Fish is charged for the future

Viv Fish, joint owner with husband Alan of Fish Electrical Services in Cramlington. Picture by Gilbert Johnston
Viv Fish, joint owner with husband Alan of Fish Electrical Services in Cramlington. Picture by Gilbert Johnston

A Cramlington-based electrical company is charged up for future success as it prepares to celebrate 30 years in business in 2016.

Fish Electrical Services, owned by husband and wife team Alan and Viv Fish, has seen a significant upturn in business since the recent recession as a result of trying out new ways of working.

The company is now in a strong position for growth ahead of its upcoming anniversary.

In the last few years the business, which works across the industrial, commercial, residential and domestic sectors, has put more emphasis on business networking and advancing its digital skill set in preparation for continued expansion.

It was at a networking event that Mrs Fish heard about an opportunity to undertake a programme of free digital training from iNorthumberland Business Support.

Having completed the training, Fish Electrical Services now not only has an active social media presence, but has also received a year’s free superfast broadband, which will improve the business’ efficiency.

Mrs Fish said: “We are extremely proud of our longevity as a business. We are lucky enough to have a long-serving and experienced workforce, including our foreman who has been with us for nearly 30 years, and a loyal client base.

“The majority of our growth over the years has come from word-of-mouth recommendations.”

The iNorthumberland Business Support programme is delivered by Arch Digital.

It is available to businesses across Northumberland that want to make the most of the available superfast broadband in the county.

Mrs Fish has completed the nine online courses on the e-learning portal, with topics including cyber security, SEO and cloud technologies, and has also benefited from face-to-face master classes that enable participating SMEs to network with others and learn from top business advisers.

Eligible businesses that also complete 12 hours of training will qualify for 12 months of free superfast broadband, worth up to £400.

In addition, extra funding is now available for businesses in locations where new infrastructure may be required to access superfast broadband.

Mrs Fish added: “I believe that our success thus far has been down to remaining diverse. For example, electrical testing has increasingly become a huge part of our work.

“Previously we wouldn’t see our electricians for weeks as they would be out on site installing, but now they are regularly in the office processing test information and preparing reports.

“The need to facilitate faster processing for this has been the main reason for wanting to upgrade our IT systems and broadband.

“In order to continue to diversify and put ourselves in a strong position moving forward, we also recognised that we needed a social media presence, and iNorthumberland Business Support has been instrumental in helping us to do that.”

After undertaking the ‘Using Social Media for Business’ online course, Mrs Fish wasted no time in ramping up the business’s social media activity.

She said: “I knew how important it was for businesses to use social media, but I needed guidance on how to integrate it into our day-to-day work.

“The online course dispelled many of my perceived myths and alerted me to the wide-ranging benefits of social media.

“It was so inspiring that I made sure to complete it in time to attend the corresponding masterclass to further my new-found knowledge.

“The masterclass was a revelation and showed me how I could use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with current clients and reach out to new ones, as well as to reinforce our reputation for excellent service, all without the need to be logged in every waking moment.

“I am still getting up to speed with the available tools and how to get the best from them, but I’m confident that we are now heading in the right direction.

“I look forward to implementing more of my new digital skills as part of our strategy for ongoing growth as Fish Electrical Services approaches its landmark anniversary next year.”

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and chairman of Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, said: “It’s great that so many Northumberland businesses like Fish Electrical have been able to benefit from iNorthumberland Business Support.

“The importance of digital know-how is ever-increasing and our programme of training is really helping small businesses to take advantage of the technologies available.

“Demand for the bespoke business support has been high and we would encourage all local businesses, whether a start-up or established company, to register at and experience the benefits for themselves.”