Business Advice & Support

Business Tips for New Bosses

So – there you are, replete with Degree in Business Studies (with Golf Management) from the University College of Glossop, and you've now got a Management Position.  In a firm.  Which is part of a much bigger company.  And you get to be what we call Corporate.

Chances are, you have no knowledge or any practical skills (not even golf). So it's important that you maintain your position and don't let any so-called experts show you up as a complete prat. You will need to hire specialists from time to time.  You want someone with all the skills, but it's very important that they don't appear more knowledgable than you, even though YOU haven't.

Here are some handy tips on how to BE TOPP.

  • When your specialist smartass person leaves work for the day, hide all their important stuff in a locked cupboard in a different room.  Tell them that the office needed de-cluttering.
  • You also need to employ a mindless moron who will mindlessly obstruct everything they try to do.  If necessary, this character can be kept in a different cupboard to be wheeled out on demand.  The mindless moron should preferably talk very, very slowly and spend long periods of time staring into space.  But make sure this is the person who can authorise expenditure.
  • The above is particularly important if your know-it-all has that nasty tendency to get things done.  Nothing worse – don't let this happen to you, especially if it's patently obvious it wasn't your idea!
  • Don't let on to your wiseass about things they might need to know, like important meetings.  If they do inadvertently catch on that something may be afoot, change the venue without telling them.  They needed a bit of exercise anyway, and all that running around like a headless chicken will do wonders for their cardiovascular strength.
  • To show what a supportive, involved boss you are, send them emails with instructions as to how to tackle their job.  Apologise for 'teaching granny to suck eggs' and then carry on anyway.  Make sure your emails are really patronising and show them to your regional manager.
  • Give instructions that an important report be out by the end of the day; then make sure that they have no access to a computer to actually do this.  If there is potential for space, fill it with other people doing lengthy e-learning courses;  preferably ones who will take at least half an hour to log on to the computer.  The e-learning courses need not actually exist, but your staff will have such FUN trying to find them.
  • After three months of this, your smart-aleck-windbag-who-thought-they-knew-a-thing-or-two will have very little hair left and will probably have started talking to window boxes.  Sack them on the spot, and explain to future smartasses that the previous one was mentally unstable.

Right – back to the beginning...

Coldly Calling (where lots of people have called before)

Ring ring. Ring ring.

Am I speaking to Mr Stoat?
To whom am I speaking, please?
Are you Mr W R Stoat ?
(slightly longer pause)
Are you the householder, sir ?
But you are not Mr Stoat?
And this is 01231 777888?
47 Wherryman’s Lane?
But you are not Mr Stoat?
No. My name is Stott. S-T-O-T-T.
Oh Mr Scott, I am so sorry.
No, that’s Stott, not Scott.
I am so, so sorry Mr Snot.
Why are you ringing me ?
Ah – well, how would you feel about saving 90% on your fuel bills ?
I am absolutely and completely not interested thank you, in fact, I would rather eat my own legs.
Mr Sprot, have you ever had an accident at work ?

It has been noted by our Corporate Strategy Team that the following seem to be standard practice for really successful businesses.  We wouldn't want you lot to miss out!

Top Tips for leaving Messages on Answering Machines

Make sure you really speed up your speech when repeating phone numbers. Reel those digits out so fast that they are invisible to the naked ear; this is especially important if you have a very strong regional, or foreign, accent.

When spelling out names, make sure you enunciate very clearly when spelling monikers like S - M - I - T - H. Don't waste your listener's time with those nasty foreign names like Brzezinski or Zhzhyonov.

Carry on a conversation with someone else whilst leaving your message; this will let your listener know that you are not a sad git, sitting there all on your own with nobody to talk to. Try and keep the conversation on the same subject that you are calling about; it will be SUCH fun for your incipient listener to work out which bits are meant for them, and which are not. Don't forget to put the phone down mid-sentence, preferably with a bit of a cliff-hanger. For example: "But the fairies didn't leave sixpence at all. No, this time the fairies left..." Then put the phone down pronto. See?

If you ARE a sad git, all on your own, and would like it known that you have a dramatic, thrill-packed life... read out a script from a Bond movie, playing the different parts with different voices. Intersperse these with calls for help down the receiver.

You never know when you might want to add a bit of atmosphere to your recorded messages. You know the way a good writer carries around a notepad, to collect their thoughts on the journey through life? Carry a small recording device to collect nice ambient sounds like fire alarms, police sirens, screaming babies and barking dogs. Play these in the background while you leave your messages. At least one, if not more. Make sure that the sound lasts for the duration of your call.

When leaving a message, make sure you give a list of reasons why the other person hasn't answered the phone - 'I guess you're not answering because you're out worming the dog/burying your grandmother/chopping a long length of string into little pieces…' It will give the listener a longer, more interesting message and help them figure out what they've been doing recently.

If you have supplied a bit of background noise, you don't want to waste it by trying to shout over it. Either speak in a whisper, or hold the receiver about a foot away from your mouth as you talk.

If you're a sad git with nobody to call, don't let that put you off. Keep dialling at random until you get an answering machine. Then leave a message of your choice from the possibilities outlined above – whether to leave a phone number, a name or an address. When leaving an address, make sure you don't include a street number. Don't forget to press '141' before you do this.

You may find that a person on the other end picks up the receiver. Don't be alarmed by this. Simply mutter “wibbledy, bibbledebeee, bimbimbim whoosh!”, then drop the receiver on the surface. Pick it up again, using your normal voice and apologise to the person at the other end. Tell them that you do TRY to stop Eunice getting to the phone, but it's difficult. If you're a woman, it's Carlos that you try to stop getting to the phone.

Finally, if some git's been and gone and pinched your boyfriend/girlfriend, leave a really garbled message on their answering machine. Put a tissue over the mouthpiece to disguise your voice, or get a friend to make the call for you. Make sure that the only words which are intelligible are the name of the ex-partner, the words 'ten thousand pounds' and 'Alistair Campbell'.

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