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When online, are you a Lemming or Leader?

Successful Online Businesses Lead by Example

In a business coaching session with online entrepreneurs, it is pretty common to discuss the nuances of Business Email Etiquette in their day-to-day communications. We also talk a lot about using technology properly and how what you do or don’t do may impact your business.

Most are already putting efforts into using email properly and are very receptive. The comment “I never thought of it that way…” is often made, usually with something to do with how their efforts will be perceived or newfound details on how technology works.

This comment reveals many haven’t had the opportunity to be trained or exposed to business email best practices. Let alone the nuances of perception, trust, and credibility and how a lack of tech-savvy can negatively affect their business success.

If everyone else jumped off a bridge…

Here’s another comment that pops-up.

But everyone else does it so can you explain why is that not okay?

Business Owner

I don’t go with the everybody statement, even though I hear that pretty often. Maybe 30% no email etiquette vs. 70% who do a great job. Am I giving too much credit?

But where we do get close to “everybody,” not thinking about what is shared on social media and how they share it will impact their business. Everything is connected. Be a jerk on your personal social media accounts, and it’s pretty easy to connect you with your business.

When running a successful online business, your business emails carry more weight as to your legitimacy and credibility than you know. Never underestimate how you use email and technology overall will contribute to the determination by others if they will choose to do business with you.

When I hear this excuse or any other to defend or try to explain why we aren’t applying email and technology best practices, I follow up with, “Are you a lemming or a leader?”

Leaders Lead

Successful business owners lead — they don’t follow. They do what they need to do to succeed. Even if that means trial and error, embracing and learning new concepts, they do not excuse what the majority are doing to avoid proper actions or behavior. They lead by example.

They also understand, almost innately, that that professional communications matter. That using the right words in the right way is part of marketing. And, anything — anything — you do reflects on your business, even if subtly.

  • Every email you send needs to be concise and courteous.
  • You need always to pay attention to details.
  • No broken sentences in small case or without punctuation.
  • And grammar? Grammar matters. (Here’s what I use. [aff])
  • All this applies to social media too.

But the “younger set”…

“My son, who is in college, doesn’t do all these things…” Following what the younger set is willing to do — or not — as your guide? Since when do business owners follow those who are less experienced in running successful businesses? The answer is the smart ones don’t.

Life, as with business, should be all about deciding what you feel is important to you. Not what everyone else is doing to determine what efforts you should make or not. Certainly, if you desire a successful online business, just as with any off-line business, you can’t settle for doing the very least you can get away with.

If you know it’s not right or beneficial to your brand, business, or image — then do what you know is right. That’s what’s right for you. Think for yourself and use the information available to lead, not blindly follow.

No Lemmings Allowed

When it comes to business and technology one cannot be a lemming. That is if you want to succeed. Quite the opposite. Thinking that all you need to do is make the minimal efforts, that so many others are only willing to make, is not a solid business plan.

Not if you want to rock it!

Forget about what everyone else is doing or not doing as your guide. Yes, in business, it is wise to watch what others are doing. That’s how you learn and improve. But your email communications need to be at a whole other level.

If you communicate with clarity and professionalism, not only do you look smart, you are smart. And if you were to ask people, they would confirm that they prefer to do business with smart and professional businesses.

Commit to learning how technology works, why it works the way it does, and then use it properly, so you own your actions. You’ll then be that person or company that others will want to spend their hard-earned dollars with.

So, are you a lemming or a leader?

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