In this space the past couple of weeks I’ve mentioned some of the businesses that are truly punching above their weight for the local economy and some that frankly are driving consumers out of town.
There’s a theme that runs through both. It’s a secret to business success and a discipline we all know deep down but may have forgotten along the way.
It’s called Being Nice.
Being Nice means being attentive to what someone you’re talking to is looking for.
I’m not talking about going out of your way to help everyone you meet, but just listening and responding in the way you feel you can help them best.
The reason it’s a recipe for success is, No. 1, listening to your customers, potential customers and suppliers beats any marketing gizmo, and No. 2, you never know when you’re going to need those people you’re Being Nice to. That’s called networking. The best business contacts are made by Being Nice.
Here’s a quick guide on Being Nice:
1. Answer emails promptly, even if it’s a two-second, “thanks, will get back to you.”
2. Make sure you do `get back’ within a week, that’s long enough to keep people waiting in business, even if it’s a two-second “thanks but no thanks.”
3. If it’s “thanks but no thanks” spend another 10 seconds adding the name of someone who might be able to help. You might be Being Nice to two people with one stone, so to speak.
4. Value other people’s time as much as you do your own. Think before asking someone to send you something that really is an excuse to stall. That’s Not Being Nice.
5. Pay your way and don’t delay, late payers are Never Nice.