The Honest Business


The Honest Business

Be an actively honest restoration business owner, manager, & worker

Every day we read or hear about a person or a business that has been caught trying to get ahead by applying less-than-honest tactics. One of the latest stories revolves around Volkswagen, whose diesel car engines were rigged to alter their characteristics during fuel emission tests. As a result, the cars were declared much more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly than they actually are.

While your reaction to such a story may be, “Did they really think they could get away with that?” the more important question is, “Why did the company feel that being dishonest was acceptable?”

We typically hear about cheaters and scofflaws in the business world on the sales or marketing side. Things such as false claims being made about what results a product or service will provide. The used car is advertised as “clean” when, in fact, it was recently pulled from a flooded area ravaged by storms. The new pharmaceutical promises relief, or better yet a cure, for a common condition, but in reality the side effects are potentially more serious than the original malady. Today’s consumers are armed with more information, more customer feedback, and more testing data than ever before, giving us the best chance of sniffing out a scam or misleading claim. But why should we have to?

In a TED Talk a couple years ago, Marcus Sheridan shared the story of his pool company. In the midst of the U.S. financial crisis, the company changed its marketing strategy to “answering all the questions they had heard from customers over the years regarding fiberglass pools.” Good or bad, they put the information on their website, which became the most visited in their industry and the subject of a New York TimesBusiness Section article. Sheridan also challenged the tradition of the KFC secret recipe and the “secret sauce” on a McDonald’s Big Mac, and it paid off. From a marketing perspective, being what he terms a “teacher” as opposed to a “truth hoarder” makes a lot of sense. When straightforward information is offered in an upfront manner, without the need for interrogation, people notice.

For every aspect of your business—from your sales and marketing strategy, to interactions with customers, to how you treat and evaluate your employees, and how you deal with suppliers and subcontractors—honesty really is the best policy. But not just situational honesty. Rather, a mindset of proactive honesty.

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