When you’re a small business owner you wear many hats. Maker, promoter, accountant and yes, the face of the brand. When it’s just you and maybe one other person representing your company, what you do matters. How you conduct yourself in public matters. A lot.
It’s easier than ever to find exposure for yourself and your brand, and it’s harder than ever to control your image. That’s why it’s essential to work good business practices and business habits into your business plan. Your name is your business when you’re a small business owner, so make sure that your name means something.
Here are three business habits that are essential to rock as a small company.
Be On Time
Always be on time to meetings or appointments. It’s rude and inconsiderate to be late, and it leaves a bad impression on people. Being on time shows the other person you value their time, and that you consider the meeting important.
From a business point of view, being on time shows potential collaborators or investors that you are trustworthy, organized, and worth being in businesses with.
If you need to cancel, try to send an email or text at least an hour before the meeting. Even a brief heads up is much better than just not showing up at all.
Read Emails Carefully
This sounds so simple, but it’s not something many people do. How often have you skimmed an email and responded, only to have missed a key point?
We all get a ton of email a day. I know I have a bad habit of checking email at times when I can’t write thoughtful responses. Being a careful reader and really digesting the information is a small thing that goes a long way.
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I recently told someone that I would be working at a coffee shop from 3-6pm and she was welcome to stop by. She responded ‘Is it ok to come at 4????’ If she’d taken the time to really digest, she’d realize she had the answer to that question already: I was going to be at the shop between 3 and 6pm.
Instead, I had to send another email assuring her 4pm was fine, taking up more time for each of us.
The art of the follow-up is a delicate but essential one. Follow-ups are where the real connections are made, where the real business relationships are formed.
Again, we all send and get a ton of email a day. I never blame anyone for not responding to my first email, especially if it’s a cold email. Always follow-up! Maybe they overlooked you, or you went to Spam.
Following up shows that you’re really interested, and that you care. Send more than just a ‘I’m following up’ note. Send one that says something like ‘I wanted to touch base again- I know you were just out of the office, so I understand if there’s a backlog to work through!’ Make it personal, and the reader will remember you fondly.
These business habits should become routine for you. They’ll help push you in huge ways, with minimal effort.