A window specialist from Draperstown has turned his 30 years of experience and product knowledge of Velux® windows into his very own roof window and loft ladder installation business with the support of the Go For It Programme and Mid Ulster District Council.
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 over 30 years and he previously held a senior sales position with Velux® Windows across the island of Ireland.
After building his own house and installing all of 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.
Mark O’Neill, Owner of the Roof Window Specialists, 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.
“This was when I started to think about starting my own business, but at the time I didn’t have the nerve to do it. The eureka moment came when I built my own house and fitted all of 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 Advisor, Enda Daly from Workspace Enterprises in Draperstown quickly became a mentor to me and he couldn’t do enough to help at each stage of the process. He really helped me focus my business objectives and work out my numbers with a clear and concise business plan. I knew the product inside out and the work required at an operational level, and Enda helped me to shape the rest of it into a viable business.
I knew the product inside out and the work required at an operational level, and Enda helped me to shape the rest of it into a viable business.
“Things have been going really well and I’m really looking forward to the year ahead. I have big plans for the future and my ambition is to expand my quality installation team and break that £1million turnover within the next three years, built upon an ethos of delivering exceptional customer service.”
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of highly experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan in order to help turn ideas into a reality.
Enda Daly, Team Leader with Workspace Enterprises in Draperstown 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.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business visit www.goforitni.com; call 0800 027 0639; or visit your local enterprise agency for a free, independent chat.