Audio visual solutions firm’s focus on new tech ensures customer satisfaction

Inside Track: Gerard Darcy, MD of Pemberley Audio Visual Solutions

Pemberley Audio Visual Solutions was established in 2012 by managing director Gerard Darcy and has grown to employ 15 people at its headquarters in Tallaght, Dublin. The company provides audio visual solutions, including video conferencing, digital signage, video walls, multimedia equipment and audio visual maintenance services to clients across the business, hospitality and education sectors.

What sets your business apart from the competition?

We are one of Ireland’s most innovative providers of web conferencing, audio visual and multimedia systems and services. We work with clients, including small independent businesses and large multinationals, and our reputation is key to our success. Repeat business and client recommendations have helped the business grow. Our focus on keeping up to date with the latest technology means we can continue to suggest the very best solutions to our clients.

What was the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

An old colleague of mine once said: “Listen to the client’s needs, don’t overcomplicate the system design so you can’t deliver to the client’s expectations.” It’s something that still resonates with me today.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in business?

Nothing major has ever happened and I don’t see these things as mistakes, I see them as issues I’ve overcome. I’ve learned over time not to automatically trust what people say in interview in terms of what they can deliver.

I’ve learned to always request references from prospective employees and to follow up with those referees.

As the company has grown I’ve also had to learn how to move from being the person behind the rack to being the managing director. You need to be friendly and accommodating with your staff but, as your company grows, you also need to learn to be in charge.

And your major success to date?

We worked on a major project for a petrochemical company in Africa – it was a job that proved the scale of the work we can do.

Who do you most admire in business and why?

Someone I greatly admire is Tony Murphy of Avcom, who founded his company 40 years ago. As it's a similar type of business as Pemberley, it is great to see the potential to grow to their size one day. Tony was able to hand his established business over to his son Paul, the current managing director, while still playing an active role in the business. As a father of three young children myself, I would love to be able to pass my business on to them someday in the same way.

Based on your experience in the downturn, are the banks in Ireland open for business to SMEs?

We were established in 2012 and we always felt that Rathcoole AIB were very accommodating. We recently bought our own premises in Tallaght and the AIB has been very helpful.

What one piece of advice would you give Government to help stimulate the economy?

There should be an incentive for employing skilled people so that growing your business is not just about taking on more staff and paying for that. Before you take on new staff, you have to balance out whether it’s worth it or not by the time you take into consideration the costs you have to pay as an employer.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face?

I find work/life balance difficult running a company as a father of three young children who also need my attention. It’s also a challenge to procure and keep good staff, as poaching from large multinational clients is a constant threat. Owning your own business is a rollercoaster ride: some days you’re up and some days you’re down. It’s about overcoming challenges and moving on from those.

How do you see the short-term future for your business?

We are expanding the after-sales support side of the business – the service side and the operations and administration side of the business – to ensure a perfect flow of how jobs are specified, delivered and followed up afterwards. As the business expands, we want to ensure that this aspect of the business is running smoothly so that we can continue to provide an excellent service to our clients as the company grows.

What’s your business worth and would you sell it?

I wouldn’t like to disclose that at the moment, but I’m only 38 years old so I can’t see myself selling up or changing things any time soon. Having built up the business, I’d like to be able to pass it on to my children when the time comes.