Meet the MD: Kevin Shand at Simply Self Storage

Simply Self Storage is Aberdeen's first purpose built self storage centre. Almost a decade on, managing director Kevin Shand is eyeing expansion as the company continues to grow. BQ caught up with him to discuss all things self-storage and management.

What just your job entail?

Simply Self Storage has a small experienced team who run the company. I’m very lucky to have Jon Wilson looking after the daily operations of the business and ensuring that our clients are looked after. 

My time is spent promoting the business, looking after our finances, identifying opportunities for growth and managing the relationship with our key stakeholders.


What is it the company does?

Simply Self Storage aims to make storage as easy as possible. We like to think of our store is a secure hotel for your goods. We have over 680 rooms in 35 different sizes from 9 sqft to 600 sqft.

All access is controlled by our computerised security systems and monitored 24 hours by CCTV.

We offer a van, free of charge, when new customers move in, and we sell bubble wrap, strong twin-walled boxes, high quality mattress and sofa protectors and other packaging materials.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

The qualities that are needed in leaders change depending on the circumstances. 

I’ve just read Boris Johnson’s book on Churchill. Churchill was clearly a great wartime leader, but his style would not have suited the country at peace. 

I was introduced to The Servant as Leader by Robert Greenleaf several years ago, which has inspired my approach to leadership.

I believe strongly that leaders who encourage, support and enable staff to reach their full potential will benefit from a positive and effective team.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Our ambition is to expand the business by opening in new locations.  We have strict criteria when looking for a new facility – location being of primary importance, and of course the structure of any building - and the price of course! It has taken over two years to find a second site, but our new premises at Altens will open in early 2016


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I find that sharing issues with my colleagues and close friends avoids the build-up of stress.  Even if I can’t resolve a problem, it helps keep things in perspective when I chat it through and benefit from other people’s experiences.

I’m also a big Dons fan so, sometimes, that can help alleviate stress!


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My parents tell me that I fancied being Prime Minister when I was wee, although I had no real understanding what he did. Now the thought of being a politician holds no appeal for me at all.


Any pet hates in the workplace?

I dislike the unnecessary use of ‘cc’ when emailing.  Even worse is the use of blind cc, I think it destroys trust between people if they fear someone is secretly following an email exchange.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

Our aim is to open stores more stores in Scotland, if we can find sites or existing buildings that meet our criteria. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality storage, and our aim is to build on that reputation by using the latest security technology and offering superior customer service.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Take account of the advice and opinions of people you trust, but stay true to your own instincts and values when making decisions.


Where did you start your career?

When I left school I moved to Glasgow to join the trainee manager scheme run by Brownlee PLC.  It gave a great grounding as I spent several months in every department of the company while also attending a day release college course.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

1st decade  after leaving school – a number of internal and external sales roles.

2nd decade – sales management leading to general management

3rd decade – board positions leading to owning and growing my own business.