Okay, so I’ve been in business since dinosaurs roamed the earth. I may not be as tech savvy as millennials, but I’ve kept up with necessary changes. In addition to learning about computers, the internet, and social media, I’ve also picked up some valuable business lessons along the way. I’m sharing five of them with you.
1. Do the best you can in the time you have
The time you have to complete your business tasks is limited. You can prioritize, find ways to optimize tasks, and become very efficient. Nonetheless, there are still only so many hours you can put in each day. My mentor stressed to me to do the best you can in the time you have. In other words, forget being a perfectionist; get it done!
2. Respond to correspondence
Old school dictates that you respond politely to mail. That rule has been extended to other forms of communication…email and text. The number one rule of etiquette from Emily Post is “always respond.” Obviously, this doesn’t apply to spam or FYIs.
But I’ve found that too many people fail to respond or even acknowledge receipt of a communication. They’re quick enough to send out their own messages when they want something and, obviously, expect timely responses. It’s my opinion that it’s just bad form and bad business to not respond. Best strategy: create a standard response you can use to effectively acknowledges receipt. For example, when we get solicitations for guest posting on our site, I politely thank the writer for the offer and then decline.
3. Perform the same, regardless of the amount of pay
When providing services, the charges may vary with the customer. I’ve found it to be a good business practice to do the same level of work, whether it’s pro bono or top dollar. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that some of my lowest-paid assignments turned into very valuable business later on. Yes, it’s a time thing, but it’s also a matter of how you value your own work and the pride you take in it.
4. Don’t make excuses
Things happen…all the time…and there are reasons why. But I hate to hear excuses from others, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to make them. Basically, who cares?
A better strategy is explaining how you plan to a correct a problem that might have triggered the need for an excuse. Better still, employ planning tools to avoid problems that would need excuses.
5. Say thank you
There can’t be too many thank you’s. As Shakespeare said: “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.” Yet too many people expect things without offering a thank you. There’s always somebody to thank each day. Use your thank you’s liberally.
These are 5 of the lessons I’ve learned. What are yours?