It’s a season of living with intention and purpose while building up yourself and your business.

I was graciously invited to share some valuable tips to my fellow entrepreneurs that are related to Business Etiquette, because it is my passion, and quite frankly, etiquette encompasses our lives. But I also wanted to say, that a 2014 human performance research concludes that “Individuals that pursue entrepreneurial careers are significantly higher in achievement motivation than individuals that pursue other types of careers.”

So today I am also here to congratulate you for stepping out and pursuing your dream, and to remind you of and share valuable tools that will most certainly give you the lead in your journey towards success.

Here are my top ten tips and gentle nudges for this season, I sincerely hope you take them at heart.

1-ETIQUETTE AND MANNERS: Learn the Difference
Etiquette is referred to as the proper codes and behaviors, the set of rules we follow to get along and avoid conflict. Etiquette covers our behavior in talking, acting, moving, in other words every type of interaction in specific environments. Manners on the other hand, are a combination of common sense, being graceful and some specific knowledge. Etiquette and manners definitely go hand in hand, and as time has evolved etiquette has been set to provide knowledge of ways to put others at ease in business or community. Etiquette encompasses all aspects of our lives.

Ladies (and gentlemen) If you think you know everything about etiquette, you don’t, you can’t, because the world is ever changing and etiquette rules change as well. Etiquette is a sort of continuous education and I suggest that you from time to time stop and notice these changes and adjust to them because, like it or not, etiquette is our “compass,” it is an important tool increasingly missing in the modern entrepreneur's repertoire.

“Family ties can be chosen, not inherited.”

2-Look and Learn from the Gold
What to look for in the person I do business with a company or sales person.

Business etiquette and Formal manners are a business skill and one we de-emphasize to our detriment. Take them seriously and I promise your business will flourish.

-Etiquette/Manners – – professionals that know the rules of engagement, I pay attention to their business etiquette; how they treat me and value me. How they conduct themselves in person and online.

-Attitude- knowing that they take their business not as a hobby, but as a real business. Also, someone that is positive.

I always tell my students “attitude is King or Queen” J Attitude sends a message of who you are. Make sure you keep yourself in check.

-Product/Service satisfaction

-How they translate or project their passion for their product/services

3-”Earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.”
Be Respectful. Be Authentic. Be Kind.
-Respect the customer’s opinion even if you don’t agree
-Excellence is in the details but never promise something you cannot deliver nor withhold information from the client.
-Establish credibility by demonstrating positive consistency in everything you do. People will notice.

Client trust is essential for any type of business. You win clients and referrals once trust is established and a relationship is formed.

4-Understand our economy and the importance of client relations and Customer Service, because it is not going away anytime soon.
We are a Service Economy. Once we were a great industrial nation. Now we are a service economy. Meaning our business is service, like it or not. We cater to others. We need to up our game.

Pay attention, there’s a customer revolution taking place. More and more products and services are becoming alike. There is so much choice: choice of supplier, choice of channel, choice of products and choice of services. But the real question is: How do your products or services stand out from the rest? Good client servicing is the answer! Good customer service is not an option, it’s a necessity if you want to stay ahead. It is important for you to understand why excellence in your client relations is essential to your company’s growth and survival.

5-Networking: Build Relationships. Build Alliances. Bonus: Make a Friend for Life.
Networking involves interacting with people to build business relationships. It can occur both in person and online and is a good way to make contacts that can help you with your business or career. Find your niche group and network (and follow these simple rules.)
-Bond over more than Business.
-Don’t ask for something right away.
-Stay in touch. Follow up.
-Give back when you can. Don’t be a taker also be a giver.

6-LEARN HOW TO ASK FOR FEEDBACK
There is no question that feedback is important, no matter how painful it can sometimes be. Because if you don’t know what you need to be working on, believe me, everybody else knows.

Research suggests that there are big rewards if we learn how to deal with feedback instead of flinching when we are receiving it. If we learn to manage how we feel, the positive reaction and changes we have/make will also change how others perceive us.

Mind you, receiving feedback does not obligate you to take the feedback. But the following tip will make it more palatable for you to process and make changes you may need to make in order to excel.

Ask for Feedback about your business, services or and/or products, but never “ask for feedback” instead ask for “one thing.”
-What is one thing I could do that could make my services more …
-What is one thing I could change in how I run our weekly meetings that can improve them?

7-Keep Building Yourself Up
How do you stay ahead? Never stop learning. Look for all the opportunities you have to build yourself up. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
1-Keep learning. Take seminars and courses that can keep you up-to-date on your industry and other areas of importance that make you more in-the-know.
2-Have a clear vision. Set goals.
3-Take a risk. Helen Keller once said, "Life either is nothing at all or an adventure."
4-Do not listen to negativity (in your head) and do it!
5-Celebrate your small and big accomplishments and don’t forget those that helped you. Show gratitude.

“Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.” ~ Earl Nightingale

8-Focus on the Positive
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher in human emotions, published a paper that states, “In the same way that we need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily experience to help us become more resourceful versions of ourselves."

When positive emotions are in ample supply, people take off. They become creative, resilient, ripe with possibility and beautifully
complex.

Now when something bad happens we can’t use positive thinking to block the negative. We need to process the occurrence and avoid developing a disaster scenario (the “my life is a total mess” tape that plays in your head). Instead, you need to recognize what has gone wrong but set it in context.

TIPS TO BECOME MORE OPTIMISTIC:
Begin Your Day On a Positive Note. Find a few minutes each morning to clear your mind and then think positive thoughts about the upcoming day.
Hang Out With Optimistic People. Use the power of peer influence to feed your sense of optimism. Seek out the company of those with a sunny disposition and let yourself be influenced by their optimism. Use the group dynamic to your benefit.
Be Positively Aware. Make it a habit to actively search for the positive side of everything. Turn it into a private game. With practice, you will be surprised how easy it becomes to see the not so obvious benefits and pleasures all around you.
Do A Gratitude Review Nightly. This is a great way to end your day. Before you go to bed think of at least ten things that you are truly grateful for. Let yourself feel the joy that those things bring to your life. Fall asleep reflecting on your blessings.

9- Etiquette Intelligence
The ever competitive world of business requires that we maintain our manners and deal with situations and events with much finesse. We must avoid at all costs becoming too comfortable or letting our guard down. Etiquette intelligence can become a beneficial factor that can tip the scale in your favor when closing a deal or being selected for a new position.

Etiquette and good manners should be seen as the “common ground” where all can relate. It is also a “common language” that we should learn how to speak. That is why my business, Common Ground Etiquette exists.

While business etiquette and image management skills alone won’t insure success, they can definitely give you an advantage over those that are just as smart or well-trained as you are.

As Judge Clarence Thomas said: “Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”

10-Start Planning Now for 2018 and Be your Champion.
I just want to remind you that we are already half way on month #7 of year 2017. I know its Summer and we all have so many plans and want to enjoy the great weather; but you need to start thinking on setting those goals for 2018.

Start small and build upon… ask yourself what is the one most important and single goal you want to accomplish in 2018? Write it down and then ask yourself again the following:
-What are the things (including mindset) that are preventing you from achieving that goal? Can you eliminate them?
-What is the biggest strength you have? How can you integrate it to help you accomplish your goal?
-Is there a new skill you need to develop or learn?
-Who do I need to help me achieve my goal?
-Who can I help achieve theirs?

My last tip today and my closing statement for you.

Be Your Own Champion

People ask me how they can stand out and inspire others in a positive way. I tell them “Be your own champion. Always strive to be better than you were yesterday. Chase that champion every day and you will live with passion, achieve great things, and become memorable!” ~Belinda M. Cermola

I hope I have awaken you to your passion which is your business and to being a better you. If you have any questions I am always available via private messages at www.facebook.com/CommonGroundEtiquette. I sincerely wish you a season of success! Thank you.