It’s a given that business owners and employees alike should act in a professional manner. What constitutes professionalism? To a degree, it can be interpreted in different ways. When you own your own business this becomes even more important to be professional and be conscientious of how others view you.  

I believe professionalism directly relates to customer service. And, strong customer service is essential to a successful business. It’s not only important to be professional when it comes to customers, but also when talking with colleagues, business partners, vendors, etc. Image is everything.

Let’s be honest, many of us don’t have a large marketing budget. But, being professional is one free way we can increase our word-of-mouth exposure. On the flip side, if you act in an unprofessional manner, there can be severe consequences. It’s not always true that any publicity is good publicity. If word gets out about a poor interaction it can really harm your business, even for weeks and months to come. 

I’ve put together my top five components of professionalism. These are the things that I think make a strong, professional business person {in no particular order}.

  1. Education:: You don’t need a Ph.D. to be educated about the business world and the company that you run. By doing research and gaining experience in your field you become educated. You will be more respected if you are knowledgeable about your products, competitors and customers. You can never know too much and you should never stop learning.
  2. Kindness:: I’m sure you don’t enjoy dealing with unkind people, so why would you subject your customers and business partners to the same misery? A kind word can go a long way in building respect and trust. Personally, I’m drawn toward kind people. I like to do business with those who genuinely care about me and Market Mommy.
  3. Fairness:: It goes without saying that a dishonest business person is a lousy one. Going above and beyond to be fair when there is a mistake or a misunderstanding can give your customer the extra confidence that they are dealing with a top-notch company.
  4. Humility:: Nobody is perfect; each of us can only do our best. Realizing that, as business owners, we aren’t above our customers, but rather on a level playing field, can go a long way in building relationships. Just as we expect respect, it should be shown to others as well.
  5. Gratitude:: Potential customers don’t have to become customers. Current customers don’t have to remain customers. By showing your appreciation, you can help to ensure that customers will return and recommend you to others. I am appreciative of each of my customers and try to show it with things like thank you notes, referral programs and repeat discounts.

 How do you portray professionalism?