Getting to know you: Chris Vincent

Chris Vincent

What do you currently do?

Managing Director of V4 Woodflooring and Concreate and partner in Seymour’s estate agency in Blackwater.   V4 Woodflooring sells to retailers rather than directly to consumers, providing quality hardwood flooring, with its products available to a network of more than 3,000 dealers throughout the UK.

Starting out with just 10 pallets in a small rented warehouse distributing flooring for one single Austrian brand, we have successfully grown the business to design and manufacture two premium flooring brands, collectively turning over almost £16m, with growth projected to reach £20m within two years.

Based in Woking, Surrey, v4 Woodflooring has four warehouses that amount to 35,000 sq. ft and employs 40 members of staff, with an aim of increasing its warehouse space to 40,000 sq. ft and creating ten more jobs over the next two years.

Despite a fire in 2011 that destroyed one of the company’s four warehouses and burnt half its stock, the company has triumphed over adversity to bounce back stronger than ever.

Harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit and always with an eye to the future, V4 Woodflooring has branched out to produce and distribute Concreate, the first flooring product of its kind to be brought to the market.

Concreate is an innovative and luxury flooring and wall panel product, which offers a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing alternative to a poured, polished concrete floor.    We have also moved Concreate into Europe.

I’m already working on his next venture and opened an estate agency in Surrey early in 2016.   I hope to open one agency a year going forward.

What is your inspiration business?

As a former racing driver myself, McLaren has always been a business that stands out.  It is local to my Woking base and Ron Dennis has built it from a very small company to a global brand.  It is an organisation that never stands still and is always pushing the boundaries to maintain its own very high standards.   I would be delighted to emulate its success with V4 Woodflooring!

Who do you admire?

This is difficult because I’d really need to get to know someone personally to find out if they are just a figurehead or an integral part of the business.  My Dad is the one person I always go to bounce ideas off and he’s always honest with me.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?

I have no major regrets, life is too short.  However, I wish that we had started the business with our own brand wood flooring rather than selling someone else’s.   I think this put the business back a couple of years.  With our own brand we have complete control over everything and can guarantee the quality of the product.

What defines your way of doing business?

Passion!  Passion for what we do.  The business was started from scratch and we really do care about the business, products and customers.   It’s like another child, very personal and defines everything I do.   I always want to keep moving forward and innovating and improving.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Have a passion for your business.  Enjoy what you are doing (most of the time!), take any setbacks positively and get up and move on.   Don’t ever get complacent and have the ambition to change and evolve.

Importantly, recognise your own strengths and weaknesses and build a team of exceptional people around you.  This team will make you better than the opposition – Barcelona isn’t the best football team in the world by accident!