A day in the life of a Business Development Lead: Mick Woodward
9 July 2021
Hi, my name is Mick Woodward and I am a Business Development Lead at AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group. I have been with AIM for a little over two and a half years and I live in Bedford, although I originally come from Jarrow, with my wife and our 18-month-old Cockapoo; Dixie. I am at that age now that my children have moved out, which gives me so much more time for my passion in life, Sunderland Football Club. Supporting my club has seen me visit over 60 different grounds, I normally miss only two or three games a season, home and away.
But today is a workday, so let's get started.
6.00 AM: Depending on how late Dixie wants to sleep I may wake up earlier but today she wanted a bit more time in her bed. She comes to the side of the bed, wakes me up and then jumps onto the bed as I get out, no place or space for a return to slumber. After I get up I make my morning omelette and watch last nights recording of Match of the Day. By the time I'm finished Dixie is stood by the door waiting for her early walk.
7.00 AM: After being dragged back home I give Dixie her morning meal and start the day. My first task in the morning is a quick look at the football fixtures list to see if I need to order any tickets and then I fire up the laptop.
7.15am: Then it's a start on the workday. I start by reading through any, or should I say all, of the emails that have come in since I last finished. It doesn’t take long to weed out and bin the excellent offers of attendance at a range of events and the kind offers for income and pension reviews.
8.30am: It's time for the first Teams meeting, today is Monday so I have our fortnightly Business Engagement team catch up. These are valuable as we can all have a natter and find out what each of us is doing, share ideas and advice and highlight any crossovers.
10.00am: Being an ex-soldier I need to get a brew, after all, it’s NAAFI break, before starting the process of answering the emails I have flagged; These emails can all kinds of requests, some asking for information that just need a straightforward reply, while some will require a meeting. I always make a point of asking the emailer to suggest a few periods when they are available so I can schedule a meeting that is convenient for them.
11.00am: As a rule, I don’t normally accept meetings before 11.00, just in case they dominate my day. Before a meeting, especially with a new or current customer, I will take a quick online browse over their website, a little information always helps to move the meeting along. It also helps me to ensure that I have the right information at hand, well that’s the plan. I keep two notebooks on my desk, one for internal meetings and one for external, it makes it easier to check for continuation from the last meeting with the caller. Of course, I have never put the notes in the wrong notebook, that never happens, honest. It's important to ensure that any notes are re-examined after the meeting, who hasn’t read their notes a few days later and thought “what does that say?”.
These meetings can range from questions on how to complete a certain task, or about our qualifications and other products such as end-point assessment – an area that is seeing significant growth! We’re about to launch a new product – it’s an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Creative Industries so I spend some time getting to understand the qualification and thinking about which of our AIM centres might be interested in it. Our very own Investing in your Future kitemark is going down well with organisations, they’re using it to validate their own, bespoke training courses as it shows they’ve met our high standards.
12.30am: Dixie time again, short walk and play. She gets some apple and I have a salad. I like to watch a bit of politics while scoffing at my dinner (I am a Geordie so it's not lunch) but tend to get too angry to watch it for long.
1.00pm: Time to start seeing what’s going on so it's internet research time. There is too much information out there, so I need to ensure I don’t get engrossed unless it’s worth looking deeper at.
2.30pm: Time for another call/Team meeting. I always try to schedule meetings with customers on Teams rather than calling as it's nice to see who you are talking to. It also stops you from being distracted and keeps you engaged. Recently a large number of my calls have been with private providers who are doing their research on new qualifications, it's always great to speak with potential customers as I get to tell them all about our amazing portfolio of qualifications.
3.30pm: I always seem to have a few projects on the go, and I like to spend an hour on them making sure they are all ticking over. This is also the time of the day when Dixie recognises that I need a break and starts to bark at the neighbour's cat or steels paperwork from my desk.
4.30pm: It's time to ensure any emails that I have not answered are answered now or that I register their presence for tomorrow. Throughout the day I will have had several emails and phone calls which I have had to react to, often they come thick and fast. Teams is such a great tool to have and I would say I often get 2 or 3 face to face calls a day which I didn’t expect at the start of the pandemic.
5.30pm: Time for Dixie to head off to the park with her favourite ball or into the hills to chase rabbits and squirrels. I am finished for the day but recognise that some clients can only call out of normal office time, the phones always on as they say.
So there you have it then, a typical day in my life. Nearly the same tomorrow but I have some variety, each call and meeting are very different to the one before and the questions can range in difficulty. Of course, if there’s an evening game I will only be working a half-day.