phoneWe all have ambitious ideas as we turn the page on 2015 and look forward to 2016. In our personal lives, we all hope to lose that last 10 pounds—which might be more like 15 after the holidays. We might want to finally organize the garage, take a fresh look at investments, or make some progress through our queue of eBooks. But I wonder how many of us have thought about improving our interaction with other people.

The New Year also allows us a fresh start with our business plans. We might be looking to expand infrastructure, hire talent, or update product offerings. Once again though, I wonder how many of us will take the time to reflect on our professional comportment. Just a few weeks ago in December, I had designs on acting as an angel investor to an aspiring and promising company, but became wary due to a disconcerting inattention to detail. The whole experience reminded me that top-notch personal business behavior has become absolutely crucial in our age of largely faceless communication.

I sent out a set of documents to a potential partner that needed to be signed and subsequently returned. In the included email, I requested that everything be signed and sent back no later than in one week’s time. Previously, we had shared fruitful discussions about our coming arrangement, and frankly, I was more than eager to get things started. We had already agreed on a dollar amount for my investment, and all that stood in the way were a few signatures.

After six days had passed, I thought it might be a good idea to send along a friendly reminder, so I left a voice message briefly saying that we still needed to concretize our plans in writing via our agreement. In truth, I began to wonder if the entrepreneur was facing some sort of personal situation, and that maybe that was the reason for the lack of communication. In fact he did get back to me—one day after I had expected the return of the documents—and informed me that he had been “busy” with this and that.

Perhaps along with all of our grand plans for 2016, maybe we all should begin by refocusing on the basics, specifically on how we conduct ourselves in our everyday business lives. We should do this for two reasons: first, good behavior is the correct thing to do, period; in addition, it is important to keep in mind that we are continually being evaluated by potential clients, partners, and suitors. Would you invest $50,000 in a team with a great idea if they neglected to respond to an email?

At Sumus, we understand that the way in which we communicate grows and solidifies new and existing relationships. In 2016, we will continue to focus on all details of client interaction, from polite, timely, and accurate communication, to detailed, individualized, and knowledgeable advice.

Jim Baker

Jim Baker

Sumus was founded by Jim Baker, an entrepreneur with 27 years’ experience bootstrapping and growing his business organically and through acquisition, to share his experience by providing advisory services around Board representation, Organization and Branding Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Value enhancement and Exit strategy.

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