Reputation is King
With the recent spate of news on trust issues from some high-profile companies, even small and medium sized businesses need to take heed. Often companies think first about cash, quarterly results, sales graphs looking like a hockey stick etc. and naturally in the business world “cash is king”. While cash flow is key for any viable business, it seems corporations large and small are more frequently misplacing the true value of reputation and paradoxically how revenue is a by-product of it. Mistakes can happen anywhere but owning up to them quickly and rectifying the issue go a long way to maintaining your reputation.
This doesn’t mean a company should be blindly allowed to be taken advantage of by its customers. I don’t necessarily agree with the old Nordstrom lore of accepting tires for refund when they never sold them in the first place. Employees do need to protect the company and its shareholders in a fair matter. At the same time, the quality and specifications must be delivered as to what is agreed to. Some unscrupulous outfits prey on customers for single transactions, but also there are clients/customers who try to take advantage of their supplier. Having upfront clarity of specifications, payment terms, delivery times, etc. go a long way to ensure transparency. This quote from Robert Bosch summarizes this well:
“I have always acted according to the principle that ‘I would rather lose money than trust.’ The integrity of my promises, the belief in the value of my products and in my word of honor have always had a higher priority to me than a transitory profit.”