Before they even get started!
We hear about “girls behaving badly” or even “dogs behaving badly”, but what about some of the wannabe entrepreneurs (W/E) out here who do the same? Yes, I call them wannabes because no one who is truly serious about their business would be reckless enough to ruin the relationships that help to make their business great.
Strong statement but I stand by it 100 (plus another 50%).
I have so many stories and examples of W/E behaving badly that I could write 4 books plus some crib notes. I am not going to provide specific examples, but I am going to provide insight that you can walk away with.
I don’t know if I can even fully cover the breadth of this topic in one post but for the sake of not dragging things out, let me make an attempt at explaining at least one instance where folks ruin their chances. Besides getting into a belligerent argument with your client or customer because you are at fault for something, the second cause where people ruin their chances is when it comes to…you guessed it….money. But the bigger picture is that it boils down to a lack of understanding about the importance of relationships and a healthy lack of emotional intelligence.
Walk with me here…
Let’s talk about our need as small businesses to get paid in a timely fashion. Let’s talk about how we can ruin a relationship based on that need. It is never wise (at all) to yell or piss off the person who is responsible for cutting your check. Even if a delay is the company’s fault. Don’t do it. There are better ways to handle the situation, such as calmly speaking to the accounting person and letting them know you appreciate the invoicing process, that you appreciate them and that it’s important for you to receive payment as soon as possible. It is perfectly acceptable to place some urgency in your voice…but don’t yell and scream like a loon.
You can also reach out to the person who retained your services to ask for their help in solving the money issue. But never, under any circumstances, carry on and “act a fool” if the accounting department is requesting information to process your check….even if this is the 5th time that they have asked for this information (true story and happens all of the time). If it is indeed the umpteenth time you have sent the information its OK to put your foot down. Firmly let them know that this is the umpteenth time that you have sent the information and you would appreciate a speedy handling of your invoice. You can also threaten to elevate the nature of your complaint (more on that later). (For the record, most organizations and companies are on a Net-30 day cycle…even then you may be looking at a 45 to 60 day payment window. Getting your check sooner than that is a blessing. If you take the time to nurture a relationship with the accounting department- payment miracles do happen, It works for me almost every time.)
By pissing off the people that pay you, not only are you ruining your chances of getting repeat business (in the event that you even wanted it), but you have probably ruined some of your chances for getting any related new business.
Ask yourself these questions: are you putting your most emotionally intelligent forward in each business situation? Are you listening to what your customers and clients want? What they need? Can you tell when someone is uncomfortable or doing their best they can to solve your issue? Do you understand the nuances of business-to-business communication? Do you understand how to deal with and resolve conflict? If not, make it a point to learn how to do so.
It does not matter how dope your business or business idea is. If you are an asshole, no one is going to want to work with you and very few people will want to buy anything from you and your business). This is particularly important if you are your brand.
Relationships are the cornerstone for any successful business. If, because you lack emotional intelligence and depth, consistently ruin these relationships because of your mouth and lack of social grace and etiquette you are not [yet] serious about being in business. Point Blank.
If you are just starting out or If you don’t understand how something works your best bet is to seek advice from pros who have been in the game for a while and ask questions. Be curious. The more information you get up front, the better your decision-making will be and the better your cash flow will be.
This post is an excerpt from the upcoming book: Stop that Bullsh!t: The Creative Entrepreneurs’ Survival Guide. Stay tuned for more sneak peaks and updates about the release of the short, yet witty, humorous, inspirational and informative book