A Week in My Life: Chris Costello, Director of Sync and GBM

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
Chris Costello

This week it's the turn of Chris Costello, Director of Sync Manchester and GBM Digital Technologies, to give us an insight into his working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk.

Monday 13th August

Every morning has to start with a cup of tea, especially a Monday morning! I’m not quite ready to start the day unless I have a brew. After that, it’s time to take our four dogs, yes four, for a walk. Maude, Mavis, Mo and Mango are all frenchies and although there’s five of us in the family (ten including the pets!) it typically falls to me to do the morning walks.

I then have a quick scan online of The Verge, BBC News, basically anything to help me keep up to date with relevant world and industry based news, as well as any new reviews, comments or coverage from over the weekend for both Sync and GBM.

The week starts with me heading into the GBM office to catch up with my team there. We have a full run through of sales figures from the past week, look at customer meetings coming up and what the week holds, as well as setting the teams’ priorities.

After a quick lunch, I head to our technology hub and store Sync on Deansgate, which launched earlier this year. Another staff sit down ensues with a review of sales figures, a look at current stock levels and what needs replenishing, and a strategy session on how to improve and drive further sales.

I am always looking for ways we can improve all aspects of the businesses and think that’s a key attribute for directors to have. It’s what gives you the drive to always be better and succeed!

I then have an hour upstairs in our event space going through emails with a cup of tea (it’s all I drink!), responding to customers and clients, and booking in meetings for the week ahead, before heading home to spend some time with my family.

Tuesday 14th August

Leg day in the gym, my favourite….

After an hour of gruelling weights, I get ready and head off to the office to have a management meeting with Michelle and Alan, my fellow directors and partners in crime.

Our focus today is to look at staffing levels and recruitment. Both GBM and Sync require not only their own staff, but a crossover team who work between the two sites, so we always want to evaluate and make sure we have enough hands on deck but also that all employees are being utilised effectively.

This then allows us to create a plan for recruitment, as well as running through any coaching and training we believe to be necessary for staff and finally booking in the next round of staff reviews.

Job satisfaction is key, and because we love our jobs and the industry we work in, we want our teams to feel the same too! Regular away days, staff lunches and general perks/bonuses are all a part of our business and we genuinely believe creating a happy team and therefore a steady level of staff retention is vital to success.

After a quiet struggle to get out of my chair, leg day really is that evil, I head off to my first customer meeting of the day, with a quick stop to grab some lunch on route. I’m always on the go!

The afternoon then consists of several customer meetings across the North West. This is a great chance to grab a coffee with our key clients and discuss their current technology needs and wants, as well as getting any feedback on our customer service and support so far. This also gives me the chance to showcase our new three year guarantee offering, Synfinity, which is a hit across board.

Wednesday 15th August

Wednesday starts earlier than usual, with a 6.30am arrival at Sync to open up and get set up for this month’s business breakfast networking event. This morning we have Paul, the MD of MAP, financial gurus, in to talk to 20 or so local creative and tech professionals about how to build a queue of ideal clients.

The session gives tips and advice to attendees on how to be both profitable and practical when pitching or costing for work, as well as when running the business overall. It’s a big hit, as is the Philpotts breakfast we supply!

After networking with several attendees I’m approached by one who is interested in not only the event spaces we have for hire but also potential business leasing of products, which is exactly why we hold these sessions. We swap business cards and make a plan to meet up soon.

After a quick tidy up I sit down with my PR team, who organise the networking sessions for us, to catch up on priorities and the activity in progress. They also remind me that they are also there to get some new headshots for me, despite my best attempts to avoid this, so we head downstairs and get my mini photoshoot over and done with!

It’s then back to the office to catch up on emails, before taking a look at our product offering and creating a future strategy for services and products. Are we leading the way with innovation? That’s the goal. We can always do more and research, planning and keeps us on the ball.

Thursday 16th August

Our event space above the store at Sync is regularly hired by businesses to host meetings, seminars and training for their teams. This morning started at Sync to make sure that everything was set up for the meetings that we had booked into the space that day.

We provide access to a range of tech, refreshment options and use of our two different spaces. Each business using the space has their own requirements, so I always like to make sure everything is in order before they arrive.

After checking in with the team, I head across Manchester for a meeting with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. I joined GBM as an apprentice at the age of 16 and have worked my way up through the ranks. I’m passionate about helping others to do the same and getting more young people into roles in the tech sector.

I joined the Enterprise team for a discussion about this and how we could support the initiatives they’re championing. The meeting was very productive and there’s lots for me to progress with the teams at Sync and GBM - watch this space!

I grabbed a bite of lunch then it was back to GBM for a sit down with the team who manage our training programme. We are an Apple Authorised Training Provider and host a range of courses on using iOS, deploying Apple products and managing Apple solutions for businesses.

We also host Adobe courses for creative businesses and Google training. We’re in the process of redesigning the training programme to update the range of courses we offer and make sure we’re supporting businesses with exactly what they need. The meeting goes well and I leave the team to put a plan together to report back to me with.

I then have the chance to check through emails and respond to customers and suppliers before it’s the end of the day - another busy one. I head home to make sure I have time with the family, and end up being the one who has to walk the dogs. It always seems to be my turn?!

Friday 17th August

I’m a firm believer that meeting customers face to face as regularly as possible is vital to running a successful business, so I like to take time on Fridays to catch up with people, popping to their offices or meeting them out and about for a chat.

Today started early so I could get out on the golf course with a customer - despite the early alarm it was worth it! I always enjoy a round of golf and it’s a great chance to talk business but also get to know customers better.

I’m always keeping an eye on emails, and while I’m out on the course I reply to a couple of emails to our PR team discussing the plans to support Pride in the Sync store this weekend, and respond to a few customer queries - it’s never ending but at least being able to do everything from my iPhone makes it much easier!

After a successful round (I won!), I head into the office for a couple of hours to touch base with the team and check that everything we’ve planned to action this week has been achieved. It has - a great end to the week.  

As it’s my birthday today, I then clock off early for some family time and celebrations. There might be some sore heads in the morning!