded Vip Local Vouchers with Laura O'Neill. We are engaged to be married and have three amazing kids.

What does your business do?

We help small local businesses compete with the big brands by promoting their offers to local people using direct mail (Royal Mail), e-mail marketing, online and social media. We are the Vouchercloud for small, local businesses.

Where are you based?

Coatbridge and Airdrie. It's our local area where we live and have been brought up and have had small businesses so we understand the challenges and have a local network.

How did you get started?

From our kitchen table armed with a mock copy of a voucher book and a vision.

What is your background?

HNC Media Studies and HND Journalism drop-out.

I started my first business aged 22 and ran several small businesses over the next nine years, including a tanning salon, sandwich bar, metal fabrication, catering and events firms.

What is your top tip?

Set your goal, where you want to be in say three, five or 10 years and know when to let go and move on.

How long has your business been running?

One year.

Has anyone helped you get started and how?

Family Support (not financial) and Espark UK mentorship and network.

What was your first deal?

Airdrie & Coatbridge Voucher Book November/December, 2011, which was packed full of local deals.

What was your biggest mistake/or what would you do differently?

Not knowing when it was time to quit and move on.

A positive outlook is an essential trait of an aspiring entrepreneur but can be detrimental as you can believe that if you keep working hard it will come good.

What would I do different?

Seek mentorship and unbiased eyes on the business.

Who was/is your mentor or inspiration?

My inspiration is my mum and dad, who is no longer with us.

What they fought through without complaint is my daily 'get your act together' motivation to succeed.

From a business perspective, I think Duncan Bannatyne's story from his roots to what he has achieved is an amazing source of inspiration.

Where do you plan your business to be in five years time?

To be successful in spreading our model to more than 600 towns and cities throughout the UK through a local franchisee network.

Contact details:

Gary Cooney


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