Telling the truth about SME life today

Margaret Manning

Age: 51

Company: Reading Room, an international digital communications consultancy

Company turnover:  £11m

First job: Office junior at Worcester Boilers, an old family firm which built and sold boilers, when I was 18. I was the most junior person in the office and did lots of filing and making tea for the boss.

Dream job: I discovered my dream job 15 years ago when I co-founded Reading Room with my other half. We re now 170 strong with seven offices across the UK, Australia, Singapore and Dubai. Now my ultimate dream is to persuade our finance director to let me set up Reading Room Barbados.

Car: I live in Soho and went car free after it was vandalised for the third time. When I go to Barbados, it will be an Aston Martin Vantage.

Economy, business or first class: My favourite birthday card this year was ?Keep Calm and Pray for an Upgrade . I fly economy in Europe, business on long haul and first if I am ever lucky enough to be upgraded.

Most extravagant purchase: My coat. I went out looking for a dress and ended up buying a designer coat in the middle of summer. Now I’m way too scared to wear it.

Most-played song on your iPod: “The End” by The Doors.

Best business book: Good to Great by Jim Collins for its emphasis on people.

Worst business moment: There have been a lot of bad moments: people leaving; clients not won; disappointments and hard work. However, they don’t remain etched in my life (unlike the time I walked up Dean Street with a skirt hitched up… ).

Proudest business moment: Sitting in a bar in Barcelona surrounded by more than 100 work colleagues for our tenth anniversary party. Very proud.

Your business mentor: My husband and joint CEO. Whatever it is, he gets it. He keeps me sane and grounded.

Next big thing: World domination 🙂 We re taking Reading Room global so we can provide our clients with the local market knowledge. We are opening in China, South Africa, South America and the US. Sadly, not as far as Barbados!



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