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Simple Matters

We just simply wanted to say Thank You for following Rule of Thumb for Small Business.

We hope your Holidays are filled with joy and happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving

Michael, Sonia and all the
Rule of Thumb for Small Business Authors
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Holiday Social Etiquette Tips

ThHoliday Social Etiquette.ere are many helpful tips for Holiday Social Etiquette.

Just in time for our annual holiday meetup. Here are a few Holiday Social Etiquette tips that will help you enjoy and converse with ease:

  • HAt business social events, you are still under scrutiny.  Your attire should not be too casual or revealing as that impression will carry back to the office and can affect promotion opportunities. You still want to be remembered as the polished (and fun) individual, not for what you wore. Have extra clothing in the car to make a quick change if need be.
  • Don’t want to attend an event? Go anyway! Spend at least 30 minutes making the rounds, shaking hands and being seen by as many people as possible. That way, you will show your interest in the company in a favorable light. After that time, slip out quietly. Be sure to discuss the event, thank the organizer, etc., the next day. They will appreciate it!
  • When in a networking environment with food and drinks, avoid trying to talk to individuals while holding one in each hand. Eat at a standing table first so at least your right hand is free to shake hands. It can be awkward and messy trying to talk while juggling your hors d’oeuvres.
  • Always hold your glass in your left hand when mingling so the right one is dry and free to shake hands.
  • Drink a glass of water or coffee between alcoholic drinks to maintain a sharp, professional conversation at all times.
  • If you are socializing with upper management or clients who are not drinking alcohol, please abstain during your conversation with them. This may sound old fashioned but it shows you are respectful of their time, preferences and totally engaged in your conversation with them.
  • Make it a habit to introduce yourself to at least five people you don’t know to build up your network or make new friends. Always focus on them (which also helps if you’re self-conscious talking about yourself.) If you want to talk with them again, ask for their card first rather than hand them yours. This is primarily “social” time, not business development time.
  • At social events, your date is also under scrutiny. Adults never want to introduce someone as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” but rather just offer their first and last names. If it’s your spouse, provide that designation.
  • Help your date be more comfortable by telling them as much about the people they will meet while on your way to the event.  Knowing what subjects are good and which ones are off limits makes for a more fun (and profitable) event.
  • Always thank the host or hostess and let them know how much you appreciate their hospitality. Handwritten thank-you’s are a nice touch for more formal parties. Even an email can show you are thinking about them and their thoughtfulness.
  • When attending an event at someone’s home, a small gift life a bottle of wine or box of chocolates is usually a welcome gift to show your appreciation for all of their work.
  • If a sit-down meal, follow the host/hostess for when to put your napkin in your lap and begin eating.
  • Wait until they begin eating in case they want to ask a blessing or make a toast. It is embarrassing to begin and then put that fork down.
  • Look around to see if someone needs an item in front of you and pass them as soon as you have used them: salt and pepper, cream for coffee, etc.
  • If the host/hostess does not have professional help for their event, it is a very nice gesture to gather plates, glasses and other items you notice laying around. The harried host can then enjoy more time with guests and it only takes you a couple minutes of thoughtfulness.
  • Place your napkin on the back of your seat if you get up briefly and lay it back on your lap as soon as you return.
  • When you are through eating, you are “finished” and never “done.” (My elderly mentor used to scold me about that and said, “Meat is done, you are finished.”)

Good manners and holiday social etiquette will help you with engaging conversation and you will always be a hit!!!  Holiday social etiquette is only one way to market yourself for success, to find out more check out the book A Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success.


Actions to Move Ideas Forward

Do you have a great business idea? Having an idea for a business can be the impetus that gets us started in our own business. But, do you have the wherewithal to do the work, day in and day out, to bring that idea to life? According to GrowthWheel there are seven action steps to move your idea to fruition. They are, Ideation, Research, Decision-Making, Sparring, Testing, Documentation for conviction, and Presentations to sell ideas. I will be sharing a actions to move ideas forwardseries of blog posts to discuss each of these ideas. I hope they strike a chord for you and help you take actions to move ideas forward.

The first is, Inspiration for Ideation. Ideation is the act of getting ideas to move us forward. There are several ways to get an idea chain moving. (See prior blog post on this topic.)

The second is, Research that provides knowledge.  Perhaps you already have a plethora of ideas or have a couple that you are trying to choose between. What’s next? Research. Doing research up-front will say you a lot of legwork and heartache. (See prior blog post on this topic.)

The third is, Decision-Making that leads to action. It is one thing to make a decision, that’s all well and good, but a decision that leads to action is an altogether different thing. “I should…”, “We will…”, “Once this step is complete…”, “When…” if these phrases seems familiar to you then you have made some non-action decisions. It’s tricky because it seems as if you’ve made a decision, when in fact, you have not, you are still thinking about a decision.

A strong decision leads to action. This step of creative business development is vastly important because it will lead you forward from the first two steps, ideation and research. Once you have an idea and you’ve researched whether it’s a good fit for your business to pursue, you must make a decision to move forward, or not. Both are valuable decisions.

How you make decisions at your organizations come into play in this step. Are you a sole-proprietor, a partner, or part of an organizations that has an advisory board or board of directors? You will need to take your decision to whichever power you answer to in order to make your final, action-oriented, decision.

Different decisions will require different decision-making strategy, however, there are five basic steps that any business can follow to get you to that all important action step. They are,

  1. Define the decision to be made, or the problem to be solved.
  2. Brainstorm all of the options.
  3. Investigate options and their consequences.
  4. Decide and Act.
  5. Evaluate the decision.

Step five can only be done well after the decision is made and acted upon. It has three steps of its own. This is called the PMI approach to evaluation. P stands for “positive”, what were the positive things that happened because of the decision that you made? M stands for “minuses”, what were the negatives that happened or came about because of the decision you made? And, I stands for “interesting points”, what were those interesting things that happened that you could not have imagined when you first made your decision? It’s a great method to help your debrief a decision, after you’ve had some space away from the original decision.

If you feel that your business is stuck, it’s probably because you are not making action triggering decisions. If after you’ve gone through the decision making steps above, you are still not ready to make a decision, read the next blog on, sparring with others, it may provide more needed information that will make a decision easier.

If you would like to take actions to move ideas forward, consider attending one of our small business workshops.


Small Business Assistance

Small Business Assistance: Here to Help

Rule of Thumb for Small Business is a leader in providing resources, published materials and presentation forums to small businesses for their growth, development, and long term sustainability.

We often hear that small businesses are the engines of job creation in the United States. Their value and the role they play in our economy is sometimes underestimated because, they are in fact, small. But the truth is there’s nothing small about the impact they have on our economy.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are between 25 million and 27 million small businesses in the U.S. that account for 60 to 80 percent of all U.S. jobs. So, how do we ensure small businesses are getting the resources they need to grow? What can we do to not only help them succeed, but thrive in an ever changing economy? Providing the right climate for entrepreneurial firms to succeed, including access to business advisors can be extremely valuable. Smart regulations and tax structures can also give small businesses a boost and better chance of survival.

Our library of Rule of Thumb books was developed for those small business owners. Our expert authors are available to lead your team through practical and interactive training that will result in strategies and tactics to benefit the bottom line! Whether you are looking for training in business basics, marketing, human performance, or Microsoft Office applications, we can assist you in growing your business.