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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2008:10:04 12:13:22

By Jeff Blackman

With this month’s Journal’s focus on “technology” and “economic development” — it made me realize…

The battle blazes daily, for quick Internet connectivity. And some Internet providers boast no matter how much your data and Internet needs grow in the foreseeable future, with their solution, you’ll never outgrow the capacity they can provide.

They call this phenomena, “future-proof.”

Hmmm. Interesting language.

So it got me wondering:

What are you doing to future-proof your business?

No matter how much your customers, clients and prospects grow, how will YOU be ready to help them?

How are you anticipating needs?

How are you devising innovative solutions?

What trends do you see?

How will you be future-proof?

And in your “present”…

Are you spending more time online, especially corresponding via email with clients, prospects and your team? Thought so.

Here are some guidelines to follow, so you’ll be E-savvy vs. Eeeh sorry!

These 15 simple, yet impactful strategies will make your emails both meaningful and memorable:

1. Be conversational in tone.

2. If you don’t want others to see it, don’t send it. (Remember, it’s called the world wide web for a reason. One click, can quickly cause chaos with consequences!)

3. Create specific and/or creative subject lines, yet nothing that creates confusion, misinterpretation or makes your message appear to be spam.

4. Never be angry, accusatory or sarcastic.

5. Use short sentences. Write in short paragraphs, NOT large blocks of text. Avoid upper case letters, they seem to YELL at you. Use them only for EMPHASIS.

6. Proofread. Knockout typos and bad grammar.

7. Write it, read it, then ask yourself: “Can I make it better?” And “Is there anything that might be misunderstood?”

8. Consider referencing the sender’s specific language, i.e., you place between arrows: >> their question, comment, etc. << then…

Your response. (Perhaps, in another color. This makes it easy, to quickly identify your response.)

9. Have a unique parting salutation, i.e., my use of: Creatively yours,

10. Use a signature block, i.e., with your name, title, contact info, website, favorite quote, an assistant’s contact info, links to social media, product or service-related videos, testimonials, etc.

11. CC others who are part of the decision-making process.

12. Keep easy-access desktop files of: template language, as well as key correspondence received and sent.

13. Be patient, use time to your advantage. (While e-mail affords the luxury of instantaneous replies, that immediacy may eliminate the benefits of reflection and deliberation.) Being speedy ain’t the same as being smart.

14. Avoid attached files, (unless they’re necessary and expected). Attachments require the recipient to do one more thing, plus there’s the ever-present fear of the dreaded virus. Also make sure the file can easily be read.

15. When appropriate, include a call-to-action, i.e., either you or the recipient will do something, like; set a date for a meeting, reach agreement on an issue or question, make a decision, promise to send something, honor a deadline or deliverable, etc.

And to help drive your future “economic development”…

Here are excerpts from good stuff I saw several years ago, posted on the walls at Griffin Transport Services in Reno, Nevada:

Basic belief statements that underlie the most important attributes, productive employees hold:

1. I know what’s expected of me at work.

2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.

3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

4. In the last seven days, I’ve received recognition or praise for doing good work.

5. My supervisor or someone at work encourages my development.

6. Someone at work regularly talks to me about my progress.

7. At work, my opinion seems to count.

8. The mission and purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

9. My fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

10. I can always share and discuss work issues with someone at work and find solutions together.

11. This last year, I’ve had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

And posted on another wall, Future is Your Choice

• maximize cash flow

• beat the business cycle

• find customers

• lead with confidence and optimism

• be ready for recovery

I’ll add to the preceding list:

• know, (or ask and discover), what your customers value most about their relationship(s), with YOU and your people, (then do more of it).

• find out if YOU or others at your company are doing stuff that bugs ‘em, (first, apologize — then create systems, processes and solutions so they don’t happen again).

• uncover what “frustrations” your prospects and customers have with your industry, (then eliminate those industry frustrations to give your company a distinct competitive advantage).

• leverage your relationships with your current customers to see how they can benefit from other products/services you offer.

• be a referral source for your customers, (introduce them to prospects).

• pay close attention to your receivables.

• be ready to move fast when you see an opportunity.

• leave the doubt and doom to others.

• plan for your prosperity.

• be grateful for all that you still have, knowing, you’ve got time to “be more” and “make more.”

• therefore, it’s time to “think more” and “do more.”