Listening practice: setting up a business

An image of a business woman called Katherine

Practising your listening skills regularly is important. In the first part of this interview with Katherine, a businesswoman, you will hear her talking about some of the challenges of setting up a small business to sell a product or service.

Before dealing with a listening text, predicting what you are about to hear can help you to prepare for the task and focus your listening skills. What kind of things do you think Katherine might mention in the interview? Use your own knowledge to predict some of them and note them in the box below:

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When you have listened to the interview, look at your notes again and identify which points you predicted correctly.

Activity 1: Listening for specific information

Look at the following list of points and select the tick   symbol next to any which Katherine mentions during the interview and the cross    symbol next to those that she does not mention.

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 You need to start by identifying a service or product that your business can offer

 You should have previous experience in sales and marketing

 If you want to sell a product you need to market it effectively

 If you want to sell a service it's advisable to have already worked in that sector

 You need to have a profile of the market you are aiming at

 You need to identify your typical customer and market specifically for him/her

 It's important to know whether your intended market is likely to increase or not

 You need to develop a competitive advantage

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Listen to the interview again and answer these questions. Make notes in the boxes and then check your answers.

1. According to Katherine, which three general markets might a product or service be aimed at?

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2. Which characteristics are important to consider when creating a profile of customers?

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3. Which different ways does Katherine mention of establishing an advantage for your product or service over those of your business competitors?

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You may wish to refer to the tapescript of the interview to check any points that you were unsure about.

Tapescript (pdf, 64 KB). You may wish to print this document.

Activity 2: Focusing on vocabulary

Katherine uses a number of business-related terms in the interview.

Which business-related words did she use with the same meaning as the words in bold below? Make notes in the boxes and then check your answers.

1. a gap in the market

2. a business idea

3. the customers that you are aiming to attract

4. a market that is not developing

5. your rivals in the field

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