Don’t create a blame culture

Stewart Woodruff says business directors must take responsibility for their business

18 Dec, 18

Owner of MBK Design Studio Stewart Woodruff says business directors must take responsibility for their business, providing direction rather than assigning blame. 

Don't create a blame culture

There will always be times in your business when you wonder if all the hard work you do is worthwhile.

There will be times when a supplier lets you down, through a lack of understanding of the importance of their service.

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There will be times when a customer’s expectations are unreasonable.

And there will be times when people who work with you fail to provide a service up to your standards.

All these times are testing, but when we overcome them, we come out stronger.

We all thrive or fail through our own actions and some of these lessons can be expensive or even threaten the very existence of your business.

However, they are your failures: you can’t blame anyone else.

It’s your failure not to check a supplier’s understanding of your order and it’s your failure if a service provided was not up to your standards.

It is also your failure for not making sure your customer knows exactly what to expect.

You have to provide direction; you need to set the standard to which everyone should adhere.

Direct trades and customers

Your installers need to understand the service they provide relates directly to their future income.

If clients are not satisfied, then they will not recommend you, and so your installers will lose future contracts and income.

If the installer’s quality of work has fallen below your standards, a question to ask is would they accept that level of service in their own house?

Managing your customers’ expectations starts at the first contact; it’s your job to ensure they fully understand what you are going to provide and back it up with written confirmation.

When they query what they are getting, refer them to the conversations and correspondence you have had previously.

You need to stand firm but appear flexible. Remember, the customer is not always right, but they think they are.

You are running a business, not a charity; you need to be helpful but not give in to ludicrous demands.

If they want something changed then quote for it, explain it will be an extra cost, and get them to agree.

Improve supplier communication

Supplier are more complicated but again, with direction or improved communication, the relationship can flourish.

We all have received goods earlier than required, despite requesting specific dates. If I get the chance, I would refuse the delivery.

After all, I may not have been paid for that delivery and I may not have the storage facility.

If it is too late to refuse delivery, then I would advise them in writing that it is not acceptable to deliver goods earlier than requested and in the future, should that happen, they will be rejected or a request to collect will be issued.

No supplier likes to waste their time, if they have to do something twice, they are reducing their profit margin.

We all have suffered from short deliveries with various excuses or accounts closed because of a lack of spending.

But all retailers are in business to make money and will deal with companies who work with them effectively.

Communication with sales representatives is key, as is being equipped with appropriate marketing material, such as brochures.

So, I would suggest retailers make decisions to deal with companies who will bring benefit to your business, both financially and through status.

Always check your terms and, instead of griping about margins, never be afraid to ask for better terms.

There are a large number of companies who want your business, so choose those that are advantageous to you.

Start the New Year off by working smart.

Check out some of Stewart Woodruff’s previous articles for K&B News: