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Entrepreneurs Panel

David Pollock
Richard O'Sullivan
Debbie Pierce
Julie Meyer
Charlie Mullins
Steve Purdham
Laura Tenison
Jeremy Roberts
Michael Oliver
Jennie Johnson
Brian Hay
Tony Caldeira

Swine flu suspicions

David Pollock

Set up Chess in 1993 to take advantage of the deregulation of the utilities market by re selling water, gas and electricity. In 1996 the business began to specialise in telecoms – reselling telecoms services to businesses throughout the UK - and since his first acquisition in 2004 has completed at least 24 more (many of which involved purchases of client bases and assets rather than entire businesses). Highly-focused on his staff, Pollock places the Chess “culture” at the heart of his ambitious expansion plans.

Question: 

We had a team of contract cleaners in last month during office hours following a case of swine flu. The next week one of my competitors started approaching our clients, using information that I think can only have come from our sales database. my suspicions are obvious. Is there anything I can do?

Answer: 

I believe the direct approach works best. Personally call the majority shareholder, the chief exec or MD, or both, but make sure you give them the benefi t of the doubt – nobody wants to be involved with theft and they may not know it’s happened.

Make sure you have proof as the libel laws in the UK are the toughest in the world so tread carefully.

If you get nowhere ask your lawyer to write explaining you are going to issue an injunction within a couple of days unless they cease. This is your only real course of action but it is very expensive so, once again, make sure you have proof and the loss merits this approach.

The simple and cheapest solution is to contact your customers to tell them what has happened. Nobody likes a thief so they will most likely be loyal.

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