Angie McKaig - E-Business Consultant and Entrepreneur
email for entrepreneurs2006.04.25
We've all heard it: email is king of the time suckage. And when you're working for yourself, it seems to gather even more suction as time goes on. There are so many tutorials out there on how to optimize your email, how to make it more efficient, how to prevent it taking up your life that I wish I had a dollar for each of them.
Email seems to take on an even bigger role once you're carving your own niche in the world, career-wise. I struggled against that for quite a while. In reality, all I really needed to know, from day one, were these simple things:
Format your emails in a businesslike manner. Have a greeting, a body (with paragraphs and sentences and everything!) and a businesslike signature (not just your name!).
Run a business, not an acquaintanceship.
Always respond promptly - same day is ideal; at least every 2-3 days at a bare minimum.
Emotions have no place in business.
Certain words should just never appear in your emails: I feel, I'm disappointed, I'm angry, I'm hurt. Businesses don't feel, they don't get angry, they don't get hurt... they just do business.
Emoticons were created for a reason.
Even if you never use emoticons, never forget the reason they were created: because it's tough to tell tone via email. Something straightforward and businesslike to you may seem curt or sarcastic to another. Be as clear as possible.
Explanations go a long way.
Take the time, when you can, to educate. An extra 10 minutes spent writing a few paragraphs to explain something to a client can buy a priceless amount of goodwill.
It's time for a mindshift, entrepreneur.
Email is not something that takes you away from your work. Email is a vital part of your work. It requires the same care, feeding and watering as the rest of your business, if not more so. You're not in Cubeville any more, with a sales department to back you up. You're it, bub. Remember that without those emails, phone calls and other "interruptions", you wouldn't have a business.
I know that sounds simple, even basic. But honestly, without these rules, I wouldn't have a business. :)