Belfast Telegraph

'Don't be afraid to change if things are not working'

Q&A: Richard Donnan

Q: What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given?

A: Every interaction you have with your customers will either enhance or diminish your brand - they are rarely neutral - therefore you need to be at your best at all times.

Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?

A: Spend time being very clear who your customers are and why they should choose your product or service, test this thoroughly and ensure you are open to advice and feedback. Don't be afraid to change tack if things are not working as you expected them to - they very rarely do.

Q: What was your best business decision?

A: In my experience the best business decisions are made by surrounding yourself with great people - with the right mix of experience, a diversity of opinion and creativity, but all focused on a common goal. So linked to that, the key decision is having the right people around you and giving them the right support and encouragement to develop.

Q: What is your favourite sport and team?

A: Lifelong and passionate/noisy Liverpool, and locally, Ards fan. Not too much recent success but can still dream.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests?

A: Quite varied. They involve quite a lot of football both through watching it and supporting our children. I enjoy walking and running, enjoying the great countryside and views on the Ards peninsula and north coast. I am interested in supporting other areas, for example the Mac Theatre Belfast, varied charity involvement and our local church.

Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?

A: I would love to have a go at full-time football management - but realistically would have more likely been in accountancy or potentially teaching.

Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?

A: The last one was a week in London to enjoy the city as a tourist for a change, and later this year we're planning a break in Lanzarote. Also hope to return to Uganda in early 2018 with a local charity to support a school and orphanage there.

Q: How would you describe your early life?

A: Superb - fun, carefree and constantly active - I lived a three-minute walk from the beach, two minutes from country fields where you could roam for hours and also the local football pitches, where I spent most evenings. I was supported by fantastic, supportive and caring parents with strong, well-grounded personal values who couldn't have given me a better start to life.

Belfast Telegraph