The Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated – can be applied to all aspects of your life, but can also be a huge asset if you apply the ethic in your business dealings.
Unfortunately, new businesses or industries with high competition think that to succeed they need to conduct business in an underhanded and unethical way. Sadly, such surreptitious activities will often be exposed and in the end, do much to damage your company’s brand.
Your Reputation is Your Brand
Developing a strong personal brand is key to differentiating yourself from your competition. We all need to manage our reputations – how we are perceived by others determines the value they assign us and the opportunities they afford us. Perception is reality in the minds of employers, clients and colleagues, and it is never too soon to ask yourself, “How do people relate to my brand?”
Do your customers and colleagues see you as trustworthy, honest and loyal? Is your product priced fairly? Do you treat your customers with respect and more challenging, how do you handle dealings with your employees, subcontractors and your competitors? All of these relationships provide an opportunity to show the community that you value fair and honest business ethics, and in essence, you strive to equate trust with your company’s brand.
Financial Benefits of the Honest Business Practices
Some new businesses think they need to undercut, price fix, or bad-mouth your competitor to gain new business and increase their profit margin. Actually the opposite is true!
“And here’s some math: In most industries, companies that are the loyalty leaders have a compound annual growth rate that is more than twice that of their competitors.“
Customers who feel they have received a good deal, were treated well, and were well-informed with honest information, are more likely to buy more, stay longer, refer friends and provide positive feedback and ideas. On the contrary, when mistreated or misled, they leave, complain to all that will listen, and demoralize your employees and your company. A complaint or bad referral unfortunately has more potential to spread and alienate future prospects.
So resist the temptation for the short-term return that in the long-term will ruin your company’s brand. Longevity in business should be your focus. Treat people well. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the profitable thing to do.
Ways to Express the Golden Rule in Business
- Price your Product Fairly: To price your product fairly ask yourself, “how much would you be willing to pay for this service or product?” Through market research and calculating your own costs to provide & market the product/service, you can determine the best price.
- Avoid Price-Fixing: Price fixing is when two entities, usually companies, agree they will sell a product at a set price. Usually two competitors fix prices to prevent discounting. This will help them maintain profit margins. This is unethical and illegal and will ruin your brand if and when exposed.
- Treat Customers with Respect: Good customer service cannot be overemphasized since its the lifeblood of your business. Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.
- Be Honest: Don’t make false claims or promises about your product/service. Make sure your website represents you as professional, trustworthy and knowledgeable in your industry. (For more information on professional web design & development, call Startup Production.) Honest business practices build foundations of trust with colleagues, competitors, staff, customers and every other individual and entity.
- Deal with Problems & Complaints Expeditiously: Most issues can be resolved quickly and easily by listening respectfully to the complaint, and doing whatever you can to correct it. Give the compliant your attention by acknowledging their issue, resolving and taking the extra step to show them you care. Even throw in something extra as a gesture of your concern for them.
- Treat Employees, Subcontractors & even Competitors Fairly: Employees and subcontractors represent your business, so a happy employee is more motivated, work harder and bring in more business. You never know how you will build relationships in the future with colleagues and competitors so always be professional, respectful and others will take notice.
Follow the golden rule in business and it will always result in profit financially and otherwise!