by Bruce Burke

Do you remember the movie “Wall Street”? In it, Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gecko, became a millionaire by cheating, lying and breaking the law.

He also ended up in jail.

You can often win “battles” by doing the wrong thing (as Gecko did), but if you want to build your business to last, you should never compromise your integrity. This is truly the road to long term profitability and “winning the war”.

Several examples come to mind. A vendor could send you a double order of supplies or an employee could make a mistake in calculating the commissions they are due. Without even addressing your conscience, what is the upside of not addressing and correcting these mistakes? A windfall of a few thousand bucks perhaps? That might make your month look better, but how is your year going to look if your employee quits or your supplier decides you are not worth doing business with? You have begun to lose the war.

Have you ever negotiated a deal with someone and known that the other party was missing a key element of the agreement? I have. Do you let it go and say “a deal is a deal” after the fact or do you bring it to their attention and get it worked out properly to begin with? I think you know what my answer is. A truly good business deal is good for both parties. “Purchasing” goodwill by treating others as you would want to be treated pays long lasting dividends.

This is never more true than when you live in a small town like ours. Do the right thing, give a customer extraordinary service and you can count on them to tell some of their friends about the experience. Do the wrong thing and you can count on them to tell all of their friends.