The Business Of Business: Stand out in the business world

Sometimes, when you're self-employed, you can feel like a small fish in a ginormous pond. But there are ways to really make yourself stand out in the business world and get noticed. And you might be surprised by how simple (yet effective) these ideas can be.

So here's some advice on how to stand out in the business world.

Pick up the phone. Yep, forget hitting send or that little arrow icon, and actually dial a number to get a real live voice on the line. In this fast-paced world of technology, things have gotten pretty impersonal. A phone call may be the perfect way to forge a new relationship, finalize a deal, or just connect with another professional.

Follow-up. Had a meeting with someone? Follow up with a quick email (or phone call!) in the day that follows. Thank them for taking the time to see you. Acknowledge the meet-up. Take those extra few minutes to reconnect.

Written correspondence. I always follow-up a press event, press trip, and the like with a handwritten card (I actually had some cool writing-related postcards printed up). Handwritten correspondence is almost as archaic as dinosaurs, but I've always gotten a great response when I've gone this "old-fashioned" route.

Bring the personal in. So often, we put on our brave professional faces and refuse to bring anything personal into the mix. However, it's the personal details of someone's life that makes them truly memorable. For example, the fact that I'm a mom and have a child has helped me find common ground with lots of fellow-parent professionals, and it's not only a great icebreaker topic ("So, how many children do you have?") but one that I've used in future meetings and discussions to help "remind" people who I am (she's the one with the 7-year-old she calls "bean") and keep that connection going.

Jennifer Cox is a regular columnist and blogger, and writes for daily newspapers as well as national magazines. 

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