Q&A with Paul Merriman founder of ClearChoice
- Tell us about your business.
ClearChoice™ is a comparison, training and compliance software system designed for the life assurance advice sector. ClearChoice™ provides a web based software solution to advisers who are researching and analysing the current Irish life assurance market to ensure they give clear, compliant and correct advice to consumers. The comparison and research tools of ClearChoice™ also act as a compliance safeguard for advisers in the event of an audit from any regulatory authorities.
- How has Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown supported your business to date? Which support(s) has been most beneficial to you and your business?
From the beginning of ClearChoice™, over 3 years ago, The Local Enterprise Office DLR has supported the growth of our business. We found the mentor service to be invaluable in terms of learning about the potential pitfalls and must do’s and do not’s of establishing a software company. This was not a core strength of ours in our early stage, and it was great to tie in our own industry expertise with an accessible enterprise expert. Most recently we applied to Enterprise Awards 2016 with LEO DLR and we won ‘Innovation’ and ‘Overall Winner’ award in the County Final as well as €5,000 prize fund and a place in the National Enterprise Awards Final in June 2016.
- What is your best sales tip?
My best sales tip would be to always know the value of what you are selling. A lack of conviction in the value of what you sell is easily read by a potential sales target, and comes across in how you speak and your body language.
- What was the best business advice you have received?
For my own venture, it would have been to not jump fully into the idea from a former colleague of mine. The idea took 3 years to take shape, and has developed differently in some ways to its’ initial concept. My initial urge was to get to market asap.
- How did you raise the finance for your business?
We raised finance by several means. I invested my own money into the development stages, as well as receiving some once off support funding by product providers.
- What are the best digital tools you have used to grow your business?
The financial advice industry has a strong presence on Linkedin. As a business to business software, we have found that by being an objective commentator on key industry issues, it has raised our profile in our early stages.
- What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs will always need to have patience in order to manage their own expectations. If you believe in the value of your product or service, persevering with developing your idea is crucial. My idea took 3 years to get to market, as most of us must continue our day jobs.
Many thanks to Paul Merriman for taking part in this interview!
For more information on ClearChoice you can visit their website at: www.clearchoice.ie
If you would like to find out how your Local Enterprise Office can help you start or grow your own business, please visit our website on www.localenterprise.ie/DLR, call us on 01 204 7083 or simply stop by our office on the first floor in Harbour Square, Dún Laoghaire.