There are two ways to obtain knowledge: study and experience. Both are valuable, but when it comes to business, there’s a lot that you can’t learn from a book or in a classroom.
We’re not knocking school. We just want to help folks in the real business world. So we’ll be posting articles with a healthy dose of plain-spoken, real world insights and tips. We hope they help.
Business Courtesies: Not Just for “Good Ol’ Boys” Anymore
The debut of our real business series is a frank discussion of business courtesies, which range from things like gift baskets and business meals to golf outings, sporting events, fishing charters and more.
Mention business courtesies to 10 people and, like as not, nine of them will wink and nod knowingly, implying that they’re just an excuse for “good ol’ boys” to play golf on company time. With a few unfortunate and distasteful exceptions, this is a cliche’d misconception.
“Here’s the bottom line: A business courtesy must never be exchanged for anything, especially unfair advantage over competition. Period.”
Strong Relationships, Strong Business, Satisfied Customers
Business courtesies, properly employed, provide opportunities to build business relationships based on shared values and objectives. They enable business associates to amass goodwill and build trust, both of which are priceless in today’s competitive business world.
When you build strong business relationships based on shared values, trust and goodwill, your business and that of your associates grow stronger. In turn, this enables you to deliver increasing value to your customers. Truly, everybody wins.
Fun Is Not Wrong
Also, your business is a big chunk of your life. How dismal would it be if business was always separate from pleasure? So, finally, we submit that it’s ok for business to be a pleasure. Just make sure you follow the rules.
The Rules of the Road
Your company and the companies you do business with almost certainly have rules or guidelines for giving and accepting business courtesies. They’re in place to protect the company from legal risk from conflicts of interest, market manipulation and other dishonest practices by employees. Most companies clearly define business courtesies, when it’s ok or not ok to give or accept them, how much value is ok to give or receive and other details.
The Spirit of the Rules
But if you understand the spirit of rules regarding business courtesies, you’ll have no problem staying out of trouble. Here’s the bottom line: A business courtesy must never be exchanged for anything, especially unfair advantage over competition. Period.
Keep that in mind, make sure you know your company’s limits, and have fun. Trust us, it’ll be good for everyone involved, including your customers.