When you make a call always
introduce yourself, by name, to the person on
the other end. If that's the person you
want to speak to it's polite and means that,
before the conversation has even started,
you've given them something; something that
cost you nothing and anyway what difference
does it make if they know your name! If
it's a receptionist it gives you an air of a
authority, puts them on the defensive (in that
they should be making a note of it) and
prevents them from asking the dreadful
question "Who's calling?". 9
times out of 10 if you're making a cold call
you'll be put through without further ado.
When receiving a call, if the person
calling hasn't followed the rules above, don't
interrogate. "What's it in
connection with?" and "Who's
calling?" are offensive to existing or
potential customers. Instead ask:
may I give Mr ...... your name?
..and your name is?
may I introduce you?
will Mr ..... know what it's about?
have you already spoken to Mr .....?
The primary purpose of a
window is to let light into a building.
Never mind the fact the UPVC is
environmentally unfriendly, will degrade
eventually and cannot easily be disposed
of, just look at how much less light
these modern contraptions allow in compared
with their predecessors. Because UPVC
has very little strength the frames have to be
substantially wider - that's why I won't have
On password protection..
If you, as I do, use the same password for
a number of sites do take the trouble to find
out whether those or future sites hold your
password in a one-way encrypted format.
That is to say the password is stored in a way
in which even the database administrators
can't read. If, when you've lost your
password, the site can send it to you it's not
one-way encrypted; at best the site should
only be able to reset your password to
something different that you can then change
to your liking. (The same should also be
true of the answer to your pass phrase or
As we all know, people are the weakest link
in any security system and this appears to me
to be one of the biggest un-noticed holes in
You could of course have a different
password for every site and for that you need
On market research...
Don't do it unless you have to.
Respondents to or participants in market
surveys are always keen to please.
Consequently, there's a massive gulf between
what people say they'll pay when asked a
hypothetical question and how eager they'll be
to put their hands in their pockets when they
faced with making a purchase.
Far better, if this can be done without
disproportionate cost, to put the product out
there and see what the response is at various
price points. By all means check
out the competitors if there are any but
invest what you've saved by not doing the
research in being able to respond quickly to
On financial forecasts...
Analysing the cost side of the equation is
something that any "bean counter"
can do to the nth degree but forecasting the
sales line is another matter altogether.
The buzz-phrase that executives are currently
using to conceal the fact that they really
haven't got a clue as to what the future holds
is "lack of visibility".
Wouldn't it be refreshing if, other than for
bullet-proof recurring revenues, they would
just admit that the world is an uncertain
place and that they'll need to be in a
position to react accordingly.
On generating wealth...
Making money in a business is most often a
lot of hard work. Losing it is easy -
so much of it walks out of the door at the end
of every working day in the pockets of
employees. Ensuring that your fixed
cost-base is as low as possible and that you
can alter variable costs to match sales is
therefore of paramount importance.