Whether you are an established tycoon or an emerging entrepreneur, the importance of proper business etiquette cannot be over-emphasized. Here are a few basic but often overlooked tips to help you stand out from the crowded marketplace and ignite new levels of profit in 2014 and beyond. USE these to stand out and ignite profit.
1. PUNCTUALITY: Arrive ahead of time
Lateness is completely unacceptable in business. Whenever you are late for a business meeting, a presentation, or an appointment with a client, you keep someone (or a number of people) waiting. Disrespect for other people’s time shows a lack of integrity that could affect your image and people’s perception of your business, which will ultimately cost you profit. There is no such thing as being fashionably late, or “African time” in business. Being late is plain inconsiderate, discourteous, and often, insulting.
Traffic is a real challenge in major cities, but unfortunately it’s not a good excuse. Factor it into your schedule and leave early.
Ahead of your meeting, invest the time to get directions and find out about parking and other considerations. Doing this puts you in control because it gives you extra time to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and stay in an ignited tycoon mode – a confident state.
2. PREPARATION: Think valuable and current information.
The reason clients pay you is to solve their problems- fast, and without any inconvenience to them.
When it comes to providing solutions, be totally ahead of your clients. You have to be armed with valuable and current information and use this to help your clients make profit. Especially when operating in a service or knowledge based sector, you have no choice but to have cutting edge information and hone your ability to apply this information to an ever changing complex business environment.
Whenever you’re attending a meeting, make sure you take along everything you’ll need; good quality pens that work, good quality business cards (not stained, bent or torn), notepads, organizers, and other vital documents. Keep them where you can easily reach them. Rummaging in your briefcase (or worse still, emptying your bag searching for something) casts you in an unflattering, and unprofessional light.
3. APPROPRIATE DRESSING: Dress how you want to be addressed
Whereas there are few areas where men can go wrong when it comes to business dress, there are myriad potential errors of judgment that a woman can make when she dresses for business. In all cases, being conservative is the safe way to go. Also, if you’re unsure, it is better to dress “up” rather than “down”. Unless you are already a billionaire tycoon, leave out the funky and the eccentric. Keep your jewellery to the barest minimum. Jewellery on men? Unacceptable. As for the perfume, let’s keep it subtle. Don’t have a bath with your cologne. Keep heels manageable. Don’t put your client in an awkward position of having to hold you from falling. I’ve seen it happen so many times.
While your individuality should not be sacrificed, a business meeting is not the place to be funky or eccentric. Let your business clothes reflect the ignited tycoon that you are. Dress how you want to be addressed.
4. POLITENESS: Become unforgettable
You can never go wrong by being courteous and gracious. The magic words, “please” and “thank you” should be on your lips always, regardless of whether you’re dealing with high-paying clients or those who can only afford to pay the minimum. Being careful about the way you treat others will make you stand out as a kind and respectful person. Always smile and make eye contact. Don’t offer a limp hand on a business meeting. A firm handshake is a must for ignited tycoons, whether male or female. A limp handshake conveys a lack of confidence, or lack of interest, both unacceptable options in the tycoon world.
Addressing clients or business partners/colleagues appropriately is also a fundamental rule of etiquette. The world of social media has created a more interactive world, however take a cue from the environment you are in and when in doubt, choose to address people formally. Appropriateness is the watch word here. What works in Tokyo won’t work in Toronto or Sokoto. Become unforgettable just by being extremely polite and respectful.
5. INTEGRITY: Let your yes be your yes
If you said you would do something, don’t make every effort to do it as soon as you can- JUST DO IT! Offer no excuses. Hire an executive assistant or get a good mobile device that can handle your appointments. You are a tycoon in the making right? Failure to communicate in a timely manner can cause you to lose good business along with much needed revenue and profit.
If you forget, apologize to the people who were waiting to hear back from you, and be sure to prevent any reoccurrence. If you make a habit of not keeping your word, you put your good reputation at stake.
The ignited tycoon is confident, poised, knowledgeable, and a person of integrity. Use these basic rules of business etiquette to ignite new levels of profit this year.
Become unstoppable in business. Don’t let your small business make you small minded.