Starting a business is a process consumed with decisions, some easy and some difficult. Honestly, a business is really just the result of a bunch of related decisions.
When you start a business, you are forced to confront decisions that you would probably rather avoid. You’ll be forced to make:
- Ethical Decisions
- Customer Service Decisions
- Product Decisions
Some will be joyous decisions like unveiling the new product you’ve been working on, and others will be whether to make concessions for a rude customer or not.
Regardless, the decisions that you make as the owner, will define the philosophies, and the perception of your business.
Truett Cathy (Chik-Fil-A Founder) was quoted for as saying this brilliant piece of knowledge:
“I believe no amount of business school training or work experience can teach what is ultimately a matter of personal character. Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are. Thus, a business, successful or not, is merely a reflection of the character of its leadership.”
– Truett Cathy, Founder of Chik-Fil-A
Ethical Decisions and Dispositions
Ethical decisions cover many topics including legally ethical decisions, to morally ethical decisions. These might include:
- Accounting Ethics
- Product Quality
- Employee Work Conditions
- Environmental Accountability
Your business’ disposition in these matters will be a direct reflection of your values. Would you trust any former leaders of Enron to operate your company? Is it because Enron was a bad company, or because the people making the decisions were ethically questionable at best?
Companies, no matter how big or small, directly reflect the values of the decision makers. A company can try to hide their true intentions and values, but like people, they seem to eventually show their real colors.
Customer Service Decisions
Customer service decisions are one of the more important decisions that you will make. Will your customer service be desired, or mocked about on Twitter? You will always have a customer who is never satisfied, but if the majority is unsatisfied, what does that say about your company and you?
If your company has terrible customer service, and they offer little support for the products you offer, then that is a direct reflection of how you feel about your customers. I’m not only talking about large companies here, this even counts for companies that only consist of the owner.
Customer service doesn’t just refer to massive call centers, we are talking about all aspects of customer service. If you truly value your customers, then your customer service will reflect it.
What Will Your Business Show?
You can’t be everything to everyone, so no matter what, not everyone will like you, and you will always have someone who isn’t pleased with your business. The real trick is determining what the general perception will be of your business. Will the majority of your customers be displeased with you?
Deeply consider how your values and world view will affect your product, your company, and your target market. If your company doesn’t seem like it will align with your customers, what are some things you can do to rectify that? If you know that your customers don’t like dealing with sales people, how can you address that?
It is imperative that you align your business with your customers needs! A great example of what not to do is highlighted in my article about Pushy Sales People.
- Hire talent that will align your company with your customers.
- Assess your values, and find out why they might be different from your customers.
- Put yourself in your customers’ place and try to figure out process changes.
- Consider a different line of business.
Considering a different line of business is drastic, but how happy can you truly be if your values and views differ so much from your customers? Could you imagine buying coins from a coin dealer who has absolutely no interest in it.
You would lose the camaraderie that comes from shopping there. You would essentially get the same type of camaraderie that you would at a Wal-Mart, you are talking with employees and owners who have no interest in you or your needs, they are just there to make money.
Be enthusiastic, and love what you do. If you don’t, then try something else.