HARVEY MACKAY: BUSINESS IN BALANCE
concerned with the long-term ramifications of
Harvey Mackay (www. their actions.
harveymackay.com) is In other words, you can now do business by
the author of the New
York Times number-one cell phone, fax, Internet or e-mail and be essentially
best-sellers Swim with anonymous. You’ve probably been put on hold,
the Sharks Without Being paced through a phone menu, pressed every but-
Eaten Alive and Beware ton, been transferred to several incorrect depart-
In praise the Naked Man Who ments and nobody but the machine knows or even
Offers You His Shirt. cares. There’s little pressure to be polite, just busi-
of clutter nesslike and efficient. Sadly, it soon becomes the
rule rather than the exception. Sooner or later, you
“IF A CLUTTERED desk is have no other choice than to put up with it.
a sign of a cluttered mind, Bad manners As customers do business farther away from
of what, then, is an empty home, the likelihood that your next-door neigh- desk?” Albert Einstein bour is also your banker or grocer or school prin- reportedly observed. are bad for cipal lessens. We lose some of the sense of
The question provides community that helps us behave civilly even the thesis behind Costco when we are disappointed. members Eric Abrahamson business Business may have changed, but people
and David H. Freedman’s LAST WEEK, a business associate and I were at a haven’t. They still have feelings, and they’d like a
A Perfect Mess: The Hidden
Benefits of Disorder (Back
crowded deli in New York for lunch. Several people little consideration. The best part is that it’s so
Bay Books UK, 2008). True were in line ahead of us when a table opened up. easy to do. (And free!)
stories and case studies My associate grabbed my arm and headed for the Bad manners are bad business. A little consid-
prove their point that people table. I was shocked and embarrassed at the rude eration goes a long way. And it’s really all so basic.
with a modicum of messi- behaviour. “What about all those people ahead of Simply put, good manners are like a road map
ness and disorder can indeed us?” I asked. “Harvey, you’re in New York now,” he for society. They help us navigate through tough sit-
be more efficient, more cre- explained. I suddenly lost my appetite. uations. We don’t have to backtrack because we
ative and, in general, more Good manners are never out of style or out haven’t taken wrong turns. We will reach our desti-
effective than their highly of date, although lately I’m seeing less and less nation without the road rage.
organized counterparts. of them. My theory is that as business in general Mackay’s moral: Good manners are free, but
There may be tongue- in-cheek comments in the becomes more impersonal, people become less they are also priceless. C
book, but the authors’ intent
is completely serious. “An unproductive and frustrating Cleaning out the cobwebs
obsession with neatness and
order is a real problem in our COBWEB SITE: A Web site that ■ Establish a housekeeping
society,” says Freedman. hasn’t been updated for a long time. schedule. Determine how often
The authors suggest A dead Web page. you should or will introduce
embracing not chaos The phrase “cobweb site” is new content.
but flexibility, and warn only about a decade old, but ■ Remove or refresh stale con-
against over-organization. every Web site owner is familiar tent. Remove all expired offers,
Freedman offers some tips with the concept. Savvy entrepre- products or services and update
from the book. neurs are acutely aware that a information if it has changed. If
■ Think in terms of Web site is necessary. It gives a the site features spotlighted arti-
disrupting the status quo in business validation, a wide pres- cles, replace them with new mate-
your company rather than ence and another potential ave- rial, but be sure to offer an archive
maintaining it. nue for revenue. But when a Web of past articles for reference.
■ Most plans end up site is not backed up by a ■ Make it current. Even if your
going out the window; thoughtful business process it can product or service is fairly static,
instead, focus on being a do more harm than good, as peo- find a way to show that the site—
fast reactor and improviser. ple tend to equate the lack of reg- and the business—is up-to-date.
■ Don’t hold employees ular updating and attention to a Add time-sensitive comments or
to your standards for being site with how the business is run. quotes from customers or associ-
organized. People tend to A recent survey conducted daily, 16 per cent weekly, 16 per ates, then be sure to replace them
naturally organize them- by Hostway, a decade-old Web cent monthly and a whopping 31 before they are old news.
selves in the way that works hosting company, reveals that per cent annually. ■ Check links. Periodically test
best for them. while many site owners under- John Enright, vice president all links on the site to be sure they
For more information, stand the need for frequent of business development and work properly. This is especially
visit the authors’ Web sites, updating, a good portion still do marketing for Hostway, offers important if you link to other sites,
www.ericabrahamson.com not, with 37 per cent of respon- these tips to ensure a fresh and as they may change their site or
and www.freedman.com. C dents saying they update content vital Web site. remove a page completely. C