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Curve Workplaces among the top 30 on the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth

By Sara Klusch
23 July 2021

The Business Magazine asked the CEOs and leaders of the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth listing, which celebrates the region’s high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises, to share their experience of managing a company in 2021. We asked Michael Potter, CEO of Curve Workplaces the following three questions:

  • What were your toughest challenges over the past year?
  • What were your biggest wins?
  • What are your wildest ambitions for the coming year?"

Curve Workplaces reached number 26 on The Business Magazine’s Thames Valley SME100 Growth index. The company specialises in office, warehouse and laboratory design and fitting out furniture for both tenants and landlords. Through its services, it reached a 16% turnover and an overall growth of 33.3%.  

What were your three toughest challenges over the past year?

Michael Potter: To begin with, continuing to build our bubbling culture remotely was challenging. We’re very connected as a business so it was important that we kept regular touchpoints throughout the week, both operationally and socially. This included sales and resource meetings, virtual team lunches and the now renowned Thursday afternoon quiz. Furthermore, we were acutely aware of the potential effects that the lockdown would have on our people’s mental health so we made a conscious effort to check in with each other on a regular basis. 

The procurement of materials has been another difficulty. We’ve been fortunate to have been incredibly busy over the past 12 months, fitting out over 270,000 square feet for landlord and tenant clients combined. The difficulty has been managing the nationwide shortage of key materials such as plasterboard, steel, and timber as a result of several factors including Covid, Brexit and the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal.  

Managing to collaborate online has also been tough. Whilst we have managed to work remotely, there is no denying that as a creative business we work better together. Whether it’s a quick catch up whilst making a cup of tea, or huddling around a concept design – it’s more effective when done face to face. 

Your biggest win?

Michael Potter: We’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic companies across the Thames Valley and the UK over the past 12 months, each with their individual success story.  Relocating the global software company Commvault and global healthcare product manufacturer Hollister Inc. to Arlington Business Park, Theale and Winnersh Triangle respectively were great examples of the continued business park revival. In addition to this, we carried out a refurbishment in occupation for Maidenhead occupier Kensington Mortgages, which was a great chance to work with a company embracing new ways of working following the pandemic. Finally, working with leading asset managers Legal and General to continue the rollout of their Capsule product across parts of their portfolio, including Apex, Reading has certainly put our landlord team ‘on the map’. 

Your three wildest ambitions for the coming year?

Michael Potter: Make up for the lost time by enjoying each other’s company. Supporting our sister company, Furniture Forum, as it continues to grow into a market-leading furniture consultancy. Continue to grow as a business in line with our company values: be brave, commit, be fair and enjoy it. We aim to deliver inspired working environments for businesses to thrive in. 

Curve Workplaces is included in the Thames Valley SME100 Growth index for the second consecutive year. To qualify for the listing, businesses need to be based in the Thames Valley, have a turnover of no less than £1 million and no more than £20m, and to have grown their turnover significantly in the past year.

The 2021 edition of the list is sponsored by law firm Herrington Carmichael, commercial property consultants Hicks Baker and corporate finance advisers Wilson Partners.

Supporting partners are Laithwaites and Lamborghini.

All Thames Valley SME 100 Growth members are now invited to enter the nominations to this year’s awards, which will recognise outstanding achievements in six categories.

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