Every Monday, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to David Kenwright, owner of Aberdeen Business Centre.
I felt there was a need for serviced offices in Aberdeen where people with ideas, or new start and smaller businesses could rent a desk, an office, or just a meeting room without having to make any long-term commitments, or incur hidden costs.
Somewhere that would give them all the facilities they required to develop and grow their business ideas. I also thought it would be interesting to see what ideas people had and, if necessary, was prepared to offer them support until their businesses became viable. I wanted to create a beautiful space where companies would be proud to meet clients.
I was lucky a suitable building came up for sale on Bon Accord Crescent at the time I had the idea. I have always thought Bon Accord Crescent to be a hidden gem in the heart of Aberdeen city centre. Bon Accord Crescent Gardens are on the opposite side, making it one of the few areas in the city centre with offices adjacent to green space. It is also only a stone’s throw from Union Street and in a very quiet location.
I think I have been very lucky and had good support from all those I have worked with, and consequently been part of a strong team which has paid dividends. This is particularly so at Aberdeen Business Centre as the team have been there since the very start, and built it up to be very successful.
Regrettably, as a result of the pandemic we have experienced two very difficult years when we were virtually closed, with vastly reduced income but the same overheads, as people were discouraged from coming to work and encouraged to work from home. The situation is gradually improving, but we need more clients and these will, hopefully, be forthcoming as Aberdeen slowly recovers.
In business, too many people to name – just about everyone I have ever known or worked with, and without their support and censure – when justified – most things I have achieved would not have been possible. In my private life, it is Sylvia, who gave up her career and has put up with me for nearly 40 years despite all my shortcomings.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has also helped via its regular networking events and informative webinars. It’s been good to connect with people from different types of companies around the country. Look out for an FSB event at the business centre soon.
Treat others as you would like to be treated, be fair and even-handed in business, and in life never back anyone into a corner – always give them a way out without too much loss of face, unless you are absolutely sure you are in the right and can win as they will come out fighting.
Not quitting while I am still ahead.
Surviving this long, and having made so many good friends in business which has been very enjoyable.
I am very concerned there is insufficient focus on sustainability, particularly in respect of manufacturing industry supply chain vulnerabilities. Creating an environment to maximise UK-based food production and developing known fossil fuel energy resources should be encouraged by the government until Britain is self-sufficient in renewable energy and nuclear power generation. While energy prices are so high, the green levy should be scrapped to ease pressure on consumers, and tax on fuel should be reduced.
To remain active and interested in doing things for the next 20 years or so, and to start something that benefits people that are or have been disadvantaged, and gives them a sense of purpose and enjoyment in everyday life that would continue into the future.
I enjoy gardening, DIY, reading, meeting friends and family, watching our horses competing, playing with the dogs and, perhaps most importantly, daydreaming.
I am currently reading A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, and 44 Scotland Street, by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoy listening to BBC Radio 4, and on television watching Have I Got News for You, Antiques Roadshow, Fake or Fortune, Question Time, the BBC’s 10pm news and any good detective series.
Non-essentials – things I find aesthetically appealing such as a painting, a piece of silver, bric-a-brac, or piece of furniture that I like. Usually not very expensive, but things that fit in well at home, invariably to Sylvia’s dismay.
Look forward to what the day will bring, think what I need to do, take the dogs out, check on the horses, and enjoy having the place to myself before anyone else is about.
My 14-year-old BMW 7 series drives just as well as it did when it was new. I also drive a Series 4 Land Rover Discovery, which I think is the best off-road vehicle Land Rover has produced, and infrequently a 22-year-old Morgan +8. My dream car is most probably a 1960s Bentley Continental Flying Spur Sports Saloon, but I am afraid it will have to remain a dream.
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