How a bright idea translates into success
Ulster Language Services is a new Carrickfergus small firm, established by Regine McCullough.
What is your business?
Ulster Language Services is a one-stop-shop for all foreign language requirements — translation, interpreting and tuition for businesses, organisations or individuals who need documents translated, require the assistance of an interpreter to communicate with their foreign clients or staff, or wish to learn a language for business or leisure purposes.
My role is to identify what clients’ foreign language requirements are and to select suitably qualified linguists who can meet these requirements.
What motivated you to start your business?
I have always loved languages and anything to do with foreign countries and cultures.
I have represented France in Northern Ireland as Honorary Consul for nearly 10 years.
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I studied languages at university in France and I am a qualified translator.
I am a freelance translator, interpreter and tutor.
What were the biggest challenges in starting up?
Getting myself known and establishing good relationships with potential customers is the biggest challenge.
I found that the Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency’s Go for It programme was invaluable.
My main project now is to get established in the market place.
As a new company, there is a lot to do to get known.
I network and have joined online groups, including Smallbusinesscan.
What is your unique selling point?
I exactly understand our services because I am a freelance translator, interpreter and tutor.
I use this experience to advise clients about the services we provide. We are a team of professionals — we are all qualified linguists with years of experience.
What qualities make you a good entrepreneur?
I am passionate about languages. When you are passionate you will always do your best.
I also rely on an excellent team of linguists. What else does a good entrepreneur need?
How do you market the business?
Via my website, www.ulsterlanguageservices.co.uk, networking events, through groups such as Smallbusinesscan, by word of mouth or referrals and by telephone and direct mailing.
I will keep the website updated, not just for clients to contact us, but also to provide useful information on languages and foreign countries to the various users.
Your biggest challenges?
In any business you need to innovate and add value to services.
Do you wish you had done things differently?
How will you develop the company?
I will keep abreast of the developments in our industry and adapt the company’s activities accordingly.
How do you plan to be innovative?
I have quite a few ideas, but they are still at an early stage.
How do you keep your staff motivated?
Our team all know the importance of providing quality services at all times.
Which entrepreneur do you most admire?
Sir Alan Sugar and the members of Dragons’ Den. They all built business empires through hard work, determination and bright ideas. It must be great to say ‘I did this!’.
What is your favourite gadget?
My new mobile phone — a BlackBerry. I am still learning how to ‘drive’ it but it’s great to check and send emails on the move.
If you could do any job, what would it be?
I wouldn’t consider doing anything else. Languages have always been my main interest in life. Wherever I go I check translated material, praising good translation and criticising appalling ones!
I come from an international family. I was born in France and married a Northern Ireland man. My mum was born in Poland, my aunt married a Dutchman, my cousin married an Egyptian. So I love learning about foreign countries and cultures. So providing foreign language services seems an appropriate thing to do. This is my dream job.
Smallbusinesscan is a portal site for discussions, articles and advice on all kinds of financial, legal, HR and tech issues that face start-ups and other small companies.