As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But, how do these business leaders go about their daily routine?
Business Leader spoke to Thomas Delgado, the founder of We Buy Cars Today, about his working day.
What time do you wake up?
My day usually starts at around 5/5.30am when I take my dog for a walk. I live in the countryside so there’s lots of fields nearby and it’s good to start the day with a bit of exercise and some fresh air. Sets me up for the day.
What do you usually have for breakfast?
It depends how I feel to be honest and if I’ve got time. In winter I tend to go for porridge or smoked salmon and poached eggs, washed down with plenty of coffee and OJ. In the warmer months, it’s cereal and fruit. If I’m running late or have a lot on, which is often the case, then I might just grab a banana or protein shake on the go.
What’s your morning routine before work?
When I’m back from walking the dog, I sit down and go through my emails until about 9/9.30ish and then drive to the office. As soon as I get to the office it’s full on with meetings, calls and internal catch-ups so having that bit of time at home in the morning is great for productivity. Less distractions!
What’s the first thing you do to start your working day?
As soon as I get to the office (around 10ish), I grab a quick coffee and catch up with the team. Then it’s pretty much back to back meetings for the rest of the day. Sometimes I travel into London for meetings but most of the time I’m based locally in Essex, which is great for keeping my commute to a minimum.
How do you prioritise your day’s work?
As well as We Buy Cars Today, I run a property company and I’m just about to launch a new car buying service specific to traders. It’s a definitely a juggling act but I have an amazing team in place who support me. Priorities change for me day to day, but the new company has definitely needed a lot of love. I have just hired a PA to help manage my time and ensure I’ve got a healthy work life balance, which is hard to achieve when you’re CEO but I’m still only 29 so it’s important to get this right.
Do you plan meetings or is that a waste of time?
I have to plan meetings! My schedule is so manic, that if I don’t diarise internal catch ups for example, they can fall by the wayside. We’ve made a several hires over the past 6-12 months and it’s important for me to be visible to new team members and supporting their development.
Do you have a working lunch or is it good to take a break?
I try to get out for lunch each day but it’s very difficult when we are so busy. I think it’s important to get away from your desk and I certainly encourage the team to do that. I personally find it hard to tear myself away because I love what I do. In fact, it doesn’t always feel like work because I’m so passionate about business and developing as an entrepreneur. I started We Buy Cars Today when I was 22 and seeing how successful it’s become in just seven years, keeps me driven to work even harder…even if that means skipping the odd lunch.
When does your day finish?
I tend to stay in the office until 7.30ish and then get home by 8. If I’ve had a really long day or it’s been particularly stressful, I usually order a takeaway – otherwise I cook. After dinner, I take the dog for another quick walk and catch up on emails again until 11ish. I’ll usually do this with a glass of wine and maybe listen to a bit of jazz to relax.
How do you prepare the next day’s work?
I use Sunday evenings to prepare for the week ahead, which means reviewing scheduled meetings in my calendar and creating a to-do list, as well as notes on topics I might want to cover. Like most business owners, I try to stay on top of current affairs and monitor any developments that might have an impact on business such as Brexit for example.
We have been preparing for Brexit since January and actually, we are confident that leaving the EU will be beneficial to the used car industry… watch this space.
What’s your favourite piece of tech?
Zoom for hosting catch-ups, Xero for handling invoicing/ expenses and Shazam for those moments when I’m driving in the car and an awesome song plays on the radio!
How do you switch off?
Dog walking, clay pigeon shooting on Sunday’s and a couple of nice holidays throughout the year. I was in Thailand over Christmas and was unfortunately caught up in that tropical storm which caused us to be evacuated to another island. It certainly wasn’t the relaxing holiday I was hoping for, so I may need to book another trip away soon.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice probably came from my dad when he told me to write a business plan. It wasn’t something I thought I needed as the ‘plan’ was clear in my head but writing it down gave me focus and enabled me to identify potential pitfalls and gaps I had not previously considered. Nothing went the way I planned but at least I had a road map to work from and clear objectives. I found my old business plan recently and it amazed me how low my targets were back then years ago. I only wanted to buy and sell six cars a month, now I’m handling over 12,000 enquiries a month. Suffice to say, I’m glad I took dad’s advice as a business plan definitely helped me stay on track!
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