On the eighth night at 10pm, it returned. It had a lot to tell me. It spoke in urgent tones for four hours. There was no shutting it up and the message was clear: I was not to slide back from the heights of a new year promise.
Life is precious. No, I’m not poorly. But I have a grand child. I’ve done a TEDx talk. I have another grand child on the way. I’m 63 this year.
My brain said, ‘ This cannot be any longer about dealing with dross, you just must not be in the way of dross.
Because the baggage of regret unearthed by ingrates and their discourtesy is inertia.’
So, this year I am going to take up the cudgels against discourtesy in business. No one should have to do business with another who doesn’t want to know or worse chooses not to see an exchange of value.
This behaviour is mischievous, driven by the need to pay little, less or even nothing and is a symptom of people overwhelmed by scarcity.
Things change. Some things shouldn’t.
In four decades of business, I’ve witnessed a significant change in how it’s conducted today.
Old fashioned as it might seem, courtesy remains the lynch pin of decent business behaviour. It was once a normal way to conduct any value transaction.
The pace of our digital world – emails, mobiles, SMSs, an over supply of self promoting consultant specialists in every field and a plethora of grudge purchases, (yes, I know I must have a website, safety review, exit strategy, marketing campaign and the rest) may have all contributed to its demise.
In its wake, what’s left is much more pervasive than a scarcity virus. It’s the equivalent of business Ebola. People languish in anxiety, depression and despair in its path and if they recover, the effects are long lasting and destructive.
Six steps to survive and prosper in a discourteous world
To survive and prosper you must immunise yourself against the virus. It’s not enough to inoculate yourself with your talent, experience and expertise.
1. Get clear
Nothing you do will work to elevate you beyond the dross if you’e not super clear about why you do what you do and for whom.
Without that clarity, no matter how good you are at what you do, discourtesy will envelop and unpick you at the seams. Because it speaks of a much greater problem. You are not where you should be, doing the work you should be doing.
2. Lose the delusion
‘If I ‘m honest, work hard and bring my talents and expertise to bear, the client will value me and pay me accordingly’.
No. They won’t. That is a delusion.
Without complete clarity around what you deliver in what timeframe and for what cost, they will come to distrust you and your offer.
Even if you’re creative and work in a field that is as hard to pin down as a forest full of feral cats, you must be an absolute stickler at defining the exact value and cost of the work you are going to do. Then review and update your progress consistently and without ambivalence.
When there is scope creep as there usually is in any complex project, make sure you communicate it directly.
3. Don’t do what you are bad at
Herein lies the rub for most solo-preneurs. It’s the Peter Principle. Good at what ever it is that you offer, that doesn’t necessarily make you a whizz at admin and rigorous with attention to detail. Chances are that if you’re creative, you’ll suck at the latter.
Find your yin. Find the person who relishes what you don’t and do this business together. Or employ them. Don’t spend your life trying to do what ever it is you’re bad at.
The client will end up spilling bile, even if what you’ve delivered is fabulous. They will stick on the typo, or the extras or that you didn’t reply within the same day. No point railing about it. It just is. Don’t do it.
4. Say no
Every business development person, every business blogger, every workshop on how to run your business rolls it out until your eyes swivel and disappear down the back of your throat with I KNOW, I goddam KNOW.
I KNOW, I must say NO.
But sure enough, along comes a client. Along comes the instinct that says, this doesn’t feel right; they’re not right, my product is not the right fit, they don’t have the budget. Running in tandem comes the desire to make the money, because you have bills to pay, retirement to plan for, a life you want to live.
So you don’t say no, and you know what? They’re always right. If you don’t say no when your gut tells you, you’ll lose money and worse, meaning in your life. And you’ll be scarred by the discourtesy.
Your life is precious. It’s not worth the dollars. It’s not worth the scarring. It’s not worth a single cell of your energy.
5. Partner, don’t supply
You’re not a supplier. You’re not a service provider. You’re a collaborator in helping others achieve what they need to succeed. Real partners are not discourteous. They are respectful and caring.
How many clients who would love and value you, and want to have you as a partner to their success, do you need to earn what you need?
You best work then is to find these people.
Then offer a brilliant solution for exactly the problems you know they have to become their trusted and desired business partner.
6. Build your profile
If you’re clear on why you do what you do, you should also be clear on your framework for delivering it and the key messages that support that.
Now you need to get those messages out consistently to build on your message and your profile as a leader in your field.
You can’t just blog randomly or write a book or talk on social media platforms. You need clarity to build the platform from which to disseminate your key messages purposefully and with an intended outcome.
How I can help
I have three offers to support these six steps.
1. I can coach you to get clear on your intention, best business model and how to support it online. Book in for a 20 minute chat about how we can work together. I would love to talk to you.
2. You can participate in the course, ‘Is there a Ted talk in you’. Nothing like having to articulate your best idea in five minutes in front of an audience to hone your focus and garner respect.
3. You can come to a Key Person of Influence Brand Accelerator day . You’ll learn the five P’s (Pitch, Publish, Product, Profile and Partner) to become a Key Person of Influence which will immunise you against discourtesy.