UK: Coming up fast - A section for entrepreneurs.

UK: Coming up fast - A section for entrepreneurs. - BASKET CASE

by GAEL LINDENFIELD, author and lecturer Photograph (omitted) Graph(omitted).
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

BASKET CASE

A company selling gift baskets of fruit has upped its sales by 20% in a year since it began selling on the internet. The Fax Fruit web site (www.faxfruit.co.uk) was built in a week at an initial cost of just £1,000.

Before going online, the firm sold its products by cold calling individuals within companies who bought gifts such as flowers.

Fax Fruit was persuaded to build a site after receiving approaches from several web design companies, suggesting that it would be an ideal business for the internet. 'It hardly did any business in the first six months,' says managing director Pravin Shah, 'but has become really big over the last year. We're investing more because that's the way we see our business going forward.'

The site displays all-inclusive prices, and the company delivers within 24-48 hours to the UK, Ireland and the US. It delivers abroad through partnerships with similar companies overseas. 'The internet makes us able to trade on a global basis,' says Shah.

Fax Fruit has six staff and takes 40 to 50 online orders a day. The site is being promoted with links from the e-commerce sections of free internet service providers, including Tesco and Freeserve. 'People have to know about it. You could do that with advertising but that's expensive. This way, we're listed next to companies like Interflora and the big hamper companies,' says Shah.

STRESSBUSTER

SAY IT CALMLY

Being aggressive rarely gets you anywhere. You may have every right to feel furious but you will achieve better results if you keep a cool head and simply remain assertive. Make a conscious effort to:

AVOID 'SHOULD' AND 'WOULD'. Replace them with the gentler 'could' or 'an alternative approach might be ...' TALK IN THE FIRST PERSON. Say: 'I need to see some changes' or 'let's see how we can change this', rather than 'this has got to stop' or 'you can't keep ...'

REPEAT A CONCISE statement or summary of your complaint or request instead of responding aggressively to weak excuses or getting drawn into unnecessary argument.

CHECK YOUR BODY is in an assertive but non-threatening position - keep both feet on the ground and stand tall. If you are sitting, uncross your limbs and straighten your back.

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