FAMILY man John Thompson is starting with a clean sheet in building a business that offers innovative home solutions.
The 29-year-old from Billingham launched Premier Construction NE two years ago and has big ambitions for the company.
The father-of-three sacrificed a healthy salary and saved for six months before getting started but now believes the solid foundations he is laying will build a strong business for the future.
He is even investing in the next generation of skilled tradesmen by employing an apprentice and passing on the skills he learned working for a shop fitting company before branching out on his own.
John is hoping his design concepts for the home, such as laundry chutes, integrated television units, and bedroom, kitchen and office solutions, will impress judges in the Evening Gazette’s If We Can You Can Challenge 2012, run by The Entrepreneurs’ Forum.
He told the Gazette: “I started in February 2010 on tradesmen search site myhammer.co.uk and in my first year became the most recommended builder in the North-east,” he said.
“I want to progress our own interior solutions within the next year. The main factor is seeing the customers’ faces when I first show them the finished job. It helps me to believe I’m doing the right thing.”
Launching a building company in the heart of a recession was a challenge and John has met cashflow issues by sub-contracting Premier Construction to the leading fitted wardrobe company Sliderobes.
“It means the ideas I have are taking longer to develop but slowly we are buying tools and machinery to be able to advertise our products and get recognised for them,” he added.
“I believe in taking things slowly and creating a good foundation so that you can build to any height.”
The business has moved into premises where there is room to develop a café this spring, which John’s wife will run, together with a showroom and workshop.
After overcoming some financially-challenging times, John said: “I'm now heading towards a prosperous future for my family. I have good morals and I'm offering jobs and training for local people.
“It’s not easy but it is rewarding. I’m now seeing major progress and 2012 will be a big year for me and Premier Construction.”
The Gazette’s If We Can You Can Challenge, run by The Entrepreneurs’ Forum, is open for entries until Wednesday, March 21. Entries must be submitted online at ifwecanyoucan.co.uk/challenge.
A unique prize to help them on their journey awaits the winner, with the Forum and its partners Eversheds, PwC and Yorkshire Bank offering a bespoke package of support and on-going advice.
Following a public on-line vote, the winner of the IWCYC Challenge will be announced at an awards dinner following The Entrepreneurs’ Forum annual business conference at the Hilton Hotel, Gateshead, on Thursday, May 17.