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Everything I need to know about business I learned from my Mom when I was still a kid

Chuck Vosburgh - Thursday, November 10, 2011

I was talking with a new client and he said something that got me thinking; “didn’t other people’s Mothers teach them what my Mom did?”  He was talking about vendors and freelancers in particular. 

According to him, and my observation, Mom’s advice is easy to forget. It’s simple common sense, but in today’s busy world they’re often forgotten and some things just need repeating. I know it was good for me to give it some thought. Here are a few of my favorites:

You are judged by the company you keep. A-List people do business with A-List people. Honest people don’t hang around dishonest people. Good people don’t participate in evil. There’s an old saying that goes like this: If you’re not a duck, don’t hang around the pond or people will think you’re a duck.

A person in front of you is more important than someone who isn’t there. A person calling, texting or e-mailing can wait. Don’t insult someone by taking a call or texting while speaking with them. Of course there are exceptions, in that case ask if it’s okay to take the call. Those exceptions should be rare. This applies to call-waiting also.

Don’t wear out your welcome. Keep your promotional communication to an appropriate level. One really good e-mail a month is better than one mediocre e-mail every day or every week.

There’s a time and place for everything. People who are always “on” and people who are always hawking their services are annoying.

Your word is your bond. In these days of explicit contracts, for every little thing, be a man or woman of your word. If you do, you’ll stand out and people will trust and want to do business with you.

Your reputation is the most valuable thing you have. We’re known by our deeds and your business deeds should be consistent with your personal beliefs and standards.

Knowledge can never be lost or taken away. If you’re reading this, chances are you believe in continuous self-improvement by learning. 

Send a thank-you note. Want to stand out? You’d be surprised how few people do this.

Beware of snakes. You have a gut for a reason, follow it. Chances are it’s right. I can’t think of a single time I’ve gone against my gut and not regretted it.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Try to be known as someone who always has a level head and reacts calmly.

The fact that most people don’t do these things is a great opportunity to stand out among your competitors.  It’s impossible to do these things all the time. I know I don’t, but I’m trying. I’m glad my Mom hammered these things into my little brain. 

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