What do you currently do?
I am the Managing Director of JB Kind, one of the UK’s leading door companies. Derbyshire-based JB Kind has been established for more than 140 years, we’ve been door specialists for more than 30 years and we sell more than ¼ million doors each year. All of our doors are wooden, and sourced from high quality sustainable timber. Our customers range from self-builders and large developers to enthusiastic home improvers and DIY-ers! We supply trade customers and the public through builders’ merchants, door retailers and online partners.
My own background is as a chartered engineer and I joined the company in 2011, having worked in firms such as PwC and Aqualux and in 2015, I led a Management Buyout of JB Kind.
What is your inspiration business?
I would choose Remington, in the 1980s. Here was a business with a relatively unknown brand, headed up by an unknown entrepreneur, Victor Kiam, which took the traditional wet shave market by storm with the electric shaver by using the catch phrase, “I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company”. How’s that for a straightforward business endorsement!
Who do you admire?
My first choice would be Sir Alex Ferguson. I really respect his ability, over many years, to successfully manage disparate groups of footballers with personal and commercial egos into world class teams year after year. I also really admire those people who have the ability to walk up to a piano and play any tune you request – what a talent.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I have travelled for business to a number of different countries and have been lucky to experience different working environments. However, it’s because I have found these visits so interesting and educating, that I would have liked to have spent more time in the places I have visited, experienced more cultures and savoured the experiences I have had. I think I missed an opportunity to really immerse myself in different business cultures.
What defines your way of doing business?
I firmly believe that business leaders are responsible for setting corporate behaviour within an organisation, as well as the more tangible aspects of running things, such as performance objectives and targets. If you involve people in the development of the organisation, then you are tapping into a massive pool of expertise which, if you manage it well, will reap rewards for the business.
At JB Kind we are luckily to have a fantastic team of dedicated people, many of which have been with us for more than two decades, and we have a friendly, inclusive and hard-working ethos. There is no doubt this has contributed to our success.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Go with your gut feelings and take opportunities when they present themselves, especially in the early years. Failure is a great learner, so don’t be afraid to try something different. It may well lead you on a path you had never considered before.