Morses Club Branch Manager – Sam
How long have you been a Business Manager?
I've been a Business Manager for just approaching two years.
What did you do before you became a Business Manager?
I was the co-director of my own business which was very customer service orientated – restaurants, wine bars, things like that. Prior to that I worked in Financial Services in banks and also briefly at Welcome Finance so I had some experience of the industry. I also used to be cabin crew and fly for a living – so a real mixed bag of things.
What attracted you to join the business?
I had enjoyed my time at Welcome Finance so when I saw the job advertised I just thought why not. I understood the ethos of the company as well as the workload and I had decent background knowledge which I think helped. It was the perfect opportunity to get back into the industry and build a career I enjoy.
What does the 'average day' look like for you?
There's no such thing – no two days are the same and they can change. It's important to plan your day out regardless of what you're doing and make sure you're on track to meet your objectives. You might be pulled away from what you're doing to visit someone or to give an agent money to complete a loan, so you've got to be adaptable. Each day you need to manage your agents from within the office environment; discussing targets, customer issues, printing and discussing daily reports, couple with working in the field. It might be an office based job but you're out and about a lot, and this means that it's often not a 9-5 job. You definitely don't get bored and the fact that one day can encompass so much is a very attractive thing for me.
What is it like leading a team of self-employed agents?
It can be challenging at times but it's rewarding. The trick is to give clear objectives of what is expected of them whilst keeping in mind that they're self employed, so they don't work for 'you'. I try and lead them rather than tell them what to do. I have a team of 6 agents currently and I make sure I check in with them all frequently as it can be quite an isolating role. I've made sure that all of my agents know each other so it's like a team and they can help each other out. You also need to find out what motivates and challenges them individually as everyone is different and you can't treat them all the same. There needs to be a mutual respect there as I find that when the agents respect and trust me, they work harder.
What's the best thing about being a Business Manager?
For me it's the diversity - I love that every day is different. I also thrive on targets and am a very results driven person, so I love helping the team to achieve their objectives and my own. When we do meet targets and exceed expectations it's a great feeling and this is always passed on to my agents. I like the fact that it's very customer focused too and that I get to meet and chat to such a wide range of people on a daily basis.
What are the main challenges you face in the role?
As with any management role in any industry it's about attracting and retaining the right people - that's both agents and customers. You're only as good as the people around you so you need to make sure everyone's on the same page and working to the same things and this can be challenging- you need to think on your feet. Communication can also be challenging as not everyone is based in the same place but need to be working towards the same objectives.
Finally, can you list 3 qualities you think are most important to succeed in the role?
- Organisation – you need to be organised so you can adapt and still get everything done.
- Customer focused – you need to put the customer first and always be friendly and polite.
- Good management skills – you need to be able to give situational leadership based on who you're dealing with and what you're working on.