Reflecting on 15 years in business
By James White
Remember 2006? We did – fondly - this month. That was the year Kwanto started out, 15 memorable years ago.
That first six months I was a team of one, and it’s a source of some pride to look around the office now (when we’re all back in) and see a dozen people beavering away on a diverse range of building projects. When I reflect on our growth and success – our people are central to that. If there’s one key learning from Kwanto’s 15 years, it is about the importance of investing in people - relationships and team culture. Do that, and you reap the rewards: your people stay with you or if they move on, to a spot of OE for example, they may well come back.
The other lesson we’ve taken on board is the need to have a wider perspective on the positive outcomes in business – benefits for the planet and people for instance, not purely profit. Sustainability considerations have become an important part of our vision and culture – both for clients and within the workplace.
Changes over 15 years in the QS game? Certainly, the technology has shifted from marking up A1 plans on huge desks to using on-screen measurement software in a brave new digital world. The nature of our business has changed too – remedial estimates for leaky buildings was a big chunk of our work in the early years, now it’s a much more diverse range of QS advice, budget management and project leadership across all types of building projects.
Challenges over the years? Well, most recently the pandemic has been the biggest challenge our – and probably any business – has faced. But keeping quality central to all that you do is, for me, the important challenge we face. My advice for anyone starting up now is, unquestionably, to focus strongly on quality. My other tip is to try to manage your growth in a sustainable way.
The pandemic doesn’t make it easy to celebrate a significant milestone like this one, but we’ll certainly be taking some time out as a team to reflect, with a great deal of satisfaction, on how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved in the last decade-and-a-half.