APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham United FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today, she helps out someone who wants to manage their workload better and gives advice about bringing a product to market.
Q) A few weeks ago I spoke to my boss about not being able to deal with my workload.
She was supportive and understanding, and one of the things she suggested was that she would take several things off me to do herself.
I was grateful and sent an email outlining a couple of pieces of work that it would be brilliant if she could do, and she replied saying she would sort them out.
However, two weeks later, they are still not done and I’m being chased by another department.
I’ve asked my boss a couple of times where she has got to with the work, but she said she was busy or just didn’t reply.
Now it’s awkward and my colleagues are on my back.
Do you have any advice?
Laura, via email
A) It’s great that your boss was supportive and understanding, and offered a solution.
However, now it sounds as though she is struggling with her own workload!
It is your manager’s role to support her team, but also to make sure you are working productively and delivering objectives.
Communication is an important skill when managing workloads across a team and departments. In the short term, send polite email replies to other departments who are chasing you, copying in your boss, to say “X is kindly pulling together this information and will be able to provide you with an update.”
You could request mid-week check-ins with your boss to go through workload, deadlines and who is taking responsibility for what, so you are both aligned and you can relay that to other departments.
If the situation still doesn’t improve, then it’s your boss’ responsibility to look at smarter ways to work – whether she needs more people in her team, or for work to be shared out more equally.
Be a boss
Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses. It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!
Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.
Q) I’m really into cycling and I’ve come up with an idea for a cool accessory that I think would benefit lots of cyclists.
I’ve even made a rough prototype and shown it to my friends, who think it’s great.
But I have no idea how to move things forward – in my day job I’m an advertising account manager, but in a totally different sector, so I don’t have any relevant contacts.
What would be my next steps in order to bring my product to market?
Anita, via email
A) To begin with, before you spend any more money, you need to do a patent search – just because you’ve never heard of your idea, doesn’t mean you’re the first person to come up with it.
If someone else can lay claim to inventing this product before you, they will also lay claim to all the money from any sales.
If you don’t find one, file a patent yourself.
Next, do some wider research.
Conduct informal focus groups and online surveys (for example, try Surveymonkey.com) to gather feedback and incorporate it into your invention.
Then you need to create a business plan – ie how you will make money from your product.
Next, you need investors.
Work up a concise sales pitch that includes what’s unique about your product, a value statement, statistics from your market research and your financials.
Finally, celebrate your successes, plus recognise setbacks – they will be unavoidable, and often the most valuable part of the journey. Best of luck!
Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compiled by: Claire Frost
- Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.