10 things we do but shouldn’t

by | Nov 20, 2017

We were sat in the office the other day, having a moan about something – I can’t remember what it was – but we ended up talking about the things that people do, in a business context, that they really shouldn’t. We’re not talking about social faux pas or the behaviour of the bloke that doesn’t realise we’ve moved on from the 70’s, we’re talking about the things that you shouldn’t do, but probably don’t realise you shouldn’t. In no particular order here is our top 10 of business no-no’s.

1. Are you using unlicensed images? Yep, when you Google an image, it’s not yours for the taking. Adding that image to a presentation or (even worse) printed material isn’t legal. This goes for your kids homework projects as well. You should be wary of using any content as Google is only there for you to find the content, it is not a licence to use it.

2. We all love a bit of networking, but without explicit consent, it’s not legal to take all those lovely business cards you’ve collected and add them to your CRM or MailChimp list. No, really it isn’t. Just because it’s networking doesn’t mean it isn’t governed by Data Protection (or any other) legislation.

3. Network marketing, along with a whole host of other specific industries, can’t use MailChimp. Check out the MailChimp acceptable use policy to see if you’re on the list. You might be surprised what they include – the definitions are pretty broad – so check before you send.

4. Let’s stick with MailChimp for a moment. If you have your contacts in different lists and an individual unsubscribes in one list MailChimp won’t unsubscribe them if they appear in another list. Beware you could be sending content to people who have opted out.

5. Dropbox et al. A great tool without a doubt, but be careful about using the free version of any cloud-based tool. They have things like “…all content uploaded to our service becomes our property…” in their T’s and C’s. Do you want them to own the design for your Next Big Thing? Thought not.

6. Do you know your BCC from your CC? If you are using Outlook to send emails to a group of people, ensure you send the email to yourself in the ‘To’ box and the rest of the recipients in the ‘BCC’ box. This ensures recipients don’t see everybody’s email address. To be safe transfer your list to MailChimp and then you can be sure no one sees what they shouldn’t.

7. When someone asks you to encrypt your spreadsheet, don’t use Excel password protection. This is purely to deter people from changing bits of a spreadsheet, it’s not secure encryption and was never designed for this and can be broken – easily. Use a proper encryption utility like 7zip or WinZip.

8. Your team are having a day at the local park/shops/cinema and you take a pic for your staff newsletter. Are there other people in the background of the photo? Have you asked their permission to print their photo in your newsletter? This is in all situations – be careful about posting images on social media where there are people in the background and be particularly respectful if there are kids.

9. Interviews can be tough for both parties, and small-talk on the way to and from the room or whilst waiting for someone is a way of breaking the ice and starting to build rapport. You mention your kids and your interviewee mentions hers. Oh oh! Is this going to bias your decision? Are you going to pass-her-over because you worry about her childcare commitments? We know we’re not meant to directly ask, but be careful about getting information you shouldn’t – it could be used against you.

10. Every day you have to go over to the other office on your way home to drop the post off. The other office isn’t really on the direct route home, but it saves so much time doing it this way. If you have an accident are you insured? Most insurers would argue that this is business use of your vehicle and not covered under your personal policy.

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