Established: 1198, 1498, 1515, 1519, 1534, 1570, 1698, 1705, 1715, 1759, 1824, 1891. An inn, a removals company, a butchers, a ferry, a printing press, a bell foundry, a wine merchants, a stone carvers, a scale makers, a brewers, an agricultural company, a gum manufacturer. How on earth have they managed that? And what are their secrets of survival? Established, is a book about 12 companies that have survived booms and busts, black sheep in the family and strange twists of fate.

Each chapter is written by a different writer. Yours truly is writing about The Brazen Head Pub in Dublin. In fact all of us writers come from the Dark Angels stable, a company that has been encouraging authentic voices in business writers through its residential courses and workshops. In Established you will find that each of these enduring businesses has a great story, each of one told in an individual voice that brings range and freshness to the book and makes it quite unlike the mainstream ‘how to’ hardback.

The book will be published through the crowdfunding house, Unbound. Every week one of the authors posts some thoughts and insights about their writing experience.

Whatever it takes

I’ve got a thing about talent. Whenever I meet any successful person, my first question is usually, ‘Have you always been naturally good at (insert talent here) or was there a moment where you consciously decided to be brilliant?” This question elicits interesting responses. Everything from a puzzled, “You really think I'm, uh, brilliant? I was hopeless as a kid.” To a guilty, “Actually, it was my older brother who was the really good tennis player. Then he discovered (insert distraction of choice here) and I just kept going.”

This mild obsession with talent to success ratio has really only bothered me since I’ve had children. It may be because I have a child with a learning disorder and want to prove to her that adversity really can make you stronger. Perhaps I want reassurance that, should I need to achieve world domination in the field of say, badminton, then I merely have to choose my moment and make it happen. Either way, hearing about a person’s journey from zero to hero is deeply inspiring. After all, there’s infinite wisdom to be found in every before and after tale.

Enter stage right, Established. The people behind the businesses featured in our book certainly knew adversity. They withstood great loss, faced ruination, were criticised, rejected and even threatened. Historical events circled their worlds, spinning their fates further and further out of control. Yet here they still are. They keep on keeping on. And by the law of averages, they can’t all have been born natural phenomenons, prodigies and improbably gifted entrepreneurs.

So how did they do it? What made them see opportunity where only challenges lay? What does it take to keep a business alive for the best part of a millennium? Find out. Buy the book on