PAUL’S ADVICE FOR OTHER BUSINESSES
If you believe in something strongly enough then just do it. There will be plenty of people to tell you why it won’t work, but don’t listen to them. Go with your gut. Too many times I have not gone with my gut feeling, and it eventually turned out that my original instinct was right. Surround yourself with a great team. If there are aspects of the business that you’re not good at, don’t do it. Stick to what your strengths are and trust others to do their job. Don’t hire people and teach them to be nice; hire nice people! Spend a lot of time recruiting the right high-energy people that love what they do. Get the book Top Grading by Dr Brad Smart. It gives an excellent system for hiring the best people. When interviewing a candidate that you are trying to decide on, ask yourself, ‘Would I like to spend an evening in their company, have dinner with them?’ If the answer is no, then don’t hire them. for and, in 1995, he set up the first Motivation Clinic, in Dublin’s Dawson Street.
Raising the capital to start his new business proved a challenge. When the bank wouldn’t fund the venture, Paul made the courageous decision to sell his house in Sandyford to raise the capital needed. His wife Aisling, from Terenure in Dublin, had been working in Sherry Fitzgerald up to this point. She then began working part time in the clinic and liked it so much that she joined full time. Both Paul and Aisling have since gone on to study psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.
By the time they had grown to three compa- ny-owned clinics in Dublin, Limerick and Cork, Paul and Aisling found themselves travelling extensively and doing everything themselves — from accounts and marketing to logistics and training.
This experience led them to choose the franchising model as a way to scale further. Today they have 16 dedicated franchisees throughout the country along with 10 of their own clinics.
Based on client feedback, they recently set up an online store where clients can purchase protein products, vitamins and motivational tools as well as a mobile app where clients have access to a wide range of motivational tools.
“We also have a full-time nutritionist and have just published our own recipe book, aptly titled Deliciously Healthy,” Paul says.
The couple are also looking at the various options to extend their services into Northern Ireland using both the franchise route and via online and digital — such as delivering their weight loss programmes via Skype.
“I would also love to see a time when the Health Service would work with clinics like ours to provide the one-to-one supports that patients need. This would be a far more cost-effective way to address the behaviours causing obesity rather than to address the huge health problems obesity throws up further down the line,” Paul suggests.
While this is a successful business, it’s not about the money for Paul and Asling.
“Our satisfaction comes from helping over 5,000 people a year to reach their weight loss goal. It’s gratifying to hear our clients tell us how much of a difference our work has made in their own lives and the lives of their families. That’s our buzz and what makes all the effort worthwhile,” Paul says. motivation.ie
Sean Gallagher with Paul Connolly. Photo: David Conachy