John Readman, CEO of Ride25, joins us this week to share his insights into successfully managing a business and the journey he’s travelled – and continues to travel. John’s passion is cycling, and his aim is to help people change their life through this pursuit, raising money for charitable causes along the way. John recently appeared on Dragons’ Den, where he received the rare validation that his business didn’t need extra investments. Here’s what John had to share:
What’s your company story in a nutshell?
Ride25 all started when a few friends decided to cycle the world for charity, starting with a London to Paris ride. The plan was to then do the rest over the next 25 years; the bike rides became so popular we turned into a business – Ride25.com – and the ultimate cycling adventure holiday was born! We give everyone the chance to cycle all the way from the UK to Australia in 25 long-weekend cycling holiday adventures.
What has been your proudest career moment, so far?
We will have helped facilitate over £2m of charity fund-raising this year, which is pretty cool. Plus also we will recycle about 800 bikes to Africa for people where cycling is a lot more than just a leisure activity.
Describe your workspace. Are you tidy, or do you work in organised chaos?
Tidy-ish – if you asked the team they would say they are always tidying the office up!
Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, rips out notebook pages once a topic has been covered in her meetings. How do you hold a productive meeting?
I love my Moleskine A5 books – I have one for notes and one for actions.
Which office habit can you not stand?
People who make a random comment hoping you will then ask them about it.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee – strong and black.
How do you plan your day?
I plan my weeks well in advance and am an early riser, always up by 5am and working by 5.30am – I get more done between 5-8 than I think I do for the rest of the day!
Who is your business idol, and why?
I like Branson, he seems fair and honest – and I love the fact it’s always all about the brand! With Ride25 it’s all about building the brand.
What is the best thing that your business success has allowed you to do or have?
I got an £8000 bike for free, which was a nice touch!
Which stationery item could you not live without, and why?
I just love my shredder – there is something very satisfying about shredding things!
How do you switch off?
I love to go cycling with my 2 young children or a nice bottle of wine and a movie with my wife.
What are you most looking forward to, professionally, in the future?
Helping people change their own and other people’s lives through cycling: getting them fit, creating amazing memories whilst raising millions of pounds for charity.
What’s your secret to success in one sentence?
Get up early (very early), work hard, employ lots of smart young people, pay them well and be nice – it’s nice to be nice!