General business ethics and principles

Sometimes the most common business ethics and principles are overlooked. In this newsletter I will focus on some of these principles that worked for me over the years.

In a meeting with a client, bank manager, accountant, attorney, etc dress accordingly. People will only take you seriously if you look the part. It is applicable to all professions. I have a client that I use frequently for various building requirements in the office and at home. He will always look tidy in his branded clothes.

Be on time for a meeting. By doing that you show that you respect the other party. I am on the road a lot, and it happens that I’m held back by someone. I will always phone a client to inform him / her that I run late, even if it will be for 5 minutes.

If you are in a meeting, do not answer your cell phone. I had meetings with people, while I was talking to the person he answered his phone. One cannot expect to receive respect if you do not show the same. If I am in a business meeting, my phone will be on silent. The moment I step out I will phone my client even if I cannot assist at that certain point.

“Much as I enjoy the art of negotiating, there are two people I NEVER negotiate with – my lawyer and my accountant. Find the best and hire them. I knew I would pay through my nose, but was happy to do so. The advise of these professionals is likely to save you a great deal more money in the long run.”

Raymond Ackermann

Always be honest and open. The only way for a business to thrive is if run honestly.

Never live (spend personal funds) out of a business account. Draw up a personal budget and from there decide on a monthly salary. Pay this salary on a monthly basis to your personal account. By doing this you will make sure you do not overspend company funds and build your company’s equity.

Keep your hands on your debtor’s accounts. Most businesses fail because of debtors not paying their accounts. I send out two-weekly statements in order to remind my clients about their outstanding amount. Do not feel bad or awkward to phone a client regarding a payment, remember you worked and earned it. If you are not able to do this, appoint an accountant to assist you.

Ask your accountant to calculate your break-even point. This is the amount of turnover or sales you need to produce to have a zero profit or loss.

“If you offer a good service or product you never have to bad mouth other people in the same line of business. So if you support those who bad mouth other people or businesses know that you are supporting the business with poorer service or quality products. People bad mouth others because they feel threatened or even envious. If you provide a good service only talk about your good service and you don't have to worry about how or what other businesses are doing except learning what not to do and so far that has worked well for me” Louise Basson (Author of Winter Dogs)

Winter Dogs

Remember, the client you provide a service or product to today, can be a client for life.

Make sure to give your all, and show a client why they need to stay with your business. Normally good service and product is all it takes. Something that is scarce in our current business environment.

Lastly, let you client feel appreciated. I always phone a client on his/her birthday. For any other reason, this keeps me in touch with my client personally.

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