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        Mind Your Manners

        © 2013 Elena Fawkner

        If you subscribe to several business-related newsletters,
        you will probably have noticed a lot of people recently
        writing about the lack of professionalism displayed by some
        internet entrepreneurs and expressing the concern that the
        conduct of these individuals is jeopardising the good name
        and reputation of the rest of us trying to make an honest
        living in this brave new world.

        As you are no doubt aware, ecommerce is coming under the
        increasing scrutiny of government regulators right around
        the world.  Those factions in favour of regulating the
        internet are getting up a head of steam because of the
        seemingly increasing prevalence of internet scamsters and
        the general lack of professionalism displayed by some
        internet entrepreneurs.

        Much has already been, and will continue to be, written
        about unethical business practices ranging from the annoying
        (such as spam) to the more serious, such as credit card
        fraud.  What I would like to focus on is an aspect of
        professionalism ... courtesy ... and the way we deal with
        one another in our businesses.

        As you may or may not know, from time to time I accept free
        advertising in this ezine in addition to paid ads and ad
        swaps where I have the room.  I usually only have a couple
        of ad spots (if any) available after my ad deadline so I
        certainly can't place all the free ad submissions I receive.
        So, who gets in and who doesn't?  Well, let me put it this
        way.  Your chances are much better if you actually ask.

        Recently I have begun receiving a disturbing number of
        emails with "free ad" in the subject line and the text of an
        ad in the body.  Nothing else.  I assume these people think
        I am so desperate for advertisers to fill up my ad space
        that I will be grateful for the huge favor they do me by
        submitting their ad.  WRONG!  On both counts.

        New policy effective immediately: anyone who sends me an
        email like that is guaranteed one response and one response
        only.  My index finger on the delete key.

        Now, thankfully, most people seeking a free ad are courteous
        and professional in their approach.  Here's an example from
        just this morning:

        >Hi Elena, I am a new subscriber to A Home-Based Business
        >Online.  I would appreciate your running my ad when
        >space is available.  Thank you.

        You guessed it ... the person who wrote me this email has a
        free ad in this issue.

        Please and thank you.  They open doors.  Even on the
        internet.  Especially on the internet.

        Small point?  Maybe.  But it's symptomatic of a certain
        attitude and approach to doing business.  The root cause of
        the lack of professionalism we so often encounter as
        internet entrepreneurs is, at least in part, the anonymous
        nature of internet commerce.  No one need ever know our true
        identity if we choose to keep it hidden.

        It's kind of like the mentality you see evidence of when
        driving.  As drivers, we are anonymous.  We don't know the
        person in the car behind or ahead and will never see them
        again.  Would we give the too-slow driver in the car ahead
        an angry blast of the horn if that person was someone we
        knew?  Someone we worked with?  A business acquaintance?  I
        doubt it.

        The reason some people feel free to be so rude and
        aggressive on the roads is the same reason these (I'd be
        willing to bet, SAME) people behave this way on the internet.
        No-one holds them to account.  We all hit our delete keys
        and move on.  People have come to EXPECT to encounter rude
        and aggressive drivers on the road.  They have also,
        unfortunately, come to expect this behavior on the internet.

        Each one of us has a role to play in reducing this attack
        on the professionalism of our businesses.  By setting high
        standards for ourselves and looking for those same qualities
        in those with whom we do business, whether they be
        advertisers in our newsletters, resellers of our programs,
        whatever, and refusing to do business with those who aren't
        professional, we all make a valuable incremental
        contribution to increasing the level of professionalism in
        internet entrepreneurship.

        _________________________

        Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based or online business.

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