My director, a married father of three, had a fling with a high-profile actress and the story is being dragged through the tabloids. I’m worried that the image of my business will be tarnished by association. What should I do? There is not much you can do, nor should you – most publicity is good for the business. Plenty of people will be talking about your adulterous director and, with a bit of luck, they’ll give a mention to your brand at the same time. Don’t worry: it isn’t your company that’s being accused of being unfaithful. In most papers, you’ll be described as “well-known” or “respected”, words that help to spice up the story – and puff up your profile. You should, of course, have concern for his wife and family and it’s worth checking whether this extra-marital affair is taking your director’s eye off the job. But, on balance, the business will benefit from keeping the media pot boiling, especially if he’s been bedding a big star. But even if it is a B-list babe from Big Brother, you should happily encourage a feature in OK! or HELLO! Enjoy the fame while it lasts. One of my employees is riding a rickshaw across India to raise money for charity and she’s asking me to sponsor her. I’m happy to oblige but I’m worried that this will open the floodgates of begging emails from the rest of my staff. What would you advise? Don’t worry if your rickshaw rider sets a trend – supporting employee fund-raising is one of the best signs of a caring company. A section of the Timpson weekly newsletter is devoted to Captain Cash, a fictional character who gives anything from £25 to £500 to our colleagues’ favourite causes. He pays up in response to a range of worthy requests, including the purchase of a junior boy’s football team strip and contributions to several local hospices. Your generosity should vary according to the worthiness of the employee – don’t give donations to drongos. Don’t be a soft touch. It’s much better if the colleagues do some fund-raising for themselves that you match 50/50. Get someone to check out the project before handing out the money or, even better, research it for yourself. Be prepared for plenty of wild schemes like abseiling, parachuting, and cycling across South America. However bizarre the request, sponsorship of a good cause is good for your business.What is the best corporate hospitality to offer important clients? I’m strapped for cash and a little bored of taking them to football matches. A lot of corporate hospitality is a waste of time and money. You feel you have to invite them, they feel they have to come, and everyone is glad when it’s over. If you want to impress, do some research. Find something that your client really likes and offer them an invitation they can’t refuse. Make it relevant and make it different. Centre Court seats will be just the ticket for tennis players, but Take That fans are unlikely to fancy the opera. Avoid weekends and include your client’s partner. Motor sport activity days are pretty popular – how else will they drive a Jaguar round a race track at 160mph? Most will enjoy a private box at Aintree – Ladies Day has to be seen to be believed. But, to make it particularly personal, invite them to your home or to your local pub and really get to know your client without allowing a mediocre game of football get in the way of good conversation. Picture: source
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