Opti-Fi is a Wi-Fi Optimisation, Management and Solutions Company based in the Isle of Man, offering wireless network solutions and home intelligence services to home-owners and small businesses. Opti-Fi was launched in 2016 by James Quinn after he identified a noticeable gap in the market for a ‘wireless professional’. Due to technological advances, he spotted the growing need for solutions to Wi-Fi and networking problems in both residential and business property.
The brains behind the business – James Quinn
‘After spending 14 years in the Armed Forces as a Telecommunications Specialist in the Royal Corps of Signals, I retired to the Isle of Man to take a break from telecoms and find out what my next career move would be. After some lengthy thought and investigation, I actually decided to jump straight back into Telecoms. A break had already turned into eight years, so I decided to refresh my knowledge by studying a Post Graduate Certification in Wireless Engineering. Opti-Fi was born from here!’
James accessed the Department’s Micro Business Grant Scheme to help him kick start the business, which has now been running successfully for three years.
How did you find the Micro Business Grant Scheme Training Course?
‘The course was a fantastic insight for me, having never setup a business before. The information conveyed was eye opening and very informative, it gave me everything I needed to set me on my path.’
Describe the level of support offered to you by the Department
‘I cannot fault the support the Department has given me and my business.
The Enterprise Support Team within the Department is experienced and friendly. They were very helpful, made you feel important from the start and were very keen to help you in any way to get your business up and running.
Also, before I applied to the MBGS, the Department actually supported me with my Wireless Engineering course through another scheme.’
How did you hear about the MBGS?
‘I heard about the scheme from a very good friend of mine who had just enrolled herself at the time, she is now my accountant and also has since been appointed as a Mentor on the Scheme.’
Talk us through the process of application
‘The application process was easy and any questions were promptly answered by very helpful staff within the Department. Once all relevant paperwork was completed and sent off, I was notified quickly with a date to join the training course. It was all very straight forward.’
What gave you the confidence to invest in your business in the Isle of Man?
‘Before I launched Opti-Fi, I began refreshing my telecoms knowledge to help apply for roles with the Island’s Telecoms providers - I had never thought of starting up a business on my own. When I heard about the scheme and the support network it provides, I was very intrigued to see what it could offer me. Whilst on the course, I realised that setting up on my own would be possible and I had support to help me address the various hurdles. Overall, the scheme gave me the knowledge, knowhow and confidence to get out there and go for it.’
How do you find your job rewarding?
‘My job was a hobby to start with. Because of my history in Telecoms I was always interested in what was happening in this space, new technology and how it is part of our everyday lives. I love the fact that every day is a learning day and a new challenge where my abilities will be tested. Being in the public eye is rewarding – I enjoy meeting new people and customers, some of which I would now call friends. I enjoy helping those in need, enhancing the customers’ online experience or taking their frustration away. Giving customers a platform for their business or personal use to perform better and helping them get the most out of technology is an integral part of my job.’
How does it compare to other places you have worked/lived?
‘Opti-Fi is a dream come true with the help of my mentor Bransom Bean. It feels fantastic going to work again, it’s not monotonous, its challenging, it’s not mundane, its rewarding unlike past jobs I have had. I get to use my mind for problem solving, studying new technologies, best practices and I feel rewarded when I have completed the job. The job satisfaction is very much there, which pushes Opti-Fi to go above and beyond its task.’
Do you think you could have done it without funding?
‘The initial outlay for starting up on your own is a massive worry but if you are giving up a full time job to pursue what you think is a needed business on the Island, then the help with funding relieves some of that strain. I went into this with my eyes wide open. I knew that the customer base was out there, but I had to steadily build a good reputation and turn Opti-Fi into a brand that could be trusted by all. The funding that I put towards the cost of tools and a business vehicle meant I could do so much more with the money I had. It took a massive worry away when my venture was in its infancy, and the weekly payment which is offered as part of the Scheme also comes in handy, and I hear this has now been increased which is great news.’
What has been the biggest challenge with this venture and how have you overcome it?
‘One of the biggest challenges was improving my own clerical and accounting skills, which had faded over the years. I am very computer-literate but the last time I touched an excel database before this venture was in 1999, so not having accounts knowledge was daunting at times.
My adviser Bransom helped me address this challenge along with my accountant Tracy at Enigma Accountancy. They would take me through the best practice and sometimes give me the nudge I needed. This challenge is now behind me and overcoming it enabled me to grow the business with confidence and take on greater challenges.’
What’s next for Opti-Fi?
‘Due to the success of Opti-Fi and its organic growth, we are now expanding into new fields such as CCTV, Broadband, Security Alarms, Electrical and continuing to offer the service of managing your network from the best internet service for you to the top end smart technology and automation package. We believe that our vision, skillset and determination will continue to serve the Island and beyond. We are actively looking for the best of the best to join the team, investing in our employees to deliver the best service possible. Every one of our customers receives the same level of dedicated support, no matter how big or small the job is. Our staff frequently go above and beyond to deliver an outstanding service. Our customers truly do matter most, and we try to offer service with military-like precision. We create solutions out of problems at Opti-Fi.’