Former racing driver turned entrepreneur, Chris Vincent, has overcome many challenges in his life to emerge as managing director of a successful £15m + flooring company.
Chris, who is dyslexic, left secondary school with no qualifications and an ambition to become a F1 racing driver. Although he successfully competed in F Vauxhall and F Renault competitions, including racing for ex Formula One driver Martin Donnelly’s race team, he took the difficult decision to walk away from the profession after deciding that he couldn’t make a career out of the sport.
Instead, aged just 23, he turned his attention to enterprise, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who ran their own flooring business, to set up V4 Wood Flooring, with his older brother, Nathan Vincent, more than 15 years ago.
Starting out with just 10 pallets in a small rented warehouse distributing flooring for one single Austrian brand, the brothers have successfully grown the business to design and manufacture two premium flooring brands, collectively turning over almost £16m, with growth projected to reach £20m.
Nominees three achievements
1. The first big achievement came in 2011 when a fire destroyed one of the company’s four warehouses and burnt half the stock. Luckily, we had built up such a good relationship with our customers that they carried on dealing with us, although some products were out of stock for a few months. It took us a while to bounce back from that setback, but it made us more determined and focused. Our competitors were saying, “They have had a fire, they will struggle to get back in there”, and you want to prove them wrong – and we did.
2. Diversifying and introducing Concreate to our product range was a big achievement for the business. The stylish wall and floor panels offer a simple, more sustainable alternative to poured or polished concrete. It is hard-wearing, easy to clean and becoming more and more popular, particularly with high-end restaurants and retail outlets, but it is equally attractive within a modern home.
3. We have just welcomed TV presenter and architect George Clarke to the brand new V4 World design centre. This represents a multi-million-pound investment, at a time when many businesses were holding back with the uncertainty over Brexit. It was a long journey, fraught with bureaucratic hurdles, but we are very proud that we have achieved what we set out to do and have a wonderful facility to show off the luxurious wood floor and wall products.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.