My New Boss Has No Concept of Work-Life Balance

Getting your work-life balance right is key

My New Boss Has No Concept of Work-Life Balance

Like the headline says, I have a new boss. Frankly he’s a nightmare to work for.

He has absolutely no concept of work-life balance. I’m expected to work at strange times of the day and night. The hours are not only irregular they are long, and he won’t tolerate anything but my best work.

I would go so far as to say that my new boss is the most challenging person I have ever worked for and trust me, after a long time spent working at senior exec level in some demanding corporate environments that is really saying something.

That’s right, you guessed it.

Ever since the 1st of June this year, I have been working for myself.

I’ve always enjoyed my career. I have always enjoyed work. Some call me a workaholic, which I take as a compliment. I have been privileged to be constantly engaged and challenged in some exceptional roles.

Highlights included Bargain Booze, which I joined in a marketing role in late ’99. I co-led the private-equity-backed MBO of that company in 2005/6, and eventually left in 2012 before the business floated. Later, after doing my Masters and an interim project for Costcutter, in early 2014 I joined the 120+ year old stationery and office supplies chain Ryman.

During the last couple of decades I have worked with some great people and I have covered a wide range of functional disciplines. Marketer, retail operations, sales, call centre director, MD, COO … But the roles I have had can basically be boiled down to being a retailer (running large estates of small stores) and to being a business-to-business supplier (from my days managing hundreds of franchisee relationships within the Bargain Booze business right through to my time directing the development of a direct Office Supplies business for Ryman).

And whether I was dealing with consumers on the high street or business customers, experience has repeatedly reinforced one lesson – customer experience means everything.

“The customer is king/ queen” is a cliché, but it’s true. And there are a bunch of other truisms that -for me personally- come under the umbrella of putting the customer first.

Here’s my top ten:

  1. The customers’ experiences should reflect you, your business, and your brand.
  2. Build a product or service that you would like to buy. If you believe in it, are passionate about it, and you are proud of it then the chances are you will succeed.
  3. Keep it simple – you know what your customers want and what they need. Give it to them, and charge a fair price. Everyone is happy.
  4. User experience drives advocacy … Deliver a good customer experience and people sing your praises. Advocates are the best marketing tool a business can have.
  5. The ‘hard sell’ approach might get you a sale, but it doesn’t win you a customer.
  6. Treat people (customers and colleagues) the way you would like to be treated.
  7. Always be fair. Respect, courtesy, and keeping your promises all go a long way.
  8. Business is about people. If you don’t like people, you shouldn’t be in business.
  9. Nice guys do not finish last. People buy from people and if you are fundamentally a decent person, that will help you to build long-lasting and mutually-rewarding relationships.
  10. You could be unfair to a customer for short-term gain, once. Maybe twice. But if you do, they will never shop with you again. On the other hand, a partnership based on mutual benefits can last a lifetime.

These aren’t just words, they are the way I like to conduct myself in life and in business. These are my personal values. So, after 18 years of working for other people, I figured it was time to put my money where my mouth is, take the plunge, and try my hand at running my own business.

And yes, as I said in the opening paragraphs above I am perhaps a bit demanding to work for right now. But, here’s the secret…

…I am having an absolute ball, and I am proud to say that the business that I am building is one that can absolutely deliver on the kind of customer-focused ethos that I’ve described above.

Having left my previous role on the 31st of May, I was able to ‘soft launch’ my new website on the 30th of June, just four weeks’ later. The first part of July has been spent on a bit of tidying up, some bug fixing, and adjusting content, and now the site is ready to start taking orders.

If you would like to know a little more about the business it is called Office Prime Supplies, and you can visit us now at www.officeprimesupplies.co.uk

We cater mainly for small-to medium-sized businesses, home workers, and the public sector, but anyone can take advantage of our fantastic product range – there are over 20,000 products available on the site and if you cannot find what you want, let me know personally, because I can probably find a source of supply and get it for you.

If you would like me to take a look at your office products expenditure to see if, with my low overheads, I can match or beat your current pricing then feel free to contact me at matthew@officeprimesupplies.co.uk

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