Establishing good relationships with clients, customers, co-workers, employees and suppliers is essential to running a successful eBiz. These relationships are built from business etiquette, or having the right manners when conducting business. The success or failure of your business hinges on people and how you relate to them. Business etiquette also applies to online businesses, not just to brick-and-mortar establishments. Knowing and practicing business etiquette can help in maximizing business potential.
In a business setting, having good rapport with the people you work with or deal with on a constant basis fosters better communication and develops mutual trust. Your knowledge of proper "emanners" helps you in establishing good rapport.
There are two important parts to this subject. The first aspect has to do with thoughtfully considering the feelings and interests of other people. The second aspect has to do with attempts to minimize misunderstandings. Both of these aspects depend on how you conduct yourself in a business setting. Your self-conduct becomes polished when you know and practice business etiquette.
Business etiquette differs from one region to the next, and even from one country to the other. For people whose scope of business is international, it's not recommended that they focus too much on international business etiquette, otherwise they won't have time to focus on running their business. What is recommended is that they learn and practice some key aspects of business etiquette that can be applied in any business setting - local or international.
1. Behavior - In a business setting, the way you act has a bearing on all aspects of your business. How you act around others speaks of the reputation you hold with them. Your behavior shows your character. You won't build long lasting mutual business relationships if you are perceived as selfish, crude and undisciplined.
2. Honesty - In the business world, you are judged by your words and the promises you make. Delivering what you promise to do goes far in creating a good reputation for you and building relationships with people. Keep in mind that while it takes time to gain trust and build integrity, it takes one wrong business decision to ruin it. In international business, this particular business etiquette is essential and ensures that everyone can work without being fearful of crossing boundaries as they relate to contracts, agreements and promises.
3. Character - Character is what you show when you are dealing with clients, customers and other people who are involved in your business. Knowing the proper business etiquette shows others who you are. You need to be able to strike a healthy balance between your logical and passionate sides when it comes to business dealing and making business decisions. For instance, you need to be able to be passionate without being emotional, or self-confident without coming across as arrogant.
4. Sensitivity - Being sensitive to and considerate of others is good business etiquette, regardless of where you are conducting your business. However, sensitivity is especially needed when you are doing business in a foreign country or dealing with foreign clients who have a whole different set of culture, outlook and perceptions. This enables you to avoid unnecessary conflicts and creating misconceptions or misunderstandings.
5. Diplomacy - Consider your words carefully before you speak them out, and think about the consequences of your actions before you execute them. Many business partnerships and transactions have been ruined because of careless words uttered or reckless actions done in the heat of the moment. Proper business etiquette calls for making decisions and dealing with people in a calm, professional manner.
6. Appearance - Proper business etiquette involves your outward appearance - the way you dress, how you sit and stand, and how you come across to people overall. In the business world, appearance is essential in making a good impression. Proper business etiquette requires that you show your best self to the world. This may not apply as much for your online business but it should not be overlooked. Video conferencing is becoming more common and there may still be times you meet with people offline.
In summary, take note of the things listed above. Implement them into your life as a business professional. By doing so you will see the difference it will make for you and your business. If you conduct a lot of international business transactions, knowing the proper business etiquette can make a huge difference in how you are viewed by others. Practicing proper business etiquette in your day to day business dealings will help you avoid miscommunications and build long lasting business relationships.