Perhaps the most surprising thing about private sector business is the general presumption of honesty which prevails, despite many well-publicised examples of dishonesty.
Most businessmen are in fact honest. Business would be impossible if they were not.
However, anyone who is in business for any length of time is going to come across some rogues. There is no need to get paranoid about this. It is possible to steer clear of them if one sees the warning signs in time.
Here, based on considerable experience, are ten traits that should make the entrepreneur careful about a new business contact.
1. Goes on a lot about how honest he is – this is a big warning sign!
2. Pitch includes the words “This is not a pyramid scheme”.
3. Starts calling you “my friend” within minutes of your first meeting.
4. Talks a lot about the rewards of doing business with him but very little about what that business involves.
5. Uses your Christian name too often and with too much emphasis.
6. Too eager to answer questions or objections that have not yet been raised.
7. Avoiding eye contact or staring too deliberately into your eyes or alternating between the two.
8. Particularly warm and welcoming smile.
9. Shameless name-dropping.
10. Tries to divert your concern about overdue payments with promises of more business – this is an alarm call for you: time for emergency exit.
We are all guilty of at least two or three of these social sins, but anyone exhibiting more than five should be viewed with caution.