In our faced paced, profit and productivity driven business world I would like you to stop and take a breather. I would like you to consider what is good business etiquette. I would like you to appreciate that in the long run your reputation is everything, and will outlast a quick sale or fleeting acclaim. I would like you to reconnect with the value of integrity in an ever-changing economic landscape.
As I see each experience as a lesson or reminder, I am prompted to share my reflections and thoughts on good business practise with you, as many are forging fortunes in the small to medium business market.
This year I was asked to contribute to another’s new venture as the area of information matched my expertise. After 10 months of the proposed plan rolling out, my content shared as requested, inadequate communication, and then finally an agreement received that did not match with previous discussions; I decided to withdraw my interests and cut my losses. This has happened to many of us, I know.
After over two decades of owning my own businesses and a decade of supporting other business owners to become successful, here are my top 8 tips for doing the right thing in business:
- Always answer emails and return phone calls within 24 hours – even if it is to say when you will action.
- Always honour your verbal agreements.
- Never copy, emulate or plagiarise without written permission (an example of duplication for those that are unsure).
- Be transparent and always work towards the common good within your industry.
- When action is required, just do it.
- Do not denigrate colleagues, acquaintances or anyone you do business with – you never really know who knows who, and what they really think about you.
- You won’t always make good business decisions, but you can always be a good and honest person in business.
- Lastly, when a deal doesn’t feel right, show your gratitude for the opportunity, and then walk away with your head held high and don’t second guess yourself.
If you can pave the foundations of your business ventures with integrity and honour, in years to come you will be favourably thought of and top of mind for continued opportunities. I have people contact me often who remember my consulting and speaking services from when I first began my business in the late 1990’s, which is always a thrill.
So, moving forward, yes, I am concerned that I could have said no when first approached, and not shared my content. Yet, today, I don’t second guess myself, and I am reminded that my reputation is intact, I have many years of good standing in my community to back me.
I will get back to my practise of good business and supporting others get the results they want. My hope is that by reading this you also head into the new year remembering that building a business and profit line ALWAYS goes hand in hand with building a reputation.
C.S. Lewis said it best – “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”