Enniskillen business owner credits her daughter for push to take first steps into shoe business
Enniskillen business owner Lisa McElroy has credited a combination of retail experience, encouragement from her young daughter and a ‘Go For It’ attitude in giving her the push to start up her own business. Supported by the Go For It programme, in association with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, MySHoo, an in-store and online footwear and accessories business, is now approaching it’s seventh month in operation.
This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
Prior to launching MySHoo Lisa had managed a business with a similar offering but had always wanted to pursue the idea of transitioning from a Manager into an Owner and become her own boss. Lisa’s Covid experience was one of self-evaluation which is what ultimately sealed the arrival of MySHoo on Paget Square in Enniskillen.
Lisa explains: “Covid encouraged a lot of us take a step back and rethink the direction our lives were going and I was no exception. Combining my Covid experience with encouragement from my family and friends, I just felt it was time to take the leap and go for it!
“I wanted to do something for myself that would not only make me happy, but would show my children, who are truly my biggest inspiration, that anything is possible if you are determined and hard-working.”
Lisa launched MySHoo in Enniskillen after taking part in the Go For It programme through Fermanagh and Omagh Council.
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and support to develop a business plan that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into commercial businesses.
After seeing a Go For It social media post, Lisa got in touch with the programme online and from there, began the process through in-person meetings.
Lisa continues: “The Go For It programme was invaluable in encouraging me to take those initial steps towards setting up on my own. I was matched with a business advisor at Fermanagh Enterprise Limited whose support and encouragement made me realise that my own business was not untenable.
“My advisor communicated the importance of market research, financial planning, legal requirements and marketing and sales strategies, all of which contributed to the development of the overall business plan. The plan was fundamental in helping me understand the financials involved in running my own business, as well as highlighting elements I hadn’t even considered such as the importance of employee and business insurance.”
Lisa encourages anyone with the urge to start their own business to stop overthinking and reach out for help: “It is true what they say – you’ll never know unless you do it! I have opened my business at a time where the economic situation is really tough. I have also had to address my lack of self confidence and embrace the powers of social media and self-publicity, putting my face and personality behind the brand on such a public platform. It has definitely been a scary time but the support from my friends, family and local community has been unbelievable! I am excited to see what the future holds for MySHoo.”
Siobhan Colton, Business Advisor at Fermanagh Enterprise said: “Lisa is a fantastic example of someone who absolutely went for it! She believed in herself and her business idea and took the leap that many are capable of but often fear. Her extensive retail experience gave her the foundation skills needed and, through the support of the Go For It programmes, Lisa was able to enhance those skills and transform her dream into a reality.
“Lisa is trading against quite a challenging economic backdrop but her hard work and determination have resulted in a very successful initial 6 months and I have no doubt this success will continue. She has experienced the flexibility and autonomy that comes with running your own business and she is, undoubtedly, thriving.”
Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, said: “It is so encouraging for both our local council area and Northern Ireland as a whole to see ambitious individuals like Lisa seek out the help they need in making their dream a reality.
“It is businesses like MySHoo that contribute to the growth of our local economy and inspire aspiring entrepreneurs to also make the leap! I would encourage anyone tempted to make the move into self-employment to engage with the Go for It programme. I would like to wish Lisa and all those making those initial steps on the business set-up journey all the very best for the future.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business, contact the Go For It programme on: 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com.