Mark sees ‘window' of opportunity for business success
A WINDOW specialist from south Derry has turned his 30 years of experience and product knowledge of Velux windows into his own roof window and loft ladder installation business with the support of the Go For It Programme.
Mark O’Neill established the Roof Window Specialists after spotting a gap in the local market to provide a solution to owners of the well-known roof window products, who were no longer covered by the manufacturer’s 10-year guarantee.
The Draperstown-based company specialises in providing replacement, upgrades, new installations and servicing of old roof windows, as well as supply and installation of quality loft ladders, loft flooring and blinds.
Mark has worked in construction for more than 30 years and he previously held a senior sales position with Velux Windows across Ireland.
After building his own house and installing all his own windows, Mark turned to the Go For It Programme to help him transform his passion and extensive experience in roof windows into a business.
He said: “I grew up in construction, working for my dad’s firm right from my teenage years and I always had a real passion for the industry. I studied construction engineering and management at Ulster University before going on to work for a number of construction firms around the world.
“When I came back home to Northern Ireland, I moved into a sales role with Velux across Ireland, securing significant sales success, but I knew my opportunities for growth there were limited.
“I didn't have the nerve to start my own business, but he eureka moment came when I built my own house and fitted all my own windows. That’s when I knew I had the experience and product knowledge to start my own business.
“The Go For It Programme was a tremendous support and my business adviser Enda Daly from Workspace Enterprises in Draperstown quickly became a mentor to me and helped me focus my business objectives and work out my numbers with a clear and concise business plan.
“Things have been going really well and I have big plans for the future. My ambition is to expand my quality installation team and break £1million in turnover within the next three years.”
The Go For It Programme (www.goforitni.com), part-funded by Invest NI and EU monies, is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through the north’s network of enterprise agencies, providing expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a reality.
Enda Daly at Workspace Enterprises said; “Mark joined the Go For It programme with a clear idea for a business and a genuine passion for the industry. You could tell he had the experience and product knowledge as he had already done a significant amount of research into the business’ viability to succeed, as well as having a number of future customer leads.
“We worked with him to develop his business plan, defining his objectives, target markets, sales strategy, marketing and financial forecasts, so we could clearly map out his route to success and within a short space of time he was up and running.”