Header
  What is Competitive Intelligence - a brief guide  Sitemap

Marketing & Competitive Intelligence
Strategy, Training, Analysis & Research.

  AWARE services Competitor / Marketing Research Training & Workshops Contact Us
  Follow us on Twitter this page
About Us > Resources > Business Humour

Competitive & Marketing Intelligence Resources
Business Humour


Businesses (and people) over time develop habits and patterns of working. Sometimes these will lead to success, but often they can stop management from seeing reality - especially when the business environment changes.

A successful competitive intelligence programme will identify these business blindspots - both in the company itself, and in its competitors. Taking advantage of competitor blindspots is a major way that a company can beat its competitors, so it is crucial to understand one's own blindspots so as to protect oneself from possible attack.

One way to illustrate business problems is through humour. Humour allows businesses to take a step back and see a problem applied to a situation that appears different to their own. However on deeper examination, one can sometimes see similar behaviour in the organization - thus highlighting a possible blindspot.

Humour is just one technique for showing blindspots. Others include the use of drama workshops and story-telling, or war-gaming where the business environment is modelled and management try and take an external look at their and their competitor situations. This page gives examples of business humour that may seem amusing but have a grain of truth to them. (If you know of other similar items please contact us and if we like them, then we will add them - with an author credit if desired. We also plan to change stories on a regular basis - as we come across suitable items - so bookmark this page and revisit for further examples of business humour.)

Most of the following stories and office "theories" are anonymous. That does not mean that they lack validity - and in fact there are a number of lessons relevant to general business, marketing and competitive intelligence that can be learned from them.

Wise Owl

Do you really need all your employees?

Linda and Marion were comparing notes on the difficulties of running a small business.

"I started a new practice last year," Linda said. "I insist that each of my employees take at least a week off every three months."

"Why in the world would you do that?" Marion asked.

"It's the best way I know of to learn which ones I can do without," Linda replied.

Wise Owl

How to delay paying your bills.

  • Wait until they send the bill the third time then write. (Never phone, or use e-mail - writing is slower) and ask why you haven't received an invoice. Demand a written reply for your auditors.
  • Ask for an itemised account but don't explain what you mean by itemised. When you receive the invoice, write back saying that it was not what you had wanted at all.
  • Send a cheque with figures not matching words. When they call to complain, send a corrected cheque - but omit to sign it.
  • Send a copy of their invoice with a torn corner of cheque stapled to it. This will start a frantic hunt for your missing cheque. When you eventually hear from your supplier - delay further while you check with your bank. And all the time they'll be apologising to you!
  • Tell them that your cheques require two signatures and the other signing officer is on prolonged sick leave/sabbatical/silver anniversary cruise for the next month
  • Send a cheque for the wrong amount made out to a completely different (fictional) company. When they call, promise that you will sort it out - but will have to track down how the mistake occurred and contact the other company to get the cheque back.

Courtesy of Dun & Bradstreet who point out that none of these will work if you use their services! In fact good credit control is essential for business cash flow. Even though customers may try and delay paying their bills, there is a guaranteed way of collecting from all but the most awkward debtors. The 4 P's

1. Personal Contact - deal directly with your debtor.
2. Patience - be prepared to wait
3. Persistence - but don't ever give up.
lead to
4. Payment of bills, quickly, without problems.

(Courtesy of Paul Hemsley, ex-of Thomson Scientific
(formerly Derwent Information)

Wise Owl

The Mushroom Theory of Management

Keep all employees in the dark and feed them sh*t!

Wise Owl

Making assumptions.

A standard phrase heard all the time is I assume that....
This often really means I haven't a clue but I am guessing that....
It's OK when you get it right, but not when you get it wrong. A golden rule before "assuming anything" is to think of the letters that make up the word assume. Whenever you make an assumption and get it wrong - you will have made an Ass of u and me.

Wise Owl

Job Advertisement translator

What they say

What they really mean

A highly visible position

We can't afford any office partitions, let alone offices

Flexible Hours Work 40 hours

Plus whatever your supervisor asks you to.

Duties will vary

Anyone in the office can boss you around.

Must have an eye for detail.

We have no quality control to speak of

No phone calls please.

We've filled the job. This ad is just a legal formality

Seeking candidates with a wide variety of experience.

You'll need it to replace three people who just left

Seeking candidates who require little or no supervision

You're on your own here; sink or swim.

Problem-solving skills a must.

This is a company in perpetual chaos and turmoil.

Requires team-leadership skills

You'll have the manager's responsibilities, without the pay

Good communication skills.

Management communicate, you listen, figure out what they want.

Ability to handle a heavy workload.

Whine or complain and you're fired!

Rules of Work

5) Leave the office late

Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. (If you do have to leave before your boss, make sure you walk pass his office on your way out so that he sees how late you are leaving). You could read magazines and books that you always wanted to read, or write letters to friends and family - just be there and look busy.

Send important emails at unearthly hours (9.35pm, 7.07am, etc.) and during public holidays. You may even be able to set your computer to do this for you by changing the time or date on the system clock - sending the email just before leaving - and then putting the clock back to the normal time.

Based on ideas from BBC Television's The Office. For further rules of work and office humour, bookmark this page and visit again soon.

Wise Owl

Quick Tip: Entrance

Quick Tip

Robert Smith was devastated.

As the owner of a small retail business selling various groceries he had always recognised the threat posed by major supermarket chains such as Tesco, Walmart, Carrefour and the like. Now a branch of Tesco had opened next door, and business was tailing off.

He told all his friends how worried he was - and that things couldn't possibly be worse. And then a branch of Walmart opened on the other side. Robert now told friends that he expected to be out of business within the year.

His friends were really surprised when they met him a few months later - getting out of a top-range Mercedes wearing an expensive suit and with a big smile on his face.
We thought business was so bad that you were about to go bankrupt. What happened?

Robert replied: Well that is what I thought. And then I remembered that one secret to effective marketing is to make sure that your potential customers know where to find you. So I changed the name of my company. Come and look!"

Robert's friends followed him to his shop, sandwiched between Tesco and Walmart. Over the front, the new name was posted in big neon letters ENTRANCE

How do you promote your business? Can potential customers find you? Do your marketing promotions send people away, or invite them to come and buy. You need to ensure that all your marketing promotions allow customers to enter.

(For more marketing and business humour, visit our humour pages)

 

Books - Competitors (Fahey)

Recommended Book

Competitors (Fahey)
Competitors: Outwitting, Outmanoeuvring, and Outperforming
Liam Fahey
Buy UK £ or US$

Read our review of this book

Competitors shows you how to determine what you need to know about competitors, analyse competitor strategy, predict likely next moves and link this into your own operations, avoiding many errors associated with traditional approaches.
Liam Fahey is one of the leading new thinkers on Competitive Strategy and this book introduces Fahey's concept of "competitor learning", giving guidelines for identifying and analysing key competitor data to help gain strategic insights. An important book - that should sit on any CI analyst's bookshelf.

Close Window

For more recommendations visit our book selection.

 

Competitive Intelligence Training

Do you need to
know more about
Competitive Intelligence?

We offer in-house Competitive Intelligence Training, customised to your requirements.
Find out about our training services today!


Finding Competitive Intelligence using Online Sources

AWARE consultants are experts at discovering competitor information online and have developed a market-leading course on Finding Competitive Intelligence using Online Sources. This course has been given as an in-house course to numerous companies across industries (IT, publishing, telecoms, chemicals....) and countries, as well as publicly at SCIP annual and European conferences, the London International Online Information Conferences and other similar events.

The workshop has received high praise for its unique approach to finding competitive intelligence on the Internet. The workshop - available as a half-day summary, full day or 2-day in-depth training course with extensive practical online sessions - teaches attendees how to find actionable competitive intelligence rather than just present a list of sources that quickly date. Like all AWARE's in-house training, the course can be customised to focus on industry or competitive area.

For more information on this workshop and how it can help you become a more effective Internet researcher check out our Competitive Intelligence Training and ask us about our courses on finding CI information.

 

Institute of Competitive Intelligence


ICI holds regular public training courses & workshops on a range of competitive intelligence related topics. Courses take place across Europe, the USA, India and elsewhere - and are offered in English, German, French and Spanish.

The next UK based ICI courses will take place in March 2012 in central London with further courses in Autumn 2012.

Course Schedule
If you register 40 days in advance, deduct 5% from total fees.

Further information on the Institute of Competitive Intelligence.

 

Competitive Intelligence on a budget

Many businesses think that competitive intelligence research is expensive and hard to do. This is not true. It is quite possible to uncover crucial competitive intelligence without spending large sums.

Visiting industry trade-shows and conferences is a fantastic way to find out what is happening. However there is much more to trade show intelligence than just picking up the competitors' marketing materials. You can discuss what is happening in the industry with sales people on competitor stands and hear opinion leaders at floor-show seminars.

At a trade-show, competitor sales people are generally willing to talk to anybody - including their competitors. They will want to boast about what they are doing and how. What they refuse to say can be as informative as what they do say - and so trade shows present a golden opportunity for gathering intelligence on the whole marketplace in one go - making for fast and efficient intelligence gathering. If you feel uncomfortable doing this yourself or want to know how to do it better, ask us.

For more information on Trade Show Intelligence, and how to do competitive intelligence on a budget, contact us today on +44 20 8954 9121 or .


Our services in competitive intelligence research, competitor analysis and CI training will help you integrate and use competitive and marketing intelligence in your business, strategic and marketing planning processes. Whether you need research, advice or training, our mission is to support our clients so that they achieve their growth objectives.

For the best UK & European competitive intelligence and competitor analysis services, contact us today.

AWARE Phone numbers: 0845 430 9125 (International: +44 20 8954 9121). Fax: 0845 430 9126 (International: +44 20 8954 2102) AIIP

About Us Services Resources Publications Help Contact us Site Map

Copyright © AWARE 1995-2014

Last page / site update: Sunday, April 7, 2013

GIA Logo