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Business Q&A: Tim Dobson

PUBLISHED: 12:24 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:24 29 April 2014

The Dobsons shopfront in Cheshunt

The Dobsons shopfront in Cheshunt

Archant

The managing director at Dobsons, Cheshunt, on a life in business

Tell us about your job.
I am the managing director of Dobsons, a home improvement company in Cheshunt started by my grandfather in 1935. We design and install luxury kitchens, bathrooms, orangeries, windows and doors. I now work on a part-time basis in preparation for my future retirement, so many of the day-to-day tasks are handled by my step son-in-law Matthew who is our sales director, and my daughter Helen who is operations director. The main area I have been concentrating on recently has been the development of our orangery business. My other responsibilities are keeping a general overview of company activities and encouraging staff with the benefit of my experience.

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What do you enjoy most about it? 
The many letters we receive from satisfied customers praising our staff for a job well done and the pride of seeing our family business develop and continue to flourish after all these years.

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What are the biggest challenges? 
Always staying on top of new business opportunities and not resting on our laurels. Making sure we stay ahead of the competition and continue to maintain our high standards in the work we carry out for our customers.

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What was your first job? 
I worked for Horne Brothers the men’s outfitters, who at that time had branches all over the UK . I worked in their design department, creating the window and in-store displays and fitting out of new branches.

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How did you progress to your current position? 
After working for Enfield council and later as a sales designer in a division of Dexion, I joined the family building business in 1980, nine years into my working life. My vision was to change the company from the general builders and shop fitters that they were at that time into the domestic home improvement company we are today. I opened a showroom on our Turners Hill site in 1981 selling windows and doors followed by conservatories, kitchens and bathrooms. I was made a director in 1983 and became managing director in 1986.

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What are the most valuable business lessons you’ve learned? 
Anyone can succeed if they devote the time, energy and passion to their work. If you can visualise success and where you want to go you will usually achieve it.

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What are your ambitions for the future? 
To remain fit and healthy and see the company continue to prosper. To enjoy my retirement - travelling with my wife Angela in our motorhome and pursuing our interest in cycling and bird watching.

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Who is your business role model? 
My father and grandfather because they were always honest and fair with all their dealings with customers, staff and suppliers, which is what I have always done and it pays off.

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What’s your motivation? 
To be the most successful I can be in my chosen field.

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What’s been your greatest business achievement? 
Developing and leading a successful company through to its fourth generation.

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