TEST 5 This is the Business English Certificate Higher 3, Listening Test 1. Part One. Questions 1 to 12. You will hear the founder of a company called Manshee talking to business students about its development. As you listen, for questions 1 to 12, complete the notes, using up to three words or a number. After you have listened once, replay the recording. You now have forty-five seconds to read through the notes. [pause] Now listen, and complete the notes. [pause] Man: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m honoured to have this opportunity to talk to you. Eight years ago, I bought my first computer, but I soon discovered that where I lived, it was difficult to find accessories for that particular make. That made me realise that other people must have the same problem. Then I found that foreign magazines contained plenty of advertisements of mail order companies, so I started buying spare parts and things that way and selling them on to my friends at a small profit. That was how my company, Manshee, was born. Four years later, Manshee was making a profit and had reached a turnover of six million pounds. We had four directors - myself and three of my friends - plus a staff of seventeen. The culture was young and the working environment didn’t have any structure. The company just grew and grew with its own momentum, and everything we did seemed to strike lucky. If we needed to buy some equipment or redecorate the sales office, we decided yes or no in isolation, only taking the short term - usually the cash flow for that month - into account. However, the market became increasingly cut throat, and that led to falling margins. We realised, rather unwillingly, that the time had come to structure our future, but we didn’t really have much idea how to set about it. So we went to a firm of consultants who specialise in helping s small businesses, and it proved a turning point. They insisted that we four directors sit down and rank our investments in order of importance for the coming years. It seems obvious now, but we’d never realised the value of doing it before. Initially, we set out strategic and financial targets for the next three years, and now we’re pleased with just how many of those objectives we’ve met. The value of bringing in outside expertise was that it gave us objectivity. It’s so easy to take things for granted, and to go on in the same mindset. Using consultants meant we received invaluable advice on our business priorities.