1. Why did you want to be a small business owner?
I originally started as an employee in a family-owned architectural practice in Denmark. After several years I joined a much larger practice from Spain working on airport and stadium projects. Having reached the position of Regional Director I realised that it was the right time to start a business of my own. Together with a business partner from Denmark we opened an architectural practice specialising in passive buildings. This was the first taste of freedom and self-responsibility, thanks to which I realised I would most probably never be able to stop running a business of my own. Over time that Polish - Danish architectural co-operation has run its course, but I learned a lot and meanwhile, most luckily, developed a passion for wood, especially wooden boats, which created the impulse for my present joinery business.
2. What is the biggest challenge you faced running your own business?
The biggest challenge is to find and defend your own style of running the business. It is logical that a fresh businessman is eager to educate him / herself, looks for tuition, reads business - related books and tries to adjust to ready-made forms and manners of running their business. Some authors or "Gurus" promote aggressive styles, others advise organic growth, but in the end one has to go there on his / her own and create a unique set of rules and mental procedures by trial and error, since each personality and business situation differs. Mocking other people's "proven" methods will always fail at some point. Realising this and finding the strength to own my style is the most challenging part.
3. Where do you see the business in 5 years’ time?
I am enthusiastic about the prospects of our company. I am most lucky to have a true, seasoned tradesman as a business partner. My experience as an architect, the knowledge of styles and functional matters, make me confident of our capacity to provide top of the range designs, whilst Pawel's eye to detail, insight and practical problem - solving skills assure me of our ability to provide clients with excellent joinery pieces. Thanks to our network of trusted workshops and tradesmen in Poland, our quality to price ratio is excellent. The UK has a number of splendid and celebrated joinery brands, I believe that thanks to our combined skills, growing number of ambitious projects and satisfied clients, we will be joining this club in less than five years.
4. What advice would you give someone that wants to start their business?
My advice would be very much the same as the considerations on the biggest challenge above - to find and defend one's own style in running the business. The process isn't easy nor simple, but the result is most rewarding. Don't be Mr Musk, since this business personality is already taken. Find yourself one of your own. Good luck.