The small business entrepreneur faces a double-edged sword in our modern, inter-connected world.
As the pace of our lives continues to increase, and the information overload continues to mount, many solo entrepreneurs are experiencing greater fatigued, irritation and burn-out.
Never before have the demands on a small business owner been so high. Not only do we have to keep pace with a faster-paced world, we also have to keep up with the latest technology, constantly changing methods for marketing and selling, being “heard” in a very noisy marketplace and leveraging both the online and offline worlds to put ourselves in front of ideal prospects and clients.
Unfortunately, this accelerated rate of business, marketing and life has lead to more than burn-out and fatigue (which is bad enough), it’s also led to a significant decrease in etiquette.
Because so many of us feel frazzled, harried and hurried, it’s easy to begin riding rough-shod over both the parts of our lives that used to garner at least a modicum of respect, as well as other people. The former is unfortunate, the latter? Obnoxious.
So in an effort to call attention to this, I thought I’d write a series about the Etiquette of BE-ing. First up … T I M E!
Do You Respect Your Time?
Here’s why I ask … If you respect your own time, then I know you’re not committing one of the major mistakes a business owner can make … disrespecting other people’s time.
I just went through a period of time when a number of people completely disrespected my time. Quite frankly, it really pissed me off. They were doing things like:
• Scheduling calls with me and then not showing up, bothering to cancel or even apologizing.
• Blowing off appointments with me.
• Taking advantage of my complimentary calls by using more than one under the guise that they planned to hire me during call 2, but then backing out when it’s time to seal the deal.
• Requesting a consultation with me, then showing up saying “I’m hiring so-and-so and don’t have any money to hire you right now but can you help me with X, Y, Z anyway?”
• The Worst of all: Requesting references, calling those references and wasting their time, then never making a decision, following up, or taking action.
This just plain RUDE behavior.
Honoring MY Time
In an effort to understand what was going on, I had a look at my own lack of respect for time – mine or others. I asked myself a series of questions:
1. Am I blowing people off? … No.
2. Am I trying to wheedle free info out of experts by leading them on to think I plan to hire them? … No.
3. Am I wasting people’s time with my own disorganization or lack of preparedness? … No.
4. Am I disrespecting my own time by giving too much to others for too little? … Big Fat YES!
So even though I hadn’t been wasting other people’s time, I had been been attracting tire kickers and time-wasters to myself because my own boundaries weren’t clear.
Boundaries in Biz
Now it’s your turn. How do you set your boundaries in business? Do you respect other people’s time? Do you respect your own? How are prospects, clients and customers showing up for you these days?
Let me know in the comments below!