I left the family business, in my case the Army, after a few short years. I hadn’t given much thought to a career before I ‘joined up’ and I followed a similar approach when I left. I found a job in sales and within a year or so was in a very junior management position. The company I worked for was in the vanguard of some new communications technology that was in great demand. One of my clients, a major newspaper publisher, was keen that we should adapt our product more closely to their needs. The changes looked relatively minor, just some alterations to casing, a tweak or two in programming, and the prospects of some big future orders and commission cheques looked distinctly possible.
I made the case to my boss, the area sales manager, detailing the likely level of demand my client would have for the product, the price we could achieve and when they would need deliveries. He in turn promised to push it hard with his boss, the sales and marketing director. A month went by and my boss reported back that the directors had considered the proposal and decided not to proceed. I thought either my boss had made a poor presentation of my facts or the board had failed to grasp the nature of the opportunity. Either way, I’d lost the chance of an order and big payout.