The GUV'NOR

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Related tags: Red tape

Peter Eveleigh Cold callers are a pain and place a huge strain on the vital commodity of time, says the licensee of the Riverside Inn, Bradford-on- Avon, Wiltshire

Browsing yet another pile of junk mail the other day, I discovered a leaflet promoting success in business which used the catch phrase "work FOR your business - not IN it".

This led me to consider the various reasons why we can become bogged-down in the operation of our businesses and start devoting less and less time to the tactics, let alone longer-term strategies.

Time - or the absence of it - is the culprit and makes time management such a crucial art.

Setting aside the remorseless burden of government red tape, what other obstacles to our working day can be avoided?

Yep - cold calls: "Would you like your gas bills reduced?" "Just need to confirm your order for till rolls." "Do you have a moment to help with our (irrelevant) survey?"

The answer: "Yes - and my consultancy charge is £120 an hour, which I would invite you to CHAPS to my account before proceeding!" usually shuts 'em up.

Then I get: "Hello, we're supporting your local police/fire service" - from someone in Cheshire calling Kent.

Why do we have to stop to answer the telephone whenever it rings? It is quite the most invasive instrument ever devised.

Small wonder a friend once described it as the ultimate contraceptive!

Recently I was enjoying a "thinking lunch" when a cold caller tried to persuade me to - as the expression goes - part with money I haven't got, to buy a product I didn't need, to impress people I didn't like.

Bang went the thinking...

The nature of our businesses means we need to be accessible, visible and approachable, even away from the bar, so the majority of "filters" employed by other businesses, such as signs stating "No salesmen/ traders/ hawkers without prior appointment" give a poor external image.

Nor are Rosa Klebb-style secretaries an option. So we remain vulnerable to these time-wasting intrusions.

Answer-phones can form part of the answer but the real solution is for these "hawkers" to have some respect for our time.

After all, we are all customers too.

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