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Using the telephone

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 .....?


On UPVC windows..

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 them!


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 question.)

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 web security!

You could of course have a different password for every site and for that you need a password generator...


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 "live" feedback.


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.