Blowing your own trumpet is a good thing in business. I don't mean a full-blown daily concerto of 'I'm so unbelievably brilliant'. I mean a quick, chirpy fanfare when you've earned it. You need to celebrate your achievements with the people who love your business. Tell them about your exciting store opening on Twitter, Facebook your latest product, and when you meet someone for the first time, tell them what's going well rather than droning on about your woes.
In the UK, we're very prone to downplaying our achievements, to shuffling about awkwardly when someone gives us praise, to being overly modest. We murmur and shake our heads and pooh-pooh claims to greatness. This doesn't do anyone any good. It makes you look unconfident and shy and makes your business sound unappealing.
Who's going to partner with a start-up that can only say: "Yeh, it's going okay, I suppose. Could be better, could be worse - you know how it is." Rubbish! Instead, shout about the fact you've just signed a brilliant deal with a major player in your industry, that you've just taken on a new member of staff, that things are really looking quite bright for the future. Blog it, tweet it, tell people the good stuff when they ask how you are and how business is going.
Enthusiasm is infectious and engaging. If you're obviously excited about your business, other people will be too. Contacts will want to hop on the happy bandwagon and help you out with anything they can. New customers will turn to you rather than your sour-faced competitors. Suppliers will warm to you, and smilingly give you that 5% free you ask for. When you believe in what you're doing and aren't afraid to show it, other people will believe in it too.
The Smarta 100 are a case in point. We've been working hard here to pull the list of the UK's smartest businesses together, to build a microsite to showcase our wonderful winners, and to publicise them through our personal and @smartaHQ Twitter accounts, offline media, network of contacts and on Smarta. Result? "Smarta 100" is now trending on Twitter UK. We are pleased as punch. And, of course, we've tweeted about it.
And our winners are busy tweeting about being in the Smarta 100 too, and calling up their local papers to get some coverage out of it, and putting it on their websites. They're going to get plenty of PR out of this, and their customers will see that they're one of the smartest businesses in the UK. That means more brand loyalty and, sooner or later, more sales. You don't get that without putting yourself out there and proudly sharing your achievements with the world.