The thought of going it alone in the business sector is daunting for any entrepreneur but for West Belfast businessmen Roger Fox and Sean Fitzsimmons unless you are prepared to work hard and take knock- backs on the chin then your dreams are unachievable.
The pair, who are co-owners of Guardian Pest Control Service, decided to go it alone in February after amassing 30 years experience between them in a leading pest control agency.
Self-funded, the pair have invested more than £3,000 into their home-run business to acquire the necessary equipment. They have seen their customer base expand in this short period despite a few setbacks along the way. With a customer base of over 140, Roger believes the main reason for their success is companies appreciating the amount of
experience, expertise and training qualifications that both men have in their possession.
"Sean is fully qualified in all aspects of poisons including the usage of fumigant gases, something most other companies wouldn''t have," says Roger.
"As well as this, in my previous employment I was Branch Manager where I presided over 20 employees," he adds. Besides witnessing a rise in the number of individual callouts, Roger has been overwhelmed by the number of increased contract work he has taken on including a well-known video shop outlet chain and a number of prominent pubs.
Due to a number of district councils operating ''scores on the doors'' schemes supported by the Food Standards Agency, both men have also saw pub chains and restaurants turn to their pest control firm.
"One of the main positives companies gain from using us is that we leave detailed reports on site so as to help them to conform with the Food and Safety Act and to show due diligence with central aspects of the Food and Safety Act," explains Roger.
"We are the sole local pest prevention service provider which deals with commercial, domestic market and private homes as well."
Tony Bell, SOLAS NUA
Tony Bell, SOLAS NUA
Solas Nua''s Tony Bell attended Art College before entering into advertising, working for one of Belfast’s leading advertising agencies, A. V. Browne and winning many awards for his work.
Becoming Creative Director of the company in 1984, he was responsible for many of the major Road Safety Drink Driving Campaigns at the time, the launch of several major accounts for the Ulster Bank and schemes for the Department of Economic Development.
In 1990 he set-up his own agency MRB Creative and was the person behind the Henri Hippo character. During this time the company was responsible for many successful advertising campaigns and the launch of the Musgrave SuperValu–Centra chain into the Northern market place.
However, last year Tony set himself a new challenge when he launched a new, Irish language-focused design business, Solas Nua. He set-up shop in the same building as the McCracken Cultural Society - Teach Mhic Reachtain in North Belfast.
And with Solas Nua meaning ‘new light’ it certainly began a new dawn and exciting new challenge for Tony. “The growth of Irish throughout the country not only represents one of the most positive elements to move things forward but also a fantastic opportunity for local businesses, shops, restaurants, and groups to use the language as a marketing tool to develop
their business and services bilingually,” explains Tony.
“As Irish society changes and becomes more multicultural, welcoming visitors from many countries, it is important that the emerging and existing businesses raise our range of services through Irish to a level that can compete on an international stage.
“Solas Nua is ready to offer its experience and advice to help local businesses grow and improve their image through design and branding. Very often branding and the image of a company to the public or customers is not given the importance it deserves and before you know it the company logo appears in all shapes, forms or colours which makes a poor statement about its image,” explains Tony.
“Many business people or staff don’t understand the difference between hiresolution and low-resolution logos or images and soon there are only poor representations of logos beng passed around through e-mail. There are many local businesses who with a little advice can improve their company image and take their company profile to the next level,” he adds.
With experience in event management in small and large venues (including the Waterfront Hall), corporate identity design, advertising or marketing, brochures, web or corporate videos, Solas Nua has a lot to offer businesses who want to see the light.