Business Profile: Burnhead Rural Services

Name: Graham & Susan Cooke
Company: Burnhead Rural Services
Address: 3 Burnhead Road, Gortin, Co Tyrone, BT79 8PR
Mobile: 07920477507
Office: 028 816 48027
Facebook: @burnheadrural

Business Profile: Burnhead Rural Services

Can you describe your business?

Burnhead Rural Services provide professional agricultural consultancy and administration services to the rural communities of Northern Ireland. Our mission is to deliver comprehensive, honest, informed and friendly services which are client focused to help you achieve the very best outcomes whether it be scheme applications, business planning, quality assurance or general administration services.

Why did you start your own business?

Between us we had over 30 years experience working within the Scottish Government delivering a wide range of services to rural businesses incl. Rural Development, IACS, Nitrates, Quality Assurance, EU Subsidy Appeals, and Soil/Slurry sampling to mention a few. When we made the decision to move back to Northern Ireland to take over the family farm, it was the natural step for us to take to start up our own business in the agricultural consultancy and administration service market. We identified a gap in the market here in NI for a professionally run business of this nature and we are happy to say 16 months in that the business is growing steadily and we have exciting new developments coming soon.

What are the best things about running your own business?

Flexibility – we can set our own hours that fit around family life and the farm. Creating the Burnhead brand and seeing it grow is something we are extremely proud of and there is something about building capacity in your own business for future generations which cannot be realised working for someone else.

What are the main challenges facing the business?

Making the initial decision to quit our jobs with good salary, pension and job security was by far the biggest challenge for us at the start. Thankfully it was the right decision although the fluctuating income takes a while to get used to and it certainly focuses the mind on business planning. Going forward Brexit is the big unknown, however we are optimistic about it as we feel rural businesses especially farming will continue to receive support through new funding mechanisms and here at Burnhead we will adapt our business to support our customers through this changing environment.

What advice would you give to someone starting a business?

Don’t doubt your ability to make a good idea work. The first step is always the hardest but once you make it you will always think, why didn’t I do this years ago. Yes it can be difficult at the start but there is plenty of help out there to reduce the risks so don’t be afraid to ask for it. Nothing beats being your own boss.

Can you describe your experience of running a business in three words or less?

Rewarding, challenging, exciting.