A timber merchant from Belfast is a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Find out how he did it.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year award is a key event in the business calendar for Northern Ireland, and this year one of the outstanding nominees is a great example of the possibilities available to independent timber merchants.

Ian Haldane is one of this year’s finalists, the panel recognising his work as one of the biggest suppliers to the UK construction industry. After an education in wood science and the beginning of a career in several countries including Scotland, England, the U.S and Sweden, Haldane joined the family business more than two decades ago.

Since he became Managing Director in 1991, the company, Haldene Sheills, has acquired seven other businesses. When native wood supplies became insufficient, the company expanded to work with suppliers in Russia, Scandinavia and Canada, where business continues to thrive. Ian has even opened a hardware shop, with a regular customer base proving the satisfaction his service provides.

What is interesting about finalist Ian’s case is his acquisition of several businesses, and the creation of the new retail outlet. The development of this business plan must have been a long-term learning curve, but managing such financial aspects of construction retail doesn’t have to be a juggling act. Software solutions for traders provide fully integrated systems that can manage multiple business mergers without a large impact on administrative processes.

Having both B2B and B2C customers doesn’t have to mean confusing price differences, either. Merchants who work with wholesale and general customers can offer different pricing structures using the same accounting system, setting discounts on electronic invoices for account customers while managing in-store price fluctuations with ease. To find out more about Trader point-of-sale software, contact the Integrity team today.