Question: Are Your Customers Always Right?

There’s a famous saying that “the customer is always right”, but many people who work in businesses and interact with customers on a daily basis will disagree. There are certainly times when this saying might not be true, but in some businesses, this is taken to an extreme level.

In your business, what do you tell your employees? Do you tell them the customer is always right, or do you take another approach?

Fake it Until You Break It

Last week, I asked about how to reconcile the two sayings: fake it until you make it and don’t bite off more than you can chew without damaging your reputation. Unfortunately, too many small businesses fail for the simple reason that they don’t understand how these two sayings relate to their business, and how they should influence their actions.

The first saying, fake it until you make it, is about giving the impression of being larger than you are, more established, more credible. It’s about impressions – that until you have the data backing you up, act as though you do.

The second saying is about accepting challenges: don’t bite off more than you can chew, or, in other words, don’t accept a challenge you can’t complete.

Just because you act larger than you are does not mean you have to accept every challenge. Even for large companies, not every project is a good fit. Saying no to a project is not a sign of being small, but rather, of knowing and accepting your own limitations. While you may feel pressure to act big and say yes, sometimes the better course of action is to be even bigger, and say no.

A business which manages to learn what types of projects it can do well at, and what types of projects exceed its capacities, and makes decisions accordingly, will not be taken for a small player, but for a seasoned business.

After all, it takes some experience to understand that certain projects, once accepted, can destroy a business as it fails to achieve its objectives.