Yorkshire Post – Day in the Life

Yorkshire Post – Day in the Life

Recently, Riverside’s MD, Jonathan Oldfield, appeared in the Yorkshire Post ‘Day in the Life’ feature, discussing what a typical day looks like for him. If you missed it, you can catch the piece in full, here…

To start another busy day, I’m generally up at the crack of dawn to enjoy breakfast with my two children. As early as it may be, I’ll have usually tried to squeeze in half an hour at the gym beforehand, as exercise helps me motivate myself for the day ahead. This – coupled with the chance to spend a small amount of quality time with the kids before a day on the job – gives me the headspace I need to kickstart the morning!

A couple of days during the week I drop my daughter at my mum’s (thank goodness for grandparents!) and then quickly check my emails before I get on the road.

As managing director of a specialist baling provider, my role is extremely varied. Although for the majority of the time I will be at our headquarters in Harrogate, I can often be out and about across the country, meeting with customers or attending relevant conferences on the recycling and waste industry, to enable Riverside to remain at the top of our game. 

Today’s meeting is interesting – I’m visiting Duerr’s, a renowned, family-owned jam and preserve manufacturer that has been a customer of Riverside’s for more than 10 years. Throughout this course of time, I’ve dealt with the same person, and I feel that an important part of my role is helping to maintain our longstanding relationships. Too many businesspeople focus on generating new business, yet retention of existing clients should always be a major consideration – I want people to remain fulfilled with the products and services we offer, and not go elsewhere.

At the Duerr’s factory in Manchester, our discussion centres around a review of the client’s existing machinery, the relevant sites and systems already in place, and how these can be improved – if at all – moving forwards. We also enjoy the opportunity to have a chat about cars – something we both love!

Afterwards, I head back to base in North Yorkshire – a trip that enables me to think about the morning I’ve had, and consolidate in my mind any good ideas, following the meeting. The journey back also means that I get chance to turn up the radio and enjoy some good music on Kisstory – something which gets the creative juices flowing for me!

Once I arrive back at our offices, I head down to the warehouse. I’m a keen photographer, so I enjoy the chance to capture pictures of the machines we house in the factory – many of the shots I take are then used in communications, either on the website or in eshots sent out to customers. We’ve always got some used, refurbished balers for sale and rental too, and it’s my responsibility to keep on top of this stock.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that balers aren’t the most exciting of things to snap – and the North Yorkshire countryside on a weekend is much more appealing – but it’s a hobby I bring into the business too.

Over some lunch, I speak to another of the directors at Riverside, Barry Scanlon, to chat through our plan for the remainder of the week. We often bounce thoughts off each other as I find it so important as a businessowner that I have someone to collaborate with, and who will tell me when something is a great idea – or when it isn’t!

The health and wellbeing of my staff is also so important to me. Everyone needs a break from their screen at times, which is one of the reasons I invested in a pool table when we moved into larger premises 18 months ago. Barry and I usually enjoy our break-out time over a game, and I encourage the rest of the team to do the same.

After lunch, I’m working on new enquiries – ordinarily this would be one of my first jobs for the day, but a busy diary means I’m coming to them slightly later than usual. Before I’m done, I’ve got two site visits in the diary, and I leave another potential customer considering a baler trial, using their own materials.

Next, I turn to the marketing side of my role. I’m heavily invested in the decision-making when it comes to the brand message, so I pop on a conference call with our PR and digital agencies – Scriba PR and Punch Creative – to discuss the success of our most recent sales campaign, plus what’s next for our communications activity.

As the business is growing, we seem to be on the lookout for new talent on a regular basis, so after the call, I liaise with the team on our latest vacancy, and decide on the potential candidates we wish to interview for the role – setting dates and times in the diary.

In the generally quieter period towards the end of the day, I prepare two new proposals. Although we do get plenty, a large proportion of our work comes from returning customers or existing clients wanting extra help in some form. I love this – it cements the feeling that the job we’re doing is a great one!

To round off, I usually have a debrief with the team, making a list of essential tasks for the following day. Then I head home, where more often than not I catch the kids before they go to bed, which is important to me.

In my evenings I focus on self-development. I particularly enjoy podcasts by Grant Cardone, as I prefer to listen to advice, as opposed to reading books. I’ve also started a small online course in property – something else which really interests me.

I have a quick check of my emails, then watch some television with my wife to end the day – before getting to sleep ready to do it all again in the morning!