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Mind Your Manners

© 2013 Elena Fawkner

If you subscribe to several business-related newsletters,
you will probably have noticed a lot of people recently
writing about the lack of professionalism displayed by some
internet entrepreneurs and expressing the concern that the
conduct of these individuals is jeopardising the good name
and reputation of the rest of us trying to make an honest
living in this brave new world.

As you are no doubt aware, ecommerce is coming under the
increasing scrutiny of government regulators right around
the world.  Those factions in favour of regulating the
internet are getting up a head of steam because of the
seemingly increasing prevalence of internet scamsters and
the general lack of professionalism displayed by some
internet entrepreneurs.

Much has already been, and will continue to be, written
about unethical business practices ranging from the annoying
(such as spam) to the more serious, such as credit card
fraud.  What I would like to focus on is an aspect of
professionalism ... courtesy ... and the way we deal with
one another in our businesses.

As you may or may not know, from time to time I accept free
advertising in this ezine in addition to paid ads and ad
swaps where I have the room.  I usually only have a couple
of ad spots (if any) available after my ad deadline so I
certainly can't place all the free ad submissions I receive.
So, who gets in and who doesn't?  Well, let me put it this
way.  Your chances are much better if you actually ask.

Recently I have begun receiving a disturbing number of
emails with "free ad" in the subject line and the text of an
ad in the body.  Nothing else.  I assume these people think
I am so desperate for advertisers to fill up my ad space
that I will be grateful for the huge favor they do me by
submitting their ad.  WRONG!  On both counts.

New policy effective immediately: anyone who sends me an
email like that is guaranteed one response and one response
only.  My index finger on the delete key.

Now, thankfully, most people seeking a free ad are courteous
and professional in their approach.  Here's an example from
just this morning:

>Hi Elena, I am a new subscriber to A Home-Based Business
>Online.  I would appreciate your running my ad when
>space is available.  Thank you.

You guessed it ... the person who wrote me this email has a
free ad in this issue.

Please and thank you.  They open doors.  Even on the
internet.  Especially on the internet.

Small point?  Maybe.  But it's symptomatic of a certain
attitude and approach to doing business.  The root cause of
the lack of professionalism we so often encounter as
internet entrepreneurs is, at least in part, the anonymous
nature of internet commerce.  No one need ever know our true
identity if we choose to keep it hidden.

It's kind of like the mentality you see evidence of when
driving.  As drivers, we are anonymous.  We don't know the
person in the car behind or ahead and will never see them
again.  Would we give the too-slow driver in the car ahead
an angry blast of the horn if that person was someone we
knew?  Someone we worked with?  A business acquaintance?  I
doubt it.

The reason some people feel free to be so rude and
aggressive on the roads is the same reason these (I'd be
willing to bet, SAME) people behave this way on the internet.
No-one holds them to account.  We all hit our delete keys
and move on.  People have come to EXPECT to encounter rude
and aggressive drivers on the road.  They have also,
unfortunately, come to expect this behavior on the internet.

Each one of us has a role to play in reducing this attack
on the professionalism of our businesses.  By setting high
standards for ourselves and looking for those same qualities
in those with whom we do business, whether they be
advertisers in our newsletters, resellers of our programs,
whatever, and refusing to do business with those who aren't
professional, we all make a valuable incremental
contribution to increasing the level of professionalism in
internet entrepreneurship.


Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based or online business.

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