Do As I Say, Not As I Do!
Setting a good example is as essential in business as it is in parenting or teaching. If you have bad business practices, such as an absence of good Ts and Cs, or good credit control, how can you expect your clients to take you seriously when you advise them to have Ts and Cs, and chase people for payment!
This thought occurred to me recently when I was reminded of the first time I took my son to the cinema at the age of three and a half (the half is very important when you’re only three). My eldest son was born at Christmas, which means that his second and third birthdays were celebrated by a number of trips to the pantomime. He revelled in the joys of being able to shout out, join in, sing along, clap etc. All the things that are essential for good panto goers. I, of course, encouraged him and his friends and cousins to do all of these things. That’s all part of the fun.
A few months after his third birthday, they bought out a film of Cat in the Hat, which was his favourite book. I’ve read it so many times that I can still recite about the first 10 pages of it without looking – if you want to test me out on this next time I see you, I’d be happy to demonstrate my skills!
I have no doubt that you know what’s coming next – but that’s because there is no gap in the story for you. For me, there was six months between the last panto and the first film and it never occurred to me that my young child wouldn’t know the difference between live action etiquette and cinema rules. He sat down obediently and ate his snacks, but the minute the cat appeared on the screen he was up, cheering and shouting – oblivious to the fact that no one else was. Fortunately, children’s films are not known for their quiet, but he was still far louder than anyone else, which is unusual for him! Of course I tried to explain, but in a hushed cinema, under the gaze of many disapproving pairs of eyes, it was rather hard, and he was only 3 (and a half!). Eventually I gave up and we left with me promising to buy it for him on DVD as soon as it came out, so he could watch it and join in to his hearts content. I waited many months before we tried anything similar again.
So I do understand that what is very obvious to me, may not be as obvious to you. When I say “do you have a shareholders agreement” or “do your staff have contracts of employment”, I really don’t mind if you look at me blankly as if I’m talking another language. However, I would urge you to benefit from my experience, and if you are running your own business, and would like a complimentary review of your documents, procedures or the lack thereof, drop me a line at email@example.com to fix a time for a chat. I’ll even bring the popcorn.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Setting the right example in business!