Saturday, 17 October 2009

New Beginings?

The reason I am trying to create this blog and that I am addressing you personally, is quite simple - I need your help. It is my intention to get a new small business off the ground. I know and you know that I have a passion for music and I have the knowledge of what it takes to put a good system together and “make it sing”. And that goes for domestic hi-fi or commercial sound systems. I’ve also been known to repair the odd item or introduce astounding modifications: my knowledge and experience with electronics is fairly comprehensive. I have had numerous communications urging me to “carry on”, “pick myself up”, “get off the ground”, “do something with that knowledge”, “don’t just disappear”. Thank you, all of you, for the kind words that I have received.

RJF Audio Visual had a great following of serious enthusiasts and happy commercial clients alike. I am RJF! I need that following to carry this new venture forward. Hopefully, you will be able to follow progress through this blog and decide that there may be something that I can help you with. So, with luck on our side (well, maybe a little more than that), we should see this turn from a personal crusade into a running business. I don’t even know what this new business is going to be called yet. I also know that it’s not going to happen overnight.

Too many people have said to me over the last few years that there is a major problem with the lack of good hi-fi/electronics stores. The fact is that our trade has very much become a niche market.  The general public (non-enthusiasts and un-initiated) think that we charge outrageous prices for what we do and sell. They are brainwashed into buying low cost junk by the supermarkets and internet. You and I know better, you can’t buy a decent, working audio system - hi-fi or professional - in Tesco’s, or from for tuppence ha’penny!  This is one of the reasons that RJF A.V. has closed: lack of support from the mass market.  I did (do?) have a reputation for dealing with quality products. Many will recall my slogan “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.

I would very much like to start over, but first I have to convince myself as well as my partner in life, Jan, (and the DSS!) that a new business is feasible.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that it would not work in the current climate with a retail shop environment – witness the demise of my previous business. For this reason I’m now undertaking a “client based feasibility” study.  Please message me if you have something - a repair or a project - that you think I can help with. I believe that I’m more likely to succeed if I run a new business as a consultancy style solo enterprise with an internet presence and a web-shop, rather than go into the high street.

At this time, I think we could say that it is probable that I will start again on a freelance self-employed basis. As people are making contact, I’m trying to do some market research and asking if we can keep in touch. From the information that’s being gathered, I should be able to gauge where the real strengths are going to be. No-one at this time knows what direction the new venture will take, there should be several. However, I do have a number of specialist areas to whet the imagination. I’ve put together the following thoughts and ideas:-

I really want to do some work with turntables as they are one of my “pet” subjects and there’s hardly anyone around nowadays who knows about setting them up or which ones / component combinations are any good, etc. Cartridges, set-ups and servicing are obvious areas that I can be of use. I will probably be getting involved with some sales as well.

“Hi-fi Doctor” is another area I certainly get into – demonstrating how such things as cables, stands, stabilisation, isolation, and filtration products can seriously improve a systems performance. This would obviously generate sales off the back.

The repair industry has all but shut down because of the high street attitude to selling products, but I can find work with serious hi-fi products and also PA gear (guitar amps, etc.) that require service or repair.

If I could get a workshop together with a bit of space I could even take on the servicing of live and recording consoles (mixers). There are very few people in the South West with a better knowledge and experience of this specialist area that I have.

I have several potential customers expressing the need for a commission based resale / disposal (including eBay, etc!) service.

Buying and selling vintage and high quality used hi-fi is another area I can look at. I already have a number of personal items that need to be cleared (and a friend has already suggested that I sell his LP12 Sondek for him. This I have already serviced.)

I’m quite good at sourcing used products for individual requirements.

I have already had a number of suppliers express a wish to help with whatever the future brings, so perhaps I can get into some new sales quite quickly.

I’ve already had some requests from the commercial market to be available to service existing - and install new equipment - in their buildings. I should be able to kick start the installation business again. Conventional, 100v-line and AFILS (hearing loop) systems are all within my scope.

Also, I have a lot of experience in the visual market – projectors (home cinema and data) and LCD / Plasma screens.

If necessary, I could undertake PAT safety testing to “fill in” some time.

I have a number of friends and associates in allied trades that need help from time to time.

Being self employed, I have some other interests that could be pursued under the same umbrella. I don’t have to stick with the above completely (or even within the field of electronics!).

It seems that many are already missing the services that we provided at RJF Audio Visual and our enthusiasm for “real” kit. But, with the little list above for starters, I don’t think it will be long before something will emerge.

Please message me, I want to know if:–
  • Any of the above interests you
  • If you have any further suggestions
  • If you think I can service / repair something for you (or get this achieved)
  • If you have an installation project that you think I will be able to help with
  • If you have any advice or support that you think may help!
  • If you have any funding or grant money for the start-up of small businesses (!)

If you know someone else that may have an interest in this, please tell them and direct them to this blog site - friends family and neighbours are all needed for this to succeed! I’m going to be based in the Penzance area, but I also envisage a fair amount of travelling – my cut-off point will probably be Newquay – St. Austell. I’ve not got a workplace set up yet, but I’m working on it. Researching this new project is rapidly becoming a full time occupation in itself, so I hope something does come of it!

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