Common Sense Isn’t So Common. We need to do better.

etiquette for entrepreneurs

Etiquette for Entrepreneurs

You know what they say, ‘Common Sense Isn’t So Common these days.’  I totally agree!

Now that my son is off to school, I have buried my head into the expansion of my business brand.  I’ve been looking into partnerships with other entrepreneurs, setting up interviews for my book and just having a great time networking and meeting new business owners and executives.

As a seasoned and serial entrepreneur I meet a lot of people and have seen a lot of things in the realm of relationship building. Have you ever experienced a business situation or witnessed an event that left you thinking, “Really? You are not serious, right!” Has someone ever called you an hour late, tagged you in a facebook invite flyer without your permission or said something terribly inappropriate in a business meeting? You’re not alone. We have all run into our fair share of bad business etiquette.

Most people operate with an unspoken code of conduct, but this code is often times a lost art form to some.

A sale, a partnership and even the long-term growth of your small business often depends on how well you understand the importance of business etiquette. It is so crucial, but most entrepreneurs ignore it.

Here are 10 business etiquette tips to help you operate your small business successfully and confidently – without making someone – give you the side eye.

#1 – Don’t Be a Social Spammer!

Don’t go around posting your sales pitch on a company’s or individual’s Facebook wall. Social media is for connecting, but after discovering a prospective client via social media, it is then time to approach them privately and personally, not publicly.  Not only will approaching them personally increase your chance of a sealing a deal, it will prevent you from looking spammy and unrespectable to onlookers.

#2 – Keep Email Short and to the Point

Email etiquette has eluded many otherwise successful entrepreneurs. Emails should be kept short and to the point. Everyone is busy, and forcing them to sift through irrelevant information to find the point to your email is both disrespectful of their time and could result in lost business. Take the time to edit your writing after you finish it. Your recipients will thank you!

#3 – Save the Sales Pitch for Later

Don’t try to sell your services to someone from the first moment you meet them. Networking is about meeting potential connections, partners, and developing quality relationships- it is not about closing the deal at that moment.

#4 – Let Me Opt-in to Your Marketing List

Entrepreneurs are often looking to grow their email marketing lists and their business contacts. Merging the two without extending your contacts an opportunity to opt out can damage your business relationship. When you meet someone and accept their business card, ask if it is okay to add them to your marketing list.

#5 – Show Some Gratitude

Always respect the time and generosity of those who help you along the way; even something as small as a ‘Thank You’ note or gift can go far in showing your gratitude.

#6 – Know you Dining Etiquette

People notice everything. This is particularly true in business relationships. Having good dining etiquette helps to establish your credibility and reputation. It also helps to make you an accepted member of the business group. And if you think about it, it helps build your self-confidence. It’s another skill to add to your professional repertoire.

#7 – Forget Short and Sweet

Instead of short and sweet, I believe business correspondence should be short and factual. You have your personal email to be sweet. Tweet sweet nothings in your 140 character space limit until the cows come home. Email your grandma with emoticons after every sentence. But please! Forget those keystrokes when you are at work.

#8 – That’s Textual Harassment

One thing that drives me crazy is the use of text messages to communicate business messages. In today’s world, it’s so easy to fall back on our technology and never have a real conversation with someone.

#9 – If You’re On Time – You’re Late

Vince Lombardi said it best, ‘If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, don’t bother showing up.’  This may sound obvious but never, under any circumstances show up late. I am constantly surprised how people think being late is acceptable. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Tardiness is the quickest way to never get the deal done.

#10 – Hey! I’m Over Here!

Have you ever had a conversation with someone at a networking event and they are constantly looking behind you or to your right or to your left? Clearly, they don’t really care about what you are saying? How did that make you feel? I still can’t believe how many people do that. It makes people feel uneasy, unappreciated and unimportant. Guess what the end result of that will be? They will NOT want to connect with you again.

BONUS: Always Follow Through

Always follow through. Always! Even when it pertains to the smallest tasks. Nothing builds a business relationship stronger and faster than being reliable. Nothing breaks it down faster than not following through – especially if you have your youth working against you. :)

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