AS a young man starting out in the hospitality trade, Greg Anderson supplemented his hotel work by setting up a mobile bar.

“I was a student at the time and to be honest we drank a lot of the profits,” he says with a smile. “But I learned a lot about how to run a business and in 2007 I decided to really drive it forward.”

It was a sound decision. Over the last 12 years, the 35-year-old from East Kilbride has built Blue Parrot from a small bar and linen hire firm into a hugely successful events company with three divisions and offices in Scotland, the Midlands and Ireland.

As well as creating events and hiring out equipment for parties, corporate events and weddings, the company also specialises in social media launches and experiences, and silent auctions.

Employing 35 people across the disciplines, Blue Parrot now runs hundreds of events every year, building a reputation for innovation.

“There’s a real emphasis these days on the experiential side of events,” explains Mr Anderson. “Clients want something that will engage people and get them talking, attract social media coverage. We’re always looking for new ways to attract clients and give them the best possible experience.

“We recently did an event for a big client themed around Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, decking the whole place out like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. We also did a virtual reality experience for the same client and ran a silent auction. Sometimes there is a crossover between the three arms of the business but each has its own target market and audience.”

Running your own business can sometimes be tough, admits the married father-of-one, especially the responsibilities that come with being the boss.

“At the end of the day the buck stops with me,” says the Strathclyde University graduate. “I’ve been working with many of our clients for years and built close relationships with them, so you feel personally responsible for all the events.

“Also, when you’re the boss you have to a counsellor, motivator and shoulder to cry on. Wearing lots of different hats can be challenging, especially as each member of staff is responds to situations in different ways.

“It’s fair to say that no two days are the same.”

With the challenges, however, comes the personal and professional fulfilment of seeing the business flourish.

“There’s nothing better than seeing a smile on your client’s face,” says Mr Anderson. “We work so hard to break the mould and be creative, and when you get good feedback it means the world.

“Running a business isn’t about being a millionaire, it’s about keeping your clients and your staff happy.

“Seeing your ideas, dreams and ambitions come to fruition, working with the team to achieve what you set out to achieve, is a great feeling.”

The entrepreneur says RBS has been instrumental in providing the right guidance to grow the business.

“For me it is imperative to have a one-to-one, face-to-face relationship your bank,” says Mr Anderson. “Our current business manager, Jack, has been full of ideas and advice, especially when it came to funding for our new building and a big IT expansion.”

As for the advice he’d offer others, the businessman says it’s all about taking things slowly.

“Don’t try to do too much too quickly,” he adds. “It takes time to build your business and you have to be patient.

“Chances are you won’t have instant queues at the door. Sometimes you have to give a little with the knowledge that you might not get anything out of it right now. Have faith that things will pay off later down the line.

“I’ve seen in others get carried away when they’ve have a lucrative couple of months – always put something aside for the hard times.”