June 9, 2015

If You Are Big Enough to Push Others Around–DON’T

By Paul Bieber

The goal of most companies is to earn a profit–enough of a profit to repay the owners for their investment, have funds to reinvest in the growth of the business, pay a fair wage and give benefits to employees. Do you need more than that?

Some companies give excess profits to local charities either through direct contributions or by encouraging employees to commit working hours to charitable causes. Some companies give real good benefits. In some companies, however, the goal is profits for the sake of profits and not giving a darn about their role as a corporate citizen.

If you are big enough to control a marketplace, do it gracefully… with honor and a keen awareness that your customers are what brought you here. If you are a big company dealing with a small company, and you think you have them over a barrel, remember they are a customer.

Occasionally, when I ran my fabrication plant, I told a customer we didn’t want his business anymore, at any price. Maybe he was a deadbeat who didn’t pay, or most commonly, someone who was rude or obscene to our customer service people or drivers. But, we didn’t throw our weight around when we were a large fabricator. On the other hand, we did with our vendors. Is that two-faced? I don’t think so. The vendors might have been a hundred times larger than us, but they did want our business and getting the best pricing and terms was part of our business policy.

The point being, if you are so big that you don’t need a certain customer’s business, look them in the eye and tell them you are ending the relationship and why. Finish your dealings that have been started, and move on. Do this and you will continue to grow and be respected in business. Otherwise, the word gets out about your business practices, and that is the first step on the path to losing what you have created.