Sarah Jones is the director of Mr Box, a division of Mobile Mini UK. BQ caught up with her to talk leadership, challenges and managing stress.
What is it the company does?
Mr Box supplies new and second-hand shipping containers in a range of sizes and designs for either hire or sale throughout the UK. It also offers bespoke container conversions and chemical storage units as well as offices and accommodation cabins.
As well as providing the containers themselves, Mr Box also offers an advisory service for those launching new self-storage or container-based businesses. This gives customers the support needed to diversify or adapt their current business which can often be a daunting experience!
Describe your role
For me, it’s all about leadership and working with the whole team to get the best result. I’m responsible for everything from ordering the containers from China and deciding on product lines, to working with the marketing team on our strategy and keeping in touch with customers. There’s not one part of the business I’m not involved in – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start; how did you move on?
After school, I was a typical teenager and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. After travelling the world for a year, and spending one year at university before realising it wasn’t for me, I left to work in, of all places, a chicken farm.
Having a phobia of birds didn’t exactly help, but it gave me the opportunity to focus on overcoming my fear and learning some important management and commercial skills.
I joined Mr Box in 2007 as an admin assistant, mainly to help me gain more office experience, and I’ve never left! I’ve moved around the business from admin to sales, becoming general manager and now director.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Leading by example. If you give your everything, those working alongside you will want to do the same, and in turn leads to a great working environment.
Having worked across each department within the business, I understand the full workings and processes within it, allowing me to be involved wherever I’m needed.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Every day brings a new challenge and we learn something new with each one. I always feel that if you think you know everything, you’re quickly shown that you don’t!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Holidays, holidays and more holidays! I love my job, but sometimes stepping out of the business for even just a few days can help me recharge and rejuvenate creativity.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A detective. There was something fascinating about gathering clues and having that ‘aha!’ moment!
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Negativity - there is a positive in just about everything in life if you look for it. In our team we all work to create a kind environment where we look for the positives and enjoy our roles.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Being bigger, better and stronger! Following our takeover by Mobile Mini UK in 2016, we have access to a wider range of services such as a full marketing team, call centre and finance team so we’re able to offer an even more efficient service.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Never rest on your laurels and take your business/customers for granted. Continuous improvement is a must for both the company and people within it.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Honestly, nothing. I’m a big believer in learning from mistakes and really feel it is the best way to learn. If you can make mistakes in a safe environment, then you can use what you’ve learned to shape your future processes and work on becoming a better model of your current self.
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