BEING made redundant can be a traumatic experience and a huge blow to your confidence, leaving you demoralised and unsure about what the future holds.
But one Larne man has shown that it can also be an ideal opportunity to take your destiny into your own hands and forge your own career path.
When Jon Beadsley lost his job in the RAC due to health reasons, he was determined not to sit around feeling sorry for himself and made the decision to go into business for himself.
He signed up for the Go For It Programme, a free scheme funded by Invest NI and delivered locally by LEDCOM, which aims to help local entrepreneurs get their fledgling businesses off the ground.
“I didn’t have much prior knowledge about how to run a business, but I knew exactly what I wanted and was determined to achieve my goals,” he told the Times.
Jon had spent 12 years repairing and replacing windscreens for the RAC before being laid off, so he had a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from when setting up his new Larne-based business, Glassmedic.
He knew he wouldn’t be able to compete directly with major companies such as Autoglass, but Jon spotted a gap in the market that he felt he could exploit.
“If you live in Larne, it can take up to two weeks for some companies to come out and repair your windscreen.
“I noticed that no one in the local area offered this kind of service, and that is where Glassmedic is unique and stands out from the crowd,” Jon said.
“I cater specifically to local people, delivering expertise and knowledge and providing a mobile service seven days a week, so I can go to my customers at a time that suits them.
“I pride myself on my affordability and can repair a stonechip on a windscreen for as little as £30, with a lifetime guarantee. Also, if I am not fully satisfied with the repair, I won’t charge the customer a penny.
“As part of my service, I also offer a free windscreen inspection. I often find that people will ignore a chip in their windscreen until it is too late and it cracks. My advice would be to get it repaired sooner rather than later.”
Jon has found that the most difficult aspect of setting up a business is getting himself established, and relies heavily on word of mouth to attract new customers.
The Go For It programme showed Jon how to market his company on a shoestring budget, and he has been using social networking sites such as facebook and Twitter to promote himself. He even designed his own company logo and is in the process of setting up his own website.
Glassmedic has only been up and running since November, but Jon is already looking ahead to the future.
“I am still focused on building up my business and getting my name out there, but I know what direction I want to steer the company in further down the road.
“I used to train new recruits when I worked for the RAC, and I got a lot of satisfaction out of that. I have received a few calls from local people asking I would hire them, and I would love to do that at some point in the future.
“Ultimately, I would like to set Glassmedic up as a franchise, with branches in every major city in the UK.
“Obviously I am a long way off that, but it doesn’t hurt to be ambitious,” Jon concluded.
You can find out more information about Glassmedic at www.facebook.com/Glassmedic or contact John directly on 028 2827 8468, 07703 048047, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org