Name: Niall Smyth
Business Name: Smyth Leslie & Co.
Business Location: Enniskillen
How long have you been in business? 18 Years
How many staff do you employ? 5
What would you say are your strengths? I am conscientious, determined, honest and know my own mind. In today’s world and particularly within our industry you must be honest but it is also very important to have the ability to stand your ground.
What would you say are your weaknesses? A 24/7 desire to attain the best level of service which means I rarely shut off from work. I think this is something that all business owners suffer from and with the development of mobile phone communication you are sure that work never stops.
How had Covid-19 affected your business both negatively/positively? The lockdown was a difficult time as both myself and Michael continued to provide some form of service. Our staff have been very supportive and once we were allowed to reopen the staff had no hesitation in returning to work. Since then we have been very busy. People just wanted to get out and view the home that they had been looking at on PropertyPal for 3 months and we were delighted to start meeting people again. A major development is the idea of remote working which has led to increased interest and demand from people currently living in Belfast, Dublin and England, particularly families with a local connection. Remote working is encouraging people to move home as they look for a better quality of life. Fermanagh is very capable of providing that quality of life, it just needs to improve the broadband network to assist with these changing times.
What makes your business unique? Over the years the property market within Northern Ireland was very reflective of the divisions that affected everybody’s lives. When Michael and I set up our business in 2002 we both originated from the 2 different religious cultures, both from very different backgrounds and our aim was to set an example in trying to end the divisions that were evident within certain elements of our industry. As a result, we have learnt so much from each other which has made our working life enjoyable and accepting of our different backgrounds. We would like to think that our business is an example of how our community is becoming more accepting and the focus is on the future, a future that is positive for everybody.
Who has been the greatest influence on your life? (Aside from friends & family) I am not avoiding the question but there are so many influences, people who I have learnt so much from through both my work in property and my time playing and working within sport. I have attempted to bring the elements that I have learnt into my business life and I will continue to learn from others as I believe you must continue to learn.
What are your plans for the future? To continue to develop our business within an industry that is now heavily influenced by the internet and social media. The world has become a smaller place and as a result Fermanagh is beginning to become better known to the wider world and in turn is seen as a lovely place to come and live. We are having to adapt to our changing market as we welcome people from outside Fermanagh but it is also very important to continue to help our local population to achieve their dream of obtaining the home they desire and to live within their own community.
What would your advice be for anyone starting out in your industry? Be sure about what is involved. It is a demanding industry and expectations are high. You have to be prepared to put in the hours. Buying or selling a property is a major event in someone’s life and it is important to never forget that.
How do you like to relax? I am a mad sports fan and enjoy watching most sports. I have been statistician and performance analyst with Derrygonnelly Harps for a number of years which may not be relaxing but is very enjoyable.
What would you do if you won the lottery? The first thing I would do is take time out to travel the world. I would also like to assist family in making life more comfortable as well as helping worthwhile causes.
We might be limited in our travel at the moment but where is your favourite holiday destination? I really enjoy both France and Spain but New Zealand is my favourite destination of all time. Have been lucky enough to have holidayed there twice and hope to do so again.
What do you miss most about Fermanagh when you are away? There are so many things to miss but it has to be both the people and our beautiful scenery. We are very lucky.
If you could swap lives with someone who would you choose and why? Jurgen Klopp. To be manager of Liverpool brings its pressure but to mastermind what Liverpool has achieved, to have won what they have won and played the way they have without the massive spend of other clubs is the mark of a genius.
And finally take the chance to give a shout out to another local business who you think is doing great things: There are so many great local businesses and Fermanagh should hold its head high in terms of the quality and endeavour of its people. Again I cannot single out any one business as there are so many that I admire. I would ask that everyone support local businesses as local businesses are the life blood that keeps our community alive. There are so many people who put in massive investment both in terms of time and money to provide jobs for local people. Support Fermanagh businesses, support your local community.