As a leader, you are responsible for the overall success of a business and are there to lead and inspire your team to achieve a set of business goals. Business environments change quickly, so CEOs are required to react swiftly, adapt to change and make top-level decisions to drive success. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine? Ed Rimmer shares what a day in the life of a CEO at Time Finance looks like in his latest interview with Business Leader.
What time do you usually wake up?
I’m an early riser at 6:30am to get a kick-start on the day. Leadership requires your a-game, so I like to get up bright and early to be well prepared for the start of the working day.
What do you typically have for breakfast?
Cereal and orange juice
What’s the rest of your morning routine before you start work?
I keep my mornings as active as possible and often go for a scenic run around Chester to clear my mind. Gearing up for the working day, I’ll also catch up on the latest news – the FT and BBC are my go-to for what’s happening in the business finance market. This is a really important part of my day as it gives me a heads up on issues that affect our clients. Many of the businesses we work with are SMEs and a lot has happened over the past year that impacts them, so keeping abreast of the latest news or government legislation is vital to ensure we give them the support that they need.
First thing you do at the start of a workday?
My first priority is checking in with the team to talk through any arising matters. I find that doing this over the phone, rather than email, is much more effective and gives us the opportunity to talk things through in more detail. This also helps to motivate and set a positive tone for a productive working day. I’ll check my emails to see if anything urgent has come through; I always allow time in my diary for the unexpected so I can respond to anything that needs immediate attention.
How do you prioritise your work?
My working style is quite efficient and I’m sure to make the most of every available hour in the day but the nature of our business does require flexibility too. Our clients’ needs are ever-changing and one of our greatest strengths is our commitment to responding to those needs quickly, so I’m keen to avoid working too rigidly. This is especially true at the moment as the government support schemes begin to wind down and more businesses are turning to alternative finance for their long-term investment strategies.
But I’m also a stickler for being organised, which helps keep me flexible and agile. Each night, I read through my calendar (electronic as well as old-school paper diary) and plan my to-do list to prepare for up-coming meetings and calls and key deliverables for the week.
I think in life, prioritising is a challenge that everyone faces and we can get so caught up with the things that require our urgent attention that we’re at risk of forgetting matters that may not be urgent but are still important. I consider my own professional development here. Learning is a constant process; the world is always changing and to maintain a competitive edge, leaders must keep an open mind and keep learning. This is a huge focus for me, which I am keen to fit around my day-to-day priorities.
Do you plan meetings or are they a waste of time?
Meetings are rarely a waste of time. They form a big part of how we establish our culture and how we deliver our service. We work in finance but we are a people-based business and whether it is with the team or with clients, meetings are the only way you can truly get to know someone and understand what matters to them.
Meetings are also important to ensure we create a working culture that is productive, professional but also fun. Leaders have had to guide their teams through a lot of change over the past year and Time Finance is no exception. I value meetings as a way of touching base with the team, clients and stakeholders and I am pleased that these will soon once again be in person.
In a post-pandemic world, I’d like to visit all of our offices and meet the teams face-to-face. Every member of our team is important to our business and there’s no replacement for meeting in person, understanding their role within the business, making sure they know that they’re valued, all of which helps motivate them to succeed.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
I used to work through my lunch every day, but as I’ve become more established in my career I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of taking a break and giving myself time to reset, and this is something I actively encourage amongst the team. Now, you’ll find me taking my lunch breaks outside to get some fresh air and, since we’ve been spending more time at home, I get to spend that time with my family.
When does your working day finish?
I like to shut my computer down at around 6pm so that I can spend time with my family. If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s how valuable this time is. That said, as a CEO I make sure that I’m always contactable and available if anything urgent arises.
How do you prepare for your next day’s work?
Knowing what’s in the diary and where I need to be at what time helps me stay well-prepared for every day. Each evening before bed, I’ll spend an hour planning my day ahead and ensuring any urgent emails or calls have been responded to. This helps me to end the day feeling a sense of accomplishment and knowing I’m in a good place for the following day.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
That’s easy – my iPhone. I use it for everything from reading the news, to sending emails and joining conference calls. We would have been lost without this technology over the past 18 months; it’s enabled us to continue an uninterrupted service to our clients when they’ve needed us most.
How do you switch off?
At Time Finance, having a work-life balance is a key part of our working culture and for me personally this means keeping active. I find fresh air does the world of good, so I’ll often escape to the outdoors to switch off. My family and I enjoy regular trips to the Lake District and Wales for long walks in the breath-taking scenery. I’m a big sports fan so when I’m not playing, I’m volunteering to help at my children’s under 11 cricket and football games.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
‘If you work hard you’ll get your just rewards’. I heard this from two very inspirational people in my life – my dad and my first boss. It’s something that’s always stuck with me. I believe you lead by example – I learned the value of hard work growing up and throughout my career and having a strong work ethic is something I am keen to encourage in those around me.