Offering a solution

IF it wasn’t for the recession, Shauna Rooney admits that she may never have embarked on her dream of starting her own business.

A former administration and marketing officer with InterTradeIre- land, she lost her job in December 2010 after the cross-border body had its funding cut.

Told of her impending redundancy five months earlier, Shauna spent weeks weighing up her options, learning and conducting research before taking the recession bull by the horns and launching her own business in May last year.

The fruits of months of research was Tyrone Office Solutions, a virtual business support service provid- ing administrative support to firms who do not require the full-time services of an on-site PA and want an alternative option to an agency temp.

“I found there was a niche in the market, for example people were down-sizing, they were working from home and didn’t want another per- son in the house working with them, so they could out-source to myself.

“I spotted the gap in the market,” says Shauna. “The research showed a lot of people in need of one day work, people weren’t looking for someone full-time,” she adds.

Explaining the concept, she continues, “The aim of the virtual assisted service is to provide the client with traditional support on a pay-as- you-go basis, therefore there are no extra overheads, commitments or liabilities to anyone. If there’s no office it doesn’t matter, I can take the work in, or if they have an office, I go to them.”

The venture has proved well-researched, and like all excellent ideas, it has left people wondering why no- body thought of it before. “The reaction has been really positive. Every- one has said it is a brilliant idea and that someone should have come up with it before now, because the demand is very high.

“At the minute I don’t know of anyone else offering it, it’s unique in the Omagh area. I’m actually inundated with work at the minute,” she reveals.


While coming up with a novel business concept is half the battle, Shauna reveals that support for budding entrepreneurs in the Omagh area remains excellent.

“It was make or break time for myself, it was a matter of looking for a new job or doing something for myself. I always had the urge to start my own business, but I never did anything about it.

“I went through the Omagh Enterprise Centre, the ‘Go For It’ programme and they were brilliant, they helped me out with any areas I might have had a few weaknesses in and wasn’t so sure of.

“The support I still get from them is great, I could just lift the phone and they would help with anything at all,” she says.

Urging anyone considering starting their own business to do the research, Shauna says, “You need to know the market you’re going into and you must have a good business plan. There is no point going into something and failing six months down the line.”


Speaking from her own experience, the local entrepreneur admits the biggest obstacle standing in her path was taking those first precarious steps.

“The hardest thing was taking the initial plunge, because I knew there was a demand out there for the work,” she recalls.

“It was going out there and getting your customers. I advertised and it just went from there and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

“If you want something bad enough you will go for it and if you do your research and see that there is an opportunity there, then there is no reason why you can’t succeed,” she adds.

Looking ahead Shauna has big plans for Tyrone Office Solutions. “At present it’s only a one person business, but hopefully that won’t be permanent and ideally I would like to expand with a bigger workforce. At the minute I’m on course for that.

“I’m extremely happy with how quick it has grown. It suggests that my services are very much in demand.”

Reflecting on how the recent economic slump has changed her life, Shauna states that with the right idea, a business venture can still thrive in this climate.

“I think the recession has worked in my advantage because businesses don’t have to commit to anything full-time, which means it’s saving them money.”

Looking back she adds, “I was comfortable in a job and would have loved to have run my own business, but I was just comfortable and never had the push to do it. But once the opportunity came, I grabbed it.”

For more information on the services of- fered by Tyrone Office Solutions visit or call Shauna on 07544915016.