‘Start small, see how it goes, and then expand'
2007-04-26 15:59:43 -

In the latest instalment of Metro Eireann’s Meet The Boss, SANDY HAZEL speaks to James Anderson, proprietor of Pegas Computers in Dublin’s north city centre  

James Anderson is originally from Liberia, and has been in Ireland for 10 years. Anderson studied Electrical Engineering to third level in Liberia but he furthered his studies at the Dublin Institute of Technology, gaining three more years of Electronics and Telecommunications. A stint with Gateway Computers in north Dublin gave Anderson valuable experience in the industry, but when they closed he used the opportunity, and the redundancy package, to his advantage.

Anderson explains: “I wanted to start up a business. I had the redundancy package but I also used my credit card.” An expensive way to start it seems – why not go to the bank for a loan? “Back then it was harder,” he says. “The banks could see that I did not have a business record so I funded it from my own pocket. My family also helped. Now that the business is running it would not be a problem to get a loan.” Using the credit card to buy supplies, it was tough at the start, until a good relationship was established with suppliers and companies. That card loan is now well paid off.

Metro Eireann asked Anderson the reason why he chose a computer shop – isn’t that an area well served with plenty of competition? “Yes it is. But in every small town or local area there is a need for a smaller computer company. I found a location where the bigger players are not around. It gives me an edge. Businesses in the area and people who live in the community here need a company that can provide IT services. Because we are smaller we offer a level of service that the big companies could never match.” 
His business, Pegas Computers, sells computers, software and accessories, and offers networking and software development, accountancy programming, web design and retail solutions. Anderson is also looking into chasing up bigger tender contracts that are put out regularly by the various government departments. Pegas is currently an IT provider for several CDVEC schools.

So business is looking good for Pegas Computers, but it was not always so. Anderson has learned from some past business decisions: “I ventured into another business in a partnership and it didn’t work out. I became wary then of working with anyone in that situation again. I lost money. Here at Pegas was tricky, too, at the start. Getting customers was really difficult. But once you supply a good service to a few, then their referrals to friends and families or back to their companies is invaluable. No amount of advertising can buy you that kind of business.”

However Pegas does place adverts in national newspapers regularly. Anderson explains: “Although we are a local operation we can and do supply nationally. Also, people who read national papers tend to be decision makers and the decision to buy or negotiate could come our way if they see our advert.”
Pegas employs two full-time staff from Brazil and Nigeria, and Anderson is quick to point out that he could not commit to the business without the support of his wife Aislinn O’Rourke. He is keenly aware that family life can suffer if the business takes too many hours, so he is starting to take some weekends off now that they have a small child.

What advice does Anderson have for budding entrepreneurs? “Start small, see how it goes and then expand.”

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