Alistair Lorimer, independent retail development adviser

What does your typical day involve? 

If I'm with a garden centre client we typically go straight into a meeting. If we have met before, we review the action that we agreed the previous meeting and review sales figures. Then I cover any specifics to do with the development of the centre, including physical and staff development or the products and range offered. Afterwards I look round and meet the team. I have a review towards the end of the day with the centre owner to draw up a plan of action before the next visit. If I'm not in with a client, I am in my office working on admin or specific projects for a client. I also research business development principles.

What takes up most of your time?

Working with clients, face to face.

Do you get out of the office enough?

Yes, I have a good balance between being in the office and out with clients.

What is the best part of your job?

Actually getting results. Being in touch with a client and finding the action I recommended to help them has worked. Also, working with well-motivated and forward-thinking customers.

And the worst?

Filling in forms. I carry out some grant-funded business development and filling out the applications is dreadful.

How do you wind down after a day's work?

Exercise - I do a lot of walking and some running. Also, I have two young boys and spend a lot of time ferrying them around - I'm not sure if that's relaxing, though.

What does the future hold?

It's looking very bright. Consultants tend to be busy during periods of change and the garden centre scene is changing very rapidly and it's likely to change even more. There will be a demand for people to develop their centres.

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