Tag Archives: business

Brief Encounters with London taxi drivers

taxi_bigbenTaxi drivers are a pretty diverse lot. Most of them enjoy a friendly chat. Some of them are really interesting with the added bonus of having a wry sense of humour, and I often learn useful snippets of information. But some drivers can be quite morose.

I use London taxis frequently and always make an effort to make some contact with each one. If they look sulky or uninterested in me and where I’m going, it becomes a challenge to change their mood. Take last week. I gave the driver a big smile as I asked him to take me to Mayfair and he just nodded. As I stepped into the taxi I said a cheerful ‘Good morning’, and didn’t even receive a reply. So I added, ‘Now what’s made you so grumpy today, when the sun’s shining?’

Yes, I know I take the risk that I will receive a short sharp retort but it’s a risk worth taking. This taxi driver immediately gave me a wide grin and said, ‘Sorry, love. I didn’t mean to be.’ We proceeded to have a stimulating talk about setting the world to rights – often their favourite subject.

When they ask me what I do and I say I’m a writer they are almost always impressed. One said, ‘I had one of you romantic writers in the back of my cab the other week.’ I asked who it was. ‘Katie Fforde,’ came the unexpected reply. ‘I know her,’ I said, delighted. ‘She’s lovely. And a best-selling writer, too.’ He was very pleased he’d met someone so famous!

I always ask very politely if I may leave one of my bookmarks on the back seat. (You never know who might climb in after you’ve vacated.) This would be awkward if I’d remained silent until I got to my destination. But by now we’re old friends and without fail they say, ‘’Course you can, love.’ If I haven’t already told them what it’s about they usually ask me, and have occasionally ended up buying a book there and then. (Every published writer should carry a copy of her latest book at all times.) If I really like them and they seem genuinely interested, I give them a book instead of a tip. By the time I’ve done the honours and signed, there’s a good chance I’ve missed my train. But I’m not grumbling.

At the moment I’m promoting Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business, which is probably more appropriate than handing them a romantic novel, as taxi drivers still tend to be male. But this is what happened the other day when the driver dropped me off at Charing Cross station.

‘May I leave a bookmark of a book I wrote which was recently published?’ I asked.

‘Not this one, is it?’ he swung round in his seat and held up my Seller Beware bookmark. I was astounded. ‘Out of all the 22,000 cabs in London,’ he parodied in a dreadful Bogey accent, ‘you have to ride in the back of mine.’

We burst out laughing.

‘I’ve given away about 30 Seller Beware bookmarks to London taxi drivers in the last year,’ I said, ‘so what are the chances of that happening?’

He drove off, still chuckling.

I love these brief encounters. Now all I have to do is make sure I get a smut in my eye before I step into the next taxi and hope the driver’s got a clean hankie, ready to whisk it out! Who knows where that might lead me!

Being a poor judge of character could leave you in ruins!

Denise_questioningHow good are you at judging character? Most people think they’re pretty good. I thought I was. How wrong can you be? I’d gone on first impressions instead of looking behind the person, their body language, what they didn’t say. It’s important to make an accurate judgment in our daily lives as we interact with people by making new friends, employing new staff hoping they live up to their CVs working with our colleagues, and buying products and services. Weighing up people is crucial when you come to sell your business. If you choose the wrong buyer it can have a devastating effect on the rest of your life.

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You may be fantastic at running your business, having built up a successful enterprise that is in good shape, and are now ready to find the right buyer with the right offer. Before you go any further, STOP! You need to read my own nightmare journey when I came to put my chain of estate agents on to the market. Yes, I went through all the right channels such as putting my precious baby with a business agent, and using a well-respected firm of solicitors, but if you read my true story in Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business, you’ll see this is not enough, and that even the professionals can let you down big time. And this is before you have a prospective buyer sitting in front of you.

That’s where your antennae must be at their most alert. The prospective buyer can tell you anything from exaggerating their experience in the area you work in, misleading you by their financial standing, to relating a full pack of exquisite lies. I was duped by all of these. So was my original solicitor, and even the bank manager who financed them.

Seller Beware


You can read the whole miserable story (interspersed with plenty of humour) of how I was left in financial ruin, not to mention a reputation shot to pieces. There’s a practical checklist at the end of each chapter warning you what to do and what not to do in Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business.

I would also love to know if anyone reading this blog has been conned in a way that has actually affected their lives. Please share it with me. Somehow it helps to know I’m not alone!


Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business is currently on special offer £5.00 plus post and packing. Offer includes signed copy and special bookmark.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/1849545367/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new
For all other countries, please leave a contact email in the comments and we will send you a tailored price quotation.

What others have said…
“…well written and eminently readable. I’d recommend it to any businessperson who is embarking on any significant action in which they have no prior experience.” http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R29F97GY29XZRC/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1849545367

“It is not very often that EAT raves about a book – but this one really is a page-turning must-have for estate agents.”

“If you own your own business you should definitely read this book before even thinking of selling it.”