The week was book-ended by two very different scenarios. Opening with an early Monday morning in Daisy’s Lancashire Head Office, and closing with a late Friday evening return from Iceland, it has been a fruitful and exciting few days for me and the company, with numerous business opportunities presenting themselves.
With my business trip to the ‘land of fire and ice’ top of the agenda, a manic few days prior to the trip was a necessary evil. And having spent the previous week skiing in Switzerland with a group comprising 60 Daisy staff and business partners, catching up with senior management was an absolute must, as was getting back into ‘work mode’.
The only thing each working day has in common is the fact that I will spend a good two hours on my mobile and complete daily catch-ups across each of the company’s sales channels. Other than that, I guarantee no week will be the same.
Matthew Riley's top recession-busting tip: "Cash is king!"
Starting at 8am on Monday morning, I conducted one-to-one catch-ups with executive members of senior management, followed by a collective meeting of the team. We hold the meetings every Monday and it provides an opportunity for us to run through sales figures, year-to-date finances, performance across all channels, and any outstanding business issues.
In the afternoon I held a video conference call with Cable and Wireless, one of Daisy’s main suppliers. We try to keep business travel to a minimum and with video conferencing still a novelty, I’m always more than happy to oblige!
Tuesday turned into a very busy day, with a time spent on the company’s business partner channel. Since we sell our products through a network of partners, it’s important that time is dedicated to potential and existing partners. So at 10:00am I launched into a meeting with a prospective business partner. And after grabbing a quick bite to eat I was straight into another meeting with one of our current partners, which took up the majority of the afternoon.
We’re also due to launch some new products to the base in the coming months, so before leaving the office I met with Daisy’s product guys to discuss our new anti-virus software. But the working day didn’t stop there…
That evening I had a quick turnaround with a business dinner meeting organised for 7:00pm. I was meeting to discuss a potential acquisition with a private equity company, which is looking to dispose of an investment. Despite the current climate, it is business as usual at Daisy and we are in acquisitive mood. We’re finding that a number of opportunities are presenting themselves, which of course we will be looking to take advantage of and help us reach our goal of becoming the natural alternative to BT in the business communications market.
Wednesday saw an 8:00am PR catch-up with the in-house team, and was followed by a 10:00am appointment with Phones 4U. In the afternoon I met with one of our premier account customers and then at 6:00 pm it was time for some last-minute preparations for my trip to Iceland, meeting with our legal team and making sure I was well-prepared for the lengthy negotiations on the future deal.
Somewhere in between I received a call from the National Business Awards asking if I would sit on their Northern panel of judges, an offer I couldn’t possibly refuse!
Thursday and Friday were spent in Iceland, discussing another possible acquisition opportunity, and as far as business trips go, it was very interesting. I was struck at how tall and well-built the Icelandic people seemed to be. I was dwarfed in comparison! Their hospitality was great and I was able to partake in some native cuisine on the Thursday evening, trying reindeer for the first time. Quite sweet and very tasty, but I don’t think my children would have been too happy with the thought of me eating Rudolph.
After a day of meetings, I returned to Lancashire late on Friday evening. But there was no time to relax as it just happened to be my birthday weekend…
Matthew Riley has been named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by both Ernst and Young and Bank of Scotland Corporate. Daisy, his fourth company, was established in 2001 and now provides business communications to more than 30,000 customers.