Be Professional, Even Off the Clock

As a small business owner, you are the face of your company. While you may have separate branding and marketing efforts, the owner represents the business every day. It is important to put your best foot forward.

 You Are Your Brand

If you own a small business, you are linked to your brand whether you like it or not. Last year, I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of online small business owners at the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago. Each person there was the face of their brand.

Of course, this was a professional event, but the impressions we put forward were taken to be the professionalism of the brand, both off and on the clock. If you gave a great talk at a session and turned around to embarrass yourself at a late night social event, everyone was able to put two and two together.

 Your Customers Need to Trust You

You are not a hidden chef behind the scenes at a restaurant or a nameless worker in a shipping center, you are the name and face of your company. If a dishwasher at a local restaurant has an unsavory life outside of work, most people won’t care as long as they get the job done. The same probably isn’t the case for you.

If you provide a service, you must be trustworthy and put your best face forward. I learned early in my career that impressions matter a lot, sometimes as much as performance. If you are a financial advisor, for example, it doesn’t matter how great you do with your client’s money if you are bankrupt yourself. If they find out, they will leave you.

While that is an extreme example, I am sure we can all come up with a scenario where the owner of a business impacted your decision to use that company, either for better or worse. Remember that when you are out in public. You never know who you may run into.

Have a Good Attitude and Strong Integrity

You might be wondering, how can I give a professional impression to my customers and my community? That’s easy. There are two powerful messages you can send that show you are a professional around the clock.

First, have a good attitude. If people think you have a “poor me” complex, where everything is doom and gloom, they will not look to you when it comes time to hire a [insert what you do here]. People like interacting with folks that have an upbeat, friendly, and outgoing personality. Stay positive and be a “yes” person to keep your customers engaged and to find new ones.

Second, and even more important, is to have integrity. This should go without saying, but being trustworthy and standing up for transparent and ethical business practices is essential today. Just look around review sites like Yelp to see what can happen if you lose your customer’s trust. Not good.

What Do You Do?

Do you make an extra effort to stay professional off the clock? What strategies do you use to project a good image of your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Please share your ideas in the comments.

Comments

  1. I think email communication is a huge part of how you present your brand, especially in the online niche. By responding quickly to emails, and acknowledging receipt of replies, it goes a long way to build credibility.

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  1. The Carnival of Financial Camaraderie #47 says:

    […] @ Entrepreneurship & Life writes Be Professional, Even Off the Clock – If you own a small business, you are linked to your brand whether you like it or not. Last […]

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