Tell us what your business does?
Loylap creates community loyalty systems. By means of a mobile app or a locally branded keying fob, customers can earn points from every local business with which they shop. Points can then be redeemed for free goods and services in any participating community business, irrespective of whether they have purchased there before. Loylap’s goal is to to engender a greater sense of community by engaging local businesses with local residents, and thus creating a stronger local purchasing culture.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea stemmed from discussions between the two Co-founders, Conor and Patrick, centered around the lack of tech for small businesses which was further increasing the void between small local businesses and larger multinational competitors. They decided to start building tech centered around small business, beginning with a mobile loyalty system for small businesses, which they then developed into the community application.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Both co-founders started their careers with large multinational banking and consulting corporates, but quickly realised that working as entrepreneurs was more appealing to them personally and to their respective skill sets.
What planning did you do before you started up?
We conducted market research into the attitudes of small businesses to technology, and to what technology they would consider adopting if it were available to them. The most popular tech solution which business wanted was a mobile loyalty system as it served a dual purpose; on one side rewarding valuable customers for making purchases, and on the other feeding this information back to businesses so they gain a better understanding of what is happening in their business, and what their customer demographics consist of.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
Anyone who runs a successful craft brewery. Michael Dell, Arianna Huffington, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos.
What challenges have you faced & how have you overcome them?
Each entrepreneur will most likely face two challenges, funding and despondency. The first is the most common problem and can be addressed a number of ways, primarily by tightening your budget and spending as little as humanly possible. Once the budget is reduced it’s time to start looking smarter for funding, or possibly to start your company generating revenue; no matter how small. Despondency, or sometimes impostor syndrome, can result from quiet periods in your start-up when you begin to feel like nothing is going your way. The best way to overcome this is to look back on what you have achieved so far and take solace in the fact that these achievements are testament to your abilities. The other way to address despondency is to relay your concerns to you partner (business or personal); it’s always great to hear someone else reassure you and your concerns.
How have you promoted your business?
As a start-up, your budget is inherently limited. We focus on promoting our businesses to the people to whom it is most relevant. We do this by promoting Loylap in local areas where our community loyalty systems are run. We utilise the shops and the local media as our biggest proponents.
Are you optimistic about 2014?
Very much so. We are currently speaking to several towns in Ireland where the community loyalty system has been well received and we are looking to get a significant amount of communities signed up the service in early 2014.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Your determination is your most valuable asset.