Belfast Telegraph

This time it's personal

QWhat’s the best piece of business or life advice you’ve ever been given?

AMy first accountant told me to always make sure you pay your taxes on time and that way you will sleep well at night.

QWhat advice would you pass on to someone who is starting out in business?

ARewards may not be there for a long period of time. Don’t forget that the cash in the drawer is not yours, it belongs to suppliers, tax, staff etc — pay your bills before you splurge on personal gratifications. Build a good foundation, take the straight road and be 100% committed.

QWhat was your best business decision?

ADeciding to start my own business.

QIf you weren’t doing this, what would be your other career?

AI never wanted to do anything else. I have always wanted my own business. I thought it would be a pub and never dreamt it would be a hotel group.

QWhat are your hobbies/interests?

AGolf — and in recent years I started learning to play the piano.

QWhat is your favourite sport or team?

ADefinitely golf — I am heading over to the Ryder Cup this year and can’t wait.

QAnd have you ever played any sport?

AGolf — and, when I was younger, I played a lot of table tennis.

QWhat was your last holiday and where are you going next?

AMy wife Catherine and I headed off for some winter sun to Tenerife. Our next trip will be to visit my brother-in-law, the musician Eddie Friel, in Austria.

QIf you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?

AI like reading crime fiction and business autobiographies. One of the best (left) is Bill Cullen’s “It’s a long way from Penny Apples”

QHow would you assess your time building up McKeever Hotel Group?

AAt the beginning it was a 24/7 business and for the first few years I opened the door every morning and closed it every night. There was no such thing as a day off, or holiday. I look back and wonder how Catherine and I did it.

Nowadays, with structures in place, loyal employees and two members of the family in the business, we are able to have a work/life balance and I enjoy it. It gives me real pride to see how the business has grown and I love having such a loyal customer base who have supported us through the years.

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