Sounding Off On Small Business Manners

StephanieSpeaking LLCThe platinum rule states we should “treat people the way they want to be treated”. You want to grow a business; treat people whether you know them or not with respect and courtesy. At all times work to be “pleasingly patient and pleasantly persistent”. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the janitor, secretary, administrative assistant, or whomever; you don’t know who they know. While we all have to continually work on treating people with love; when you are in business it is imperative that you leave a great first impression.

This is not a first time a similar situation as shown below has occurred; however, I’m a bit hot under the collar right now so it’s time to speak out.

Recently, a customer contacted my office and was extremely rude to my administrative assistant. She was awaiting a copy of a presentation I used at a recent workshop. From the conversation I had with my assistant (she was visibly disturbed), I deduced that the customer was disrespectful, belittled my assistant, impatient, (there’s more I could say); and stated, the assistant wasn’t communicating effectively with me and she wanted me to call her right away. Know this, my assistant has “the patience of Job”. She is kind, intelligent, hard working, creative, attentive, and she keeps me in check, organized and sane. I do not tolerate anyone treating any of my staff or consultants with with disrepect. They perform and give their service from a sincere desire to work with the small business community; for us, it is not a job, it’s a cause.  I am protective of my staff and consultants; after all they graciously put up with me – nuff said.

The information on the presentation the customer wanted was something anyone could acquire by just using Google; it was not rocket science. I have to wonder where this sense of desperation comes from; all things happen in God’s time not your time or mine. Business owners (not all but some of you) – start doing your own research; stop looking for someone to lead you to the water and feed you; learn to hustle and get it on your own; you will feel a greater since of accomplishment When you want something from someone else, please remember your manners.

We who serve you with our hearts and minds are not at your beck and call. We work with limited staffing and insane workloads and the demands are great. We work with literally hundreds of clients, thousands of customers; and we do not remember every individual (okay, I’m working really hard right now to be pleasingly patient). We work all day, all night, all the time, anytime (at least my staff and I do) while we still work to maintain a life of our own. Please appreciate that and show it.

Here’s how I see it; T. Harv Eckert (one of my trainers) states, “how you do anything is how you do everything”. I have adopted that philosophy.  If you treat my staff or I unkindly then you do that with others including those from whom you seek to attract business.  Remember, people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Who knows you, trusts you, and how do they feel about you. Seriously, it’s self assessment time. You don’t know who others know that can impact the success of your business. We are always making referrals or speaking highly or not at all about people we come across in our lives – what is the impression you want to leave.

The first impression is one that is difficult to change. Do not call anyone or send an email when you are frustrated, mad, or disturbed in anyway. Wait until you have calmed down; do not beat up the messenger; be grateful, thankful and appreciative regardless of the outcome. There is always a lesson in the message. Oh, and by the way, I too am a small business owner; and I am practicing this message daily.


About Dr. Stephanie D. Burroughs

Dr. Stephanie D. Burroughs is an inspirational speaker, trainer, author and business navigator. Dr. Burroughs ignites the confidence, clarity and competency in minority, women, small and veteran business owners while helping to navigate them through the complexities of government and public procurement programs. Her audience is inspired, impacted and informed of PRECISELY what is required to achieve their goals. Dr. Stephanie D. Burroughs has been a minority, women, small and veteran business advocate and supplier diversity advocate for more than 35 years. Her candid real-world advice, inspiring, humorous and thought-provoking stories leave a lasting mental and emotional take action now impact.
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