As part of our 20 year celebrations we thought it would be a great opportunity to sit down with our MD, Kris Quinn, and put some questions to him about how and why he took the plunge to go out on his own back in 2004 and to reflect on his achievements to date.

What was the trigger which led you to deciding to set up the business 20 years ago?
It was a combination of factors really. I was feeling a little under-valued where I was working but I was also being approached by people in the industry who had become aware of my skill-set. I started to feel that I could actually do this for myself and after discussions with my ever-supportive family, I decided to go for it.

What would you say were your main objectives and ambitions at the time and how have these evolved over the years?
At first it was all about making a living and providing for my family. As time went by with increased demand and workload, I wanted to try and build a trusted and lasting brand which I still hope can be passed onto the next generation of Quinns.

What would say are the key skills in running a business you have learnt over the years?
I believe that many of the skills you need are also a reflection of life in general. My main advice to anybody starting out would be not to always chase the most lucrative, perhaps risky, work but put longer-term actions in place to ensure the sustainability of the business. Accept the fact that there will be good times and bad and put yourself in a position to come out the other end of any slumps that may occur.

What are the main reasons for Quinns success and for its steady growth since its inception?
I was determined to avoid any cliches but here goes!! It is really important to surround yourself with the best people and I like to think I have identified the staff I wanted, invested in their training and ultimately retained them.

Following on from the previous questions, I believe the reputation we have built has enabled us to work for top clients for many years. This has been achieved by producing top quality, compliant work with a great deal of emphasis on Health & Safety as well as doing that little bit extra which the client really appreciates.

Amongst your many achievements, which are you most proud of?
From a business point of view, it has to be seeing youngsters join the firm as raw apprentices and watching them develop through the ranks to full qualification, and some even to director level. Seeing their confidence and ability grow is a particular source of satisfaction.

I am also delighted with the many Accreditations we have achieved over the years in all facets of the business, but in particular, ISO 9001, which is a testament to the fact that we are running a business in line with sets of quality objectives.

Running an SME brings so many challenges which ultimately fall on your shoulders, do you manage to switch off and if so, how do you do this?
It isn’t easy and, when I had the office at home, it was quite difficult. But since we acquired the business premises and I got my team in place, I am able to separate my personal and business lives. I am fortunate that I have a wonderful family with whom I love spending time and they keep me grounded. I also enjoy regular exercise and sports and of course watching my beloved Arsenal!!

And finally, if you could turn back the clock, would you do it all again?
My initial reaction is “no”! – if I had known the level of pressure that running a business brings I may have kept my head down and plodded on! But when I reflect on all that has happened over the 20 years, I am delighted that we are well set to enter our 3rd decade and the next phase of our growth.

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