In business, philosophies abound on how to be successful. And, if you talk to many business people and ask how to be successful, they’ll tell you to always watch the bottom line, cut expenses, sell, sell, sell and keep your margins up. All of it sound advice. In reality, the viability of every business comes down to the bottom line – but is there another way to positively impact that number? I think there is. Perhaps it’s my overly optimistic approach, but as a new business owner, I believe the simply human approach to doing business will make you very successful. What does that mean? Kind of the little lessons you learn as a child.
Fairness, respect and trust – Treating customers, vendors and employees fairly. Letting them know you value them, have confidence in them and trust them. Sure, trusting always leaves you open to being burned, but at the end of the day, a client, vendor or employee that feels valued – even if in the process that costs you some money off the bottom line – is more apt to work hard for or with you to ensure your success and the continuance of that relationship.
Delivering more than expected – every time. Who doesn’t’ feel good when they feel they got more than they ever anticipated? A customer who gets an added option for no additional cost. A client who gets more than the budget or estimate detailed. Little things that speak volumes about the customer’s value to your company and that add another layer of brick to the customer relationship. And, in most cases, if you’re sincerely over delivering, you don’t need to point it out to the customer and say – look what I gave you. They notice. Though they may not say a word, loyalty grows.
Owning up to failures and mistakes – It’s my philosophy first and foremost to plan and execute with a keen attention to detail to avoid making mistakes – never settling for fine. But, when mistakes and shortcomings happen, our team operates on the principle that we will address them with clients before they ever have to ask. We’re all human. We all know we make mistakes. Typically, a customer just wants to know that you recognize the issue and are taking steps to correct the situation. If you didn’t deliver on your brand promise — no matter how fixing it affects the bottom line — you’ll be better off in the long run to fix the issue and stay true to your core values. I once had a client that shared a wonderful example along these lines and it has stuck with me more than five years. This was a manufacturing client that sold a piece of equipment to a customer that had nothing but problems with the product. The customer wanted to return the product, but that was outside the corporate policies. The matter went to the senior executive in the parent company. This individual asked a simple question. “Did we sell him crap?” When the answer was “Yes, the product has some issues.” His response was clear-cut. “You take the product back because “Brand X” does not sell crap.” A solid, non-negotiable answer to stand behind the brand promise. How do you stand behind your product or service offering? Are you building brand loyalty?
So you tell me, is my logic flawed? Am I crazy to think that if I treat clients and employees well, give them the benefit of the doubt, go above and beyond expectations, be honest and transparent and quit scrutinizing the bottom line, I will be successful? How about your company? What approach do you take?