I’m kicking off the week with another exciting interview. Behind the Biz is my weekly interview series where I discover businesses, the people behind them and their business journey.
Today I’m chatting with Steve Walker, the founder of BestatFlooring.
Please tell us about your business.
BestatFlooring are an independent flooring specialist based in West Yorkshire, first established in 1961.
We cater for domestic, contract and commercial customers right across the UK. We supply an extensive range of stylish flooring materials from solid wood to engineered wood and even supply a beautiful range of designer rugs and vinyl tiles.
Where did the inspiration for BestatFlooring come from?
Floorstore was the first family flooring business which we set up, with our offline shop based in Yorkshire. Over time we accrued a lot of old stock from the store and so we came up with the idea of trying to reduce this through eBay.
We were reasonably surprised by how well this took off and how fast the stock cleared although most of it was at cost or thereabouts. We then made the decision to do this with a few of our more regular stocked products and sure enough they sold just as well and we made a small profit to boot.
Following the success of this, we decided to invest in a website and the rest is history.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
We won an award for best 1-2 flooring retail stores, the tag line to this was “best at what they do…” which was flooring. So that’s when we decided on the name BestatFlooring.
We always said that when we launched our BestatFlooring website we wanted to instantly become online leaders in the industry, providing only the best products, services and advice!
What did you do before starting Best at Flooring?
My first professional job role after finishing school was working as a commercial sign writer unfortunately the company closed quickly after joining them due to retirement so I offered to help out my father for a couple of weeks in his new flooring store, forty years on and I am still here enjoying every day, I suppose I have taken pride in learning as much as I can about carpets and wood flooring.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
To be honest, it wasn’t something which I imagined would ever happen, it just naturally occurred when we set up the Floorstore company. Although I now really enjoy being self-employed, I like the freedom in that no two days are the same.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
I would have to say that growing the company and understanding how to grow an online website with the right team behind you has been our biggest challenge, however I think it’s really important to learn from any mistakes you encounter and not let them stop you from continuing to have faith in your company.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
There have been many highlights along the way but a big one has to be our new distribution warehouse and online offices, which has allowed us to not only work in a nice environment but to also grow the company and hire more staff more easily.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
I think social media is a great way to connect with your customer, and keep in with the current trends. I would say my favourite media platforms at the minute are Pinterest and Twitter, this has a great balance of connecting with fellow professionals within the home renovating industry and the everyday consumer.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I would say to ensure that you have the right team behind you and to not be scared to listen to what other people have to say, as long as they don’t undermine you.
When growing a business it’s important to listen to other peoples ideas rather than just your own, so I would say to aspiring entrepreneurs, listen to any ideas from any business sector and allow other companies and people to challenge yours. Take with it what you can this way you will gain a wide range of knowledge
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
I hope in the next year that we will continue to grow online, grow our brand which will then allow us to bring on more staff to help us to keep expanding.
I hope to continue to focus on introducing more exciting products on behalf of the BestatFlooring website and to enjoy exploring new exciting revenues.
I want to say a big thank you to Steve for taking the time to get involved with Behind the Biz. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this interview and I totally agree with Steve’s tip for entrepreneurs – always be ready to listen and learn from others. I looking forward to seeing BestatFlooring continue to grow over the next year.